School tours are great opportunities to get a more immediate sense of an educational environment and are often one of the biggest factors in helping you decide if a school is right for your child. But UAE schools are primarily still businesses and it’s natural to be aware that they want to make the best impression on the day. So how can you ensure you get an authentic, informative experience out of touring a school? Well, it’s all about knowing what to look out for…
1. Talk to the teachers and don't hold back
Now's the time to ask about the teacher to pupil ratio, staff turnover rate and what opportunities the teacher has for professional development. The teachers will be key to your child's experience at school - you want to feel that they love what they're doing and that they have enough professional opportunities to stay put.
2. Visit more than once
See if you can make an appointment to come in on an off day when there's no official tour scheduled. You wouldn't commit to buying a house on one viewing; the same should be true of your school.
3. Look at what's pinned up on the walls
Does the work on display look fun and interesting and do the children take pride in their work? Just as importantly, is the school taking pride in its children?
4. Check out the children
Do they look happy, attentive and engaged? The last thing you want is to walk into a silent classroom - the younger years should be full of light, fun and laughter. The children should want to be there.
5. Speak to other parents
If you come across any enrolled parents while you're on the tour, don't be afraid to stop and ask them what they like about the school. The teacher and leadership can give you all the official information but only another parent knows exactly where you're coming from.