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Education

Your Guide to Finding the Right School in Qatar

Ask anyone who has recently moved their family to Qatar and they will tell you that getting your children into a good international school might be among your biggest challenges. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Choosing the right school is a very important decision for both you and your family. See below a list of the best admission tips and additional information that you may need when applying to schools in Qatar this summer, put together by the Admissions team at ACS Doha International School.

RESEARCH. RESEARCH: Parents should research all available schools beforehand and familiarise themselves with each school’s curriculum, available spaces, fees, and importantly, where the school is located. Most schools in Qatar have detailed and up-to-date websites with access to dedicated admissions teams. So a quick visit to school websites will place this information at your fingertips.

THE MORE THE MERRIER: To ensure your child receives a placement, you may need to apply to several schools of choice. Some international schools in Qatar are operating at capacity and have long waiting lists in many grades / year groups. Be sure to check availability of places, apply early, and keep following up on your application(s).  ACS Doha

ASK QUESTIONS: Ask each school about their application dates. October 2nd 2016 is the official cut-off date for admissions for the 2016/17 academic year in Qatar. Find out each school’s application criteria and obtain a list of required documents from them. Enquire about which documents the schools need attested and by which authority. Keep in mind that documentation requirements can vary from school to school and from family to family. The process may differ depending on factors such as nationality, the age of the child and other details that a school may consider relevant to their application procedures. It is vital that these documents are obtained as soon as possible and not left to the last minute. Some may also need to be finalised before leaving your home country and moving to Qatar.

RESIDENCY FIRST: All students are required to have a valid Residency Permit to attend a school in the State of Qatar. Even if your child has been accepted and allocated a space in a school, you will need to ensure they have a valid Residency Permit before their school start date.

BE FAMILIAR WITH FEE STRUCTURES: Look into fee structures as some schools will request term payments with an additional annual fee, or book fees etc. Some schools will have all their fees included in one payment schedule. As schools adopt various stances on application, assessment, and deposit fees, take time to study the requirements so you will be clearly aware of the school’s expectations.

KNOW THE REGULATIONS: Admissions staff in schools can assist parents and confirm that you are complying with the Ministry of Education and Higher Learning regulations in your application(s). It is worth visiting the Supreme Education Council in Qatar (SEC) website to stay up-to-date. You can also contact the school’s admissions staff directly and enquire if there are any new regulations you will need to comply with.ACS Doha 4

GATHERING DOCUMENTS & FILLING IN FORMS: Among the general documents that the SEC will require you to submit, will be 3 years of report cards for each child. Also, carefully review the forms supplied by the school and be familiar with the required documentation for each application. Again bear in mind that these requirements will not only change from school to school but also from grade to grade. Students applying to a school like ACS Doha are asked to provide 2 x Teacher References with their applications as well as the standard requested copy of parent’s passport and resident permit, copy of applicant’s passport and resident permit, and copy of applicant’s immunisation record card.

CURRICULUM IS KEY: Schools in Qatar offer various curricula. Ask each of the schools for a copy of their curriculum if it is not available online, as this will allow you to prepare yourself better. Think ahead about the system that would benefit your child the most, balance it with his or her aspirations and work out whether you wish your child to follow a British, American or International Baccalaureate programme (the latter is offered by IB World Schools like ACS Doha). The terminology used by UK, US, IB and several other curricula will differ. {i.e. Year, Grade, Pre-School, Nursery, Kindergarten.} Familiarize yourself with these terms so you will know what each school means when they refer to their education programme.

GET INTO THE RIGHT GRADE: Find out ahead of time how the different grading systems work and ensure your child is placed in the proper grade/year. The school you apply to will inform you of the system they employ and help you determine the appropriate grade or year for your child. If you apply online and select the wrong grade/year, your child may initially be allocated a space in the wrong grade or worse – your application might get rejected!

KNOW WHAT EACH SCHOOL OFFERS: Look into the extra curricular activities of each school. Compare what is on offer. Some schools will offer extra child support (i.e. Language programmes for non-native English speaking children). Schools like ACS Doha offer a full range of Co-curricular activities, Clubs, Sports, Social Activities, Global Learning & Travel Excursions, Music Lessons and a whole host of other opportunities for children beyond the classroom.

ASK FOR A SCHOOL TOUR: One of the best things you as parents can do to help identify if a school is the right fit for your child is to request a school tour. During the tour you will have the opportunity to meet the admissions staff and other staff members. School Tours can help you gain valuable insight into the facilities and give you a sense of the student/teacher body.

SYNCHRONISING SIBLING PLACEMENTS: If you have several children in your family and they receive a position but in separate schools, consider taking the spots! It is difficult to allocate spots to children across different age groups in the same school in Doha at the moment. Most schools however do have a sibling priority system, so make sure you keep the school authorities informed that you have applied for more than one child at the same school and find out in advance if the school has any admissions policies concerning preferential placement for siblings. At ACS Doha, sibling applications do receive preferential treatment.


 

ACS Doha 3The ACS Doha Admissions team hopes that these tips will make your quest to find the right school in Qatar that much easier! To know ACS better visit the website or drop by their campus, the friendly staff would be happy to arrange a personal tour at a time that is suitable for you.

To make an appointment or for further assistance with the admissions process, call the ACS Doha’s Admissions Department on +974 3026 6800 or email at doha-admissions@acs-schools.com. Do make an appointment in advance, as the school cannot accommodate any unplanned visits.

ACS Doha
IAID Qatar Doha
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