Podcast: The Big Question! Choosing a School

How do I choose the school that is just right for my child? This is perhaps the number one question the team at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com hear from parents, and the answer is…well, complex! To help you to make this most important of parenting decisions, we asked four leaders from some of the UAEs most vibrant schools to join us on the latest episode of The School Show podcast.
Podcast: The Big Question! Choosing a School
By Jenny Mollon
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On this episode of The School Show podcast, we talk to four school leaders about the challenging process that is choosing a school. To make the advice from our guests even clearer, we’ve split the episode into two distinct segments. First, we look at choosing a primary school with Fiona McDermott, Assistant Head at Safa British School and Ben Rothwell, Deputy Head of Victory Heights Primary School. Later on, we look at what makes choosing a secondary school a different proposition with Giles Pruett, Executive Principal of Arcadia School and Matthew Tompkins, Principal-CEO of GEMS FirstPoint School.

Our guests for The School Show all join us from schools hosting one of the first Which Media Festival of Schools! These FREE family events are a great way for you to soak up the atmosphere of potential schools, as well as meeting school leaders and seeing their amazing students and staff in in action! The Festival kicked off last weekend at Safa British School (see the highlights here)  and will move on to GEMS FirstPoint SchoolArcadia School and finally to Victory Heights Primary School.

The first event at Safa was a sell-out, so get your free Festival of Schools tickets below, fast! BOOK NOW!

GEMS FirstPoint School, Saturday 13th November, 9-12pm

Arcadia School, Saturday 20th November, 9-1pm

Victory Heights Primary School, Saturday 27th November, 9-3pm

The School Show Podcast - How to Choose a Primary School, with Fiona McDermott of Safa British School and Ben Rothwell of Victory Heights Primary School


Fiona MCDermott of Safa British School

Listen as our host, WSA Editor Jenny Mollon, Fiona and Ben discuss:

  • Their own years at primary school…do our guests look back with fondness or with ideas on how to do things differently?
  • The first thing parents should think about when choosing a school
  • The differences between a standalone primary and an all through school
  • Whether curriculum matters at primary school
  • Whether higher fees mean a ‘better’ school
  • Advice for choosing a new primary school midway through your child’s primary years 


Ben Rothwell, Victory Heights Primary School

The School Show Podcast - How to Choose a Secondary School, with Giles Pruett of Arcadia School and Matthew Tomkins of GEMS FirstPoint School


Giles Pruett, Arcadia School

In this segment Jenny, Giles and Matthew discuss:

  • What was great (or not so great!) about our guests own experience of secondary school?
  • What makes choosing a secondary school different to choosing a primary school?
  • What are the benefits of attending an all through school?
  • How much does curriculum matter? Is there a right time to switch curriculum?
  • Are there certain points in a child’s secondary career when it’s better to move schools? Why?
  • How much should parents be thinking about post 16 pathways when choosing a school? What should parents look for in a schools’ post 16 provision?
  • Do high fees always mean great quality? How can parents assess the impact fee point will have on their child’s experience?


Matthew Tompkins, GEMS FirstPoint School

Join us for more great guests and education talk on the next episode of The School Show podcast! And if you would like to connect with our expert Editors and other UAE parents alike, why not join the conversation in our Facebook group – Parents United UAE?  We would love to hear from you and answer all your school and education questions...

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