Abu Dhabi's British schools will not be asked to follow new curriculum at once

Abu Dhabi’s 37 British schools to make own decisions on adoption of new UK curriculum.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Jun 3, 2012:   
Students participate in science class on Sunday, Jun 3, 2012, at the Brighton College in Abu Dhabi, the first foreign campus of the well-known British school. Just as its UK model-school, the UAE Brighton College is the first independent school to introduce compulsory Mandarin language into its curriculum. The purpose-built campus on Abu Dhabi island opened in September 2011. (Silvia Razgova / The National)
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ABU DHABI // The capital’s British schools will not be required to follow a new curriculum being introduced in England until it is more widely established.

“All English curriculum schools will continue applying the old curriculum standards without disruption and they will be helped by our improvement team to apply the old national curriculum standards,” said a spokesman for Abu Dhabi Education Council.

The new curriculum for primary and secondary schools in England will be launched in September 2014. It will have a phased implementation with some pupils at state-run schools remaining on the old curriculum until the summer of 2015 while revisions are made to key stage tests or Sats.

The new curriculum will place greater emphasis on skills such as essay writing, problem solving, mathematical modelling and computer programming.

“When the new curriculum is applied at schools in the UK, Adec’s school improvement and licensing and accreditation teams will monitor its implementation before requesting any changes in Abu Dhabi schools,” said Adec.

“We will have selected schools monitor the implementation of the new curriculum and then plan for a smooth transition when the new curriculum is applied on a larger scale in the UK,” said the spokesman.

According to Adec’s 2012-2013 figures there are 37 British schools in Abu Dhabi.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai has said whether to implement the new curriculum would be up to individual schools.

The new curriculum, described by the British prime minister David Cameron as a “revolution in education”, will require children aged five to learn basic fractions while nine-year-olds will be expected to know their 12-times tables.

It has been attacked by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers union in the UK, which claims it will not “foster a passion for learning” and that its content is not age appropriate.

The union also described the timetable for its implementation as “completely unrealistic”.