UK schools boss slams Dubai overseas campus move

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An artist's impression of Repton Abu Dhabi.

An artist's impression of Repton Abu Dhabi.

The head of the UK’s official body for inspecting schools has said has hit out at British private colleges investing in opening campuses in overseas destinations like Dubai and should instead focus on supporting struggling local state schools.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, hit out at UK-based private schools which have expanded overseas and said they should focus on helping state schools struggling during the ongoing UK recession.

Wilshaw specifically highlighted Repton School in Derbyshire, which charges almost £30,000 ($46,050) a year for boarders, which had opened an international school in Dubai in 2007.

While more than a third of students at the UK school earned A grades in their exams, standards in nearby state schools in Derby were given a less than glowing report by Ofsted’s inspectors.

“I can’t help but wonder if it might first have looked a little closer to home. Less Dubai, more Derby, you might be tempted to say,” Wilshaw told British media.

Many private schools in the UK have opened campuses in Dubai and across the Middle East. Last year, Marlborough College, which was attended by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, announced it was looking to expand overseas and looking to open a campus in the Middle East.

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Posted by: Billy

Mr Wilshaw is missing the point......the right thing to do would definitely be for schools like Repton who have earned their reputation in the UK and owe their very existence to the UK to give something back to the UK school system. But that is not financially profitable and schools like Repton fit perfectly into the Dubai private school system which is founded on greed, extortionate fees and very average (at best) educational achievement. It perhaps is time for the UK government to make private school licenses dependent on some form of "giving back" to the UK school system ...after all that is what makes their daylight robbery possible in places like Dubai.

Posted by: Naveed

I couldnt agree more with Billy, I was in Dubai for 12 years and one of the first group of Parents who enrolled their children into Repton in 2007 where for the next four years, we witnessed a constant revolving doors of teachers and permanent tolerance for mediocre academic achievement - upon returning to the UK my children continued their GCSE/ A levels at a local village school , where the staffs commitment and dedication to education is light years ahead of Repton Dubai - however if Mr Wilshaw wants Repton UK to contribute to the under performing schools in Derby, I would also support making UK Private school licenses dependent on local contributions to the public academic system and possibly reserve a claim to a percentage of their overseas income - which is nothing but daylight robbery....if I sound annoyed , I am ! Because spending Dhs 190k a year on 3 kids at Repton was the worst investment I ever made. Took 18 months to undo the damage of that school .

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