The Dubai school regulator, the KHDA has launched a new ‘guiding framework’ for Dubai private schools, designed to give parents, teachers and students a shared understanding of what wellbeing looks like in schools, and how it can be improved.
The framework aims to provide a common reference point for school leaders, governors, educators and parents, outlining expectations of wellbeing provision at Dubai’s private schools and how wellbeing is identified at specific stages of development.
International research points to wellbeing as a key component in the improvement of educational outcomes, enabling students to have more positive experiences of school; higher levels of self-esteem; and increased motivation.
The KHDA has long been ahead of other regulators in its focus on wellbeing, which began in 2007 with the launch of the Dubai Plan 2015, highlighting wellbeing as an essential enabler of social development and a key driver of strategic excellence. This commitment was subsequently strengthened further through the development of the Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Plan 2030, bringing wellbeing and education to the forefront of national priorities.
Over the years, the KHDA has worked with Dubai’s private schools to raise awareness and support the wellbeing of students and staff; the best known initiative being the introduction of the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census in 2017. Over the past five years more than 100,000 students annually have provided feedback creating one of the world’s largest and most culturally diverse complex data sets on student wellbeing.
The new guiding framework includes specific focus areas on which schools will be evaluated as part of the DSIB inspection process, including how well schools are leading a wellbeing culture; how well they are listening to the needs of their students and staff members; and how well they are creating policies and processes to improve student wellbeing.
The new framework focuses not only on the wellbeing of students, but also on the role of teachers and other staff members, with whom students spend much of their time. With teacher turnover and teacher confidence identified as barriers to wellbeing, securing healthy, supportive and empowering working conditions is seen as vital and an area of focus for school governance and leadership.
According to the KHDA:
“Teacher wellbeing, and that of other staff members must be a core, strategic focus for school leaders in the quest for greater levels of student wellbeing.”
The DSIB inspection teams will focus on three core performance indicators of how well a school is supporting wellbeing during their inspections:
- Leading and Pursuing Wellbeing
- Listening to and supporting stakeholders
- Enabling wellbeing experiences and outcomes.
The level of wellbeing in each school will be identified as Very High, High, Moderate, or Low.
The results of each school’s wellbeing evaluation will be published with its inspection report and parent summary report, due to be released in 2023. Click here for the complete KHDA 2022 wellbeing guidelines document.