WSA’s new Senior Editor, Susan Roberts, received her Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Dundee and holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. These days her world revolves around Kadie, her two-year-old whirlwind of a daughter, who Susan describes as having an “unwavering defiance to all things sensible” (we like her already!). Read on to find out about more about Susan’s background and what she is looking forward to on joining the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com team.
Susan, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m from a particularly sleepy (and cold) corner of Northern Scotland and have been living in Dubai since 2011. Like many new expats, I came to Dubai as a single girl “for a year” and forgot to go home. I usually blame/thank my husband, who I met in Dubai, for influencing my decision to stay, but the wonderful and enormously fulfilling career in early years education and leadership that I have been able to build here has also played a huge role.
Most recently I have held the position of Nursery Director at a fabulously child-centred and community focused Early Childhood Centre in Dubai. These days, the centre of my world is my daughter, Kadie. At 2 years old, she is undoubtedly the boss of our house, and while I may be biased, I do believe her sparkling humour, enthusiasm and unwavering defiance to all things sensible, may be the answer to all the world’s problems. When I became a Mum, my perspectives and priorities truly changed, and I particularly began to see the world of education through new eyes.
Why join WhichSchoolAdvisor.com?
I’ve been an avid reader of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com for a long time and it is a source of education news and information that I’ve valued greatly. On a personal level, this new role allows me to combine my passions of writing and education, which is a rare opportunity. I’m thrilled to be joining this fantastic team.
What excites you about education in the UAE?
Nowhere else in the world is there such a diverse range of educational approaches and experiences in one place. I’m excited by interesting and innovative pedagogy, breaks from traditional practices, and seeing how these forward-thinking approaches meet the individual needs of our children. I’m also excited to see Early Years Education being increasingly valued and elevated in the UAE (as well it should be!).
Why is choosing a school such a difficult decision?
The most important decisions we make usually are hard. It stands to reason that parents put so much thought and research into choosing the best possible place for their child to learn and grow; what could be more important than that? The huge range of choices can be daunting, there is so much to unpick and understand when deciphering what is best for your child, but that is why that WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is such a huge support to so many UAE parents.
Can you share one top tip for parents looking for a school?
There isn’t a “best school” out there but there are schools that will be the best fit for your child and your family. My biggest piece of advice is always to start with considering the environment and factors that are most important to your child, as the individual that they are. This may be about having a strong inclusion department, it may be about languages, about a focus on wellbeing, or diversity and representation. You can only narrow down your search once you have identified what you’re looking for.
Have you chosen a school for your daughter? If not, what will you be looking for?
I don’t have a school selected yet. My priorities for my daughter may differ to that of other parents; and that’s how it should be. My focus for my daughter is around building her positive sense of identity and self-esteem and providing her with opportunities to follow her own interests and passions. This is what I see that she will likely need most. I’ll keep you posted on the school I decide can best provide these things for her… I’m still researching and will be using WhichSchoolAdvisor.com to find out all I need to know!