With schools in the UAE gearing up to welcome students back in September, it’s clear that each school will take varying precautionary methods. In our exclusive interview with Brett Girven, Principal at The Arbor School Dubaihg0088手机版登录, we discuss how the school will ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students while providing the same standard of education.
Can you give us examples of some of the safety measures The Arbor School will be implementing?
hg0088手机版登录As always, the health and safety of our students, staff, parents, visitors and external contractors is our number one priority. Guided by relevant guidelines and adopting global best practices, we will act in a cautious yet balanced manner so that we protect all members of our community, ensure effective teaching and learning, and stay true to Arbor’s core values. In practice, this will mean sharing relevant information with our community, in a timely way, and putting in place robust procedures to ensure appropriate levels of physical distancing. We will foster good hygiene and healthy habits, enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures, and will deploy suitable screening and protective equipment.
As a growing school, we are fortunate to have ample space in which we can practice physical distancing whilst still welcoming all of our students back to school full time, from the first day – something that other schools may not be able to do. This includes giving our students access to a wide range of stimulating experiences across all of our facilities and learning spaces, and not just their classrooms, in a safe and controlled manner. Specific precautions include staggered drop-off and pick-up times and zones, making full use of the school’s parking facilities; separate building entrances and exits for year groups; restricted access to the building for parents and visitors, with special consideration given to the parents of students of determination or children requiring additional support; temperature screening and enhanced hygiene requirements for all students and staff; and contractors will only be allowed on-site outside school hours and will follow enhanced hygiene routines, except for any time-sensitive or critical work
How will The Arbor School reassure parents of the on-campus health & safety measures?
Following the announcement of schoolshg0088手机版登录 re-opening in September, we hosted a live Q&A session for The Arbor School community to reassure them of the plans the school has in place when students return to campus after the summer. The senior leadership team at Arbor has carried out meticulous operational and academic preparations to ensure the health, safety and security of its students and teachers and we will continue reviewing our risk assessments to ensure the effectiveness of all the measures we have put in place to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
hg0088手机版登录As well as the above, we have shared and communicated an FAQ and ‘roadmap to return’ document explaining exactly how Arbor will be reopening come September and we welcome any questions or queries from our parents to support them in these unprecedented times.
Will the school implement a more blended learning approach in the next academic year?
hg0088手机版登录The school’s objectives during and after re-opening are to protect, preserve and evolve, with a focus on managing the degree of contact between adults and students, optimising learning and prioritising hygiene across the campus. The Arbor School aims to return to the full Arbor experience following reopening, prioritising student wellbeing and re-establishing routines and expectations which may have become unfamiliar over the previous months. We will continue to deliver an education that is rich in the concepts of eco-literacy and illustrating the connection between nature and the inter-dependencies with life systems.
What do you anticipate as being some of the biggest challenges for schools in the coming year?
One of the key challenges we’ll face is making sure we’re gaining the confidence of our parents to ensure the health, safety and security of our children once they return in September, and how we plan to utilize our unique spaces to do so. Also delivering on the promise of a child-centered education for our youngest learners whilst keeping them as safe as possible, and we’re lucky in that The Arbor School has the facilities and learning spaces to allow this. Finally, re-integrating our students back into regular routines that may have become unfamiliar over the past couple of months and reassuring parents that we’ll be supporting our students in every way possible.
Brett Girven shares the vision of The Arbor School’s founders, with an ethical outlook and a passion for protecting and caring for the environment. Encouraging people to connect with nature, he inspires the school community to think and act differently, having spent his formative years growing up exploring beaches, trekking through forests and climbing mountains.
As Principal of The Arbor School, the ecological school in Dubai based on the National Curriculum of England, Girven plays a critical role in the everyday functioning of the school, ensuring his role is visible. He supports the teaching staff to deliver a high-quality standard of education and instills a holistic growth for all learners. He brings strong leadership, a critical eye for details and an in-depth understanding of the educational climate in Dubai and the UAE.
hg0088手机版登录Girven also has experience in providing quality assurance and continuous school improvement to Arbor; in his previous position, he successfully moved the school from 'Good' to 'Outstanding' in the KHDA rating.
Girven has more than ten years’ experience in the Middle East education sector, having moved to the UAE from his native New Zealandhg0088手机版登录. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership. His current postgraduate studies focus on continuous professional development, innovative strategies and methods for assessing student learning, and the development of life-long skills that transcend content and subject-specific knowledge.
hg0088手机版登录Girven lives in Dubai with his wife and three young children; he continues to enjoy sports and the outdoors, including coaching rugby teams, completing triathlons and exploring Dubai's natural environment.
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