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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Dubai, UAE
I have a child at the new Dubai branch of Repton in Year 5. Every day a Bond paper comes home, along with another subject, usually french, history or science. They are also required to write out the x table they are learning and the weekly spelling list. The Bond Paper alone can often take 45 especially if its maths or english. Verbal and Non verbal reasoning take less time. At weekends research for a two page project is set and another maths paper - usually 100 questions. This seems excessive to me. I have friends and family with children of the same age with children at prep schools in England and they are not bring home this much they say. The school seems desperate to prove itself but I'm afraid that the price my children are paying is too high. They are permanently exhausted and loathe the school apart from the sport. We were previously living in a country where they don't believe in homework ( just practice for a weekly tables and spelling test ) before the age of 13 so I have nothing to compare to. Any feedback would be most appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8206
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi constantia

You are right to be concerned. That seems very excessive from my experience. My DS's prep school specifies approximately 40 minutes a day for homework. Much of that is never set.

If the school is otherwise good, or you have no other choice in Dubai, I suggest that you set your child a series of incentives to complete the homework, and try to find other internet links that will make the routine stuff more fun.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:28 pm 
Hi Constantia,

I would be worried about a school that gives bond assessments as homework. I think its lazy on the schools part and homework should be enriching and well-thought out by the teachers. I have known a few independents that do this and they are generally not seen as very good schools. If children "loathe" an independent school then its usually a sign that the school is poor - could you consider changing?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:08 pm 
Constantia, I am not sure whether you are permanently in Dubai and therefore have to either put up with the school or send the children to boarding school in Britain. If the school is a temporary measure, my advice would be to do the homework yourself unless you feel it is something that will benefit the children. (I suppose they might have to learn the tables as they would probably be tested on them at school, and in any case tables are quite useful for children to know.)

When my kids were at primary school I used to do any homework for them that I thought was pointless, and adults can usually polish it off in double quick time. It was terribly boring when I had to do one of those long project things, though. :( Funnily enough, once they got to secondary school they never allowed me to help at all.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:09 pm 
Forgot to anwer your question! In my opinion that is a most excessive amount of homework for such a young child, and completely unreasonable.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Dubai, UAE
Thanks so much everyone for all the replies - gosh I am so relieved that I am not the only person who thinks its excessive. There are stacks of British schools in Dubai, some very good, others average. Then there are schools that teach the American curriculum, Australian. French and soon to be opening South African curriculum.

Repton Dubai is the only school that is associated with an independent British school. Repton Dubai has only been open 18 mths and already has over a 1000 children attendence. They are a selective school, all children have to sit and entrance exam. Oundle were supposed to be opening Sept this year but have postponed.

We have been here for years, our children attended another British school here where the homework was appropriate but the children were much younger then. Have just spent a year out of Dubai where homework at the school there - as I said in my previous post, was virtually nil. Once I knew we would be moving back to Dubai I put my children down for Repton mainly for the sporting facilities as my son is a very skilled sportsman. While I do not have a very high opinion of the school generally I must admit that the sporting facilities and coaching are outstanding.

What particularly worries me is that of all the schools my children have attended this is the only one that they both say they just can't stand. My daughter loves her class teacher, a young guy from England but otherwise she says it would be sheer torture. My son on the other hand can't abide his class teacher and if it were not for the sport he couldn't stand it. They are both academic kids and have never, well apart from the occasional moan which is be expected spoken so negatively about school.

I could move them to their previous school once places come up but only in Sept. By law you can only move your children to another school once a year in Dubai.

I was most interested to read what some of you said about sending Bond papers home as homework. I too thought this was rather suspect, not to mention leasy. But then this is a school that constantly reminds parents that they are an academically selective school (why I have no idea), the importance of good manners which personally I find so patronising and that (seriously) they intend to be the best school in the world! Needless to say they obviously think we came down in the last rain shower!

I will be going in to see the deputy head about some of the issues I have, particularly the quantity of homework. The head of prep unfortunately, believe it or not, tends to take the attitude to most concerns 'If you don't like it then this is not the school for you'. I know, I know, it just gets worse and worse doesn't it?

What would you say to the school re handing out Bond papers as homework. I think I know what I'm going to say but would love to hear opinions!

Thanks so much again.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Constantia

I could go for the one word response - "lazy".

On the other hand I could go for the response that you should be looking for from the school.

Homework is designed to reinforce teaching undertaken in school. It should reflect how much a child has learned during lessons and teach them independent study techniques.

How can a Bond paper do that? This is homework for the sake of homework. Your children are unhappy, barring your son's sporting activities. The Head of Prep believes his own publicity, and in a small place like Dubai, he thinks that the school is "top of the heap". (I knew Dubai long before it "exploded".) In the UK it would be a very different story.

Look around at the other schools on offer, and ask questions. There is a very useful thread here to help you evaluate each school:

http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?t=7611

Funnily enough, the first question on there is "how much homework do you set?"!

You do need to think about your childrens' destination schools (boarding in the UK?), but their happiness comes first. Repton Dubai and Oundle Dubai will not matter to anyone here. What will matter is that your children have learned something, and that won't happen when they are unhappy.

Good luck!

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:25 am
Posts: 147
If your are unhappy and you know the home work is a PR exercise for daft parents (who think the amount of homework set and not the quality is important) you know what you must do. Your children sound very bright and reasonable . Ask them what they want to do about it.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:09 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Dubai, UAE
Thanks for the replies and advice. Yes Sally Anne the head does believe his own publicity, if it were not so sad it would be hilarious. The head of the College is sound but quite why Repton UK chose the head of prep I have no idea. Yes Dubai has gone beserk. When I first moved here 15 years ago it was quite a nice place to live. Dubai branches of many public schools are opening up here as if we don't have enough schools already. I know that Wellington is on the way as is Dulwich College. They are opening up here to partially finance their schools in England.

Boarding is not an option I would consider. All the males in my family and my husbands were long term boarders and it is not a tradition I wish continue - spend time with them and you will understand why!! Boarding is also a subject I have studied professionally so no, if I move them it would have to be to another school in Dubai. Long term, no fixed ideas where they might go after school. Highly unlikely it would be to England though.

I'm in the process of writing a list of points that I want to raise with the school. I am not hoping for any significant change to be honest but I am certainly not going to remain silent when I know that there are many stressed out children and, consequently, parents. So few parents here speak up - I find it so frustrating! Many of them are more than happy to moan like **** about the homework etc but when you ask them if they have raised it with the school the response is usually ' Oh no, I couldn't do that - my child might suffer as a result'.

Once again I really appreciate your feedback. I just needed to be sure that this overload and the daily Bond paper thing is not considered standard at prep schools in Britain these days.

This morning I was telling another mother at school that when I was writing my previous post on here as I was writing the school just sounded more and more absurd. As we sat there and watched all the obscenely expensive cars pull up outside school she said, 'It could be worse Posh and Becks and Jim Davidson ( who live here part time) could put their kids here!! Sense of humour intact - just! www.reptondubai.org


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