Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about the Arbor School?
Ours is an inclusive school built around core ethics of eco-literacy, sustainability and global environmental justice. We believe that such a perspective on the world enables our students to develop a strong sense of responsibility, appreciation of the challenges of decision-making in a profoundly interlinked and fragile world and an understanding of the value of adopting a holistic and compassionate attitude to life in all its various expressions.
What is Eco-literacy?
“The great challenge of our time is to build and nurture sustainable communities that are designed such that their ways of life, businesses, economies, physical structures, and technologies do not interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life. The first step in this endeavor is to understand the principles of organization that ecosystems have developed to sustain the web of life. This understanding is what we call ecological literacy.” – Fritjof Capra.
Ecological literacy, or eco-literacy, is a term first used by American educator David W. Orr and physicist Fritjof Capra in the 1990s, to introduce the value and well-being of the Earth and its ecosystems into educational practice. It is a way of thinking about the world in terms of its interdependent natural and human systems, including a consideration of the consequences of human actions and interactions within the natural context. Ecological literacy equips students with the knowledge and competencies necessary to address complex and urgent environmental issues in an integrated way, and enables them to help shape a sustainable society that does not undermine the ecosystems upon which it depends.
“the worth of education must now be measured against the standards of decency and human survival-the issues now looming so large before us in the twenty-first century. It is not education, but education of a certain kind, that will save us…. Eco-literacy not only requires mastery of subject matter, but the creation of meaningful connections between head, hands, and heart.” – David Orr.
What is Global Environmental Justice?
Global environmental justice is an international movement that aims to ensure the fair distribution of environmental goods and burdens amongst all people regardless of their background. More specifically, it is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of gender, national/cultural background or race with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of responsible environmental practices. The primary aim of environmental justice is ethical: to ensure that every person in the world benefits equally from protection from environmental and health hazards. In other words, it is the realization of our ultimate ethical responsibility towards both the earth, its systems and the human beings on it
How will this work at Arbor?
At the Arbor School, we emphasize the integration of the concepts of eco-literacy, sustainability and global environmental justice into every aspect of school life, from curriculum and activities to staffing and facilities. Through project-based, experiential and outdoor learning, our students will engage with their local environment in meaningful ways. A dedicated Director of Education for Sustainability will work with teaching staff to ensure that our curricula and activities are always enriched with awareness of the environmental and broader ethical knowledge and values essential to the well-being of our students and of the world they will inherit. The director will also oversee an artist and scientist in residence at Arbor, whose roles will include the inspiration of our staff and students and the enrichment of their activities and projects. Our commitment manifests at a number of other levels too, from using the International Primary Curriculum to align the National Curriculum of England to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , facilitating thematic learning across all subjects, to the provision of an indoor garden and climate controlled biodome, where students can interact with flora, fauna and soils year-round. Our facilities too are in line with our environmental commitment: our buildings are built to the exacting standards of LEED Gold Certification and our daily operations will emphasize ethical practices, paying close attention to matters of resource utilization and our ecological footprint.
Will you have a carbon-offsetting programme?
Yes, we will, but it is important to be clear what that means. Carbon offsetting is a concept that has received considerable criticism over the last decade, particularly from scientific circles, and must therefore be approached with caution and due diligence to ensure that it is scientifically, ethically and economically meaningful. Carbon trading is not a panacea for the world’s environmental problems; the science of carbon cycling is too complicated for simplistic models that allow us to pay a unit currency for a unit emission. Furthermore, participation in carbon offset programmes is too often perceived as a license to pollute, which can promote a mindset of growing consumption in the long-term. The most effective way to reduce our environmental impact is to adopt practices in the day-to-day operation of our organization to ensure that we are acting as ethically and efficiently as possible. It is essential that we act with full awareness and respect for the resources we consume and the complex ecological, social, and economic considerations that pertain to them to effect meaningful and lasting change. Nonetheless, carbon offsets can still be used as part of a broader strategy to live within our means, particularly in an environment like the Gulf, where summer temperatures pose unique challenges. To be effective, a carbon offsetting programme must not be based solely on reforestation. It must include a diversity of projects pertaining to the development and implementation of renewable energy, pollution control, energy efficiency, and social/economic empowerment of vulnerable communities. In addition to such measures, Arbor will engage with local, regional and global environmental agencies and initiatives, supporting, and spreading the message of environmentalism in Dubai – not only through its educational paradigm, but also by spreading knowledge and awareness through public lectures, and community outreach initiatives.
How green is the construction process and how eco-friendly/carbon neutral will the eventual building be?
We are making every effort to ensure that our ethos is reflected in the physical structures and operations of our buildings. We work to strict, international standards and protocols that ensure that our construction process and buildings are ecologically and environmentally sound. Our buildings will exceed the Dubai Municipality and TRAKHEES Green Building Requirements by 20% overall. During our construction phase, we stress on the recycling of construction debris and the use of certified, sustainably sourced wood, wherever possible. We ensure that our building materials are locally sourced to reduce the footprint of their transportation to our site, which even extends to the components of our concrete itself. Special reflective paints are being used on our buildings to maximise reflection of the sun’s rays and therefore decrease cooling requirements. Our building design and materials are selected to ensure maximum thermal performance, which stops the absorption and emission of thermal energy. This process thereby decreases the amount of energy required to cool the building; an area in which we exceed the demands of the Dubai Municipality and TRAKHEES Green Building Requirements by more than double. In fact, all our construction materials, such as blocks, bricks, insulation materials, etc. are subjected to strict scrutiny in accordance with local and international environmental standards. All our sanitary ware and water systems are designed for maximum efficiency of water consumption. Our energy efficiency model, which includes power, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning is designed for maximum efficiency, and exceeds the Dubai Municipality and TRAKHEES Green requirements by more than 20%.
In the finished building, we will use advanced ventilation and air-filtration systems to provide the highest possible standard of indoor air quality, minimizing the presence of volatile organic compounds, dust, pollen and other environmental allergens. We will also be using UV filtration on ventilation ducts to eliminate the spread of pathogens (such as bacteria and viruses) around the school buildings.
Our location in Al-Furjan is close to public transport (Metro) facilities, and we will be actively encouraging our staff to use them. Furthermore, we provide dedicated racks for up to 100 bicycles coupled with showering and changing facilities for staff to encourage the use of bicycles.
What does inclusion mean at Arbor?
Inclusive education is one of the mainstays of our philosophy at Arbor. We believe that every child should be able to achieve his or her potential to the fullest. At Arbor, we have a dedicated Director of Inclusion who will ensure that every student has an educational pathway outlined for him or her, taking into account each child’s particular strengths and weaknesses.
In particular, The Arbor School shall ensure that inclusion does not only reference academic standards, but is also fully extended to cover a child’s progress against the Arbor 8 profile. In this way, achievement is not only measured by grades in reports, but also a child’s ability to shine in many different ways, through their positivity, compassion, leadership and a sense of environmental justice, for example.
This 360 degree analysis of a child’s journey at The Arbor School is the key focus for the Director of Inclusion. All our students shall have time set aside for reflection upon their pathway, with challenge and support regularly planned for, whether through specific learning strategies, support in class, or participation in specialist co-curricular and leadership programmes, for example. To assist the Director of Inclusion, the team surrounding them shall consist of Inclusion Assistants, whose job it is to constantly monitor children in classroom and play contexts, and ensure that communication and action are especially effective.
In such a manner, students with specialist needs, whether as students of determination or as talented children, shall be provided for. All teachers at The Arbor School are expected to plan for delivery across the spectrum of abilities, with support integrated into lessons, as well as provision for tasks that move beyond mastery level. In addition, the school has heavily invested into breakout zones outside of the classroom, giving children the opportunity to work in smaller, collaborative groups or indeed, as individuals. The Arbor School is particularly proud of the learning environment that shall be available to our students, and the furnishings are bespoke, providing a unique learning experience for our students.
Arbor are also determined to ensure that students of all abilities can fully access their opportunities at school. We are able to provide specialist assistance for students of determination in both English and Arabic and have appointed a Director of teaching and Learning to specifically support children with stated needs. This also includes children for whom English is not a first language and for whom our curriculum includes specialist support and provision, which is monitored by the Director of Language Acquisition.
What curriculum do you follow?
The school shall follow the National Curriculum for England, enriched with innovative teaching in the form of project-based, experiential and outdoor learning to enable our students to fully benefit from the school’s ethos. We will also be using the International Primary Curriculum to align the National Curriculum of England with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, enabling thematic learning across all subject areas.
What are your class sizes?
There shall be a maximum of 20 students in each class within the Foundation Stage, whilst classes throughout the remainder of the school shall not exceed 24 students per class. All classrooms are equipped with breakout spaces for work with individuals and smaller groups both inside the classroom and in adjacent hallways.
Where do the teaching staff come from and what are their qualifications?
All teaching staff shall hold formal teaching qualifications in addition to their university degrees and the majority of our staff shall be from the UK school sector.
What are your school hours?
All students shall be expected to be at the school no later than 7:40 AM. and shall leave at the following times:
• 2:20 PM for Foundation Stage and;
• 4:15 PM for Key Stage One and above;
These timings include the co-curricular programme at the school, which is an expected element of study.
What co-curricular activities are offered?
Co-curricular activities are given great importance at the Arbor School, where every child is given opportunity to take part in five activities per week. All children are expected to participate every day, as we believe that co-curricular activities enhance a child’s education and play a vital role in holistic development and the broadening of emotional and academic skills. The activities are tracked, assessed and reported upon and are focused upon specific learning areas, namely sports; creativity; school enrichment, community service and culture.
What physical facilities does the school offer?
The Arbor School has exceptional facilities which include the following:
- Climate-controlled biodomes and two internal atria, one of which is a learning garden;
- Auditorium and Black-box;
- Junior and Senior Libraries;
- Dining Halls;
- Specialised Science Laboratories;
- Engineering and Vocational Workshops;
- Food technology room;
- Film Photography Laboratory,
- Swimming pools;
- Multi-purpose hall and gymnasium;
- Outdoor and indoor play areas;
- Multiple sports courts
- Full-sized, FIFA compliant football pitch;
Does the Arbor School provide meals on site?
Yes it does. The school has engaged a provider for Arbor that has a wealth of experience in providing canteen services at some of the top schools in Dubai. Of particular importance to us, is meeting the requirements of being a healthy, environmentally minded school and our canteen services shall be integrated with the educational philosophies of Arbor, providing opportunities for reflection upon food choices.
How does the school stay secure?
There is a dedicated security team stationed at the site 24 hours per day, and the school has invested heavily into technology around the site, which ensures that access is only possible by a specialized wristband/card.
Do you have transportation services?
The school shall engage specialist providers to ensure that all students can take a bus to school. Please let us know accordingly, and every effort shall be made to guarantee the route.
Do you offer discounts for founding students?
Yes; you can learn more here.
How do we find out more?
Please just get in touch with the school at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone numbers provided on this webpage. The Principal would always be welcome to meeting you in person if you also wish.