Dubai: Some schools to disperse students early for Queen Elizabeth's funeral

This will allow pupils, teachers and staff to be with their families as they watch 'history in the making', say principals


Nandini Sircar

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AFP photo

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2022, 4:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 9:12 PM

A number of British schools in Dubai will be dismissing their students early on the day of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral — allowing their campus communities to watch the televised service and pay their respects even from afar.

Britain's longest-reigning monarch — and the nation's figurehead for seven decades — will be laid to rest on Monday, September 19. World leaders, royalty, and other dignitaries are expected to fly to London to attend the funeral.

Taaleem's British schools are giving students the option to wrap up their classes early on Monday.

"This is so they can join in with those mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and watch as her life, and service to the nation and the Commonwealth is celebrated," said Jared Nolan, director of UK curriculum schools at Taaleem education UAE.

"To be a part of this, albeit from afar, and join their families at home for this sad but iconic moment will be important to many in our communities. I know that all UK schools here will recognise this special bond the UAE and its leaders had with Her Majesty and the deeply held respect that we have as British Schools for her leadership and legacy," he added.

The Aquila School will also allow parents and families to pick up their children early, after conducting a survey and securing the approval of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

"We want our community at The Aquila School to be able to witness what will be a momentous occasion in history," said principal Wayne Howsen.

"We will of course be making alternative provision for pupils whose families would prefer them to stay in school," he added.

Other schools, which are planning to do the same, are still waiting for the approval of the KHDA.

Karim Murcia, principal of GEMS Al Barsha National School, said their community is also preparing to pay their respects.

“Pending KHDA approval, we would like to give our majority UK staff — as well as all students attending our British curriculum school — the opportunity to stop and reflect on this significant moment in our history, so we are proposing to finish school an hour early on Monday," Murcia said.

"Staff members will have the opportunity to come together to watch the funeral and a programme of related wellbeing activities will be on offer. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Royal Family and British people as we continue to celebrate the Queen’s life and what it represents in relation to the values of service and duty,” the principal added.

Live-streaming on campuses

Some school communities will be live-streaming the late Queen’s state funeral on their campuses.

Rebecca Lewis, vice-principal, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis said: “We will give our students and staff the opportunity to remember the Queen throughout the day. Our parents have been given the option to collect their children early from school should they wish to watch this historic moment together as a family. We will also be streaming the funeral live in the school for those who wish to watch the procession."

The academy has also cancelled all after-school meetings on the day.

For GEMS Metropole School – Motor City, it will be a full school day. "However, we will be showing the funeral during Lesson 6 for those students who wish to view the occasion," said secondary headteacher Daniella Aschettino.


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