UAE: Some schools to close for week-long autumn break, gear up for Diwali

Campuses are preparing to usher in the festive season, when students will be attending classes dressed up in bright colours and traditional Diwali clothes


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 12 Oct 2022, 4:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Oct 2022, 10:28 AM

Several UAE schools are headed for a weeklong mid-term break next week.

Some will be off for five days, while others plan to close for only a couple of days, from October 19 to 21. Several Indian schools will also have a longer holiday to mark the festival of Diwali, which falls on October 24.

Many campuses have already conducted their internal and periodic exams in September and early October, as they race against a packed calendar before the holidays.

Gemma Thornley, secondary principal at GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, said: “Many of our students are getting ready to take organised trips and embrace new experiences. Our secondary football academy squad will be heading to Barcelona to compete in the World School Games for under-13 and 15s, while our Year 5 and 6 students will head on a two-day camp in Umm Al Quwain."

Others have been busy preparing for festivities on their campuses.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-principal of Credence High School, said: “Students of Grades 2-12 are writing the half yearly exams until October 21, after which the school closes for a five-day Diwali break. Regular school is going on for our early years' children (pre-kg to Grade 1). As the weather is getting better, a lot of outdoor activities have been planned. The school is also getting ready for the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge and for the Early Years Annual Concert.”

Thornley added: “The school community revels in the festive season. We are a large and diverse community made up of many faiths and 94 different nationalities. For Diwali, our students will be dressing up in bright colours or traditional Diwali clothes, and at Halloween, our Sixth Form students will be dressing up in costumes, distributing spooky cookies and running some spooktastic activities across the school.”

Parents are also being roped in at some schools for different activities. “Our parents joined us for kayaking, water paddling, yoga, learning new languages and swimming during the term,” said Adrian Frost, Principal, Amity International School Abu Dhabi.

“Students took part in many inter-school sports competitions and also enjoyed sailing sessions. We also celebrated wonderful awareness days such as World Teachers Day and World Mental Health Day where we all dressed in green! The school is now preparing for ‘’Pink Day’’ where we will raise awareness about breast cancer.”

Families get ready for some downtime

Meanwhile families are also preparing for the break.

Dubai-based Indian expat Bhavya Rao said: “I will take my four-year-old daughter to the park and beach. I don’t want to put her in any camp as we are done with camps during the summer break. We also plan to visit The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, the newly inaugurated temple at Jebel Ali and the Museum of the Future.”

She added: “I also intend introducing yoga to my daughter as I am a certified yoga trainer myself. Then we’ve also planned to do some cold cooking and baking…things like making cookies and cakes, and other activities which children usually enjoy.”

Malaysian expat Adilatul Abdullah said: “My daughter is in Year 11, and she wants to revise for her mock exams slated for November. Next year she will also be taking her GCSE final exams in April-May 2023, so she wants to use all her breaks productively. I had asked her to join us for a trip to Italy, but she refused. So my husband and I are headed out for a few days during this period.”


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