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In Conversation With ... Sarah Rogers, EYES and QuEST

This month we have been talking to Sarah Rogers, CEO of Early Years Educational Services (EYES) and QuEST. Various members of the EYES and QuEST team will be giving Leadership CPD accredited talks at this year’s Global Education Forum in Dubai, so we have spoken to them to find out what they have in store for visitors as well as important insights into the sector and region.

Please tell us more about EYES and QuEST and the different training and education services that you offer.

Early Years Educational Services (EYES) and QuEST Direct Professional Services (QUEST) are proud to be the gold standard for educational training establishments in early and primary years training sector in the UAE and are proud of what we can offer to each of our students and the schools and nurseries we work with to provide them with a learning experience of the very highest quality.

EYES was set up in 2008 in Knowledge Village, to offer high quality initial and continuing professional development and training to the early years and primary practitioners.  QUEST was established in 2014 as a sister company to EYES to focus on the Primary schools and consultancy to educational start-ups.  QUEST also works in partnerships with many educational resource suppliers as well as offering bespoke services of IT support, graphics, and photography to meet the needs of every setting.

We are passionate about the importance of high quality early educational experiences for every child and their right to receive the best.  EYES and QUEST offer a range of UK accredited CACHE, City & Guilds and ILM courses as that meet the needs of all staff, helping them to gain internationally recognised qualifications. We also offer short courses that meet the continuing professional needs of all staff, both teaching and non-teaching staff to support  quality learning environments.

Over the past 7 years our highly qualified and experienced staff have built up a strong reputation for delivery exactly what learners needs, and for helping to make a real difference in hundreds of classrooms.  We have built up an excellent reputation and relationships with the education community which allows us to build and maintain successful partnerships with over 450 schools and nurseries in the UAE.

Some of the benefits of studying with EYES and QUEST are:

·         A highly knowledgeable, experienced and qualified tutors who will provide a wide range of enjoyable and relevant learning experiences.

·         Up to date best practice information from around the world, delivered by tutors that understand the needs of the local community and can support the journey to quality.

·         A highly knowledgeable, experienced and qualified team of senior tutors and administrative staff whom will be supportive and offer help when needed right from the start.

·         Teaching and assessment of the proven highest quality which is accredited by the KHDA, approved by MOSA and approved by our Awarding Bodies enabling direct certification which means learners get their  certificate as soon as they have finished their course to our consistently   recognised high standards.

·         The benefit of years of experience as EYES was the first CACHE centre in the region.

What is different about the courses and services offered by EYES and QuEST?  

We believe very much in working in partnerships and delivering courses that suits the individual and the school or nursery that we work with, giving them the best possible quality courses that really meet their training and learning needs. We have established strong and trusting relationships with our learners, and we see them coming back to us time and time again.  We offer more than just the courses. We also and give advice, guidance and support in personal, academic and career development, for individuals. Many schools are recommended to us by the KHDA who have seen the way we support schools by offering tailored training programmes to meet their needs.

Our highly qualified and experienced tutors and trainers are the best; they are passionate about delivering best practice. They are knowledgeable, adaptable and able to deliver exactly what each nursery or school needs, guiding them to support change by not only giving great knowledge and skills to use in the classroom but also by supporting them as they face barriers to change, helping them to become successful. We believe in celebrating each setting’s strengths and working from where they are and are adept at bringing on board reluctant learners!

How long have you been operating in the UAE?

Most of our tutors have been in the UAE for many years, having taught in the UK and other overseas settings, so they bring a wealth of international experience to EYES which was established in 2008 and QUEST which was established as part of the Companies growth in 2014.  I have been in the UAE for over 20 years and have seen how the ever changing educational community has come to understand the need for quality provision. EYES are proud that we introduced the need to have qualified staff in the early years.  We introduced CACHE UK qualifications to the region and is delighted these qualification are now seen as the industry standard by both educational settings and by the local Ministries.

From your experience, what are the most pressing issues facing education in your sector?

The ongoing changes necessary for the UAE educational sector to grow and prosper will always prove a challenge as different demands are not always consistently communicated and understood.  The most pressing issues are an understanding of how to establish and maintain quality learning experiences for all children when there is no universal understanding of what quality looks like.  Most educational establishments are run as a business and there can be conflict between the needs of a successful business and how to deliver quality, especially if there are budgetary restrictions. As the educational market grows one of the most pressing issues is the recruitment and retention of trained and experienced staff.  Educational establishments are beginning to understand that they need to invest in all their staff to ensure this quality. To be an outstanding school, every member of staff needs to be outstanding. This only happens when schools invest in their staff and sadly many schools see this as low priority especially with the lower paid staff members.   There needs to be some more direction at Government level of the need for qualified staff at all levels as they really do make a difference to a child’s experiences at school.  It is pleasing to see that there is more quality regulation for schools and we wonder how this will impact on early years provision providers in the future.

What can people expect from your sessions at this year’s Global Education Forum?

This year we are pleased to be delivering talks on Leadership. A good leader is the most important factor when predicting the quality of a setting. In a busy and fast changing world it is sometimes hard to keep up to date with best practice and have the opportunity to network and discuss educational issues that affect us all. Our programme of short leadership talks will enable leaders to up-date their knowledge, have a time for sharing experiences and knowledge about the changes that we are all experiencing and to reflect on what these changes mean for their schools and nurseries.

What type of audience would best benefit from attending you sessions at GEF 2015?

The leadership programme of talks will include talks on whether you are a leader or a manger, about what leading quality entails and how to build your A team, as well as the importance of promoting your setting. There will be lots in this programme for experienced leaders but also those new to leadership and inspiring to become a leader will find the programme highly beneficial and interesting.

What would urge people to take away from the upcoming edition of GESS and GEF?

A chance to up-date their knowledge, to network with fellow educationalists and the chance to discuss and reflect on what the ever changing demand on education in the UAE and globally mean for each of us.

This year’s theme for GEF, our conference programme is, “How Modern Education Strategies can build for Future Economic Growth”. What modern education strategies do EYES and QuEST promote, and what positive impacts do you think these will have in years to come?

The most important educational strategy that EYES and QUEST promotes is that of delivering consistent sustainable quality through empowering and upskilling all staff. The UAE  and the wider Middle East region is in a unique place to establish strong educational foundations based on international best practice as well as cultural needs.  As parents become more disconcerting and there is more choice only the better quality educational establishments will thrive and be successful. Investing in the future of each child’s education so they achieve their full potential is of paramount importance not only to the child and their family but also to support long term economic growth in the region.  As schools and nurseries understand the importance of employing qualified staff, supported by Government guidance and directives, this will lead to high quality educational provision for all children throughout the region. This is turn supports the region as a whole, makes it an inviting place for international businesses to establish themselves and long term supports the growth of an educated  workforce that support future economic growth.