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Who We Are, and Our Story…

Who We Are, and Our Story…

In April 2012 James was sitting at his computer, researching his family’s upcoming holiday to Oman. As he was trawling through various travel review websites his wife came into the room and asked him a question:

“Have you ever heard of this school in Dubai?”

“Nope, never heard of it. Why are you asking?”

A friend from the UK had sent her an email looking for details about the school after being offered a job there. Turning back to the computer screen James said: “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just tap in the details on that school and all of the relevant information popped up?”

Ping! James reached for his phone, and dialed his friend Will: “You’re always coming up with new Web sites… What about this one…?”

A week spent researching the internet, questioning friends and acquaintances revealed the high level of frustration and angst that existed among parents concerning many common issues related to their children’s education. As parents themselves they could identify very easily with these concerns. There was a clear need for a dedicated, comprehensive website that addressed the real needs of expat parents educating their children in the UAE.

The idea was initially for a site that would be built up on comments on schooling in the UAE and beyond, but that evolved quite quickly to a more in-depth review based web site, with the ability for users of the site to add their opinion. School reviews require quite structured information in order to be used objectively. User generated content could capture the feel an ‘objective’ review could not, but the facts would still need to be provided.

As parents, James and William felt they had three quarters of what was needed, but they missed the insight of the insider – someone who understood the dynamics of schools inside and out.


As work progressed it became clear that a senior educationalist would be needed to provide a complete picture of the UAE education sector. The team knew the perfect candidate. Enter Mike, a senior educationalist with over 25 years of experience in the profession who immediately saw the benefits of the site for parents – and for schools.

Eight months later, we have launched. We very much hope you feel it delivers on its original promise. There is still plenty of road ahead, and you will find many reviews still work in progress. What’s more, none of the pages on the site can be static – too much is changing, schools are constantly in the process of upgrading and reinventing themselves; new schools are coming online, continually changing the UAE’s educational landscape.

Keeping up and progressing the first dedicated education site in the UAE is a sizable task, and we look forward to your feedback and help writing and defining WSA’s next chapter…


WSA Interviewed

Sarah Crocker, Host of radio talk show Dubai Eye‘s popular ‘Focus on Education‘ feature quizzes James Mullan on how WhichSchoolAdvisor.com came into being, who are the people behind the site and how it can help parents with children from nursery to university age. Interview, Part One , Interview, Part Two



Dr Michael Biggs
Contact: editor@edu2021.com
Mike Biggs is an educator, senior school leader and lifelong learner with research interests in education. Having worked in primary, secondary and higher education in the UAE over a twenty-five year period and, as an experienced headteacher/principal in Dubai, he brings with him a wide knowledge and first hand experience of the challenges parents face. He advises that the present school learning environment is a very different one to that experienced by parents further leaving them with little point of reference. He says that many a misunderstanding is more the result of little or no information and it is Mike’s belief that WSA can help in bridging that information gap. Better informed parents will help in that all important ‘connection’ and learning partnership of parent, child and school. We are all learners in this!

James Mullan
Contact: editor@edu2021.com
James Mullan has been a communications advisor for more than 20 years, working with some of the most successful global and regional brands. He has been running his own communications consultancy, based in Dubai, for almost seven years. He’s also taken an active role in community events and was one of the founding committee members for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. As a long-time resident of the UAE and a parent of two daughters, James has a deep interest in the education sector and is delighted to help play a role, however modest, in its development.

William Stoot
Contact: editor@edu2021.com
William Stoot is a long time UAE resident and writer. Having built some of the biggest Web site in the region, he thought he would put some of his expertise into working on a project close to his heart: Education. With a teenage daughter who has been schooled in both the UAE, and at boarding school in the UK, he is aware of the advantages and the pitfalls of UAE and international education options. WSA is a bit of a passion, which means in his spare time, you’ll probably find him on the site, and ready to answer – or redirect – your questions!


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