Our growing global family

Published on: Friday, January 27, 2023

Last night I introduced a special evening event for King's College Doha. There were about 400 people present to see first hand and hear about our direct links between Doha and the UK, but mainly to find out about the terrific plans for the next evolution of the school. From September they will occupy a brand new build for Years 3 - 13 with simply stunning facilities. The existing site will become a spacious and incredible Pre-Prep venue.  There was a great buzz around the event and I expect there to be much positive chatter about the exciting plans in the weeks ahead. 

An early start today following the event meant this afternoon I just about made it into school before the end of the week.

It has been a hugely rewarding week across which I was in the presence of over 1000 King's children, as happy as those here in the UK, wearing the same uniforms, existing in positive communities full of age and stage relevant endeavour.  Amongst many other meetings, presentations, visits to Ministries, I’ve been climbed on in Nursery, took an assembly for over 700, met the prefects in Year 10 and chatted a great deal with the staff in both schools. It was terrific to have the knowledge and experience of Simon Worthy and then Jonty Lawford in Riyadh and Doha respectively. 

18 months in, the early stages of the school in Riyadh reminded me so much of the Doha school 6 years ago and the Doha school has become a very impressive place from a similar position.

On tangible liaisons between the schools, across a variety of age groups, we are linking Heads of Departments and pastoral leaders, offering university application and interview guidance to pupils as well as hoping to have some KCD pupils come on a visit to us - Year 9 in June is a possibility? We also want to grow the global network our leavers have access to through shared alumni links. More directly, we hope to create opportunities for King's UK leavers to head over as GAPs. 

These rapidly emerging benefits of an increasingly mature and now thoroughly robust school have come on the back of hard work, encouragement, tough love and nurture from a growing school family over the years - I found myself reflecting on the obvious parallels of the individual child development within the schools. 

It'll be back to a more usual week after a good rest this weekend. I hope it is a peaceful one for all.

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Published on: Friday, January 20, 2023

A frosty week has brought the beauty of winter and the hazards of living rurally with icy conditions in equal measure. Well done to those combatting tricky commutes to keep normal routines going.  Many of you, along with some staff, have had their journeys doubled in length.

I am going on a journey very early tomorrow morning myself as I head off to visit our schools in Doha and Riyadh.  We haven’t visited since late 2019 for covid reasons so it will be good to catch up in Doha and see in Riyadh a school in action from what was just a concept back then.

There are now 720 children at King’s College, Doha up to Year 10: those who started in Year 4 are now into their GCSE programme.  King’s College, Riyadh has 350 children up to Year 4 having been open for four terms.

Simon Worthy, our DFO, is joining me for the Riyadh visit and Jonty Lawford, Deputy Head Academic at our College here, is with me for the Doha leg.  As well as a major thrust being to provide and benefit from peer support and review in the schools, there are several engagements with parents, naturally, and with the likes of sponsors, Embassies as well as government officials including the UK DiT and DfE.  The second site in Doha is due to open soon as construction completes meaning there is also a launch event about this exciting development while I am there. This new campus will be for Years 3 to 13 children with the current site becoming a Pre-Prep.

Finally, now we are through covid and able to re-engage properly, we are looking to rekindle and fan to flames the first sparks of collaboration between the schools we began a few years ago. There are plenty of shared opportunities to grasp.

A busy few days lie in wait, with every hour put to good use in the programme, so I am hoping to get an early night –  but I find that never works for me.

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Published on: Friday, January 13, 2023

We can at times be accused as a nation of an undue propensity to talk about the weather but, really, there is quite some maelstrom out and about at the moment – and after another deluge this weekend, some forecast possible snow smatterings next week?

There is no doubt gloomy weather can have an external impact but we have spoken internally, both amongst children and adults, about how we can control the mood within our school and the difference that one can make amongst many. We can’t control the weather, but you can make a difference to yourself, you can make a difference to your friends, you can make a difference to your class/team/group, you can make a difference to your year, you can make a difference to the School and who knows where else it might lead?

Fr Mark was talking about Epiphany yesterday in our first Chapel of term.  He described an Epiphany as an 'Aha!’ moment. Once I had quietened the opening bars of ‘Take On Me’ in my head I was making the link to my messages to the children.  During this term, there is plenty of encouragement and opportunity for children to make a difference to themselves, to encounter ‘Aha!’ moments: whether it be marginal gains in learning, mastering a skill, giving a performance, understanding a subtle social dynamic to be a more adept friend, crafting a piece of creative art, being stronger for a challenging experience or contributing to House Music on the final morning.

We need to both seek challenge as well as be ready and willing to pounce on opportunity when it casually passes right in front of our eyes. I must check where the sledges are.

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