An excellent contribution to my blog from Justin Chippendale, Head of King’s College Prep in the UK, after his recent trip to Doha. Thank you Justin.
So one minute I am part of a quintessentially English scene, watching school cricket with parents in a slight Somerset drizzle and the next I find myself in the Rolls Royce Showroom on The Pearl in Doha! On the face of it two very different scenarios in two very different parts of the planet. Closer examination, however, reveals that at their core is a common purpose: more of that in a little while.
I recently spent three days in Doha, during which time I met with many parents keen to discover more about the exciting opportunity we are creating at King’s College Doha. I discussed plans with the brilliant start-up team already in situ working industriously to finalise such matters as catering, transport, policies, schemes of work as well as conducting assessments for children applying for places. I observed the incredible development of the buildings that have been transformed in the few weeks since my last visit in April – the school is going to be a fabulous site. Lastly, I was fortunate enough to speak at the ‘Best of British in Doha’ event, which Rolls Royce kindly allowed us to host in their magnificent showroom. In addition to Rolls Royce, we were delighted that three other globally renowned British brands also wanted to be included in the event: British Airways, Marks and Spencer and Molton Brown. We were introduced by the Chargé d’Affaires from the British Embassy and His Excellency Sheikh Mansoor Al Thani gave an address about the warmth of our relationships.
It was after my speech, when talking to parents, that the similarities became apparent. The parents present on The Pearl were no different to the parents I meet all the time through King’s in the UK. They have hopes and fears for their children as they fulfil their obligation as parents to prepare their sons and daughters for future independence. They want their children to be happy, purposeful, confident (but not arrogant) and resilient. They want their children to maximise their own strengths and understand how best to collaborate with others to greatest effect. They, like me, are concerned with who their children will grow to become more than what they will know. It was great to explain that at King’s College Doha the academic progress of their children is a ‘given’ due to the rigorous teaching that will be in place. But, alongside this, it is the value gained outside academic lessons: the richness of relationships between staff, children, and parents; the dramatic, artistic and cultural opportunities; competing on the sports field; and the collaboration with families to nurture their child’s development holistically. All this comes together to have the greatest influence on who they are and how they feel about themselves.
I could go on, but suffice to say I am ever more excited about the creation of a special experience for children in Doha over the months and years ahead. This week, here in the UK, we have another six members of the KCD teaching staff coming to visit us at King’s to immerse themselves in our community. This will ensure that we embed within Kings Doha all of the elements that we feel make a King’s experience different and special.
I hope to be in Doha again before long…………