Blog post April 2016. It was a pleasure to spend ten days in Doha over the Easter break. It gave me the opportunity to discover more about the city, and in turn, what King’s College Doha can offer the internationally minded community we’ll be serving. In addition, I was very fortunate to meet many enrolled and potential families. It was interesting to listen to their comments and share with them more about what to expect from a KCD education. It became clear very quickly that our parents are looking to fully embrace the very British style education our school will provide.
I’m enormously proud of the dedicated staff we have in place in our on-site Admissions Centre. The team continues to show the commitment, openness and warmth one would hope and wish for from those entrusted with such an important role. It’s fair to say that King’s College Doha is already a welcoming place that offers our visitors a friendly face, cup of coffee and a chance to find out more about our school. Miss Temple, our Head of Pre-School and Reception, continues to do an outstanding job with our admissions screening and other educational matters. From this week, Mr and Mrs McMorron, two more very experienced educators, will assist her in this role. I firmly believe our commitment of nine full-time staff reflects how KCD is taking every necessary step to ensure the new school meets the exceptional standards required from a King’s school. I was delighted to hear from various families during my visit of how our team have taken the time to really get to know them and their children. This positive attitude and personal attention very much highlights just a few of the values we will look to instil in our new students and staff.
It was obvious from the various functions I attended, that KCD has already attracted the support of a huge number of enthusiastic and well-informed parents from a wide range of nationalities, all keen to give their children the best education possible. I thought it may be helpful to share some of the more common topics/questions that arose in the hope they may be of use to you.
Q. Will the school be ready on time?
This is an obvious concern to all our parents, naturally so, given the time frame we have and the strict building regulations that need to be met. Over the last few weeks works and refurbishment are well under way and we’re extremely confident that the school will be ready by the middle of August. The overall building project is being carried out in two phases. Phase one has commenced and will take place over the next four months. It entails a full and proper redevelopment of the existing buildings together with some small extensions. This will include all the key educational features such as the atrium, classrooms, library, swimming pool, gym, music suite, science, art and computer labs, the dining room and other key facilities. Phase two will take place in 2017 and will involve the construction of new classrooms for Year 5 and 6 pupils along with additional specialist classrooms and an Arabic and Islamic studies centre. By embarking on the refurbishment of an existing building first, we’re able to remove many of the approval issues experienced with new buildings in Qatar. Our architect, Mr Graeme Fisher, is on-site in our Admissions Centre daily between now and our opening and would be happy to talk to parents regarding how the work is progressing and to share with them plans for the school. He’s taking a parental interest in the work because his children are joining the school in September as well!
Q. Where are your teachers coming from?
We have spent a great deal of time already recruiting the very best staff for every available position. Our focus has been very much on getting staff with the right personal qualities, qualifications and experience. We’re looking to appoint staff who understand the expectations of working at an Independent UK school in an international setting. All our teachers will have a UK recognized qualification and either current UK or prior UK teaching experience. Many of our staff are coming directly from the UK and will visit King’s Hall in the weeks before they arrive in Doha.
Q. How closely will KCD mirror King’s College, UK?
From the very outset, the two King’s schools have shared a total commitment to form a steadfast, lasting partnership. There is every intention that KCD will, where possible, adopt the values, ethos and learning opportunities offered to the pupils in the UK school. Our schools are in daily contact through myself (by weekly Skype sessions with Justin Chippendale, the King’s Hall Headmaster), along with various other staff, as required. KCD will adopt most of the policies, schemes of work, textbooks, house and other systems that make a King’s education so valuable. Already, KCD appointed staff have visited King’s UK to develop partnerships with the UK school. KCD will look to offer a very similar education to its sister school, but within a Doha setting. In particular, our school values will be respectful of the cultural, historical and Islamic traditions of Qatar.
Q. Why does King’s have a longer school day compared to other international schools in the region?
We firmly believe in the King’s model of offering students every opportunity to benefit from a genuinely rounded education. Each child will be encouraged to fulfil his or her own potential in both curricular and co-curricular activities. In order to do this, we will be running an extended day, incorporating elements of sport and the creative/performing arts to meet these aims. It’s our intention that, when our students return home, they’ll have covered what is expected for the day, and that any homework will act purely as a reinforcement of what has been covered. Our aim is for our children to go home tired, happy and fulfilled!
Over the coming weeks I’ll use this blog to keep you informed you of further updates on the school’s development and to share more information that will help you understand more about the King’s schools. In the meantime, should you have any further enquiries, please do contact our Admissions Centre who will be more than happy to talk to you.
With kind regards,
Headmaster, King’s College Doha