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The English College – Primary: Empowering Students to Become Scholars

by Eddie Rayner

A small community school with a proud and long history in Dubai, The English College Primary School offers small class sizes, a rigorous and innovative curriculum, and a personal touch that makes every student feel valued and respected.

“As a small school, we get to know the children and their families very well, ensuring we have a united approach to nurturing our young people academically and holistically,” explains David Wilcock, Head of Primary School (FS 1 to Year 6). “We hope every person entering The English College is made to feel a part of friendly, warm, learning environment that radiates ‘Excellence and Enjoyment’ – our school mantra!”

This ‘Excellence’ is seen in personalised learning, targeted teaching and the constantly evolving curriculum, which is designed to meet the children’s needs. The ‘Enjoyment’ is seen in the quality of teacher-student relationships, the use of flexible learning environments – particularly the outdoors – and the variety of curricular and extra-curricular experiences that are provided by the school every day.

“In essence, our curriculum reflects the children’s interests and passions,” David says. “Our inquiry-based approach allows for student exploration, creativity and the key skills of problem-solving and critical thinking. We are superbly resourced in all curriculum areas and teachers are specifically recruited for their ability to use resources creatively.  Their unique talents and strengths are utilised to ensure our students have the very best educators in classrooms each day.”

“Excellence and Enjoyment – our school mantra!”

Creating a Community of Learners

The English College is genuinely close to parents and the wider community too, holding severalevents during the year, ranging from festive fairs to curriculum workshops and well-being sessions. An active parent council (ECPC) provides feedback, support and advice, and parent voice surveys are utilised to gain valuable feedback. “We have several student progress meetings each year and parents are encouraged to make extra appointments whenever they need support with their child’s learning,” David says.

The next event at the school will be a Primary Open Day on 28 February, which will include a brief presentation from the Primary Leadership Team, followed by the same team conducting tours to allow visitors to see the school in action. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and get a ‘feel’ for what the school is all about.

“In essence, our curriculum reflects the children’s interests and passions”

Every Student Matters, Every Moment Counts

When asked what he viewed as his most important contribution to the daily operations of the school, David replied: “Undoubtedly the connections each day with the parents and students. I am outside every day at drop off and pick up to welcome everyone, answer any questions, give reminders, provide reassurance, and just be there! Then I ensure I visit classrooms – this helps me stay in tune with our children’s learning and understand any day to day needs that I can support our teachers with.”

As a school with an ‘Outstanding’ KHDA rating for pastoral care, English College has repeatedly been recognised for its values

This enlightened approach is at the heart of the school’s whole ethos, with people working together to achieve common goals. “Our vision of ‘Moving Forward Together’ is designed around our collective responsibility to develop every child and every adult to reach their full potential as part of The English College. I have a passion for coaching and developing people, and the key to this is developing a school climate that revolves around positive relationships.”

Indeed, as a school with an ‘Outstanding’ KHDA rating for pastoral care, The English College has repeatedly been recognised for its values, which permeate through everything from assemblies to PSHE programmes and onto nurture groups. Its specific curriculum ‘whole school’ themes are designed to allow the integration of soft skills throughout. For example, its Term 1 theme of ‘Independence’ focused on the UAE’s 50th anniversary, while also allowing for the targeted teaching of independence skills that children need at their year group level.

The English College prepares its students for secondary education in a completely holistic manner

The Future Begins Here!

This very personal, caring approach is supported by some pretty nifty technology too, as David explains: “We were fortunate pre-Covid that we made the decision to put digital platforms and a BYOD (bring your own device) system in place. This allowed us to provide an excellent distance learning experience, an experience we have now built on to develop a greater capacity to support a wide range of technology resources in school. These range from drones and robots to app and game development, with several teachers specifically employed to enhance this capacity for new technologies in the classroom.”

The English College prepares its students for secondary education in a completely holistic manner, incorporating a progressive curriculum that runs fluidly between the key stages and a gradual transition programme, whereby Year 6 students are exposed to specialist secondary teaching in the secondary building in Terms 2 and 3. Year 6 also has increased access to secondary facilities, and opportunities to meet Year 7 form teachers regularly rather than on a single transition day. “We are one school and Primary and Secondary staff work closely together to ensure that student data and information move seamlessly between the key stages. This allows the immediacy of meeting the personal learning needs of each and every student,” David concludes.

For further information on English College, visit www.englishcollegedubai.com.