Working at Dubai College
Dubai College provides a highly stimulating work environment and we seek to recruit and retain dynamic and inspirational teaching and non-teaching staff that share in our vision and commitment.
The College has earned itself an outstanding reputation over the course of the last 40 years. Classes are small and the facilities, resources and the teaching environment are of a high quality. We place an emphasis on academic rigour and innovative learning approaches as well as stressing the importance of the flourishing extra-curricular programme. As practitioners, staff should be looking to develop, to enthuse, to inspire, they should be craftsmen with a passion for their subject and whatever their position in the school, they all ought to feel equally responsible for the outcomes of the College. As members of a school which feels more like an extended family than an institution we hope to educate well-mannered citizens who are empowered to fulfil their aspirations. The “not-for-profit” structure of our organisation perfectly embodies our ethos: everything is invested in the school and the students with nothing left over.
We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and we select staff that understand and share this commitment. All applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Our HR Department can be contacted for general enquiries by email on email@example.com
Emailed CVs will not be accepted.
- What does it mean to work at Dubai College?
- When asked what Dubai College stands for the staff responded:
- When asked what are our aims as employees at the College the staff responded:
- When asked what values and qualities we should be cultivating in our students the list was exhaustive, however, in summary the staff said:
- Staff were also asked what standards we expect of one another as employees of Dubai College:
- An insight into life at Dubai College from the parents’ perspective
- The parent body
- As a parent what differentiates Dubai College from other schools?
- What would be the top three positive features that you think prospective parents should know about the school?
- What values do you think Dubai College has instilled in your child?
The staff at the College are a diverse bunch but when it came to distilling the essence of the school into words they found a great deal of common ground. Presented below you will find a summary of over 60 hours of conversation with the majority of the Dubai College teaching staff. I hope it will give you a sense of what it is like to work in Dubai's leading British secondary school.
Running in tandem with our reputation for academic excellence is a commitment to ensuring that the extra-curricular is an integrated part of every child’s experience at Dubai College. By fully immersing students in the diverse range of opportunities on offer we believe that we will enable every child to find their place within the school community and in time within the wider world. As imperative as we feel enriching and stretching the students is academically, we share a collective sense that by exposing them to such a broad range of experiences whether sporting, creative or philanthropic, whether as a team member or a leader, we are helping them to grow and develop their character.
Dubai College has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and is certainly seen as the best school in the emirate for this reason. Those families already in Dubai are aware of the standard which pupils need to meet in order to secure a place at the College and those families applying from overseas view us as an academically selective school in the same vein as academically selective independent or state grammar schools in the UK. In this sense we are a traditional school offering the expat community a very real alternative to sending their children back to the UK for a top quality British education.
It is the personal approach, the relationships between teachers and students and the mentoring and guidance that also contribute to the warm sense of community which characterises the College.
It is very difficult to distil the breadth of what we are aiming to do at Dubai College. For a school that selects its students on the basis of academic merit it is perhaps interesting to note that our educational mission is not to fixate slavishly on examination results - our role is as much concerned with the building of character. The principal aims of the College as published in the staff handbook go a long way towards indicating the breadth of what we are trying to achieve here:
1. To develop in each student a range of knowledge and skills (academic, practical, physical, aesthetic and ethical) including teamwork and communication.
2. To help each student to attain the best set of GCSE/GCE academic qualifications of which he or she is capable.
3. To prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
4. To awaken and nurture extra-curricular interests over a broad range.
5. To encourage a sensitivity and concern for the welfare of others within the school and the wider community.
6. To nurture among students, understanding and friendships across all lines of nationality, race, gender, religion, language and culture.
7. To foster an understanding of, and respect for, the school’s host country, the United Arab Emirates, and the city of Dubai.
As a College we are aiming to engineer balance in the lives of students who are academically very gifted. There is no blueprint for a Dubai College student, rather we are aiming for students to discover for themselves who they are and who they want to be. By creating a wealth of opportunities for students to participate in as broad a range of experiences as possible whether they are sporting, creative, philanthropic or academic, we are enabling them to discover their own place within the school community and in time within the world outside. We never lose sight of the fact that our academically gifted students aspire to perform as well as possible in public examinations and we continuously champion the academic. However, the ability to work as a member of a team, to manage set-backs and failure and to recognise personal strengths and weaknesses will be as important in enabling them to live their life with integrity and is consequently a core focus of what we do here.
From the whole school colours of the Lower School through to networking events and work shadowing placements in the Sixth Form, Dubai College aims to awaken and develop students’ skills and interests as well as their knowledge of the world around them. We believe in developing students’ respect, tolerance and cultural awareness of others and by nurturing and empowering their own sense of responsibility in this world they will increasingly be able to self-manage and in time have a positive impact on the lives of others whatever their chosen path.
As members of a school which feels more like an extended family than an institution we hope to educate well mannered citizens who are empowered to fulfil their aspirations. The not-for-profit status of our organisation perfectly embodies our ethos: everything is invested in the school and the students with nothing left over.
As staff we have a very clear notion of the values and qualities we would like to instil in the students at Dubai College. By the time they leave school we would like them to be caring, tolerant and well-mannered citizens of the world. Good old-fashioned values of decency and respect as well as utmost integrity in all walks of life predominate the expressed aims of the teachers here.
This question generated a great deal of inspiring comments from the staff body. In what they say there is a real sense of vocation, that working at Dubai College is not a job but a lifestyle choice. Staff repeatedly expressed the expectation that they should be able to fulfil their academic responsibilities to their students and must be accountable for the outcomes of every one of their pupils. The next most important expectation of staff at Dubai College is that they should embrace whole school life and contribute fully to the extra-curricular programme both during and after school hours. Working at Dubai College is intense; it is not a 9-5 job and for it to continue to feel like a real community staff must be willing to give freely of their time in exchange for working with exceptionally gifted students. Staff believe they should also display excellent professional courtesy to one another and their pupils: every subject is on the timetable for a reason and no-one should speak out of turn about somebody else’s academic discipline, we work in an Islamic country and staff should dress in accordance with the local culture (as one member of staff put it “if you can see up it, down it or through it then don’t wear it!”), staff should treat one another and their pupils as they would hope to be treated themselves. Staff also felt that they each had a responsibility to go beyond the baseline: the national curriculum is a jumping off point not an end goal, an exam syllabus is a dot to be joined up to a bigger picture, the working day is the start but not the end of a day’s work, an ALIS prediction is a minimum for a student to achieve. As practitioners staff feel they should be looking to develop, to enthuse, to inspire, they should be craftsmen with a passion for their subject and whatever their position in the school they feel they all ought to feel equally responsible for the outcomes of the College.
There are many different groups who can rightfully claim a stake in Dubai College. You have already read what the staff body has to say about the school but there are also the parents, the governors, the KHDA, the general public and of course the students. When you join us next week you will have an opportunity to see for yourself what the students think about the place but in the meantime I want to share with you what the parents think of the College.
Our parent body is made up almost exclusively of expatriates; at the moment we have only fourteen Emirati students on the student roll out of a student body of approximately 870. Over 75% of the parents are lifetime ‘expats’ i.e. they have been residents of the UAE for over 8 years. 50% have been here for 12+ years and 35% have been here for over 15 years. As a school we cater to the establishment as it were. These parents have chosen Dubai College on word-of-mouth, reputation and the school’s long-term presence in the emirate rather than glossy marketing campaigns or radio adverts. Fortunately they are also more circumspect about a school’s KHDA rating than those families who have arrived more recently but on the flip-side they are also very well-informed educational consumers who are very well aware of the lie of the land. These parents are most likely to have sent their sons or daughters to one of only seven primary schools in the emirate despite there being some 59 English national curriculum schools, most of whom have primary divisions.
Resoundingly the parents responded that it was the College’s academic excellence that differentiated it from other schools in the city. No one other factor came close in the parents’ eyes and as such it is imperative that we hold this at the forefront of our minds as teachers. Linked to the parents’ desire for academic excellence was Dubai College’s long-standing reputation not just within the city but also within the Gulf. Dubai College has consistently nurtured and cultivated well-rounded students with excellent academic results since its foundation some 39 years ago. There are few other schools that can make that claim. As mentioned previously, our parents do not choose us for our slick ad campaigns; they choose us because of our long-standing reputation earned assiduously over the course of four decades. Our ‘not-for-profit’ status was another unique feature in the eyes of parents. Unlike many schools in the region, which see education as big business with very healthy (30%+) profit margins, Dubai College is one of only a few ‘not-for-profit’ schools in the UAE. This means that all of our ‘profit’ is reinvested in the school.
Academic excellence topped the answers to this question, receiving twice as much comment as any other feature of the school. Second to this was the selectivity of the peer group. Parents were not just interested in the fact that their son or daughter’s peers were also very bright and would help to challenge them to perform even better (although this was mentioned at length), they were just as interested in the fact that the other students at Dubai College also shared the same good, honest, traditional values of hard work, honesty and responsibility. The third most positive feature of the school according to the parents is something which has been an increasingly defining element of what we do at the College: the breadth and depth of our extra-curricular programme. Parents celebrated the richness of what was on offer outside the classroom and the effect that it has had on their son or daughter’s character. Particular mention was made of sport and music as well as the all-rounded quality with which students came away from the College at the end of their careers. Not everything is perfect at the College of course and we did ask parents what they felt were the top three negative features of the College. One key feature which they felt could be improved at almost every level was the quality of communication in the school. If you are going to be a form tutor this coming year, which the majority of you will be, please bear in mind that as tutors you will be the first port of call for any issues within the school and you will be expected to respond within 24 hours even if only with a holding email while you investigate. But more on this later.
Parents almost unanimously felt that their children came away from the school with a strong work ethic, confidence through increased independence as well as respect for others. Again these are values which should inform your planning and teaching over the coming years. You should also bear in mind the values which the staff highlight in part one of this insight into life at Dubai College.