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4 May 2016

Message from the Principal

I am currently sitting in the lounge of an airport after having been to visit our sister schools in Qatar.
I am positively cringing with embarrassment as I recall an incident in my youth that I was wholly responsible for.
I have also just bumped into a parent who said very nice things about the newsletter pieces I write. I don’t feel like I deserve such praise, and especially not right now.
As a young man (around 11-12) I took part in a bullying campaign against another boy. His name was Mark, his “sin” was being uncommonly tall and skinny for his age.
I think it went on for about a year. Myself and a group of my friends must have made his life truly miserable. I recall now, and am ashamed, the day his distraught mother came to my house and talked to my mum. She was in the kitchen and was in tears. So was my mother.
I was raised very traditionally and I had done something awful to cause this. It was seeing his mum and my mum that made me realize it. Not, at that time, what I had done to Mark.
We (my friends and I) had simply dehumanized Mark. We didn’t think about him at all to be frank. We simply used him as an object of sport and bonding between ourselves.
Boys tend to do this. They rarely (though it does happen) plan their bullying.
Girls tend to plan and isolate and engage in more exclusion type bullying. “You’re not our friend” or inviting everyone but one girl in the class to a party or event. They are cleverer about the process and just as mean as the boys.
These are generalizations of course and each case is individual.
How does a school in today’s world combat this without turning our children into young people who are incapable of handling conflict or disagreement?
This is the only question I ever agree to talk about in conferences.
It is, oddly, all about the culture of the school and all about taking real time, and real work, to address each case.
I would never, ever, blame the victim. But sometimes working with them to address issues can help.
Let me try to give an example;
The culture of a school is created every single day. It is built by the people in it afresh and needs constant attention. It needs the teachers to address small matters before they become habits. It needs the Principal to smile at and talk to students. It needs Mrs. Lamb to be present, likeable but somewhat stern. It needs Mr. Cullinan to talk to the older students like people and not just numbers. And it needs every single member of our community to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Children are not perfect.
So when they make mistakes, when they become bullies, the school works with them to stop the behaviors swiftly and efficiently.
Educating them, talking in groups, talking individually, talking with parents. Showing them what they are doing, naming it as bullying, talking about how it effects the whole class and the whole school.
This takes time. Most children do not want to be called a bully and when this happens most will not want that label. Even if they are doing it on purpose they will not want to be seen in that light by a teacher they respect. Punishment is very rarely the long term answer. If we have got to that stage it is likely that the parents are supporting the bullying behavior and the only option will be to ask the student to leave. This is very rare but again does happen.
Equally, and somewhat controversially amongst my more PC colleagues, I strongly advocate working with the victim. I stress again, not to blame them. As a parent of five I know that some children are naturally more gifted in dealing with social situations than others. They will be popular, have lots of friends etc. They will be invited to play dates and parties. For others the rare invitation to a play date is like the sun breaking through a cloudy sky. It means the world to them. One cannot blame the rest of the world for this, though at times I am tempted. One can though work with children to equip them with social skills that they might lack.
This is controversial and I am often beset by (particularly young, childless) teachers who suggest that I am excusing the bullies. I am not.
Not for one second do I forgive my behavior with Mark. Not ever.
But…Had Mark been better equipped to deal with the situation, perhaps by making a joke of his own height, by joining in with “us” and becoming “one of the lads” he wouldn’t have undergone such an awful year at the hand of a bunch of unthinking stupid boys. His life would have been better.
I am not interested in the theory of dealing with bullying that is produced in some ivory tower or university. I am only interested in what makes school life better and safer for young people. It is, at least in part, my personal way of saying sorry to Mark.

Mike Embley


Message from the Head of Primary

Dear Parents,
It seems to have been all about dressing up in the Primary school this week…
Firstly, I’d like to say how enjoyable the Gala Dinner was last weekend. It was a very glamorous event and it’s fair to say the parents of NAS Dubai certainly scrub up well…such beautifully dressed mums and a whole lot of handsome dads! I did hear rumours that some of our parents were still burning up the dance floor at 2:30am, but I can’t confirm those as that was long past my bedtime! Thank you once again to our tireless Parents’ Association for all their hard work and meticulous attention to detail, even when wearing heels.
We seem to have crammed a lot into our short four days at school. It’s been a big week for drama and I really enjoyed the performances of Bugsy that I attended. It’s always a pleasure for me to be in the audience, rather than standing up on stage talking, so I thoroughly enjoyed the singing, dancing and acting on display. The passion that some of our primary pupils have for the performing arts is a wonderful thing to witness. It’s not all about talent (although there was plenty of that to be seen) but the excitement and enjoyment of all those involved was tangible. For some children, performing is about taking on a whole new personality, or allowing deeply hidden aspects of their character to come to the fore. It can often be a surprise to see normally quiet, reserved students shining so brightly on stage. The primary children love to see their friends transform in this way, so it was great to see how much the children in the audience enjoyed the daytime performances. I’d like to say a special thank you to all the teachers, teaching assistants, parents and backstage volunteers who helped to make it such an awesome show. These things never happen without hours of planning, preparation and rehearsal but it was certainly worthwhile to see the final results of everyone’s hard work.
I can’t finish without mentioning Year 2 Pirate Day – my goodness they were a scurvy looking lot (and that was only the teachers)! We do love a bit of dressing up in Primary school and we soon have Year 3 Viking Day and Year 4 Italian Day to follow hot on the heels of Island Day in Year 5!
Even I got to dress up today. Pandora presented me with a beautiful crown to wear when I visited Reception E this morning - I certainly felt like the Queen of the School!
Whatever you’ll be wearing, enjoy the long weekend ahead.

Elizabeth Lamb

Message from the Head of Secondary

Yesterday Mrs Lamb and I attended the principals conference at the KHDA. As you may have seen in the press we were 1 of over a hundred schools all focused on ensuring the UAE is one of the best education settings in the world.  The vision continues to drive academic success but in addition will focus on ensuring our students have the core principles, values and skills to be positive citizens and role models who will make outstanding contributions to society.
The 10 words for positive education are:

Across the UAE schools will look at embedding these skills within the curriculum as well as sharing best practice to ensure all children value these qualities. Parents who have been to one of my talks about my vision for education will recognise some of the words above. We as schools have a clear purpose beyond academia. Leadership is not just about academia. Schools have to enable students and give academia a voice.
As Martin Luther King stated;
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of education".
This is one of the reasons I am delighted that our Global Campus is being launched as it will allow students to be involved in debates, innovation, creative projects and many more exciting initiatives, providing a platform for our students' voice being recognised on a global scale.
As we approach the long weekend I also wanted to thank the dedicated teachers who have once again driven our personalised learning, early entry GCSE students.  The commitment, work ethic and drive required to ensure the academic success of our children never fails to astound me.  These teachers truly make a difference going above and beyond.

Liam Cullinan


    NAS News Bites   

Year 2 Pirate Day

On Sunday Year 2 enjoyed a Pirate Dress Up Day with plenty of pirate activities. We had a fun morning marching along the pirate catwalk where the children heartily shared their pirate name and why they were the most fearsome pirate of all! 

After role playing on the pirate ship and singing some pirate sea shanties we took part in a pirate workshop learning to be good listeners, to be sneaky pirates and to work collaboratively. In the afternoon the children took part in pirate art crafts and cookery.

Click here to see lots of photos of our fearsome pirates.

Ruth Jena
Year 2 Leader

WSA Young Musician of the Year Competition

Which School Advisor Young Musician of the Year competition is currently open for online voting. Year 7 students Zoe Barrett and Freya Jones have entered the competition and they need our votes. Please listen to their music videos and vote for them so that they have a chance of winning some amazing prizes

Zoe Barrett : ‘Think of Me’ from Phantom of the Opera
Freya Jones: ‘Elastic Heart'

To vote online please click here

    Upcoming Events    

Sunday May 8 

  • Year 8 Trip to Miro & Picasso Exhibition @ Burj Khalifa 8am-12:15pm
Monday May 9
  • Class Photos
  • Year 7 Parents Coffee Morning with Liam Cullinan 8:15am-8:45am
  • Year 5 Trip MoE Cinema Film Festival 8:15am-11:30am
  • 1D Class Assembly 10:30am-11am
  • Year 4 Visit from the Dentist (talk, not examination!)
Tuesday May 10
  • Class Photos
  • Year 2 Sleepover Parent Presentation 8am-9am
  • Year 4 Trip MoE Cinema Film Festival 8:15am-11:30am
Wednesday May 11
  • Class Photos
  • Year 8 Parents Coffee Morning with Liam Cullinan 8:15am-8:45am
  • Year 8 Trip to Miro & Picasso Exhibition @ Burj Khalifa 8am-12:15pm
  • 4E Class Assembly
Thursday May 12
  • Class Photos
  • Last day of Primary Swimming
  • Year 3 French Trip to Café Vendôme 8am-10am
  • Year 9 Parents Coffee Morning with Liam Cullinan 8:15am-8:45am

Secondary Coffee Mornings

Head of Secondary Liam Cullinan will be hosting coffee mornings from 8:15am to 8:45am in the Auditorium for the parents of Year 7 on Monday 9th, Year 8 on Wednesday 11th and Year 9 on Thursday 12th of May. 

Class Photos

Class photos will be taken on Monday through Thursday of next week.  Please see your teacher emails for information of the specific day.

Individual photos of new or absent students will also be taken then. 

   Parent Community  

Chatter Box Cafe

'Calling out to all Canadians!’  if you would like to get involved in the preparations for Canada Day on May 23rd please do come by the Chatter Box Café and leave your details. 

As always we thank you for your patronage and hope you enjoy the long weekend. 

Liz, Marie & Heather

Parents' Association

You know it’s been a good Night Under the Stars when the DJ stops playing at 2:30am and yet no-one goes home - what great fun are our NAS Dubai parents!!!  Everyone truly had a fantastic time and we have lots of fun filled photos to prove it.   Many of you have already approached us regarding next year's parent event which after this year will now be re-named “Big Night Out" (thanks Marie Reddan).

Again a massive thank you to all our generous sponsors that helped make such a wonderful event possible and we look forward to doing it all again next year.


Have a great 3 day weekend, 

Svenja & Maria 

   Sports News  

Sunday May 8

  • Secondary Gymnastics Competition @ WSO
  • U12A Rounders vs DESC (Away)
  • U12B Rounders vs SES @ NAS Dubai
  • U12 Boys Basketball vs JC (Away)
  • Year 3 & Year 4 Swim Gala @ NAS Dubai

Monday May 9
  • U9 Boys Cricket vs Repton (Away)
  • Year 5 & Year 6 Swim Gala @ NAS Dubai

Tuesday May 10
  • U11 Rounders vs Victory heights @ NAS Dubai
  • U14A Rounders vs Dubai College (Away)
  • U14B Rounders vs Dubai College (Away)

Wednesday May 11
  • U11 Boys Cricket vs Repton (Away)
  • U11 Boys & Girls Basketball vs Kings @ NAS Dubai
  • U14 Boys Basketball vs GWAK @ NAS Dubai
Thursday May 12
  • U12 Boys Basketball vs EIS (Away)
  • DESS Swim Gala @ DESS

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