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9 June 2016

Message from the Principal

I have had a sneak peek at the Year Book.
I love them. I love the document of the passing time and the reminder to look around at what is “now” rather than racing to the future.
I sometimes think that as parents and as a school we do spend far too much time almost wishing the time away until the next landmark event.
Graduation, The BIG show, the new school year, the end of term exams…there are always so many landmarks to look forward to. Children often seem in a hurry to grow up. I don’t think this is a good thing but…I was the same.
Though a year book encourages us to look back we can do this without forgetting to stop and cherish the people and the places around us now which is a lesson that I think as adults we need reminding of frequently.
We are, or at least our identity and sense of self is, the collection of memories and events that shaped us. My mum tells stories of her and my father as 20 somethings bringing home birthday gifts for the very young version of me and being giddy with excitement. I don’t remember this at all consciously but it makes me smile to hear them tell stories of a time when they were younger than I am now.
So the Year Book forms a record of a time that is pivotal in the life of our children. When their memories and their identities are being formed and shaped on a daily basis.
As part of the team that builds the culture of the school this, perhaps personal, view of the world informs a lot of what we do and the choices behind some of the structures of the school.
Children deserve time to be children. They deserve time to play, to be silly, to fun about, to talk to friends, to be in the BIG show and to build and shape themselves. They need to learn social skills, self-control, how to speak to other people, how to get along, how to share. How to speak in public, how to present, how to listen, how to act on stage, how to pass the ball. The list is long and does not always end with “how to pass the test”.
None the less, we are also bound to equip children with the sometimes rather arbitrary pieces of paper that will often have a profound effect on their future.
So while we must allow them to look around and build themselves, the school must also look to their futures.
Hence things like homework…should build slowly. There is no need for hours and hours at a young age. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t raise achievement and in fact harms the process of growing up. On the other hand the ability to buckle down and work when needed is a skill that is required.
The single greatest predictor of academic success so far discovered is a very odd one;
Two 5 year old children put in a room with a single treat in front of them. They are told that if they don’t eat the treat for one hour while they play in the room they will be given two identical treats.
The children who have the ability to delay gratification will go on to score on average almost 20% higher on their pre university exams (A level or IB) in studies followed over years.
Such a simple test with such profound predictive power.
So…it’s better to teach a 5 year old to manage themselves than to cram them with more rote learned times tables.
An 8 year old might well need the times tables.
A 16 year old needs the skills learned as a 5 year old and the knowledges ingrained as an 8 year old.
And we…Mums and Dads…need time to flow through the year book with our children and look and laugh.
Mike Embley

Winners of Outstanding Contribution to Sports with Olympic Gymnast Tom Roberts

Sports Awards Winners

Sports Awards Winners

Sports Awards Winners

Sports Awards Winners

Quran Recitation Ceremony

Year 5 Rocket Design Team
Message from the Head of Primary

Dear Parents,
Ramadan Kareem!
We have all spent the last few days getting used to our Ramadan hours.  Building new routines is never easy but it is amazing how quickly everyone has adjusted to the shorter school day. I’d like to thank all of you for your adherence to the new drop-off and pick-up schedules; we know that driving around Dubai can be a painful experience at this time of year and we really appreciate your efforts in giving the school day a prompt start and finish.
The school day is still packed with as much learning as possible. I enjoyed listening to Year 6 children working with Morse Code outside my office earlier this week – noisy but lots of fun! There was also a good deal of celebration taking place. Class parties were a big hit as always; I think the teachers enjoy party day just as much as the children. We celebrated a myriad of sporting achievements this week in special Sports Awards Assemblies and also rewarded children for their progress in Islamic Studies and Quran Recitation.
We have enjoyed welcoming our new Nursery students this week. Children who will attend FS1 from August came for ‘Stay and Play’ sessions with their new teachers. They had lots of fun exploring their new classrooms and getting excited about the outdoor areas. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces as many of our new students have older siblings already here at NAS Dubai.  Next week our Reception children continue their transition events by attending a ‘big school’ Celebration Assembly in the Auditorium and our Year 6’s will attend their Transition Day ready for the move to our Secondary School.
This time of year is always a mixture of endings and preparations for new beginnings; the term certainly isn’t over just yet!
Have a great weekend,

Elizabeth Lamb
Message from the Head of Secondary

I was delighted to receive confirmation from the International Baccalaureate this week that our application has been approved and that they will visit us in the new school year to fully accredit us as an IB school to offer the Diploma Programme. 

This is tremendously exciting for our students as they can now see the clear path for them all the way to University.  Our aspiration is to become the best IB Diploma School in the UAE.  I am confident with the team of teachers we have and the talent of our students our ambition will be achieved.

Moving up into Year 12 and Year 13 is an exciting time for students, they continue to grow in independence and develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of the subjects they are passionate about.  Already I have students speaking to me about the uniform for IB students.  I have my own opinion on what I feel work dress looks like.  I will work alongside our current Year 10 and Year 9 students to agree on the attire for the IB students.
Next Wednesday we also have our Year 6 students moving up to the Secondary school.  I have been extremely impressed with my colleagues in Year 6 who have met with secondary teachers to discuss the students to ensure the transition is smooth for everybody. They know the students inside out and can articulate clearly the knowledge, skills and talents these students have.

I am looking forward to the Year 6 students joining us and continuing their learning journey with us on the top floor.

Liam Cullinan

    Sports News   

Primary Sports Awards Assembly

On Sunday 5th June NAS Dubai hosted the first Primary Sports Awards Celebration Assembly. The event was supported by Chatter Box Café who ensured nobody was without their caffeine and cake on such an important day! Due to the huge number of representative sports teams that were entered into the DASSA leagues (over 50) this event had to be split into two separate assemblies; one for Year 3 (U8) and Year 4 (U9), the other for Year 5 (U10) and Year 6 (U11). Sports included cross country, football, netball, rugby, basketball, cricket, rounders, tennis, swimming and dance. Each team was called onto stage by their Head of Sport and recognised in turn for their achievements this year. Individual excellence was also recognised in the form of a ‘Most Improved’ and ‘Coach’s Choice’ from each team. Finally, a boy and a girl from each year group were awarded trophies for their ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sport’, something many will now be aspiring to next year.
Thanks must go to the PE Team, class teachers and sports coaches who worked very hard training their teams, officiating and managing matches. Mrs Thornton and Mrs Chaters also deserve a special mention for the unbelievable job they did in organising this fantastic event. Partner providers ICC and M and S Sports also attended the event and handed out the awards to our cricket players and swimmers. A huge congratulations must also go to Miss Minervini and her Primary dance troop who took the stage by storm and had everyone clapping and cheering!
It was an exciting morning full of music, cheering, fun and enthusiasm. With over 100 medals being handed out over the course of the two events children and parents left feeling inspired and looking forwards to next year.

Thank you to parents for all of their support, we know you are the unsung heroes and thank you for trusting us with your children as we work together to reach their sporting potential.
Kate Duffy
Head of PE

Secondary Sports Awards Assembly

On Monday 6th June NAS hosted the first annual Secondary Sports Awards Celebration. This event was an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work and commitment of students and staff involved in the 29 representative school teams that participated in the DASSA leagues. This year teams were entered in the Under 12 (Year 7), Under 14 (Year 8 and 9) and Under 16 (Year 10) age category leagues, tournaments and friendlies. Members of all teams were invited on stage and applauded for their commitment and contribution to NAS Sports. Exceptional performances were recognised as Heads of Sport announced a ‘Coach’s Choice’ and ‘Most Improved’ player for each team. Each team’s achievements were displayed on the screen and included multiple league and tournament wins.
Sports included football, rugby, netball, swimming, dance, gymnastics, cricket, rounders and basketball. In total there were 58 individual medal winners and my personal thanks must go to the PE Team, particularly Mr Smith and Miss Minervini, for the huge amount of work they put into organising this fantastic event.
A huge thank you must go to Tom Roberts who gave a truly inspirational talk about how he overcame huge challenges to regain his spot as an Olympic gymnast after many years of commitment and hard work. Students, parents and staff were left truly speechless by his amazing story. Tom then presented the prestigious awards for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sport’ to a boy and a girl from each age group that we felt epitomised the term ‘role model’ in sport.
This event enabled us to celebrate the huge success we have achieved together so far and also inspired others to actively participate in our sports teams next year. With the continued support of staff and parents we will be expanding our sports team programme next year with a particular focus on developing gymnastics and athletics. As we bring this sporting year to a close the Team and I are busy planning and scheduling for September 2016 as we look forwards to an even more successful year ahead.
Kate Duffy
Head of PE

    IB Diploma Programme   

NAS Dubai has been granted IB candidacy status

Nord Anglia International School is a candidate school* for the Diploma Programme. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. These are schools that share a common philosophy - a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Nord Anglia International School believes is important for our students.

*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.

For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit

Upcoming Events

Monday June 13
  • Reception Graduation in the Auditorium 8:45am-9:15am
Wednesday June 15
  • Transition Day for Year 6 students moving up to Secondary school
 Friday June 17
  • Music Workshop for Year 9 10am-3pm

   Parent Community  

Chatter Box Cafe

The Chatter Box Café is now closed for Ramadan and will open again in August for the start of the new school year.  We always thoroughly enjoy serving you your morning coffee and would like to thank you for your patronage, support, kindness and friendship. 

All the best,

Liz, Marie & Heather

Parents' Association

This week at our final PA meeting of the year we reviewed some of our recent events and suggested new ideas for the coming school year.  Before the end of the term we will be sending out the annual PA newsletter where we will announce the dates for next year’s big events and the elected roles for the PA Committee positions. 

Have a lovely weekend, 

Svenja & Maria 

   NAS News Bites 

Battle of the Brains

NAS Dubai's Quiz team participated in The Battle of the Brains quiz competition held at JESS on Thursday 2nd June. The team, led by Freddy Riding 6B, included Zaid Benchaffai 6A, Clement McBain 6B, Alex Lam 6D and Ned Rorison 6F. It was a tough competition and we did well to come third.

Rifat Healy
Extension and Enrichment Teacher

Rocket landing at NAS Dubai!
During this week a rocket, designed and made by Year 5 children arrived at NAS. Alexis Au was one of 44 winners, from all of the UAE, in a "design a rocket competition" for UAE National Day. Alexis took along her team of Dominic McIntyre, Sirine Ghandour, Melana Hargreaves and Mollie Tapping to place her design onto a 1.8 metre model. Alexis’s rocket, along with 43 others, has spent several months touring all of the UAE and has made its way back to NAS Dubai. What a great achievement, well done to Alexis and her team!

Daniel Grindrod
Year 5 Teacher

Inaugural Quran Competition

On Sunday we held our first Quran Recitation Awards Ceremony for pupils in Years 1-6. All Islamic children participated and the competition was fierce, with such a high standard to be judged. After much deliberation Gold, Silver Bronze and Highly Commended certificates and medals were awarded to each year group. All Gold medalists also had the opportunity to demonstrate their exceptional recitation ability to both Islamic students and their parents in the auditorium. The bar has been set high for next year’s competition and preparations have already begun!

Cheryl McSweeney
Deputy Head

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Nord Anglia International School Dubai |Hessa Street |Al Barsha 3 South
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