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26 May 2016

Message from the Principal

I am in Hong Kong, sitting in a very nice hotel.
Normally I sit in a very nice school in Dubai and go home to a very nice house. Though my family isn’t with me this year (and that is not fun at all) they are in a very nice house in the UK. When we’re together we live in a very nice house.
We drive to school in a nice car, we eat out often. My children have laptops, nice clothes etc. My eldest daughters are aware of “labels” even, much to my despair!
Our children are privileged. In Hong Kong and in Dubai there is an almost invisible class of people who are not so privileged. In the UK disparity exists as well.
I am not about to debate the causes of these disparities. They are, for whatever set of reasons, real.
I am interested in NAS Dubai and the fact that, in some cases, privileged children and their parents can be a problem for us. Please note I was clear that my own family fits in this group of “privileged”.
One cannot criticize a family, parents or children, for the good fortune, hard work, accident of birth that caused them to be privileged.
I am of course referring to those who cross the line from being privileged to those who become entitled.
Entitlement, often accompanied by arrogance and rudeness, is another matter entirely, It is the chief reason we reject parents during the application process.
For some children it is a phase. It is, like many adolescent mistakes, something that they need guidance on and will grow out of.
However for others we have made a mistake and must deal with families who support, or indeed encourage, this sense of entitlement and the behaviors that go with it. The problem of course is that a school is about a culture. A culture which means that a learning community is created in which all children are encouraged and challenged to do their best. Where the bar is set high for all.
All parents are selfish to some degree, that is only natural, they want the best for their children. On the other hand the best way for a child to succeed academically is to be in a school in which the level of expectation is high and that standard is set by the teachers and, critically, their peers and the culture of the school. The best way for a child to become a “good” person is as a result of the values inculcated by their parents and those of the school once again.
I am not talking about the child going through the phase of boasting about their mum or dad's job or car…they ALL do that from time to time! I am talking about the child and the parents who maintain this behavior for years.
An entitled child, supported by entitled parents is not going to move through the phase quickly if at all. They will, child and parents, value themselves and their immediate needs above all others. They will in fact damage the culture of the school and ironically themselves in the process.
This is why, despite the enormous issues it can cause us, we don’t tolerate this.
Best regards
Mike Embley

Message from the Head of Primary

Dear Parents,
We have just completed our End of Year Assessment Week in the Primary school, and I wonder if you even noticed it had begun!
Exam stress can be a very real issue for students and the stakes obviously become higher as children get older. Once in secondary school, students must have plenty of exam practice and learn to manage their preparations and stress levels.  This is not especially useful for younger children so in primary school we keep Assessment Week as low-key as possible.
I have spoken to several parents this week who mentioned that their children had barely noticed the primary assessments taking place! In EYFS, observations take place all day and every day, so Assessment Week simply means it’s the time when teachers update their paperwork.  Higher up the school, Assessment Week is a blend of teacher assessment and more formal tests. Mr Barrett has been very busy overseeing 1200 online tests this week, mainly in mathematics and reading. As you can imagine, many of our children actually enjoy taking tests on the computer and they don’t find this stressful. Yet online tests give us an incredible amount of useful data about achievement and about gaps in understanding. This allow us to plan next steps for your child’s personal learning journey and more widely for your child’s entire class.
So when will you find out about assessment results?  I mentioned earlier this week that End of Year Reports will be coming out on the 28th of June. The assessment results will be incorporated into the grades and narratives given on these reports, rather than being reported separately. We’d also like to offer you the opportunity to come into school on the 29th of June to talk to your child’s teacher about the report, your child’s progress and your child’s achievements. Since it will be Ramadan, this event will take place during school time, following on from Move-Up Morning (when children visit their new classes).  I will send more details next week, including timings. If you cannot make this date, our teachers are always willing to meet with you to discuss your child – please don’t feel you have to wait for the 29th June to make an appointment to see them.
As a ‘thank you’ to students for all their hard work over the year, we hope to hold End of Assessment/End of Year parties in school before Ramadan begins. Year 6 have already planned an exciting party at Club Rush for next week as they prepare to graduate from primary school. Other year groups will party in class. Again, watch out for details coming your way via the daily email on Sunday.
Have a great weekend!

Elizabeth Lamb
Message from the Head of Secondary

Dear All,
This week has been the week of the innovator.  I had the pleasure of joining the winners of our Young Innovator Day Programme at Pearl FM and Dubai Eye.  The students were discussing their research and findings on children’s health and discussing their product launch that hopes to encourage students to live a healthy lifestyle.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the core of the education agenda in the UAE and it is something schools regularly talk about.  It is important that schools do not simply pay lip service to innovation, instead through teaching, CCAs as well as links with businesses and the community, schools can actually encourage students to drive change.  Having listened to the students on the radio they certainly have the belief that they can be the driver of change.

We are blessed with our parent community here at NAS Dubai and this week Miss Qureshi and I met our Year 10 parents to discuss a work experience for our Year 10 students.  The support was overwhelming and in next week's newsletter we will be asking people who are happy to support our students to contact us.  Because with the support from our community the opportunities for these students is endless,

Jennifer Neff is a great example of this.  Jennifer is a parent here at NAS Dubai with students in Year 2 and Nursery. Very early on Jennifer approached me to volunteer and work with our students and this is how Innovation Day was born. Jennifer has served as yet another inspiration to the students at NAS and this week I will be leaving you with a quote from an email one of our students wrote to Jennifer.
"Young Innovators has helped me realise how real the world of businesses is; I hadn’t ever really thought about it as something I could be part of before the programme, as I’m sure most young people do. Even more, I had no idea the power WE had to change the way things are. We’re young and we live in a world where we can just sit back and let the adults do the real work, without thinking about it twice. But once you see the impact you can have on people and the things you can actually achieve—and most importantly, the difference you can make—you realise that the real world is just as close to you as it will ever be, you just had to stare hard at it so that you could see it clearly." 
Moments like this are truly rewarding to adults who work with young people.  It is the reason we do it.  Together we are a strong team, if you wish to become involved in projects like this please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Liam Cullinan

NAS Dubai Young Innovators on Dubai Eye - click here please

    NAS News Bites   

Year 3 Viking Day

Year 3 celebrated their wonderful learning this term with a Viking Day. The children dressed in their creative Viking costumes and weapons ready for a fun day of learning. Throughout the day the children completed a variety of learning tasks which included Viking drawings, Viking treasure hunt, Viking weaving, Viking Puppetpals and Viking poetry. To finish the day the children re-enacted a mock Viking battle using Capoeira dance moves as their inspiration. The children then returned to their Long ships and headed off on their next Viking raid.
Michael Connor
Year 3 Team Leader

Nursery Little Explorers Trip

What a fantastic day the Nursery children had at Little Explorers on Wednesday!  Even though the children were very very excited they were beautifully behaved and did NAS proud!  

The 6 classes doubled up and spent the morning rotating around the 5 Learning Zones.  Exciting activities included using their 5 senses to explore different objects, testing how fast they could run using a speedometer, exploring animals and their skins, using ICT to play different games, investigating running water, pouring and moving objects along a water tunnel. They were also thrilled to make their own pizza – and eat it too! At the end of the morning the whole of Nursery joined together and ended their trip with some energetic dancing and singing to some fun action songs.

On the buses back to school there were a lot of happily exhausted children, keen to go home and share their day's experience with their families.

Well done Nursery, a great trip!
Anna-Liisa Robinson
Nursery Team Leader


    Upcoming Events    

Sunday May 29

  • Final Assessment Week in Secondary School
Monday May 30
  • Transition to Year 1 Workshop for Reception parents 8am-8:30am
  • Year 5 Trip to Creek Park & Children's Science Museum 8:15am-2:30pm
  • 1E Class Assembly 10:30am-11am
  • Music Box Recital 2:15pm-3:30pm

Tuesday May 31
  • Transition to Reception Workshop for Nursery parents 8am-8:30am
  • Year 6 End of Year Celebration @ Club Rush 10am-2pm
  • Music Box Recital 2:15pm-3:30pm

Wednesday June 1
  • Workshop for Parents of Children entering Nursery in 2016 8am-8:30am
  • Reception D,E & F Trip to Al Jalila cultural Centre 8:15am-1pm
  • 1C Class Assembly 9:30am-10am
  • Year 3 French Trip to Café Vendôme 10:30am-1pm
  • Lunchtime Music Concert 12:45pm-1:05pm
  • 6A Class Assembly 2pm-2:30pm
  • Brownies Film Event 4pm-6pm
Thursday June 2
  • NAS Euro 2016 Day
  • Year 5 Dubai World Expo Talk 8am-8:45am
  • Reception A,B & C Trip to Al Jalila Cultural Centre 8:15am-1pm
  • Year 10 International Award Adventurous Journey Skills Training 10:20am-3pm
  • Year 6 - Battle of the Brains 2:30pm-6pm
  • Secondary Disco 7pm-9:30pm

   Parent Community  

Chatter Box Café

What a lovely time we had at the first ever Canada Day at Chatterbox! We hope you had a chance to stop by for a visit and a snack, some tunes, and maybe a tidbit or a tale about Canucks. Thanks for the opportunity to share our nation with you, and always's not just cold in Canada, it's cool!!! 

Cindy Godin for Chatter Box Café

Parents' Association

To those Secondary students studying all weekend, you’re just one week away.  The DJ is booked, the groovy twirling lights are ready and now all we need is for you to finish exam week to really have some fun with your friends at the Secondary Disco on Thursday June 2nd from 7pm to 9:30pm in the IB Room. 

May your weekend be a productive one!

   Sports News  

U12A Rounders - League Winners!

With their win against DESC last Sunday, our U12A Rounders team won the league which is an amazing achievement!

Congratulations to all the girls that played this season.

Primary Swim Squad - Shield Winners

The NAS Primary Swim Team demonstrated their superb swimming ability at the DASSA Primary Swim League Finals @ the Hamden Swimming Complex by winning every age category and the overall shield for Division E.

Go NAS Dubai!

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