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8 December 2016

Message from the Principal

Of School culture and communications ….
‘Courtesy’, ‘positivity’ and ‘pride in belonging’ are three really important strands within the DNA of NAS Dubai and as we mature it is essential that their value is upheld and this requires mindful effort and commitment from all of us at all times. If we expect good manners from the children in our care we have to look to ourselves to ensure that we model the same. I do not wish to dwell on our habits on the road, nor the occasional barging in to be the first at parents evening, but rather to give focus today on how our social media leaves us all vulnerable to lower our standards of courtesy, politeness and consideration for others.
Unlike physical pain that out brain processes instantly, it takes much longer to process the psychological and moral dimensions of a situation.  For this very reason societies have developed codes of courtesy and politeness to provide us with the time and space needed to make sensible judgments that can have long term effect on our relationships. However, I wonder whether the times we live in are eroding this human capacity?
Our contemporary world which is so dominated by social media is fast and complex. As we process more and more information at increasing speed we tend to place emphasis on the speed of response rather than the depth. The news on facebook, the line on whatsup, the latest text or tweet and often the latest email file we know to be out of date almost at the moment we receive it – so how do we respond?  Again, at speed, often without consideration and more sadly still, often thinking that simply because we have said it, the reader will agree. And hereby hangs the danger that we are forever falling into mindless gossip, trending rather than engaging.
I have just read a very interesting article all about the importance of reading books by Jonathan Safran Foer who remarks:
Most of our communication technologies began as substitutes for an impossible activity. We couldn’t always see one another face to face, so the telephone made it possible to keep in touch at a distance. One is not always home, so the answering machine made a message possible without the person being near their phone. Online communication originated as a substitute for telephonic communication, which was considered, for whatever reasons, too burdensome or inconvenient. And then texting, which facilitated yet faster and more mobile messaging. These inventions were not created to be improvements on face-to-face communication, but a declension of acceptable, if diminished, substitutes for it.
Each step ‘forward’ has made it easier to avoid the emotional work of being present information rather than humanity
But then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes. It’s easier to make a phone call than to make the effort to see someone in person. Leaving a message on someone’s machine is easier than having a phone conversation – you can say what you need to say without a response; it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled. So we began calling when we knew no one would pick up. Shooting off an email is easier still, because one can further hide behind the absence of vocal inflection, and of course there’s no chance of accidentally catching someone. With texting, the expectation for articulateness is further reduced, and another shell is offered to hide in. Each step “forward” has made it easier – just a little – to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.
The problem with accepting – with preferring – diminished substitutes is that, over time, we too become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little. Or just feeling what’s been designed and sold to us to feel.
This scares me as I am sure it does the reader. Please let me implore that the community at NAS Dubai remains distinguished through its commitment to mindful courtesy, politeness, graceful behavior and the consideration of others. Please let me ask that we all continue to make the extra efforts, especially with our communications, to safeguard against the potential for degeneration.
Or, perhaps better and more simply put – as a little girl once reminded me after seeing the Disney movie ‘Bambi’:
“If you cant say somethin nice then don’t say nothin at all.” – Thumper.
Now, on a much brighter note, but not unrelated, a huge ‘Thank you’ to our Parents’ Association for the great effort and commitment they have made to arrange this year’s festive display. I walked into School early on Sunday and thought that I was standing in the shop window of Selfridges. The baubles are as bright and diverse and proud as our community itself and this all takes special time, effort and a commitment to the high standards that characterise our good school. 
Then on Friday we have our Christmas Fayre which has also been organized by our Parents’ Association. Another big ‘Thank you’. I am sure it is going to be a great afternoon that celebrates this good term of work while heralding in the Winter break. 
And for fear of imposing on the order of our culture – if you’ve got something nice to say then please bring it forward and make sure the words and space are right so that the person has the time to feel it. 
With every best wish for the season.
Matthew Farthing

Message from the Head of Primary

Dear Parents

This week we transitioned over to the new primary timetable. It has all gone very smoothly and we’re glad we had the opportunity to try it out before the Winter Holidays. The parent presentation explaining the changes was well attended and we have received lots of positive feedback from you all – many thanks to those of you who took the time to do that. For those parents who weren’t able to attend the presentation, here is a brief recap of the main points to notice:
  • The basic hours of the school day remain the same.
  • The overall teaching time remains the same for all year groups.
  • We now have a lunch hour (previously 40mins).
  • The 5 x 20 mins ‘lost’ teaching time caused by lengthening the lunch break has been regained through removal of one assembly per week and slightly reducing morning break time
  • All schools in Dubai must teach the amount of Arabic prescribed by the KHDA. We remain compliant with their directives, but the lessons in some year groups are now delivered in a different configuration. For example, some children now have three Arabic lessons a week instead of four, but still receive the same amount of taught time overall.
  • Arabic ‘A’ and Islamic Education lessons have been noted more clearly on class timetables. We remain compliant with KHDA requirements in these subjects. Children not attending these sessions do Prep or small group work such as reading or maths practice. Some personalised interventions and programmes also take place in these slots.
  • PE taught time has been reconfigured. Children have two weekly lessons – 1 x 1 hour and 1 x 40mins.
  • Overall English and maths taught time has remained the same. Overall World Languages taught time remains the same.
 The timetable was altered for two main reasons – response to parent comments regarding lunch time and response to teacher comments about time lost moving between specialist lessons. The overall benefits to the new timetable are:
  • Less moving around for the children, ensuring maximum teaching and learning time (especially for the younger children)
  • A longer lunch hour so children have more time to both sit and eat their lunch and time to play outside in the middle of the day
  • Longer class teaching blocks, which allows teachers to have quality science and topic lessons as well as more flexibility with English and maths activities
  • The configuration of World Language lessons in Years 5 and 6 are now in line with secondary school 
If you do have questions or concerns regarding the timetable, I urge you to talk to your child’s class teacher in the first instance, as every class has their individual timetable. You are also, of course, very welcome to direct more general questions to myself or Mr Barrett, or to Mrs McSweeney for questions regarding Islamic Education, or World Languages including Arabic.
All the very best for another long weekend. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Christmas Fayre on Friday.

Elizabeth Lamb
Message from the Head of Secondary

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank all the parents who attended our IB presentation this week. I think parent workshops are an excellent way for our community to get together and gain a greater insight into the learning experiences of our students. I often talk about the importance of the community at NAS.  Events like the IB workshop, parents evening, sports events, language days, school productions and our upcoming fayre are opportunities for us to meet as a community.  They also allow us, as teachers, to recognise how lucky we are to work with so many supportive parents.  All of us working together with the same ambitions for the students of NAS Dubai.

The IB is a really exciting curriculum and I believe in this ever changing world it is the one that will prepare our students best for university and beyond. I do believe in the philosophy of the IB and its vision to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring students. 

We and our students are blessed to work in such a multicultural, forward thinking and diverse environment. We need to ensure that our students embrace this and recognise how important they are going to be as advocates of change I would like to leave you with a quote from Stephen Hawking in a piece he wrote for the Guardian, which I believe demonstrates the importance of the next generation of leaders

“With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to retrain for a new world… it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.” Stephen Hawking 2016

Liam Cullinan

    NAS News Bites   

Year 1 Superhero Day

To end our topic Out of this World, the children in Year 1 enjoyed an action packed Superhero Day on Wednesday this week.

All the children looked wonderful in their costumes and they enjoyed showing them off along with their best superhero moves on the catwalk. They took part in lots of other activities including making awesome superhero capes, masks and other accessories. They also made some comic strips in which they were the main characters.
A super day was had by all!

Sarah Noblett
Year 1 Team Leader

Biscuits Impresses at KHDA HQ

Oliver, Maia, Abigail, Doug and Philip took Biscuits (NAS Dubai’s Happy Plant) to be presented to a host of VIP judges including the CEO of Sustainability City and his Excellency Abdulrahman Bin Mohamed Al Owais. The aim of the project was to combine the STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) to promote happiness through a plant of the students' choice. This was done by promotion of the plant on social media sites. The main part of the project was coding the plant to respond to visitors who communicated with her on the website.

The judges were very impressed with the articulate pitch the students delivered, detailing the challenges they endured and how they made the plant a symbol of sustainability. They were equally overwhelmed by the students’ methods of marketing, including a front of school easel, Instagram page and the advertising of Biscuits to the parents and students within NAS Dubai.

This was a fantastic project to be involved in and one which challenged the students across all subject disciplines and was without doubt a huge learning experience. I would like to thank everybody who supported Biscuits throughout the challenge and say a huge congratulations to the Year 7 leaders who represented NAS Dubai at the KHDA Headquarters.

Daniel O'Hara
Secondary Science Teacher

Guardianship Documents

A few weeks ago, some parents have attended a talk in the auditorium on first aid and temporary guardianship arrangements while in the UAE. A temporary guardianship document is useful if you have no family or permanent guardians here in the UAE and wish to provide for someone to take care of your children if you are unable to do so through severe illness or death until the permanent guardians can claim them. One of our parents, a qualified lawyer, has provided a temporary guardianship template document to the school which is available free of charge, upon request, from The document comes with basic instructions for its completion.

The Art Department would love to turn your trash into our treasure.
Donations of any of the items listed would be fantastic to build up our
Still life ‘Aladdin’s Cave, whereby students can be inspired to choose
objects to draw from real life observation. Any help to stock this closet
would be gratefully received.

Items we would like:
  • African masks/jewellery
  • Tiki Masks
  • Shells
  • Sweet wrappers/crisps/chocolate/Drinks labels/ aluminum drinks cans
  • Glassware (bottles that are coloured or clear, perfume bottles, old glasses, interesting drinking glasses etc)
  • Old fashioned telephones and old compasses(brass/metal not new plastic ones)
  • Old keys, locks, metal, chains
  • Feathers that are realistic (not plain coloured dyed ones)
  • Dried or fake realistic looking flowers
  • Patterned teacups and saucers/teapots
  • Reflective utensils (whisks/spoons/cutlery)
  • Old hairdryer
  • Old clothes to upcycle or use in textiles
  • Plain and clean bed sheets
  • Ribbons, rope and buttons
  • Or anything you think would be interesting to draw 
 Art Department

Year 4 Students DJ Catboy

Daniel Williams from Year 4 was a special guest of DJ Catboy when he helped decorate the studio Xmas tree at Dubai 92 this week.

    Upcoming Events    

Sunday Dec 11

  • School Closed for Prophet's Birthday
  • Year 10 International Award Adventurous Journey in RAK
Monday Dec 12
  • Year 10 International Award Adventurous Journey in RAK
  • Reception Festive Singalong 8:15am-8:45am
Tuesday Dec 13
  • Year 10 International Award Adventurous Journey in RAK
  • Year 4 Panto Performance 1:30pm-3pm
  • Ski Trip Meeting for Parents 4pm-4:30pm
Wednesday Dec 14
  • Year 10 International Award Adventurous Journey in RAK
  • EYFS & Primary End of Term Parties
Thursday Dec 15
  • Year 10 International Award Adventurous Journey in RAK
  • Last day of Term 1

Winter Holiday
Dec 16th 2016 - Jan 1st 2017

Term 2 starts on Jan 2nd @ 7:45am

   Parent Community  

Parents' Association

HO, HO, HO! Santa is almost here! We can't wait to see you all at the Xmas Fayre tomorrow from 3:30pm to 7:30pm. Please enter via the main entrance and follow the directions to the back terrace. 

Have a festive weekend!
The PA 


   Sports News  

Tuesday Dec 13

  • U14B Boys Football vs. GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis (Away) 4pm-6pm

Wednesday Dec 14
  • Years 3-6 Cross Country Competition @ Rashid School for Boys 2:30pm-5pm

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Nord Anglia International School, Dubai · Hessa Street · Al Barsha South 3 · United Arab Emirates