This week has seen our annual visit to King’s College, Doha – and yet again it was a thoroughly rewarding trip: it’s a buzzing place and quite remarkable to think the school is only 2 ½ years old. There is plenty of regular contact and exchange through technology but once a year we head out for a deeper dive and to conduct an ‘inspection’ along the lines of a critical friend. The main purpose is to stand shoulder to shoulder with the KCD team to sustain the existing strong partnership to best reflect King’s UK. As the school continues to grow and the children move up another year – the oldest are now in Year 6 – we are excited about the evolution of the experience.
The school has grown from 183 pupils in September 2016 to the current figure of 500 and the intake to the youngest years is, once again, oversubscribed for September. The existing site is reaching capacity and we have always wanted to offer education through to Year 13 but knew it was not physically possible on the initial site. Our operating partners in Doha have been working over the last two years to seek and secure larger sites to build another school that would provide for children up to 18 years old. Chance would have it that, whilst we were there, negotiations over our preferred option progressed significantly and we are absolutely delighted with the outcome that will secure the provision of a King’s Doha education from 3 to 18 years old.
I was fortunate to be able to take with me Jonty Lawford, Deputy Head Academic here at the College, to help frame conversations about the academic road ahead leading to iGCSEs and beyond. As well as Jonty, Simon Worthy, our Director of Finance and Operations, was there for general matters and to run the rule over the legislative requirements of all operations. For both it was their first visit and, speaking for them, they were hugely impressed by what has been achieved in a short time. “It feels just like walking around King’s” commented Jonty in reference to not only the uniform but, more importantly, the friendliness, sense of shared experience, collaboration and happiness of the children, staff and parents in the school.
Early next term we are able to send two staff over for a brief visit. As our footprint grows and the development matures there are clear signs of the wider benefits it will bring in the years ahead.
I cannot end this week without mentioning the amazing Mood Boards that are around the school at the moment. What a treat to return to the creative inspiration of the children here: they’re terrific!