The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai appoints Founding Senior Leadership Team ahead of September 2021 opening
25 February 2021| Last updated on 14 January 2022
After an extensive international search for the finest educators around the world...
The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai is delighted to announce the senior leadership team of the Prep School who will be at the helm of delivering the school’s 500-year heritage and forward-thinking approach to teaching and learning when it opens its Dubai campus in September 2021.
The senior leadership team in Dubai will be responsible for emulating the tremendous success and proven track record of the parent school, Royal Grammar School Guildford, one of the most prestigious independent British Curriculum schools in the UK.
RGSGD is consistently ranked as one of the leading schools in the UK at both A Level and GCSE according to the national league tables and over the past 10 years, more than 325 graduates have gone on to attend top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.
Former pupils known as ‘Old Guildfordians’ also include a number of Olympic and sporting personalities, a former Prime Minister, and many notable names in politics and the arts.
The Dubai branch's senior leadership team includes three teachers who have a wealth of experience from teaching at the parent school in the UK and include; Assistant Head, Upper KS2, Mr. Joe Creal, Head of Inclusion, Mrs. Laura Evans and Director of Sport, Mr. James Bennett.
Meet Mr. Joe Creal, Assistant Head - Upper KS2
Assistant Head, Upper KS2 – Mr. Joe Creal, an old Guildfordian, said how excited he is to be part of the founding team in Dubai.
He commented: “The values and ethos of the Royal Grammar School Guildford are very close to my heart as it is where I was educated and what helped form me as a young man."
"Bringing the excellence of RGS Guildford to Dubai will be an exciting challenge and an honour," Mr. Creal added.
Whilst teaching at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Prep School, Mr. Creal completed his Masters in educational leadership, taught mathematics to Years 5 and 6 and coached games afternoons.
Prior to re-joining his alma mater, he taught in Abu Dhabi and a co-ed prep school in Surrey.
Mr. Creal is very much looking forward to bringing the spirit of the Royal Grammar School Guildford in the UK, a school that he loves and knows so well, over to Dubai.
Meet Mrs. Laura Evans, Head of Inclusion
Head of Inclusion, Mrs. Laura Evans, is a proud custodian of the Royal Grammar School Guildford’s values and learning habits after heading up the Learning Support and EAL Departments at the prep school in Guildford for the past 11 years.
Through a Masters in Special and Inclusive Education that focused on Special Educational Needs, Mrs. Evans brings a wealth of experience in child support with her to her new role as Head of Inclusion at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai.
Mrs. Evans has taught in both Secondary and Primary sectors and her extensive experience includes her most recent role at Royal Grammar School Guildford as Head of Learning Support and New Pupil Assessment Coordinator.
She will join the team in April to assist with the new pupil assessments.
Meet Mr. James Bennett, Director of Sport
Mr. James Bennett brings with him more than 15 years of experience in sports teaching at prestigious preparatory schools in the UK.
Mr Bennett trained to be a teacher whilst at the Royal Grammar School Guildford and worked his way up through the ranks to become Director of Sport, as well as House Master and Tutor.
Following his role at the home school, Mr Bennett moved on to one of the largest Prep Schools in the UK, to lead the boys’ games department where he took on the role of Acting Director of Sport in his final year.
He has taught sports to a wide variety of age groups and specialises in recognising the specific needs of each pupil, both on the sporting field and in life. He has extensive coaching experience in cricket, football, swimming, athletics, gymnastics and climbing, and is looking forward to helping the pupils at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai achieve their sporting goals, as well as helping them develop a love of physical activity.
Meet Mrs. Angela Sutherland, Head of Early Years
Head of Early Years, Mrs. Angela Sutherland, has sixteen years of school leadership experience across the primary age range from roles in both the UK and the Middle East.
Her vast experience working in Early Years has given her a deep understanding of how children learn, particularly in the acquisition of language, phonics, reading and the arts.
In her role as Head of Early Years at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, Mrs. Sutherland plans to cultivate an environment of care, warmth and strong relationships between the pupils and their families.
She joins the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai from a school in the UAE, which has consistently been rated outstanding for the past five years for its Early Years Department.
Meet Mrs. Beckie Bennett, Assistant Head of KS1
Assistant Head of KS1, Mrs. Beckie Bennett, has more than 10 years of primary, early years and sports teaching experience and will join the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai’s senior leadership team in September.
After spending the last three years as a Deputy Head, Mrs Bennett is highly experienced in adapting to teaching a variety of cultures and nationalities and has spearheaded forward-thinking learning programmes for children across the UK in subjects such as English as a Foreign Language, as well as a Special Educational Needs programmes.
Meet Mr. Imran Akhtar, Assistant Head - Lower KS2
Assistant Head, Lower KS2, Mr. Imran Akhtar, has 13 years of teaching experience from both UK based schools and outstanding rated schools in the UAE.
He has previously taught at at Dubai-based UK school where he was a Year Group Leader, before returning to the UK where he was a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Curriculum and Phase Leader in a Leeds-based Primary School.
Meet Mrs. Sajida Al Bashir, Head of Arabic and Islamic Studies
Head of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Mrs. Sajida Al Bashir, brings 24 years of Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies teaching experience from schools across the Middle East with her to her role at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai.
Mrs. Bashir’s depth of knowledge in this sector covers a variety of curriculum boards that include British, American and IB schools.
She is an experienced Head of Department, holds a Masters in Education, and regularly contributes to conferences and national debates about curriculum developments.
Responsible for recruiting the founding senior leadership team is the school's current Principal, Mrs. Clare Turnbull, who previously served as the Head of Prep at the Dubai campus, and at Royal Grammar School Guildford for 13 years.
She said: "I am delighted to have found candidates to form the senior leadership team here in Dubai that possess a wealth of teaching experience, talent and a deep understanding of the values, ethos and learning habits that are so vital to the Royal Grammar School Guildford."
"We have the best possible team to build the foundation of the school and we can’t wait to welcome pupils in September," Mrs. Turnbull added.