Carmella Jodrell, new Head of Primary, The English College

Carmella Jodrell

The English College, one of the leading British curriculum schools in the region, is excited to announce that Ms Carmella Jodrell will be joining the school as the new Head of Primary in August 2023

Tell us about your role.
I’m delighted to be joining The English College (EC) in September as the Head of Primary. My main focus will be on developing teaching and learning along with the rest of the leadership team at EC. With the fantastic news of the highly successful inspections, including an outstanding BSO rating, the main focus will be on providing exciting opportunities for further challenges across the curriculum.

You must deal with people from all over the world?

Absolutely. Working with diverse communities brings a great richness to schools and I can honestly say that I still learn daily from others. As with children in class, there’s not one style that suits all of us, so working with others collaboratively – whether this is with colleagues, children or parents – allows us to develop together and hopefully meet everyone’s needs and expectations

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?
Seeing progress. Moving forward as a whole school community is hugely rewarding. This looks different on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s working with teachers on aspects of teaching and learning, other days it’s working with the marketing team on great media articles and sometimes, the reward comes from parent meetings where we’re discussing and finding solutions to concerns…it’s all progress and as long as we’re moving forward, it’s very satisfying.

What’s the most challenging?
Having enough time to do everything you want to. This is where the school’s strategic plan helps us to keep on track, but even with the best will in the world, unexpected things can creep in and before you know it, it’s July and we’re at the end of another academic year. So for me, the challenge is to design the plan for the year and by hook or by crook, stick to it.

Do you have any particular educational aims that you plan to introduce?
The English College have a very aspirational approach to learning, with Rosenshine’s Principles at the heart of their success. Speaking with Mr Budd, who is Deputy Head of the Primary School, we’re now planning to see how we can further develop this to allow children opportunities to transfer their skills to new challenges, both collaboratively and independently, in the classroom and beyond. Providing these opportunities for stretch and challenge will be a specific focus for us next year, with the essential element of fun. If we want to get this part right, we’ll need to involve the children in the decision making of what these opportunities should be…they are the experts.

Does Dubai education prepare kids for life in the wider world?
I can honestly say that it does. I’ve seen how schools in Dubai provide a great level of structure and support for pupils and this results in very well rounded, confident individuals who leave school with high aspirations and a broad set of skills to support them as they transition to further education. With the KHDA regulating standards in Dubai schools, parents can be sure that they are choosing an education that reflects their own values and standards.

How do you spend time outside of work?
When I’m not working in schools, I’m usually either walking the dog or working on completing my PhD. In the past, I’ve enjoyed art and cooking, but I don’t have time for that at the moment. If there are any spare moments, I’ll call my children and have a good catch up with them.

What do you consider to be luxuries in life?
Oh, that’s an easy one – time. I wish I had more time…on the things I’d do. Tea with friends, read a few more classics, learn to paint, get better at Mandarin…the list is endless.
Right now, there’s not enough time. I’m still hopeful, though.

What, in your opinion, makes a good teacher?
What a brilliant question! Well, to start with, you need a spark of magic. That looks different from one great teacher to another, but you know it when you see it and I really think it’s essential that all children are taught by teachers who have magic up their sleeves. I mean, all good teachers have other things in common, they all plan fun and purposeful lessons, children make great progress in their classes, they mark the books and provide helpful feedback, they work well with their colleagues, they smile…but the magic, well, that looks different in each and every teacher. It’s the magic that raises self-esteem in children, makes them believe that they can achieve even the most tricky of learning tasks and allows them to make essential mistakes and recover. Whatever their brand of magic is, it’s always wrapped in a positive and loving attitude. It’s what all parents want for their children and what all school leaders are looking for when they recruit teachers.

How does Dubai compare to Egypt?
Egypt has a wonderfully rich history that is absolutely everywhere – the Nile, the pyramids, the stuffed pigeons, the temples and the tombs…it’s just fascinating. In Dubai, I’d say there’s a stronger focus on the future, on where we’re all heading. What I love about both places is the Arab culture – the music, the food, and the values. Both are very family focused and proud of their heritage, quite rightly so.

What’s your favourite part of Dubai? Favourite thing to do?
My favourite part of Dubai is the desert. I don’t go there as often as I’d like to, but taking the truck and driving off-road is just so exciting and absolutely stunning. I tend to go there with my son, who is far braver at driving over the sand dunes than I am. On a good day, we pass camels, oryx and Eastern Bluebirds, which feels like such a treat.

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