Pausing for breath
Pausing for breath

Pausing for breath

I have to admit, although there has been little time to write and reflect, I haven’t prioritised time to write and reflect either. Here is a quick update, as I pause for breath before heading backing the England.

I returned to Southampton in mid July after a first term in Dubai. Between packing up and renting our house, preparing for the pending staff INSET programme, dealing with a frozen shoulder, celebrating 12 years of marriage, I was also trying to finalise my ILM Coaching and Mentoring (Level 5) submission. With the fantastic support of Jane Suter at Red Tiger, I submitted the first of three units, progressing the other two units onto final drafts, almost ready to submit. (I plan to get those submitted before Half Term).

In early August, we said farewell to friends and family, packed up our portable lives into seven swelling suitcases and five sets of hand luggage and set off for Dubai.

It is enlightening what makes the ‘essentials cut’ and what does not.
Photos, trinkets, a mug, PlayStation 4, TYs, Annabel and ‘Muzz.’

Last week we made the decision to return to home.

Pausing for breath, this was not an easy or light-hearted decision. We are wiser, we are thankful and finding re-packing eight cases no less challenging this time around.

Professionally – I am a little wiser. I have experienced the highly competitive international education sector in Dubai, been influenced by global educational thinking, curricular and perspectives, and met some wonderful teachers from around the world – working in the MENA region. I have been influenced by the UAE determined commitment to happiness and well-being. I have been exposed to the Knowledge Human Development Authority (inspection framework) and different perspectives on SEND/inclusion, Safeguarding and Child Protection and Positive Education.

One notably experience/observation was the combined resourcefulness and outlook of the local students, whose ambition was not limited by geography and whose outlook was often unbound. The graduation ceremony a highlight that presented a real marker for me as both a teacher and parent.

And though my this professional international experience may not have been as foreseen, it has only added further weight to the valuable lessons I have learnt whilst a school leader in England.

Personally I am thankful to my wife and father in-law who have been unwavering in their support. I am thankful for the generosity of colleagues and for the support of a handful of long standing friends and advisors. As I said, this was not an easy or lighted hearted decision. Only time will tell if it was the right decision.

I have lived in a melting pot culture and that was a real highlight however as a family, we never really felt settled or at home.

I remain determined and optimistic, as I look forward to securing my next leadership role. A role where I can make a significant contribution and show my commitment. Along the way I found out that I passed my first ILM Coaching and Mentoring unit, and plan to pass the remaining two unit soon.


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