Meet the principal: Alistair DownsApril 12, 2017, 2:35 pm GMT
Alistair Downs took on quite the task when he signed up as founding head of Royal Grammar School, Guildford in Qatar, which opened in September 2016. The branch campus is the first school RGS Guildford has opened in over 500 years, Downs tells Education Journal Middle East. "It's quite a responsibility on my shoulders," he says.
However, this isn't Downs' first experience setting up a school, having previously founded a British curriculum school in Bangkok, Thailand, six years ago.
"I was particularly attracted to the Royal Grammar School, Guildford in Qatar as my professional vision and ethos for education aligns exactly with that of the RGS," he states.
In the school's first year of operation, Downs is focused on ensuring students at RGS Qatar are "always engaged with their learning". Building a good reputation and developing a sense of community are also high on his list of priorities.
He explains: "Establishing a good reputation in Qatar for excellence in all areas of education is a major aim of mine. I am keen to ensure that the school engages with the wider community and that we fly the flag for the British education system, by offering the very best British education available.
"I am also very keen to develop a real sense of community between staff, students and children and so far we have been very successful in this. We have an active parent association who have been fantastic at organising regular family get-togethers, such as our popular family weekend picnics."
RGS Qatar is also keen to maintain strong links with the Guildford school's headmaster and governors, as well as the prep school head at RGS Lanesborough.
"As well as the curriculum we also share the same ethos and high expectations, both for our staff and our students. Manners, good behaviour and hard work are expected and celebrated at RGS, Guildford," Downs says.
An enthusiastic and experienced head teacher with five years' experience developing a British international school from its founding, Alisatair Downs has provided the vision, professional leadership and management required to ensure a high quality education for pupils and has a proven track record of successfully managing resources and staff to improve educational services, thereby providing pupils and teachers with the best learning environment to achieve their full potential. Downs holds a BSc in Geography from Loughborough University. He earned his PGCE from the University of Cambridge,and a Master's in Education Leadership and Management from the Open University.
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