In this webinar, our expert speakers leading schools in the GCC region will reflect on the current academic year that is coming to a close and more importantly look ahead to the future. Discussions will be centred around the challenges faced, positive takeaways, strategies placed for the 2021/2022 academic year and their vision for the future of education, the online/hybrid learning model and curriculum development.
Mon, Jun 21, 2021 · 4:00 PM Abu Dhabi (GMT +4:00)
  • What lessons have been learned?
  • What has been the biggest challenge?
  • What worked well for schools and what hasn’t worked so well?
  • What will next academic year look like and how will schools continue to adapt?
  • How is education likely to change and how should schools prepare for this?
GESS Education
Rachael Edgar
Group Head of Curriculum Design, Aldar Education
Rachael’s career in education spans over 21 years. She recently joined the education leadership team at Aldar Education in Abu Dhabi and oversees curriculum design and development for 3 curricula (UK, US and IB) across the 20 schools within the group, currently serving over 24,000 students. She is an experienced international school leader, having held leadership roles in schools, in both the UK and UAE, where she has lived for the past 10 years.
Through a broad, dynamic and personalised curriculum offer, Rachael’s aim is to ensure that every student who graduates through the Aldar system exceeds their potential. Leaving equipped, with not only the knowledge, skills and character dispositions they need to thrive but also the agency to be ready for multiple iterations of the future they might encounter and the capacity, as global citizens, to shape the future of the UAE and beyond.
Deeply passionate about developing quality professional learning and using educational research to drive forward school improvement, Rachael is committed to promoting cross institution collaboration and developing innovative ways to support leaders and educators with improving their practice, to secure the highest quality of education for their students. In 2021, she was awarded ‘Fellowship’ status from the Chartered College of Teaching in the UK, in recognition of her significant contribution to the teaching profession.
Rachael is delighted to be working with the GESS team once more and is very much looking forward to chairing this panel discussion, as we approach the end of this academic year and reflect on lessons learned and look forward to next year’s challenges and opportunities.
Iain Colledge
Executive Principal, Raha International School
After beginning his teaching career in England, Iain has lived in the Middle East, Asia and Central Europe and has over 20 years of experience in international school leadership. He has led schools in the UAE, Libya and Thailand and held senior positions in schools in Bahrain and Jordan. Iain has been instrumental in delivering school improvement and expansion projects. Prior to joining Raha, Iain was European Early Years Project Director for The British Council, setting up bilingual kindergartens across the EU. Iain is a qualified inspector for Ofsted and also has several years’ experience inspecting Dubai schools. He joined Raha International School in 2016 as Executive Principal and now oversees all of Taaleem's IB schools in the UAE.
John Peter McCance
Deputy Head of Primary, British International School Riyadh
John has been coaching, teaching and leading in primary schools for over 10 years in the Middle East. Before this, he worked with children and young people, in various roles and settings, in his native Scotland and the USA.

He is passionate about providing the best opportunities and provision for students under his care. His experience lies in coaching and mentoring, pastoral care and well-being, research-informed professional learning and pedagogy, primary assessment and reporting, and recruitment and school marketing.

Connect with John on Twitter via @AlbaMcCance or @SuperbSchools. #SuperbSchools is an account used to promote teaching ideas, practice and research from around the world.
Kai Vacher
Principal, British School Muscat
Following 25 years as a teacher and school leader in the UK state sector, I
was appointed Principal of British School Muscat in 2011. I continue to be
inspired by my students, colleagues and our community. I am incredibly
proud of what we collectively have achieved in recent years including:

‘Outstanding in all categories’ British Schools Overseas inspection
International School of the Year - for our intern programme
British International School of the Year - for our learning ethos
High Performance Learning World Class School Award
World Economic Forum School of the Future - for our innovative curriculum
COBIS Training School - growing excellence in teaching and leadership

Despite considerable challenges facing schools globally, I am excited by the
accelerated changes taking place within the international schools sector and
the possibilities these offer young people all over the world. We will continue
to focus on excellence and innovation and ensuring that our students are
best for the world.
Vanessa Whay
Founding Principal, Durham School for Girls in Doha
Vanessa has been an International Head of School for over 16 years and is delighted to be the Founding Principal of Durham, School for Girls Doha. A graduate of Cambridge University and a teacher of over 25 years, Vanessa has lead projects in Spain, Panama and now the Middle East. Vanessa is a true champion of children being the best they can be regardless of gender, circumstance, or culture. DSGD is the first British all female school and campus in Qatar.