Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
21 September, 2023

Message from the Associate Principal

Message from the Associate Principal - Message from the Associate Principal
Message from the Associate Principal

‘Sshhhh – it’s a secret!’ or it was!


Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a feeling of terrific excitement and anticipation. It all started with a call asking if her Excellency Sara Mussallam, the Minister of Early Years Education, could visit our school because of the great things she has been hearing. 


This visit was an honour, with dignitaries speaking with students and staff, looking at some of the unique elements of our school and our plans for the future. It was a fantastic visit but one we couldn’t announce or celebrate. As it was a secret, but, not the only secret.  Later that week, I received a call from ADEK asking if we could be part of a secret surprise, not something that happens every day. Normally, it is a question about our provision, hours of study, compliance or asking if we would support a current initiative. So of course, I was full of intrigue. The caller informed me that we had been chosen as one of a few schools to attend a very special event. I was not given any further information at the time, not a date, the age of children, the venue or let alone the purpose of the event. So all I knew was, we had been selected for a special event that was taking place at some point. 

Each day passed, and every day for four days I received requests for more information from us to support this event. They asked for specific ages of children who might be able to attend, to provide a bus and driver details,  all sorts of information. A few days before the actual event, I was finally told when the event was and that a group of our students had to be selected and would need to go and practice.   

All this secrecy, only knowing it was a special event but no more, until, last weekend when I found out.   

On Monday, 18th September 2023, children from The British International School Abu Dhabi travelled to the new Airport in Abu Dhabi to take part in the welcome home event for Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s very own astronaut who completed the longest Arab space mission to date.  Our students were part of a very select group that were able to see the astronaut arrive back in the UAE, to see him welcomed by the rulers of the nation and to find out a little about his amazing experience. They had the honour of participating in a historic moment.    

During this event, they saw the rulers of the UAE, listened to the astronaut himself and saw what it's like to be part of something very special. From Sultan Al Neyadi they learned that his mission was simple in essence:

1.Don’t die

2.Don’t kill anyone else (safety and procedures are paramount to keeping everyone safe)

3.Be true to the science  

As a child who wanted to become a fighter pilot, I can only imagine the excitement of such an occasion. It really is a great honour for us to be asked and to be present in such esteemed company.     

I have since been told that we were by far the best behaved and engaged group of students at the event. Our students rose to the occasion and understand that they too were part of something very special. They demonstrated our school values of kindness, honesty and respect. They were great role models, and I am very proud of every single one of them. I am also very grateful to a particular member of staff, one of our Emirati teaching assistants, who gave up many evenings and weekends to go through security checks, to supervise children and to be the one responsible for ensuring all the regulations required were met.    

It's these values that we abide by that hold us in good stead. Just like the mission had 3 very simple objectives, we have 3 very simple values to live up to in our community; kindness, honesty and respect. I am truly grateful to everyone who models this day in, day out.   
Alan Cocker

Associate Principal

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