Matthew Tompkins, Principal of GEMS FirstPoint School, discusses his educational philosophy and what he hopes the school will achieve moving forward.
Tell us a little about your background how you came to Dubai.
All my school experience prior to moving to Dubai was in Kent, England. I worked at four schools in total, all of them providing excellent development opportunities for me as a leader. Over those 21 years, I was fortunate to work as part of great teams and to learn from excellent colleagues. In my last school in the UK, I worked as part of a tight, cohesive unit that took the school to Ofsted Outstanding in all areas. I left the school and the role of principal at the end of July 2018. Towards the end of the year, I was asked to consider the position of Principal/CEO of GEMS FirstPoint School (FPS) and I accepted with great excitement.
How do you view the role of schools in teaching the next generation?
My philosophy on education is simple, to support every young person to become the best they can be. I work to maximise the opportunities that the people I work with will be given, ensuring that they have the skills and confidence to be able to grasp opportunities and become the best possible version of themselves. This philosophy extends to all of the students and staff I work alongside, and I am passionate about development and continually enhancing exceptional pedagogy.
What do you find challenging about your profession and what do you enjoy about it?
Our profession provides the inspiration and guidance for the people that will shape our world and the futures of generations to come. Our jobs are full of an infinite number of opportunities and challenges. One of the biggest challenges facing us at the moment is the decrease in the number of teachers who are joining and staying in our profession. We need to find ways to better support new teachers to embrace the challenges and find empowerment in the opportunities, as well as harness new technologies to ensure that the skills we teach are relevant and support our students to be successful. The use of these technologies to enhance our teaching will support us to make more efficient use of our teaching time and also improve our own well-being.
What advice would you give a parent faced with the task of selecting a school for their child?
Having been through this process myself with both of my daughters, I would suggest that as parents you make a list of all the qualities you want from your child’s school before you start your search. Research the schools you are interested in, in relation to your own criteria. Make a shortlist of all the schools you are interested in and visit them during their working day. Look at children’s faces and talk to them about their experiences at the school. You will know the school that is right for your child once you visit.
What are your goals at FPS and how are you planning to achieve them? FPS has incredible, students, staff and parents who deserve an outstanding school, that is what we will achieve on their behalf.
There are five areas that will underpin the school’s development and define its personality:
- Family First
Our family is made up of teachers, parents, pupils, friends and specialist industry partners. We provide our learners with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an ever-changing digital world and ensure that the appropriate support and training is facilitated for our wider family members as we all adapt to the evolving demands of the 21st century and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Happy, Engaged, Inquisitive Learners
We provide our learners with the courage and confidence to push and exceed traditional expectations, ensuring they develop into well-rounded individuals who will succeed in the future world of work. Our learners are inquisitive, innovative, creative, collaborative, critical thinkers, and exceptional communicators.
- Cutting-edge Digital Innovation
Our learners have direct access to some of the biggest corporations in the world through FPS’s close relationship with these organisations. Learners are immersed in the most innovative technology, allowing them to enter employment as digital leaders from day one.
- Individualised Learning Journey
All learners are pushed and stretched through our mastery approach, while working at a pace that suits each individual. We listen and work collaboratively with all parties, including the learner. FPS blends traditional and industry standard qualifications in order to maximise learner outcomes, making some of the most attractive graduates when they reach the point of employment.
- Infinite Opportunities
We ensure our learners have unique learning experiences, which allow them to flourish socially, emotionally and academically so every learner reaches new heights.