Changing of the Guard at Oaktree Primary

Promotion for Oaktree's Chris McDermott sees vice-principal Craig Dyche-Nichols become head at the Al Quoz based primary school.
Changing of the Guard at Oaktree Primary
By C Hoppe
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Chris McDermott, founding principal at Oaktree Primary, has announced his promotion to Director of Academics at the Athena Education Group

He will be replaced by Oaktree's current vice-principal, Craig Dyche-Nichols.

McDermott has been with the school since April 2016 and oversaw the launch of the UK curriculum primary school located in Al Quoz, Dubai

McDermott has extensive experience both in the UK and UAE, which includes his three-year tenure at Jumeirah Primary School where the school achieved three Outstanding inspection results.

While his last school in the UK moved from Acceptable to Outstanding in two consecutive inspection results.

Although this will be Craig Dyche-Nichols’ first headship, he does have 16 years’ experience— six of which have been in the UAE.

Dyche-Nichol's told, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for his support during our time of working very closely together at Oaktree. We both arrived in Dubai seven years ago. He has provided the school with great foundations to build on.

My new role as Principal will be a smooth transition... I have been involved in every decision the school has made since before it opened, whether that be related to academics, operations, premises, or HR,’ he continued.

Dyche-Nichols has experience both in management roles (head of middle school and vice-principal roles), and launching new schools, with Oaktree his third new school to date.

"I am delighted that Craig will be the person taking over from me," said McDermott, " I have no doubt that he is the right person for the job." 

"The main aim over the coming months is to build on the work that we have done so far," said Dyche-Nichols. "The needs and welfare of all children will, as they always have been, be put at the forefront of everything we do. I have always set high standards and expectations for those who I work with and this will continue."

"Within the classroom we set very high academic expectations, our learning is challenging, engaging and relevant to our children. Our objective is to allow all children to access the curriculum, allowing them to reach their potential and we plan our lessons to allow children to progress. Our first school inspection will be in 2018 / 19 and preparation for this is ongoing in everything we do in class on a lesson to lesson basis."

The Athena Education Group currently manages three schools in Dubai: Oaktree Primary, Grammar School and Al Sadiq School, plus two pre-schools in Sharjah and a primary school in India. 

McDermott's new role will see him continuing to spend some time at the Oaktree building,  although all principal’s management responsibilities will move to Dyche-Nichols.

"I shall be taking on a new role as Athena’s academics director, looking to develop all the schools within the Athena group. My office will be at Oaktree School, although I shall have no management responsibility at the school, as my responsibilities will relate to the Athena Group as a whole."

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