Meet The New Head of Kent College Dubai

Anthony Cashin comes with 22 years’ of teaching and senior leadership experience, in Australia, Japan, Denmark, Thailand, Oman and the UAE. He replaced the venerable Patrick Lee-Browne from the start of the academic year.
Meet The New Head of Kent College Dubai
By Veathika
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Anthony Cashin is the new head of Kent College Dubai, who stepped into the sizable boots of Patrick Lee-Browne for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Mr. Cashin does come with pedigree of his own, having been in the UAE for eight years and in the Middle East for eleven. He comes to Kent College from GEMS Metropole, prior to which he was the Foundation Director at Ajman Academy.

His previous work life took him to Australia, Japan, Thailand and Oman.

Passionate about education, we find out Anthony’s plans for his latest role in the largest private school market in the world, Dubai…

You have more than two decades of teaching and leadership experience, much of that in the UAE. How has the emirate evolved during your time here?

The growth of schools is indicative of the economy and with the rise and fall of economy, so we see schools expanding or contracting in terms of school numbers.

Right now we are in a buyers market where parents have a range of schools they can choose from. Parents have become more aware of their options - be it the location, what they want their children to do as their after school options, the unique selling points that each school offers. They are very much in the pilot seat now. I guess that is a defining reality for the city right now.

At Kent College, we are a premium school and in this very difficult market we have done extremely well. We have seen the number of students rise by 25% this year over last. This in a challenging market: I know there are some new schools and existing schools that are struggling with numbers.

What do you enjoy teaching and would you be in a classroom at Kent?

I have been teaching and working internationally for the last 22 years and in that time I have taught primary, then moved on to secondary school where I taught business and economics. I have also taught FS2 and in university.

Dubai is clearly entrepreneurial as a city, and one of the most popular subjects at GCSE and A Level is business. Interest is so strong we may even need another class! Time permitting I would love to dive into that and help. Business and entrepreneurship is a very exciting part of living in this part of the world.

What do you think Kent needs from its principal?

As a new head you have got to be pretty understanding as to what’s happened before; you have to get to know the parents, and you need to delve into the vision and mission of the school, which was formulated prior to you being there.

At this stage of Kent's life we have 800 children. Parents and the students have bought into where we going as a school. Parents also want to have a say as to where we go from here however, and I think it is important the head is listening.

I also think its important that we continue to build on our growth, when we look to offering additional extra curricular activities or at our curriculum offering at iGCSE or A Levels.

We need to take into consideration of what our students want from the school.

Finally, in this competitive market the principal needs to be aware of what peers are doing, to be flexible enough to correct a course, or even take a new direction in a short amount of time.

What will your priorities be?

There a few things that I would like to change but I believe it has to be a part of the shared vision.

Our connection with Kent College in Canterbury needs to be taken into consideration as well.

I will not make decisions alone. I want us to deliver a shared vision in order to ensure that our parents are happy with our progress.

That all sounds very collegiate... What’s your leadership style?

I took the hinges off my office door. I want it open.

The reality of being truly open door is that the people have the opportunity to come in and say hello should they pass. Communication and opening up dialogue with parents, students and staff is vital. 

I am going to be doing a lot of walking to make sure I can speak to everyone.

What are the school’s strengths you will be building on?

We are in a growth stage and our primary classes are filling well. Now we need to build on that.

As we push through IGCSE key stage curriculum 3 and then on to A' Levels, it is really important to continue to listen to parents as to what the children want to do when they leave us.

We need to see career paths for our students as they hit Year 6 and 7. Most parents want their children to go to universities and a degree is clearly important for most careers.

Above all we need to continue to identify their chosen pathways of our students, to continue to develop our curriculum, be flexible and to recruit the right staff to offer the right subjects at the right time as we move forward.

That will be the key to our continued success...

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