From 250 to 2,300: How I hope to turn Oryx International into a 5-star school

In August, UK Headteacher, Derek Laidlaw moved to Qatar to take up the position of Executive Principal at Oryx International School in Mesaimeer, 25 kilometres from the centre of Doha. TIC helped Derek to find his new position and we recently spoke to him about his new role and aspirations for the school:

“Oryx International School is unlike any school I’ve worked at previously. The new campus, that opened this academic year, has a world-class set of facilities, including sports and arts facilities, an auditorium, and very creatively designed outdoor playing areas. These resources have been provided for the entire school, even though the new campus has opened with less than half capacity. The staffing levels are also excellent.

New campus, new challenges

We only serve Qatar Airways (QA) families, so our marketing is very targeted. Although the staff at QA can choose alternative schools in Doha, we’ve already attracted over 600 students. We have over 45 nationalities at the school, reflecting QA’s worldwide recruitment policy. Qatar in general is very diverse; although there are less Westerners than there used to be, other nationalities are filling the void.

This role will certainly challenge me as a Head, and I am joining the school at a particularly exciting time. The school was previously a small Primary with just over 250 children. The new campus will eventually hold over 2,300 students in Primary and Secondary, so the whole ethos and feel of the school will be very different. We aim, like the airline, to become a 5-star school in every sense of the term. I’d like the school to become a world class leader in the fields of technology and the arts.

Nice work TIC!

Without TIC’s involvement and support I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. The whole process was immaculately handled by Amy from start to finish, and post-appointment; exemplary practice!”

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