We chat to Karim Murcia, the new principal at GEMS Al Barsha National School for Boys
Tell us about your background?
My career began in 2004, in an outstanding school in London. I was fortunate to gain a Master’s in Teaching from the Institute of Education during this time. I continued my career as Head of Modern Foreign Languages and Senior Leader before becoming Deputy Principal in a newly opened academy, also in London.
I then had the honour of being the founding principal of Eden Girls’ School in the UK, which I led from its opening in 2015. It was a privilege to be part of the school’s vibrant learning community and see the hard work of staff and pupils recognised in May 2018, when the school was judged as outstanding by Ofsted [Office for Standards in Education]. GCSE Results in 2019 gave the school a Progress 8 score of 1.16 and Attainment 8 score of 61.5, both in the top one per cent of schools in the UK.
What attracted you to this school?
I am proud to have joined NSB and am excited about maintaining the school’s drive towards becoming an outstanding school and the flagship educational institution for boys in Dubai. It is extremely exciting to be at the heart of the UAE National Agenda, striving to meet and exceed ambitious targets in international assessments and GCSE examinations, which our Year 11 students will sit for the first time in the summer next year.
What is your vision for the school?
I believe excellence is based upon the unshakeable belief that every student has the capacity to succeed. I want leadership to be distributed throughout the school, with a range of programmes ensuring pupils are able to express their opinions, shape school developments and take on greater social responsibility as they engage with local, national and world events.
What are the big issues across the education sector?
One of the major challenges I have faced as a principal has been related to teacher recruitment. In my new role, I am particularly interested in supporting the wide range of GEMS Education initiatives, such as the Global Teacher Prize and Mariamma Varkey Award, which promote the uniquely important role that teachers perform and their potential for transforming communities.
Where do you look for inspiration?
My colleagues and students inspire me every day. I admire the members of staff who work tirelessly in their respective roles across the school to provide students with the best possible experiences and go above and beyond to improve the life opportunities of learners. I am also continuously moved by the resilience of students who, often against all the odds, work hard to achieve their potential. I have seen students overcome significant socio-economic disadvantages to achieve incredible educational outcomes and become role models for others.