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Simon O’Connor

Director; Chief Education Officer; Board Member - Deira International School; Al-Futtaim Education Foundation; COBIS (Council of British International Schools)

Simon O’Connor is the Director of Deira International School with oversight over both the primary and secondary schools. He also works across the Al Futtaim Education Foundation. Simon has over 25 years of experience in education and joined Deira International School in August of 2020. Prior to this he was Principal of Jumeirah College, an outstanding school in Dubai, since 2013.

Simon is passionate about learning and ensuring all students are challenged in lessons in order for them to achieve their full potential. He strongly believes that if this is to be achieved students should be happy at school, and therefore the wellbeing of community must be a key focus for all.

Prior to moving to the UAE, Simon taught History and Politics for over 20 years in a variety of different school contexts. In his last role in the UK, Simon worked as a school leader in a very successful grammar school in Kent. His role there was curriculum lead and was also responsible for the management of a teaching school and working across an academy chain of schools which he helped to found.

Simon’s key education interests are teaching and learning, curriculum design and assessment, and leadership models across schools. Within this context, he worked as an Associate with High Performance Learning and led their programmes across ten GEMS schools. Simon is also very keen to develop the wider student experience, and this was the motivation for a recent link with ArtsEd theatre school.

As a student Simon studied for a BA in History and Philosophy at the University of Wales, College of Cardiff where he was a choral scholar at Llandaff Cathedral. He then studied for a PGCE at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was also a choral scholar. Simon also holds a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership, and a National Professional Qualification for Headship. He is currently studying for Doctorate with the University of Buckingham, researching the impact of a focus on organisational culture in international schools.