Unlocking potential: The art of selecting the right school for your child

Unlocking potential: The art of selecting the right school for your child

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

In the journey of parenthood, few decisions carry as much weight as choosing the best school for your child. This pivotal choice can shape their future in profound ways. In this article, Doha’s internationally award-winning Principal, Mr Mike Seaton, enlightens us on the crucial role that top-quality teaching plays in getting it right for our nearest and dearest.


Over the course of my career, I have worked with hundreds of different teachers from across three continents and of many nationalities. It is fair to say that I have experienced the full range of quality: from those who lack engagement and would have been better placed finding a different profession, to those who are so exceptional that they are revered by pupils, parents and colleagues alike.

To the unstudied eye, truly exceptional teachers appear to be somewhat idiosyncratic in their approach: rooted in the force of their respective personalities, utterly charismatic and impossible to copy. When one looks deeper, however, these individuals embody shared traits that, in our recruitment of teachers for my school, King’s College Doha, are placed at the heart of our selection criteria.

First, and almost unfailingly, the finest teachers set unremittingly high standards: both for themselves and others. This means that they never accept mediocre work from pupils and are highly self-critical of their own performance. This drives high performance and manifests itself through the precise use of classroom dialogue, the inherent challenge in lessons and, most palpably of all, the use of language that is infused with a sense of urgency and drive: not a second of class time is wasted! 

Such traits are embodied in a range of our teachers at King’s College Doha, such as Mr Samuel Mott, who was recently given the prestigious award of Coach of the Year by the globally revered World Scholar’s Cup competition. Mr Mott has achieved outstanding outcomes for gifted and talented pupils at King’s, with over 100 of our pupils participating in the World Scholar’s Cup last year, some 14% of our student body, and four of our teams of pupils qualifying for the Tournament of Champions at Yale University. 

The British independent school system upon which King’s College Doha is modelled is, of course, very highly regarded for its unrelenting approach to the pursuit of the highest standards for pupils. At King’s, we want our pupils to aspire to achieve above and beyond expectation, whilst going further still: developing a true joy in going to school with the support of mentors who will be every bit as excited to support the child in a football fixture or orchestral rehearsal as they are in the classroom.  

This brings to mind a further trait of world-class teaching for which British independent school educators are particularly revered: outstanding pupil-teacher relationships that supersede the love of an academic subject in changing lives and inspiring futures. 

In their education of ‘the whole child’, the very finest teachers nurture these relationships with the same level of heightened ambition with which they extol the virtues of accomplished grammar, sound algebra or keen musicianship in their schools. In doing so, they create an environment in which learning always thrives and yet the pupil-teacher relationship is palpably warm, friendly and trusting. There is genuine mutual respect – even joy in one another’s company – yet no argument is broached about expected standards of behaviour. 

King’s College Doha is completely unique in Doha in offering an Electives programme that is built into each school day, meaning that every single child participates in a plethora of ‘beyond-the-classroom’ activities that are simply optional after-school extras in other schools. As a result, our recruitment of teachers is underpinned by a commitment to developing the human qualities of children with the same vigour that they are educated in the classroom.

A large proportion of our expatriate teaching staff have experienced this holistic approach to education in leading British independent schools, with teachers such as Mr Jonathan Arscott (Head of Sixth Form), Mr Aaran Donlevy (Head of Middle School) and Mrs Sinead Grennan (Head of Pre-Prep) all having joined King’s from outstanding British independent schools in which positive and life-changing pupil-teacher relationships abound. In the case of Mr Arscott and Ms Grennan, a wholehearted commitment to nurturing such relationships has never been at the expense of driving the highest possible standards for their pupils. After all, they were themselves educated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities respectively.  

A further quality of truly exceptional teachers is, of course, the ability to explain complex concepts in ways that make perfect sense to their audience of pupils, asking precise questions, providing a gentle pace to lesson time and providing crystal clear feedback in a manner that makes the learning process appear seamless and limitless in its possibilities. King’s Doha is delighted to have recently appointed Mrs Yasmin Jan to our Mathematics Department, as she is such an individual. Indeed, such is her talent for making the apparently intangible tangible that she previously worked as a global Mathematics teaching advisor for one of the leading school groups in the world. 

And so, in short, one must consider a school – and teachers – that provide an education in how to live and how to achieve. Having been fortunate to have recruited teachers at King’s College Doha who are every bit as passionate about developing people as they are scholars, I am immensely excited to be introducing this talented team to our new families next month. 

Mr Mike Seaton, Principal of King’s College Doha, is an award-winning international educator who has previously served as Director of Education (UK) for a global schools group and as Headmaster at Huddersfield Grammar School, at which he won the 2010 Independent Schools Association ‘Best Schools Award’.

This is an enormously exciting time to be part of King’s College Doha’s school community, as it builds a first-rate education that is befitting of its famous sister school in England, King’s College UK. 

For further information, to apply, arrange a tour or to simply speak with a member of the friendly admissions team at King’s, please call 4496 5888, WhatsApp 6006 2023, email admissions@kingscollegedoha.com or visit their website now! You can also find King’s College on website now! You can also find King's College on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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