I’m Tracey Francis and I am delighted to write my first article for DCB as the new Head of Early Years.
It is a great honour to have been chosen to lead such a wonderful school and to be a part of the legacy of educational excellence that is synonymous with Dulwich College International. The confidence that the DCB community has placed in me to build on the great things already happening in Early Years is humbling, and a privilege that I will use to ground how I support and direct Early Years as we move forward together.
I am currently the Head of Pre-Prep in a school in Kuwait, a role I have held for three years, and I am responsible for the 3-7 year-old students. Prior to this, I was a Headteacher and a Head of School both in London primary schools that catered for 3-11 year-olds. Most of my career has been in London primary schools; but I worked, for a short spell, in Oman. Additionally, I have been a programme director for summer schools in Cambridge and Ascot in England.
Why did I choose DCB?
Several things attracted me to the role. Foremost, students come first, which is at the heart of all decisions at DCB. I was fortunate to meet the student council. They were full of energy, charming, and inquisitive. I also met some parents who are actively involved and engaged in school life. They are clearly keen to work in partnership with the school. This is a great starting point for any new Head. Furthermore, the staffing team and college leadership are highly skilled, committed, and passionate about providing a timeless education. Inheriting a great team, who are full of ideas and have the capability to make them happen, is appealing. Undeniably, I wanted to be a part of this team! In addition, DCB invests in high-quality resources and facilities to facilitate teaching and an amazing extracurricular offer.
Ultimately, it is a wonderful opportunity for me to work in a phase of education (Early Years) that I am at my happiest, in a well-respected organisation, that is steeped in tradition and has a renowned reputation.
My excitement about joining DCB
Since learning of my appointment, I have experienced a mixture of emotions. Mostly excitement, but also anticipation about the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and everything that that entails. In essence, this is the build-up to my first day in a new school, which we have all experienced and can empathise with. Children will encounter similar feelings as will their families as they embark on one of the most momentous events in a person’s life. The significance of a family’s decision to join the DCB community; to form a relationship of trust with us to effectively nurture the development of their child, will not be taken for granted. My excitement includes a desire to strive for the best for our students, and to work with the community to create something special.
My hopes for the future…
I believe that it is important for people to stretch beyond what is comfortable and challenge themselves to do things that seem just out of reach. With persistence and determination, this is achievable. It is through trying our best and not giving up that we can experience success. It is these successes that help us to build character and the confidence to pursue our dreams and aspirations.
I hope our community will work together to see children as individuals and recognise that diversity builds strength and creativity. We can support the needs of all our students so that they develop holistically. Our community will be formed on firm foundations and positive relationships.
I hope we will instil confidence and a sense of self in our students so that they believe in themselves; encouraging them to demonstrate curiosity and to take risks in their learning. Our provision and care should nurture them. It should enable them to feel safe and secure; healthy and happy.
People make a school unique, and the best schools utilise this strength and are learning communities. A significant impact on children’s development will be the key people around them (staff, peers, parents) modelling the expansion of knowledge and skills and supporting deeper understanding. Equipping our community to authentically represent the school’s values is also vital. I would expect those values to be evident in not only the children’s behaviours, but a part of how their key adults behave and reflected in our Early Years’ systems.
I hope that through rich experiences and interactions our students will demonstrate high engagement and talk enthusiastically about DCB now, but also in the future when they look back fondly at being a part of Dulwich College Beijing.
Virtual onboarding with the Early Years Student Council!
Video credit: Zoe N and Annika M
I look forward to getting to know the DCB community and to hearing from you. We will continue to talk throughout my time at DCB!