Graduated from Aston University (BSc Mathematics), Birmingham, U.K. PGCE Mathematics (CBCE Birmingham).
Taught at Tividale Comprehensive school, West Midlands, Birmingham.
 29 years at Dubai College!!!!
 



Dubai College and Dubai  have been all about most of my life.
I arrived in this wonderful city in 1982 as a Mathematics teacher, having taught in Birmingham, U.K.
As many Alumni know, I became Head of  Mathematics in 1987.
I finally decided it was time to semi-retire/take a year off and do some of the things that I have not been able to do!
As you can see I have acquired some of the skills needed to design my first web page/website.
Below is an article that was published in the 2011Shamal. A big thank you to Graham Penson for his efforts in producing this article.
 He has been a very good friend throughout the many years that we worked together at DC.

Half a lifetime! An interview with a DC legend.

 What are your early memories of DC?

 I arrived in 1982 as part of a group of eight new members of staff that included Eric Parton. Having opened in two villas in Jumeirah four years previously, the school had moved to its present location less than three years before I arrived and I remember on first sight thinking that it was literally ‘in the middle of nowhere’. In my first year everything was in a constant state of change; new buildings, new staff and a growing number of children and of course it was hot and humid - a little different to Birmingham.

 As was traditional in those days the school’s first Bursar, Tony Foulger, housed new staff in the Chicago Beach Hotel (the site of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel).  I admit that returning each evening to the comfort of a hotel was somewhat confusing as I wasn’t quite certain if I was at work or on holiday.

 Many things were very different from today.  By comparison the facilities were ‘spartan’; no purpose built teaching rooms, indoor PE space or playing fields. Every whole school event was held in ‘C’ block courtyard including school assemblies, music concerts and drama productions. My abiding memory of those first years of teaching at Dubai College is the sense of ‘family’ that existed. Students, staff and parents relied upon creating activities and organizing events for themselves - it was fun. It seemed that everyone was involved in so many aspects of school life. My first contribution was to organize a programme of staff versus student events and it quickly became an integral art of social programme.

 The student body represented a whole range of cultures and for a young teacher it was refreshing to witness just how much they enjoyed each other’s differences.  This remains as true today as it was then and is something that I have always thought makes us stand out as a school.
 

What moments in your 29 years at the College stand out?

 
There are far too many to mention but a few standouts in no particular order are:

  • Being part of the first ever Doha sports exchange
  • My early involvement with the FDC as social secretary and treasurer
  • Organising the first prize giving ceremony in ‘C’ block courtyard
  • Being involved with the DC alumni
  • Playing alongside some of the great football legends including the late George Best, Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks, Kevin Keegan and Pat Jennings
  • Reaching the final of the Metropolitan seven a side football tournament with a joint staff/student team – great side(even with Penson in it)!
  • Being auditioned by Cirque du Soleil as a ‘glass balancer’
  • My baby – the Maths’ Olympiad
  • Going to the first ever ECIS Maths competition in Istanbul
  • Winning the ISMTF Maths’ competition with Kabir Tourani in Paris was really special
  • Starting off the self defence and girls’ football activities
  • Becoming the first chairperson of the Charities’ committee
  • Leading a world class department


What stands out as memorable outside of your role within the College?

Much of one’s social life, particularly in the early days, was inextricably linked with the College.  I look back fondly on the regular trips to the East Coast (we used a College bus), the legendary Friday BBQs and the early morning discussions outside Golden Sands with Mr. Penson as to who was the superior footballer. I fondly remember many social occasions, none more than Gordon Hardman's sophisticated soires in his old Sheikh Rashid villa. For several years I was very involved in karate and my instructor Glen Haslam became a close friend. In more recent times I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with the Dubai horse racing scene shared with Adrain and Alison Parry and I look forward to having a little more time to enjoy it.

 
At the very heart of my experience in Dubai have been the friendships I have made. I have been fortunate enough to work alongside some truly wonderful teachers and can count many as close friends. When I arrived so many of the staff were of a similar age and I soon found a close bond with some ‘DC greats’ like Tony Ball, Peter Lee, Ian Brooks, the late Pat McNally and the ageless Mark Donovan.  My contact with parents also led to great friendships with the likes of the Sutton family and Laurraine and Richard Gwilliam. The Abulhoul family also played a part in my life and it was wonderful to see Isobel and Mansour at the recent Founder's Day ceremony. In 1985 as the College roll grew, a new cohort of staff arrived that included ‘Penson’, Fuad Anzarouti, Paul Rivers and a young lady named Bernie O’Connor. They were soon followed by the ‘Jones’(Ian, Nick and Irma) and Martyn Gulliford. All of these people have had a tremendous impact on my life.

 
I have worked with five headmasters and two bursars in my 29 years, a statistic which is testament to the College’s stability throughout the years.  Tom Jackson my first Headmaster was a mischievous classics scholar. His successor Harry Deelman brought with him a sense of ‘internationalism’ as the school was re-structured. The longest serving Headmaster Eric Parton was a good friend and colleague who taught me a great deal. Working with Carlo Ferrario and Peter Hill has shown me that Dubai College needs to change and I am reassured to know that Mr. Hill is giving the College a wonderful sense of direction.

 

Two DC stalwarts Tony Foulger and Captain Higgins both gave me support when I needed it and have helped to make my time at DC so comfortable as well as fulfilling. Some of the longer serving Board members have also been a source of support. I had the pleasure of teaching the Chairman’s son Yusr Sultan and my friendship with Edward Quinlan goes back to the very early days of the school. I earlier mentioned that I have worked with some very fine teachers, none more so than Maggie Easton Corke and Graham Altham Lewis (double barreled names – must be something about the maths’ department!)  Both Maggie and Graham were superb teachers and were responsible for making me a better one!

 

 How would you sum things up?

Dubai College has been more than a job. It’s been a true life experience. I am sure that everyone who has been connected to the place will have found something from being so. 29 years of teaching Dubai College students has been a privilege. The school exists for them and almost all make the very most of their experience.

 I am remaining in Dubai for the foreseeable future so I won’t be breaking ties entirely and I shall in true Lakiss style be doing ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’.

 To everyone past and present I send much love and affection. God bless you all.

 

footballlegendsandhl
George Best, Gordon Banks, Bobby Moore, in Dubai in 1982_83 when I helped George to coach local kids

 

 

 

 


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