Abu Dhabi (UAE) – Aspen Heights British School, part of the International School Partnership (ISP), hosted the BSME (British Schools in the Middle East) Wellbeing Conference 2024. 

The BSME Wellbeing Conference 2024 aimed to provide a dynamic platform for educators to delve into the critical aspects of designing education systems that prioritise the holistic wellbeing of students.

The event attended by Educators, administrators, and professionals from the educational sector, featured distinguished keynote speakers, including Matthew Savage, founder of The Mona Lisa Effect, who presented "Warm Streets: An Argument for Holism," and Andrea Downie, founder of Project Thrive, addressing "Designing Thriving Education Systems: Wellbeing to Wholebeing."

The lineup of other speakers comprised of accomplished professionals such as Dr Lene Rensburg, Head of Wellbeing at Brighton College Dubai; Jamie O'Dowd, Assistant Head of Senior School at St. Christopher's School Bahrain; Yuki Gong from Wellington College International; Amy Carroll and Hayley Lamb from Ranches Primary School. Each speaker shared their expertise and insights, contributing to the ongoing dialogue of how to create educational systems that empower students to thrive not only academically but also emotionally and socially.

Emma Shanahan, Principal of Aspen Heights British School, shared her excitement of hosting the conference. She said: "Aspen Heights British School is honoured to have hosted the BSME Wellbeing Conference 2024. When we opened in 2017, we aimed to create a learning community that truly cared for all our members - children, staff and families. As the BSME Network Lead school for Wellbeing we are committed to prioritising the wellbeing of our community. We view wellbeing an essential pre-requisite for effective learning and personal growth. This conference aligned with our commitment to excellence in education and the holistic development of our students."

Beyond presentations, the conference agenda included interactive workshops and sessions that equipped attendees with practical tools and strategies to enhance the wellbeing aspects of their schools. BSME’s conference sponsor, Komodo Wellbeing, was also in attendance and delivered a workshop with Safa Community School. The workshop highlighted the recent successes of their partnership together and how Komodo has transformed the school’s wellbeing journey. 

There was also a panel discussion whereby Redah Khan, a School Counsellor from Aspen Heights British School, was a key contributor in discussing how cultural context and cultural sensitivity tie into wellbeing. The conference also offered multiple networking opportunities with BSME’s Partners, fostering collaboration and the exchange of best practices among delegates, speakers and leading educational consultants. 

Redah Khan, Counsellor at Aspen Heights British School, shared this about her experience: “I feel grateful to have been invited to be part of such a crucial panel discussion alongside Andrea Downie and Matthew Savage. Our discussions emphasized embracing diversity and acknowledging the unique experiences of Third-Culture Kids in transient and transnational settings. We spoke about the significance of connectedness and fostering a sense of belonging through shared student experiences, expanding opportunities for experiential learning and ensuring representation in program leadership.”

Aspen Heights British School, located in Al Bahya, Abu Dhabi, is a high-quality, ambitious British International School with a focus on outstanding progress for all, engagement with the community and environmental sustainability. The school offers the National Curriculum for England until Year 11, and, following their authorisation as an IB World School, the IBDP for Year 12 and above.

Some of the learning environments within the school include: a hydroponics greenhouse, animal caring and learning areas, bespoke playgrounds, an ICT suite, an Astro pitch, a 25m pool, a multi-sports court and a dance studio.

Aspen Heights British School is part of International Schools Partnership, a global group of international schools. For more information about the school visit https://ahbs.ae/

About International Schools Partnership:

The International Schools Partnership (ISP) is a growing group of international private schools around the world, all of which aim to be the school of choice in their local area. Learning is at the heart of everything we do for our students, colleagues and parents. We are committed to getting better, all the time.

ISP was founded by an experienced team of committed educationalists and operators who have worked together over many years. ISP have now expanded to over 75 schools delivering multiple curricula and building on local brands and reputations with around 65,000 students and 9,000 staff located across 21 countries.

For more information, please visit  www.internationalschoolspartnership.com

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Janine Alamir