• This is only the sixth principal to be appointed in the school’s 30-year history

The English College, Dubai has announced that after a 40-year career as an educator, Mark Ford, the Principal, will be retiring at the end of this academic year, in August. The current Head of Secondary, Emily Hopkinson, has been appointed to take over the role.

During his five-year tenure as Principal of The English College, Mr. Ford drove the school to receive its first ‘Very Good’ KHDA / DSIB rating, after ten years of ‘Good’ ratings. The last BSO accreditation inspection also rated each area of the school as ‘Outstanding’.

On his retirement, Mr. Ford said: “It has been a privilege to be a part of the growth the school has seen over the last five years, and of course, there is a huge sense of pride at our school receiving its first ‘Very Good’ rating. We have witnessed multiple expansion projects and have seen our student outcomes get better year on year.

“The decision to retire has not been an easy one and has been made after a lot of consideration. I, of course, wanted to ensure the new Principal would be able to take the school through its next phase of growth. Mrs Hopkinson has led the Secondary School to its best ever set of examination results at both GCSE and A level, and its best Progress Test results at Key Stage 3. I am excited to see the school thrive further under her leadership.”

Mr. Ford will continue to keep a strong connection with the school as he takes on a role as a member of the Board of Governors. 

On behalf of Hasheem Group and International Schools Partnership, the owners of the school, Mr. Bilbo Perrot, Managing Director of Hasheem Group, said: “Over the last five years, we have seen The English College double in size, with academic standards improving year on year.  This along with the improved ratings in many accreditations, have been a direct result of the hard work that Mr. Ford and the Senior Leadership Team have put in over the years.

As only the sixth principal appointed in the school’s 30-year history, we are confident that Mrs Hopkinson will continue the great work Mr. Ford has put into ensuring that The English College be known as a school for excellence in education.”

Mrs Hopkinson has been Head of Secondary at The English College since 2020. She is originally from Yorkshire in the UK and has enjoyed an illustrious global career in education spanning 19 years in the UK, Malaysia, and the UAE.

She says: “During my time as Head of Secondary, I have focused on several important things; building strong relationships across the school, developing policies and processes to ensure clarity and consistency and investing heavily in the professional development of teachers and leaders. I will continue to focus on these in my new role to ensure that English College students have the best possible learning experience and thrive under my care. 

“Having worked with Mr. Ford over the last seven years, news of his retirement is bittersweet. I am excited about the new role I am taking on and am truly thankful for the guidance and teaching that he has provided over the years. I am glad that he will continue to be a source of support for the entire school in his role as a member on the Board of Governors.”

The English College, Dubai, was established in 1992 and has become one of the most respected and highly sought-after British schools in Dubai and beyond. With over 70 different nationalities, the school provides a British Curriculum to students from FS1 to Year 13. The school offers examinations set by Pearson Edexcel, AQA and Oxford International AQA Examinations.

The English College has a very strong reputation built on its pursuit of continuous learning and high academic standards. The school is a British Schools Middle East (BSME) member and was recently rated ‘Very Good’ by the local regulatory authority in Dubai.

Located in the heart of Dubai, The English College proudly stands by its strong heritage, traditions and values, while constantly looking forward, seeking to innovate and improve at every age and stage for every child. High-quality teaching and learning and the very best pastoral care and extra-curricular provision lie at the heart of English College.

For more details, please visit www.englishcollege.ac.ae    

About International Schools Partnership: 

Moved by curiosity and empowered by self-confidence, students from ISP Schools thrive throughout their lifetime.  

International Schools Partnership (ISP) is a global community of 81 international schools across 22 countries. We champion a transformative approach to learning that goes beyond the classroom. By igniting our students' curiosity and growing their self-confidence, we empower them to become the next generation of changemakers. 

Our unique approach to learning recognises our students as collaborators in the learning process. We focus on developing the knowledge and lifelong skills that help them thrive beyond their time at school.  ISP students benefit from teaching excellence, international opportunities, and careers guidance. Our schools have access to a global network of experts and our teachers and leaders are supported to continuously improve through extensive professional development programmes.  

ISP. Where confidence grows.  


Established in 1992, The English College is a non-selective, world-class British curriculum all-through school in Dubai - catering for students from FS 1 to Year 13.

We are an inclusive school, and our students come from more than 70 countries across the world. We strive to make all our learners feel welcome, accepted, safe and valued.

Our DSIB-rated ”Outstanding” pastoral care, personal and social development ensure every child is valued as an individual and encouraged to bring their own uniqueness to our family-orientated community school.

Our British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection report states: ‘The quality of education provided by The English College is outstanding.’

This means The English College is now one of fewer than 200 elite British curriculum schools globally to be recognised by BSO.

We are very proud of our strong heritage, traditions and values and are constantly looking forward, seeking to innovate and improve at every age and stage for every pupil. High-quality teaching and learning and the very best pastoral care and extra-curricular provision lie at the heart of The English College. 

Most importantly, we are a happy school with a great spirit and a sense that anything and everything is possible. 

Our Core Purpose

To inspire confident and passionate learners who will thrive and make a difference.

Our Vision

We encourage students to always try their best and aspire to excellence. We strive to develop lifelong learners who flourish in all they do and embrace, with passion and confidence, their responsibility to support others and make a difference both locally and globally.

Our Values

  • Aspiration
  • Gratitude
  • Integrity
  • Resilience
  • Respect

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Media contact
Ananda Shakespeare
Shakespeare Communications