Michelle has a BA (Hons) in History and South Asian Studies from North London University and PGCE from Middlesex University. She began teaching across all three primary key stages. Michelle began her school leadership career in 2002, when she became the Deputy Head Teacher of a large primary school in North London and spent four wonderful years there before relocating to India in 2005.
Her first international position was the Head of Primary of a local/international school in Bangalore in Southern India, where she introduced the Cambridge International Primary Programme and Checkpoint. Michelle then spent 6 years in China and 3 years in Ethiopia developing curriculum and assessment practices.
Michelle believes that children learn best when they are having fun and are engaged in practical, real life activities. While she recognises that outstanding academic achievement is the ultimate goal, she feels it is just as important to build self-esteem, instill character and encourage a global outlook in every child. Michelle believes that learning transcends the classroom environment and is passionate about educational visits and extra-curricular experiences.
Michelle is married with four children - Ana, Hindya, Bille and Markos. The Dickinson family have a sense of adventure and love of life. They particularly enjoy the outdoors, family holidays, making friends, good weather, camping and exploring and are delighted to be at OWIS.
Many of us hold the erroneous notion that education must either be affordable or excellent. Despite this widespread belief, very expensive schools can under perform, just as schools with reasonable rates can maintain the highest standards and receive the highest scores on international tests … all while remaining affordable for parents.
Our families, even those with multiple children, find One World International School (OWIS) to be more than worth it. Not only do we impart to our students a first-class multicultural education, we focus on systems and excellence of teaching. We also put emphasis on a unique fee structure and centralised administration, resulting in a well-run school that gives parents the flexibility to choose where to put their money.
At OWIS, we work hard to implement the best systems, saving parents from paying high tuition costs. At some private schools, payment handling, HR management and administrative services can easily become disorganised and bureaucratic, taking on a life of their own. We avoid that by maintaining firm structures surrounding discipline, payments, employment and more. The streamlined efficiency that results keeps OWIS competitive and affordable for parents from a wide range of backgrounds. Our administration staff are extremely supportive and friendly and are always available for parents to go to for advice or information. They will always do their best to manage a situation, while giving a range of options for any situation which arises. The staff at OWIS always put their parents’ families at the heart of the school.
We know that parents have different beliefs about what constitutes an important subject or activity for their children. That’s why we separate fees for core curriculum from non-compulsory activities. That way, everyone is paying for core classes such as physical education, for example, but you only pay for additional soccer if you want to.
In other schools, fees are all bundled together so that you’re paying for activities whether or not you will actually be putting your children into them. This can be doubly expensive if you’re taking your children somewhere else for an activity not offered at the school, but still have to be paying for unused activities that occur during the same time slot. We avoid that with compartmentalised fees that allow you to design the education you want for your child or children. This means that the experience students and parents have while at OWIS is a personalised one. This helps to ensure all students are able to partake in whatever hobbies and extracurricular activities they have an interest in, without financial strain being in place.
One of the biggest overhead costs at private schools (and schools in general) is teacher turnover. Not only is it a serious time suck to find, hire and inculcate new teachers, but each lost employee represents the lost value of their training and tenure at the school. While this might seem like an impossible situation to avoid – and we can’t always – we fight hard against it here at OWIS.
There’s another way: By being one of the very best schools to work for in the area, we can find and hire excellent teachers who want to stay with us over the long haul. While it’s impractical to believe there will never be turnover, we have successfully reduced it at our school. We support our teachers, some of whom may have travelled across the world to work with us, and ensure that they feel constantly valued. We also strive to integrate teachers into decisions and processes within the school. We enjoy learning from their experiences and bringing those unique experiences into our classrooms.
Running a private school brings with it many challenges. Private schools tend to be small, without the large support networks of public schools. The myriad tasks that go into running an educational facility – procuring materials, hiring good teachers, maintaining buildings and grounds, handling payments, communicating with parents, and so on – can quickly become overwhelming for standalone schools. As a result, they feel they must bring on additional staff and implement additional systems, both of which increase expenses for the school.
Here at OWIS, we neatly avoid that by leveraging the scale offered by the Global Schools Foundation (GSF), to which we belong. While we are a self-managed private school, we are able to make use of the administrative systems offered by GSF, which means we can utilise shared services that lower costs. This in no way is detrimental to the running of OWIS, and in fact, allows us to ensure that we are always ahead of the game. It does, however, mean that we are able to make the final decisions that are in the best interest for our school.
At OWIS – unlike at some other schools – you can trust that “private” does not equate to “unreasonably expensive.” We ensure that the school is accessible to all, and we make sure that families can build the education experience that is right for their children. We make our education affordable while not scrimping on any aspects from core- curriculum, to extra-curricular activities, the school environment to opportunities outside of the classroom.