February 5

EP. 36 – Breaking away from GCSE and A Levels at Dubai English Speaking College w/ Sam Wormald


Sam Wormald was starting to lose passion and interest in teaching music...until she threw out an outdated exam board model and started fresh!

This episode explores Sam's journey as Head of Curriculum for the Performing Arts at Dubai English Speaking College (DESC). It gives us all a new potential option for revitalising our international school music programs through exam board choice. It's not an easy journey but in Sam's case, it's been an extremely successful one!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • the circumstances that led Sam and her team to transition over to RSL Awards Vocational Qualification’s (VQ's) as the main elective music choice at DESC.
  • the incredibly positive outcomes that have come from introducing the RSL Awards VQ’s at DESC.
  • the challenges associated with bringing in this change, including (you guessed it!)...parent backlash!
  • Sam's number one piece of advice for teachers/schools thinking of changing over to the RSL Awards VQ’s from another examination format?
  • how teachers who had previously thought about retiring or changing direction are finding new purpose through delivering these courses.

Sam is such a passionate music educator who walks the talk. She's super positive, but not all sunshine and roses. Sam is real, no nonsense and 'to the point'. 

As we often talk about at MTIIS, international schools are such an exciting space for changing things up, going against the norm and trying new ideas! This episode exemplifies just that. Get into it.


Get in touch with Sam:

If you'd like to reach out to Sam personally, please drop us an email at: contact@mtiis.com and we'll put you in touch.

Links and resources from this episode:

RSL Awards VQ's website: https://www.rslawards.com/schools-colleges/

Patrick from RSL Awards (international schools dude): patrickhealy@rslawards.com

Sam's PowerPoint: Click here to download

RSL Awards feature video about DESC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR4kCjSCPBY

Musical Futures International (resources + training):  https://www.musicalfuturesinternational.org/musicalfuturesinperson.html

This episode is brought to you by the Unviersity of Warwick's new PGCEi iQTS program that now includes the perfect qualification to help music educators prepare to find the position of their dreams in an international school. Learn more here: https://warwick.ac.uk/cte

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A Level, British-style, Curriculum, GCSE