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Fiona Cottam

Chief Academic Officer, Sobha Group and Principal - Hartland International School, Dubai

Fiona is a graduate of University College Dublin and majored in Classical Music and English and has a Higher Diploma in Education, a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and holds the NPQH qualification. After university, she went to England to teach and in 2006 she became Headteacher at Wilmington Grammar School for Boys near Dartford.

In 2009, she and her family moved to Dubai where she joined Jumeirah College as Principal and CEO and she led the school to “Outstanding” status in the DSIB inspection of 2010. Following that, Fiona held a number of senior roles in GEMS including Director of Schools and Senior Vice President New Schools.

Fiona joined Hartland International School in 2016 after a successful tenure at GEMS Education and under her leadership, Hartland received a “Good” judgement in its first DSIB inspection of 2017, the highest rating that any new school has ever achieved in the city. The school was judged to be a “Very Good” in the latest inspection of 2019.

Fiona sits on the executive committee as a board member of COBIS – the Council of British International Schools representing over over 245 Member Schools in 79 countries and over 150 Supporting Associate organisations. As well as the COBIS Board, Fiona sits on the Executive Committee of the Irish Business Network Dubai, chairs the network group on Safeguarding for The British Schools in the Middle East (BSME) and is a member of the Accountability sub committee for the  International Task Force on Child Protection. She is a guest speaker on the MSc in Leadership for Woman at The Royal College of Surgeons, Dubai and sits on the schools advisory group at The University of Birmingham, Dubai. Fiona is also a trained facilitator for both the NPQML and the NPQSL.

Passionate about travelling, reading, music of every genre and all things Irish, Fiona is an avid rugby fan and a very poor golfer.