The importance of building a sense of community

Scott Carnochan, Head Master at Brighton College Al Ain

As I look towards the new academic year and my first full academic year as Head Master of Brighton College Al Ain, I do so with much excitement and anticipation of what the new year will bring. As part of this exercise, I have been reflecting upon my first term in Al Ain and what it is that sets Brighton College Al Ain apart. 

Whilst, of course, there are many similarities between schools such as academic excellence, breadth of curriculum and extracurricular offerings, I wonder how many genuinely deliver on their promises? I have worked in a number of schools around the world and have had the pleasure of being Head Master in three schools in the United Kingdom, each with a different approach to education, but with two common threads; academic excellence and community. Each school was academically aspirational for every child and successful in their aspiration as a result of its people – that being its community of pupils, parents and staff. 

It is safe to say, when the school community is in tune and shares a common goal, so too do the children within that community. Schools with thriving communities feel different. They are a positive, happy and aspirational atmosphere filled with compassionate problem solvers and risk takers, and Brighton College Al Ain certainly displays all of these traits. It came as no surprise to me on my arrival at the school earlier this year that I witnessed children achieving amazing things, both inside and outside the classroom, which I believe to be a result of the fantastic culture in which they learn and play. We could call this the Brighton College Al Ain culture but I prefer the word community. A community is somewhere that respects and wishes to care for everyone involved, it is something to which we all belong. A community laughs together and plays together – it isn’t tense or inhibited. 

Everything we do at Brighton College Al Ain is so children can find their voices and so they can possess and express themselves with confidence and support one another with joy. We also help children to understand that they are part of something larger, and never before in modern times has this been so vital.

TS Eliot said, “What life have you, if you have not life together? There is no life that is not in community”, and I think he was right. It is a human need as old as time to want to be part of a community and to feel a sense of belonging. 

I have witnessed first-hand how our pupils have identified solutions to the challenges they have most recently faced and demonstrated a deep desire to make the most of every opportunity available. I am in no doubt that our pupils will enter life beyond Brighton College Al Ain having not only achieved academically but also with a deep desire to make a positive difference to others. The youngsters of today are often maligned in the media, and with little justification, but I believe that if they could meet our young men and women they would see that our world is in safe hands.

Central to the brilliance and wonder of any community is its people and Brighton College Al Ain is no different. From our staff to our pupils and parents, I am surrounded by passionate, thoughtful and creative people who are endlessly ambitious for this school. I am incredibly proud to be able to lead a team of teachers who so skilfully and passionately guide and support our pupils through the challenges that school can present. To witness happy, confident, compassionate, hard-working pupils around school demonstrates to me that my colleagues provide an environment and community in which our pupils feel safe to take risks, to challenge themselves and each other, and to fulfil their potential in all areas of their learning.

Looking ahead to the future of education, I believe that schools need to create a sense of community and teach pupils the importance of this, as well as the importance of love, friendship, kindness and compassion and how these elements will help them find their way in the world, a world which will present different challenges from those you and I faced as young people.

I’m delighted to have made the move to Al Ain with my family and I feel genuinely privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Brighton College Al Ain community. I look forward to launching a number of exciting initiatives across the new academic year to further develop the educational experience offered to our pupils, and in doing so, having the chance to nurture and grow the community that has welcomed me.  

Seeing truely is believing, which is why we encourage all families considering Brighton College Al Ain for their children to visit us.   

We conduct personalised tours offering the opportunity to explore our campus, meet our leadership team and experience first hand why we are considered one of the leading schools in the UAE.

To book your visit please contact our admissions team:


+971 3 713 3999