Fiona Cottam

Principal and Chief Academic Officer, Hartland International School

Fiona joined Hartland International School in 2016 after an extremely successful tenure at GEMS Education. Initially joining Jumeirah College as Principal and CEO in 2009, she led the school to “Outstanding” in 2010. Following that, Fiona held a number of senior roles in GEMS including Director of School and Senior Vice President New Schools. Prior to her roles in the UAE, Fiona was the Headteacher of Wilmington Grammar School for Boys in Kent, where she was the first female leader of the school in its history. Fiona joined Hartland in 2016, and under her leadership, Hartland received a “Good” judgement in its first KHDA inspection and is now judged to be a “Very Good” school in the latest inspection. Fiona is a graduate of University College Dublin and majored in Classical Music and English.


Leaders in Education Conference

15 November 2021 | 13:55 - 14:25 | English | Staff Retention in International Teaching - a school leader perspective

The promise of sunnier climes, shorter working hours and tax free salaries drives teachers to international teaching, but can also lead to speedy staff turnover as teachers view their new international position as temporary, and leaders view the churn as part of the international education landscape. Staff retention is a pressing issue given the expense of international hires, but also improving standards can be incredibly tough with this temporary mindset. Victoria James will moderate a conversation with leaders to discuss practical strategies to drive retention rates up, encourage loyalty and build a reputation as the best place to work. This conversation will touch on teacher wellbeing in terms of job satisfaction, career progression and security, and encourage the change in mindset required in staff approaches to international teaching.


Global Learning

15 November 2021 | 15:45 - 16:05 | English | Leading Schools Today: What Matters Most?

This presentation will focus on values driven leadership and its importance in defining purpose in the schools and communities that we build. The Covid Pandemic has taught us a lot about humanity and has challenged us all. However, this seismic shift has also given us time to reflect on who we are as leaders, on our values and on the importance of the positive partnerships that we build.

As COBIS Board Member, this presentation will also touch on the importance of being a part of positive partnerships, whether locally, regionally or globally.