The River Thames outside DLD College London

From the Principal #91

16th October 20

dld-college-london-principals-newsletter-digital-innovationAs part of the events to celebrate ‘Black History Month’, we have been watching some ground-breaking films after school, which have depicted significant moments in black history. From Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years A Slave’ to Clint Eastwood’s ‘Invictus’, the aim is to continue to build on the students’ knowledge and understanding of how these events have changed the course of history.

I was lucky enough to watch some of the 2009 film ‘Invictus’ last night with the College community. The story is based on the 2008 John Carlin book ‘Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation’ about the events in South Africa before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The Springboks were not expected to perform well, the team having only recently returned to high-level international competition following the dismantling of apartheid – the country was hosting the World Cup, thus earning an automatic entry. The rebuilding of the nation after apartheid was going to be a monumental challenge. The Rugby World Cup provided some of the building blocks for this to be achieved alongside the architects. Morgan Freeman (love him!) and Matt Damon play the South African President Nelson Mandela and François Pienaar, respectively – the architects. François was the captain of the South Africa rugby union team, the Springboks. One of the key moments of the movie is when Mandela askes Pienaar, “We need inspiration, Francois. Because in order to build our nation, we must exceed our own expectations.” South Africa reached the final, and history was made.

The building theme runs through ‘Invictus’ like steel girders (much like the Springboks scrum) – building a great rugby team, building healthy communities, building a compelling vision. This equally applies to our schools. If you build great schools, student, staff and parents will want to be part of that building. And this is what we are doing here at DLD – building a world-class school with facilities to match. Whether that be our award-winning boarding house, or our innovative Wellbeing Centre which continues to build resilience in our students, or our newly built Art Foundation room to support the ever-popular IFP Fashion Management course – we are building for the future. But the ‘building’ part is not just about the physical aspect, though our 21st-century building without sharp edges or corners is a metaphor for the 24-7 wrap-around care we build around our students. It’s about building relationships, building partnerships and building leaders – we are looking to exceed our own expectations.

We also saw record-breaking numbers at our Virtual Open Evening last night building on our successes over the past few years. An excellent ISI inspection, outstanding exam results, numerous national and international awards, a culture of service through our commitment to charity, dedicated staff, supportive parents and brilliant students. Let’s keep building.

We wish everyone a happy and safe October half-term holiday and look forward to welcoming everyone back on Monday 26 October 2020 at 0830.

Best wishes
Irfan Latif, Principal