Senior Leadership Team

The DESC Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is responsible to the Board of Trustees for the leadership and management of the College.  Each member of the team has specific responsibilities around the College as detailed in their biographies.

Senior Leadership Team

Chris Vizzard - Headteacher

Christopher Vizzard


Joined DESC 2012

Chris' main responsibility is the Senior Leadership Team. His role is to ensure the College operates effectively and to oversee developmental strategy. Chris has successfully led the College for over six years, presiding over several DSIB and BSO school inspections where the College has consistently been judged as 'Outstanding' in all areas. Chris sees his role as ensuring that DESC maintains its reputation as one of the best British International Schools in the region and beyond.

Matthew Cotgrove - Senior Deputy Headteacher

Matthew Cotgrove

Senior Deputy Headteacher

Joined January 2011

Matt's main area of responsibility is the day-to-day operational aspects of the College. Leading and managing teams of Deputy Headteachers and Assistant Headteachers, Matt has developed a deep understanding of the workings of the College and constantly uses creative and innovative solutions to bring about improvements. He has played a key role in securing the highest inspection ratings and numerous awards throughout his tenure at DESC, helping to cement the College's position as the school of choice in the region.

Lucy Petith - Deputy Headteacher

Lucy Petith

Deputy Headteacher

Joined DESC in 2013

Lucy oversees Staff Development and Wellbeing. Previously leading on Social and Environmental Responsibility, Lucy is well-versed in leading whole-school campaigns and highlighting global issues which inspire students to take action. In 2018, Lucy set up DESSCares; an initiative involving Theme Weeks, fundraisers and other events around the College which raise awareness and promote positive change across the College and beyond. DESSCares is currently partnering with Dubai Cares and United World Schools to support the build of a school in Cambodia. Lucy hopes to bring together the concepts of Wellbeing, Philanthropy and Service to instill a ‘Culture of Caring’ amongst our community, where both students and staff understand first-hand the significance of looking after themselves, their planet and each other.

Michael Fallon - Deputy Headteacher

Michael Fallon

Deputy Headteacher

Joined DESC 2017

Michael joined DESC in 2017. His main responsibilities are to maintain exceptionally high standards in Teaching and Learning across the College and to build an effective College timetable for staff and students which supports an outstanding curriculum experience. During Michael's time at DESC, Teaching and Learning has been consistently judged as Outstanding by DSIB and BSO, and the use of Technology to enhance learning has seen particularly rapid development. Michael aims to ensure that DESC further develops its already excellent Teaching and Learning standards to impact positively on our students, providing them with exceptional classroom experiences and outstanding levels of achievement.

Martin Nash - Deputy Headteacher

Martin Nash

Deputy Headteacher

Joined DESC 2009

Martin’s main responsibility is overseeing all aspects of pastoral care at DESC. His role is to ensure our incredibly experienced House Leadership Team continue to nurture students holistically in an environment where they can flourish. Martin has overseen the development and restructure of our unique Inclusion department, ensuring our highly inclusive ethos remains a part of the fabric of the College. Martin has successfully led the expansion of our extensive extracurricular programme, ensuring it continues to provide our students with the most exceptional experiences in the region. He is passionate about developing DESC students into great people and views his role as making sure that every student has a quality, enjoyable experience at DESC, irrespective of their individual differences and preferences.

Malachy McGrogan - Assistant Headteacher

Malachy McGrogan

Assistant Headteacher

Joined DESC 2012

Malachy has recently been appointed Assistant Headteacher at DESC, extending his existing responsibilities as Director of Technology across DESSC. His primary role is to facilitate effective use of technology in all areas of the College, both in and out of the classroom. He has successfully implemented strategies to ensure all students have been able to access their learning, either on-site or from home, and developed an infrastructure upon which all students and staff benefit. His goal is to ensure that the digital foundation upon which DESC is built stays both cutting edge and exciting in a world of ever-changing and emerging technologies.

Hani El Taher - Assistant Headteacher

Hani El Taher

Assistant Headteacher

Joined DESC 2018

Hani's main responsibility is the National Agenda. His role is to ensure that the College continues to be the leading British Curriculum School in the region in the provision of the MOE curriculum subjects, embracing the culture and language of our host country and supporting the vision and ambition of the UAE, especially those related to the progress and achievement of Emirati students. Hani has successfully led the Arabic and Islamic Education at the College since 2018, implementing numerous initiatives that have positively impacted the students' outcomes and raised the profile of those subjects. Hani sees his role as ensuring that DESC continues to lead the way for the British schools in the country when it comes to the achievement of the UAE National Agenda targets.

Sophie Barratt - Assistant Headteacher

Sophie Barratt

Assistant Headteacher

Joined DESC in 2014

As Assistant Headteacher, Sophie's area of focus is the Mental, Social and Emotional Wellbeing of DESC students. Her role is to ensure that all students have access to the support and opportunities they need in order to thrive; both personally and academically. Sophie has been a member of The House Team at the College since 2016 and, during this time, has helped to develop the pastoral care of students by consistently adapting and improving the plethora of provisions in place. Sophie sees her role at DESC as an opportunity to guide students through their own individual experiences, providing purposeful wellbeing education that empowers every student and equips them with the skill set they need to prosper in life beyond the College.

Joe Roberts - Assistant Headteacher

Joe Roberts

Assistant Headteacher

Joined DESC in 2015

Joe’s main responsibility is Assessment, with a particular focus on Data and Examinations. His role is to ensure that our data and tracking systems are tailored to both our Teaching and Learning provision and our inclusive curriculum, developing and strengthening the relationship between the data that is collected and the subsequent impact that it has on student progress and attainment. Joe is passionate about ensuring that students continue to achieve exceptional results in their academic life at the College and is focusing on how we can further enrich and sustain our culture of academic excellence across the DESC Community.