Mr. Jim Donaldson (Former GIS Teacher 2004-2017)

I am Jim Donaldson and had the pleasure of teaching at GIS for 13 wonderful years! I am now enjoying living back in North London, although I frequently return to visit my home in KL. I joined the Science Faculty in the summer of 2004, having previously worked in the UK for 23 years. I was appointed by the then Head of School, Bob Lloyd, to help build up numbers in the 6th form and, in particular, to head up the team of chemists. Very quickly numbers grew in the 6th form and all of the science team worked hard to get a challenging curriculum established and to start a gradual refurbishment of our science laboratories.

I have many happy many memories of working with our wonderful science technicians who were brilliant throughout my time at GIS. Thanks to the long serving Mr. Chan, Zaidi, Roslan and of course the “newbie” technicians Noor and her team – they all provide a really first-class service to teachers and students. One of my happiest memories was organising a 3-day training course for technicians from all over Malaysia, where we welcomed the Head of the CLEAPPS UK organisation, who updated our knowledge of many aspects of Health and Safety. He did tell me that the GIS science technicians were amongst the best he had ever met!

I witnessed so many positive changes throughout my time at GIS. My next Head, Graham Wilson, was brilliant at challenging us all to “up our game” and to become lifelong learners. Then came a period of substantial innovation, under Nicola Mason’s tenure as Head. GIS has always been a high achieving academic school but Nicola guided us through a period of self-appraisal and renewal. I particularly enjoyed seeing how the school introduced a new student leadership system, which now operates so successfully and contributes so much to the successful running of GIS. Well done to Laura McGregor and her team! The pastoral system has improved massively over the years, thanks to incredibly able Heads of Year, such as Michael Browning and Adam Robinson, who have had such a meaningful focus on student well-being.

The appointment of James Wellings as “Director of Innovation” was truly enlightened and with the introduction of “Enquiry Days”, as well as both student and teacher “digital coaches”, GIS truly deserves the many awards it has received for innovative projects.

Of course, I really enjoyed working with so many courteous and hugely positive students and now enjoy following their careers on “LinkedIn”. I do try to meet up with many GIS graduates whenever I get a chance. It is wonderful to hear than many of them now are working in the jobs that they had dreamed about at GIS. Of course some are working in areas of innovation that probably did not really exist when they were studying so hard at the school!

I was very proud to be part of a team who introduced our GIS Diploma, which is awarded to our students graduating at the end of year 13. I also have so many happy memories of working with Mark Springall over many successful Sports days, acting as his loyal “chief scorer”! Sports Day is one of the highlights of the GIS calendar and it was always so good to see many parents joining in the fun.

Most of all I remember the many wonderfully talented teachers at GIS. It is very hard to imagine any other school in the world having a group of individuals so dedicated, highly-skilled, and so very open to taking risks in the classroom – I wish them all the very best! GIS BOLEH!

“Good teachers are the reason why ordinary students dream to do extraordinary things”
November 2017