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Top Schools Awards 2021. Results Live. Troy Ellison, Head of ICT and Computing, Regent International School Dubai, Awarded The Top Schools Award for Best Primary School Teacher in the UAE 2021-22.
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Top Schools Awards 2021. Results Live. Troy Ellison, Head of ICT and Computing, Regent International School Dubai, Awarded The Top Schools Award for Best Primary School Teacher in the UAE 2021-22.

by Jon WestleyDecember 6, 2021

The Top Schools Awards 2021-22 Award for Best Primary School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates goes to:

Troy Ellison, Head of ICT and Computing, Regent International School Dubai.

Winner of the Top Schools Award for Best Primary School Teacher in the UAE Mr Troy Ellison (pictured) - a pioneer in teaching Computing to Children

In this category we had one very clear, stand-out winner: Troy Ellison, Teacher and Head of Computing, Regent International School.

It’s interesting for a teacher in Technology and Science to have so galvanised acclaim from across a school – perhaps it is indicative of the increasing importance attached to technology in the education of children.

Just as interesting, Mr Ellison’s academic background is in Geography and History.

Entirely self-taught, Mr Ellison’s ability to transform a school in the way he has, says much about Regent International School in its nurturing the talent of its staff and “walking the walk” on life time learning and enabling its people to grow. People change. We are not robots.

Hugely creditable. It is this very extraordinary mix of variables that makes Mr Ellison, we believe, an absolutely stand-out and deserving winner of this Award.


It is not just that he is one of those teachers we all remember in school, who can somehow, through dint of their talent and way of teaching, become heroes or heroines to us, and even in subjects in which we may have had no prior interest, but, more than even that, that he has done so by following the curiosity that comes from being open to learning – and in a school that looks to talent and potential in its staff, rather than pieces of paper from decades ago that might otherwise, in other schools, have “boxed him in” (with all the lost opportunities for children that would have resulted.)

Worth also noting that it is not unhelpful to see a gentleman represented here within the community of outstanding practitioners in primary phase education that is almost unaccountably otherwise dominated by (extraordinary) women.

We start with an absolute outpouring of affection, appreciation, respect and admiration from those who have been impacted by him. In fact we were inundated with praise for Mr Ellison with over 90 emails pretty much united in imploring us to recognise a teacher that has quite transparently had an enormous impact on children (and their parents).

No other teacher inspired such an avalanche of praise in any category.

Telling is the large number emails speaking of Mr Ellison’s transforming of the school beyond his classroom.

On the basis of these representations alone, Mr Ellison has clearly achieved something quite exceptional in galvanising this level of acclaim, and gratitude from so many families and colleagues.

Jason king, Principal of Regent International School in Dubai has spoken powerfully about the scale of impact of Mr Ellison on children's education and the evolution of his school.

Jason king, Principal of Regent International School in Dubai, has spoken powerfully about the scale of impact of Mr Ellison’s teaching and initiatives on the education and life chances of children and the evolution of his school.

“Inspiring, Innovative and Impactful. Troy is an exceptional educator.

Covid restrictions have not stopped his continued innovation at Regent. Our newly proprietary – Regent Universe & Galaxy – was born during ‘lockdown’ as a result of trying to solve real-world problems.

Troy not only impacts the classes he teaches, but goes above and beyond reaching out and engaging in a personalised approach across the school community – students, staff and parents.

He empowers our students specifically to become innovative thinkers, creative problem-solvers, socially confident and inspired learners, resulting in outstanding student outcomes.

He is genuinely restless in his pursuit of excellence to make a difference where the phrase ‘Every Child Matters’ is a live, real achievement and not merely a strap line.”

Jason King, Principal, Regent International School

“Troy Ellison is an outstanding teacher who constantly goes above and beyond for all of his students. Whether it is supporting our STEAM teams in weekend competitions, running coding clubs during his lunchtimes or helping run residential visits across the school, Troy never hesitates to put himself forward.

His vision, effort and drive are exemplary.”

Steve Dobson, Head of Key Stage 2 & 3, Regent International School

“Troy Ellison’s dedication and commitment to the community goes beyond the boundaries of this year. Since he began at RIS, he has given his time, expertise and passion for learning to support students, staff and parents. He has provided opportunities for students to be empowered, persevere and be inspired by leading a series of extra-curricular activities; taking part as coach and mentor in National and International competitions; and designing safe digital platforms for the students to have a voice and express themselves.

Year after year, Troy has developed the depth of the learning he has provided whilst always enabling every student to achieve academic and personal goals in sessions. RIS students have a passion for coding, web designing, STEAM and creating their own shows and videos (where they can showcase their interests and teach others).

None of this would have been possible without Troy Ellison.”

Javaid Russool, Teacher – Mathematics & Science

“Troy is truly dedicated to Computing and has really provided the children with some amazing opportunities to excel in the subject.

Since I started at Regent, he has regularly given up his breaks to help the children.

… I wish I had his energy.”

Shane Mclaughlin, Teacher Year 4

Troy is a fantastic teacher; he spends his weekends providing extra-curricular opportunities and incredible learning opportunities for students who show a flare for computer science. Troy is deserving of this award due to his enthusiasm and dedication to his children, his school and his subject specialism.

Laura Sonmez, Teacher Year 2

“I am nominating Mr. Troy Ellison for the Best Primary School Teacher Award for the Schools Compared Awards Top Schools Awards 2021.

He has truly made an impact on the education and life chances of my daughter in Year 7.

It is not just that he creates fun, innovative & real-life learning experiences for all students.

For the past 5 years, Mr. Ellison has dynamically led Regent’s Computing, coding and programming to new breadth, heights and achievements.

The new state-of-the-art computing suite, X Lab Makerspace, codable electronics and the ‘Regent Universe’ portal he has created at Regent are amazing.

Under his guidance my daughter participated in Lego FLL this year.

An enormous thank you from us all.”

Jayan Thomas Mathew. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“As a parent of 2 students of Regent International School I would like to nominate our teacher, Mr. Troy Ellison for the Best Primary Teacher in the UAE 2021.

Mr. Ellison is a great and unique teacher.

He involves students. He communicates with them. He fires them up with a burning passion for the subjects he teaches.

We can all see the effort he makes to maximize each and every student’s potential. It seems personal with him that he needs each one of them to achieve the most they possibly could.

We are, as parents, very happy to know that Mr. Ellison is teaching our two children. Our son was a part of the team for the Lego League competition. We witnessed, first-hand, how he supported and guided the children to achieve their goals.

He worried about them – and cared.

We believe that Mr. Ellison is a truly talented teacher. He absolutely deserves this award and to be recognised.”

Olga Lyashenko. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“I would like to nominate Mr. Ellison for the best primary teacher in the UAE this school year.

As a father of two RIS students, but also as someone with engineering background, I’m very happy with the way Mr. Ellison teaches children computing.

I never expected that my daughter would show interest in coding and computing, but Mr Ellison’s impact on children is extraordinary.

I’ve noticed that Mr. Ellison really goes the extra mile to not only cover the topics as per the plan, but to really make children understand it, and enjoy their time in computing classes.

I believe teachers such as Mr. Ellison are unfortunately a rare breed nowadays.

I also believe that we should appreciate his effort with this well-deserved award.”

Marko Vujovic. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“Mr Ellison is an excellent teacher. He makes children love his subject.”

Massari Paoletta. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“Mr. Troy Ellison has truly made an impact across all year groups, students, staff and parents at Regent. He has transformed this school.”

Ali Ahrary. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“Quite simply he creates fun, innovative & real-life learning experiences for children.    

Tomas Venckaitis. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“Mr Ellison has truly made an impact across Regent.

Personally, we have seen his impact on my daughter, but I believe he has made a difference to the other students too. My daughter, Daniela Lillo Michalkova in Year 3E class, knows now to use many apps by herself, solving targets and problems on the PC on her own.

She also he likes his teaching.

When Tuesday comes, she is happy. It is the day she gets to be taught by Mr Ellison.”

Petra Michalkova. Parent of 2 pupils, in Year 1 and Year 3.

“Mr Troy Ellison should be recognised.

He makes education funny for children. They *** LOVE *** the way he teaches.

He is a credit to his profession.”

Marta Calatayud. Cornea and Ocular Surface Consultant. QuironSalud Spanish Medical Care.

He is the best teacher ever at this school.

Mr Ellison really loves teaching. He cares about his pupils.

He is very good communicating with the parents too…

Maria Shearwood. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.

“We, the parents of Charvitha Talatam (Year 7A) and Saanvitha Talatam (Year 3E), nominate Mr. Troy Ellison for the Best Primary School Teacher Award for the Schools Compared Awards 2021.

Mr. Ellison has truly made an impact to both of my daughters at Regent.

Charvitha represented in Team Work and Computers activity under the Lego League Programme under the guidance of Mr. Ellison. She was recognized with an award “Rising against the Odd” amongst a bunch of UAE schools under this team building exercise. We truly appreciate the leadership Mr. Ellison offered to my daughter in this team building initiative.

According to Saanvitha, Mr. Ellison creates fun, innovative & real-life learning experiences at school.

We very sincerely recommend Mr. Ellison for this recognition and wish him grand success in all his future endeavours.

Dr. Satya Talatam. Father of Charvitha and Saanvitha.

“Mr Ellison truly is an exceptional teacher.

His teaching style and skills are amazing.

He challenges children to think beyond, and excel in, their tasks.

Outside the classroom he is always accessible.

He is a teacher that encourages children to gain an understanding in ICT. And for him they do.”  

Pooja Kautia. Parent.

“Mr Ellison makes IT lessons really fun and easy to understand.

He tells really funny jokes.

He gives me lots of help when I don’t understand something.

And he’s friendly, and kind… and never cross.

Francesca McKay. Student Year 6.

“I will remember you for the rest of my life for being the one person that showed me that coding is something I could actually do.”

Laith. Student.

Six years at Regent, Mr. Ellison brings to the school a wealth of over two decades experience as an educator. For the past 5 years, Mr. Ellison has led Regent’s Computing, coding and programming curriculum. He has overseen the creation of Regent’s new computing suite, X Lab Makerspace and the procurement of codable electronics.

To give context to this, at Regent, in 2015, there was no coding provision at all for students. Mr. Ellison spearheaded its introduction and wrote the curriculum “ground-up.”

In terms of impact, since then, students have successfully participated in Hackathons, the world’s first ParOne AI Golf STEAMathalon for Children (where Regent secured the Award for “Grittiest Team”); Unified Robotics (where Regent won in 5 categories, including bronze and silver); helped children secure first place in the BSME App Design Competition; created the #VIPR SMART Shoe; led Regent’s first-ever Lego League squad (and achieved the award of “outstanding” for the prototype produced).

Mr Ellison regularly gives up time at lunches, after school and weekends to help provide these opportunities.

Mr. Ellison pioneered and now heads the Applied Innovations Department at Regent, which has provides substance and impact for the ‘T’ in STEAM. Today, empowered by computing, the department now has a curriculum focused on STEAM, Design Thinking, character strengths, leadership, enterprise & prototyping, this delivering exciting, innovative, inspirational and authentic learning opportunities for children where non existed at all historically.

Examples of Mr Ellison’s impact on the school are legion, but stand-out was his successful launch of the Regent Universe during lockdown, an online 21st Century multi-authoring platform that hosted Regent’s first virtual talent show: Regent’s Got Talent. The platform also hosted Regent’s first-ever episodic learning show produced by a student: ZAFA.

Mr Ellison’s “Regent Universe” has now expanded across the school, including working with pastoral squads, student leadership, Regent News, and students creating their own learning shows, videos and channels. Future plans are for students to facilitate the teaching and learning of their peers and younger children by sharing knowledge and discovery.

Mr Ellison’s transformation of squads, clubs & student leadership over the last five years has “dramatically helped many students gain confidence and belief in themselves.” Many students have discovered new talents and skills they didn’t know they had through Regent Universe, while others have found, through his help, the opportunity to unlock their potential and pursue their passions of coding through the Regent Galaxy focused on hard coding.

The consensus at the school is that Mr Ellison is teaching students to apply and innovate in their learning beyond the classroom in ways absolutely unimaginable before his appointment.

Mr. Ellison has been instrumental in Regent’s achievements in meeting and exceeding the national standard with the use of Ed Tech to improve learning outcomes for pupils across the school. This has prepared students for a world with technology.

As above, all this has been achieved by a gentleman with a history and geography background. His specialism in computing is entirely self- taught. Mr Ellison has been a member of Senior Management and Leadership Teams and led his previous school to achieve the ICT Mark (twice), being shortlisted for the ICT Excellence Award and to winning the IAA Exemplary Student Digital Leaders Award. He has collaborated on international projects with schools in Hungary, Spain and Nigeria.

There is something quite extraordinarily moving when you learn of a teacher that has such an impact on a school and its children. Too often we lose of sight of the power of teachers to change the world – and we all need to do more to celebrate this – in schools, and outside. This award for Mr Ellison is so richly deserved. In many ways it should be taken as an Award for all teachers in the UAE who do everything, absolutely everything, for our children – but rarely have the chance to be so publicly celebrated and recognised for this.

Our final words go, fittingly, to a parent:

“As a Parent I have seen the impact of Mr Ellison on Regent and its children over 5 years.

His teaching of Computing is amazing.

His teaching has given my child confidence.

His impact has has completely transformed the school.

Now children… love school.”

Sonia Damani. Parent. Regent International School Dubai.  

© 2021. All rights reserved.

Visit the Regent International School Dubai web site here.

Read the independent review of Regent International School Dubai for parents by WhichSchoolAdvisor here.

Read the independent review of Regent International School Dubai for parents by here.


About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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