Mission, Vision and Values

Vision Statement

Within 10 years, we will be a nationally and internationally respected school of about 600 students aged 3 to 18, of whom half are Slovene.
We will conclude a process enabling us to enjoy our own purpose-designed accommodation.
By patience, professionalism and persistence, we will inspire the Government to adopt measures to open international education to Slovene families without undue restrictions, and to enable international schools to operate without excessive regulation.

Strategic Objectives

  • June 2013: the current planning process will culminate in our moving into our own building in or near the city. In addition to classrooms and other learning spaces, the campus will include residential accommodation. Some facilities may be shared if this is advantageous to us.
  • We will select and implement a computerised school management system.
  • We will consider whether an ISI inspection is in our best interests.
  • We will actively work towards Accreditation by the Council of International Schools.
  • The process of recognition by the Slovenian authorities will be driven by a growing national realisation that schools such as ours are needed to provide greater choice. We will overcome legal obstacles by careful and sensitive negotiation and with the cooperation of key partners.
  • Our recruitment of students will mainly focus on the diplomatic, international business and Slovenian communities. We are a non-selective school where sharing a common vision for the education of the next generation is more important to us than raw academic ability.
  • We will expand our out-of-hours programme.

Key Descriptive Statements

  • BISL opened in September 2008 with 22 children and 9 staff, based in a rented section of OŠ Vita Kraigherja, Bežigrad.
  • BISL currently has over 120 students and 20 employees.
  • Our Preschool and Primary sections use the IPC (International Primary Curriculum) alongside elements of the English National Curriculum.
  • Our Primary section curriculum does not normally include homework.
  • Our Secondary section teaches courses leading to CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) IGCSE and A-Level and AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) GCSE and A-Level.
  • The second language taught throughout is Slovene, with streams for (near-)native and non-native speakers. The former works closely with the Slovene National Curriculum.
  • Students are taught of the importance of physical fitness via a range of team and individual sports and activities.
  • There is a compulsory outdoor education element in the Secondary Section, run by specialists on an outsourced basis.
  • There are up to sixteen children in a class.
  • Children come from 23 countries worldwide (Norway to Australia and Mexico to Japan), with half Slovene and the remainder mostly taken from Ljubljana’s diplomatic and commercial expatriate community.
  • Teachers come from the UK (England, Scotland and Wales are represented), Slovenia, Canada, Australia, USA and Germany.
  • BISL families commute to school from an area which encompasses Ljubljana, Bled, Kranj, Kamnik, Domžale, Litija, Višnja Gora, Rakek and Vrhnika.
  • A small number of Secondary students stay in Dijaški dom Bežigrad, as their homes, as far apart as Maribor and Koper, are impractical commutes.
  • Slovene children of Primary School age (6-15) are enrolled on a “home schooled” basis, with the full knowledge of the Minister and Ministry of Schools and Sport. This is carefully explained to the parents prior to enrolment.
  • BISL is a Regular Member of CIS. Accreditation is the next step.
  • BISL is a Provisional Member of COBIS. An ISI Inspection would be the next step to Full Membership.
  • BISL is a CIE International Centre, and as such is subject to annual renewal and periodic unannounced spot checks.
  • BISL is an AQA Temporary Centre (Jan 2011), subject to annual review and periodic spot checks.
  • BISL is a member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia and the British House.
  • BISL is not acknowledged or registered with the Slovene Ministry of Schools and Sport as there is currently no mechanism in place for recognising any international schools (but see Vision Statement).
  • Our Honorary Patron is the British Ambassador, who is active in his promotion of the school’s interests and a regular visitor.
  • Our student recruitment relies on personal recommendations from parents (word of mouth), Google searches, media coverage and Informativa fair. We tend not to pay for mass media advertising.
  • Our teaching methods emphasise curiosity, understanding and learning to learn rather than memorising facts to pass exams.
  • BISL is an IT-rich learning environment. Primary students use class laptops and Secondary students are required to bring their own.
  • We use a wide range of assessment tools formatively and avoid aggregated grading until as late as possible.
  • The School takes pride in its happy, purposeful and positive atmosphere, in which all members of the community are valued and teachers take trouble to get to know every young person in their care to optimise their learning and development.
  • A range of attractive and imaginative additional services and courses for all ages are being introduced in an innovative “Out of Hours” programme.
  • Secondary Middle and Upper School students are encouraged to enrol in the MEPI International Award for Young People (known as the “Duke of Edinburgh Award” in the UK).
  • Our classes take place in rented space in a Slovene primary school and a nearby office building.
  • We offer discretionary financial assistance to a small number of families whose children we feel would particularly benefit from our style of education and who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

[March 2011]

Values Statement

BISL recognises the vital link between parents, school and community in contributing to the education of the next generation and works hard to foster this collaboration.

BISL exists to promote learning and its prime responsibility is to its learners.

  • Its learners can expect learning and teaching of the very best quality, along with a genuine interest in them as individuals.
  • We will emphasise the education of the whole, international-minded person over intensive cramming for hollow exam success. We will not allow BISL to be an academic hot-house.
  • Everyone in the BISL community can expect to be treated honestly, fairly and with respect by all. This is a professional workplace free of prejudice, discrimination, politics, self-interest and intimidation. We believe that self-discipline is better than punishment, but we will be firm with those who compromise others' learning or well-being by their attitude or actions.
  • We will provide competitive situations when we are convinced of the educational benefit of this approach for the particular child.
  • We will celebrate our learners’ achievements and increase freedoms and responsibilities for those young people who earn our trust.
  • We will encourage our students to take calculated risks, aim high and learn from their mistakes, since failure is a vital part of the learning process.
  • We take a pride in developing our own learning resources for class use and for supporting study outside the classroom – particularly online.
  • Healthy eating is actively encouraged. We do not supply sugary drinks or chemical-laden snacks to our students. Owing to some children's severe allergies, we are a no-peanuts school.
  • A feature of our approach is the Daily Review, which helps to consolidate the day’s learning in the student’s mind before leaving for home and aims to pinpoint potential gaps before they cause problems.
  • We ask much of our Upper School students in assuming a leadership role in our school community: they should be people the younger students can look up to and respect.
  • Taking pride in one’s appearance is an important life skill. Our students wear a smart school uniform, available online from a specialist supplier. Upper School students have more choice of dress, within guidelines, reflecting their greater responsibility.
  • We do our utmost to identify and meet the needs of those students who need additional support or special approaches to learning, whether academic, social or physical.
  • We will keep in touch with our alumni after they leave us and will continue to provide support where it is needed.
  • We will always remain an apolitical organisation. Our focus is purely professional and we will neither become involved with local or national political parties, nor allow internal politics and personal agendas to distract us from keeping the children’s learning at the centre of our operations.

We have an important responsibility to our employees.

  • Within the resources available to us, we will ensure that all employees are properly equipped for their roles, receive an adequate induction when they start and then have access to a helpful appraisal framework linking in with continuing professional development to assist with their professional and personal growth.
  • When a member of staff takes on a significant additional responsibility, a reduction in teaching load will be negotiated.
  • When the opportunity arises, we will provide open and fair access to promotion based on merit and aptitude.
  • BISL is a secure and friendly professional workplace in which a positive and mutually supportive attitude is expected. Kindness and a willingness to take time to try to understand and get to know the students and their needs must underpin all we do.
  • As we develop our policies and procedures, these will be carefully researched, concisely documented and then evaluated and refined.
  • BISL is a demanding working environment, where much is expected. In recruiting our staff we look for a spirit of collaboration; a willingness to offer assistance without being asked; a genuine interest in the holistic education of young people; a keen enthusiasm for one’s subject(s) and an awareness of their place in a balanced curriculum.
  • We have a flat management and gross salary structure apart from the Head and Deputy Head.
  • In all matters, the focus and priority must always be on the students’ learning and welfare.

 

We have a major obligation to the parents and families who have placed their trust in us as providers of an excellent education for their children.

  • We will be open and honest in our dealings with them, including giving regular, accurate, fair and frank appraisals of their children's progress, avoiding jargon; clearly itemised financial accounts; reasonable warning of additional expenses and a continuing commitment to providing value for money. We will favour efficient electronic communications.
  • We will do our best to ensure that families whose English is weak understand any communications sent to them.

We take seriously our responsibility to our business partners.

  • We will strive to balance the educational needs of the children with our financial responsibility to our investors.
  • We recognise that our business partners include our feeder schools. We value our relationship with these and will take trouble to maintain contact with them, including informing them of their former students' progress and achievements.
  • Universities also constitute business partners and we will strive to build relationships with them to ensure that our leavers are appropriately placed for their further studies.

We acknowledge our responsibility to the local, national and international communities.

  • We are privileged to operate in a beautiful city with a rich history, within one of Europe's most attractive countries, and acknowledge our duty to contribute to the city by a programme of community service and placing a priority on caring for the environment.
  • We acknowledge the importance of our students’ nationality as part of their identity and celebrate our diversity and internationalism.
  • We are serious about caring for the planet. Both in the educational context and in our everyday operations we will encourage recycling, responsible use of resources and energy efficiency. To this end, we will strive for paperless solutions where practical.

[March 2011]

 

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