At BISL, our approach is rooted in the best of the British and International education systems, providing a modern, relevant and appealing education in English, which maintains a careful balance between tradition and innovation, taught by bilingual or native speakers, with courses in Slovene language and culture. Our approach emphasises learning for real understanding and learning how to learn, rather than just memorising facts. As part of this process, we use on-going assessment for learning as well as of learning.
We opened in September 2008 with 22 students in 6 classes and now have over 170 in 17 classes We expect to grow within about ten years to about 480 students aged 3 to 18, housed in a well equipped and attractive building near the Ljubljana ring-road. We do not want to grow any larger than this, since we value highly a school in which everyone is known.
BISL will remain independent. We have not applied to the Ministry of Schools and Sport for a "concession" and we are not, therefore, subsidised by public funds either from the UK or Slovenia. We are thus able to maintain flexibility through our independence. Our accountability is directly to our families. We assure quality by membership of internationally-recognised professional bodies such as COBIS and CIS. We are already Associate Members of COBIS and Regular Members of CIS. This includes a requirement to meet the UK government's British Schools Overseas standards and to undergo a rigorous inspection process by the UK's Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). We are already approved by Cambridge International Examinations (part of the University of Cambridge Assessment Group) as a Cambridge International School - the first in Slovenia. In September 2010 were approved as a centre for AQA/JCQ, which enables us to offer all UK qualifications.
Our aim is to keep all channels of communication with families permanently open, using internet technology where appropriate. The Headmaster and teachers are always ready to discuss concerns and parents have teachers' email addresses for regular communication and to arrange meetings when required. Emails are regularly sent to parents and we aim to respond to email communications within a working day where possible.
Taking pride in one’s appearance is an important life skill. In common with most private and public schools in the UK, our students wear a smart school uniform, with specific garments available directly from the supplier via an online shop and some more generic items able to be locally purchased. Upper School students have more choice of dress, within guidelines, reflecting their greater responsibility.
We realise that for many families, finding the money to pay for private education will mean making some sacrifices. We work hard to make BISL excellent value for money (with our fees being some 30% lower than comparable schools in the region) and our philosophy is firmly rooted in our educational and philanthropic aims. BISL is not a purely commercial profit-making venture. We are here to provide the choice which people in Slovenia want and deserve.
We make the most of our small classes to get to know each of our students well, so the teacher builds a unique bond of mutual respect and trust with the student and parents, which, along with open communications, dramatically enhance the learning environment. Visitors comment that our school has a happy, purposeful and positive atmosphere. This is a workplace in which all members of the community are valued, free from intimidation, bullying, politics and prejudice, where everyone (students and teachers alike) can thrive and achieve their best.
We believe that self-discipline is better than punishment, so classroom discipline in the traditional sense is rarely an issue. A supportive, positive environment makes an enormous difference to the whole school experience. This helps us to identify any youngsters who require additional support to ensure they get the most out of their time at BISL. We are happy to accept children with special educational needs if we feel we can provide appropriately for them.
We capitalise on being in an area of outstanding natural beauty by getting the students out and about. In both the Primary and Secondary Sections, trips and visits feature. In the Secondary Section, Adventure Weekends are a requirement: once a term, students spend a weekend away, under the planning and supervision of qualified specialists with accompanying teachers, engaged in outdoor activities such as kayaking, rock-climbing, mountain biking, orienteering or hiking.