Internationally Excellent: The British School in The Netherlands
A "School Inspection" is a term destined to instil trepidation into the most confident of teachers and the most outstanding of schools. Why then would The British School in The Netherlands (BSN) voluntarily put itself through such a thing?
The answer is easy: the BSN is a school that believes in continual progress - in learning about itself as a school, about what it does well and what it could potentially do better.
Inviting the inspectors in
In October last year the BSN opened its doors for an entire week to a team of eighteen highly experienced senior teachers and international leaders from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) - a process that left no stone unturned across the whole school and its four campuses.
The ISI inspection process
The ISI reports to the English Department for Education (DFE) on the extent to which a school meets the relevant standards and requirements for British Schools Overseas (BSO).
Criteria also include the extent to which pupils:
› achieve genuinely good educational standards
› are supported to be healthy, stay safe and enjoy school
› make a positive contribution to their own or the wider community
› develop skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being
At the end of November, the final report was published and the BSN achieved a rating of "Excellent", the highest category, across all criteria.
New CEO and Principal Kieran Earley explains the significance of this rating:
"This is an extraordinary achievement for everyone involved with the school. Although I am witness to the superb education our children receive every day, it is a wonderful thing to have it formally confirmed. Particularly pleasing is the progress made since the last inspection in 2009.
Former Principal Dr Coles is also thrilled with the outcome and justly proud of his legacy of excellence; he certainly did the "hard yards". It was simply my job to take the baton and drive the team on for the sprint finish.
The inspection team recognised that we are a school that strives for continuous improvement in our own practices as well as in our pupils. They found us to be deeply reflective and they had no fear that an excellent outcome would lead to complacency.
We were left with some recommendations for improvement which we will, of course, be following up. Together I know we can reach greater heights as we move beyond excellence into world-leading practice."
Positive words from the ISI report
Below are a series of excerpts taken from the 2015 ISI inspection report of The British School in The Netherlands:
"The school is highly successful in achieving its aims for educating the students in an international environment of excellence. At all levels of the school, the achievement of students is excellent."
"The curriculum is excellent. In all parts of the school it is demanding and appropriately reflects the international character of the school."
"The personal development of the students is excellent. The great diversity of their languages and cultures is an invaluable part of the students’ development; it sits very securely alongside the Internationally British basis of the school. Students grow up to be tolerant, knowledgeable, and confident members of the world community, drawing from each other’s experiences."
"Teaching is excellent; teachers have strong knowledge of their subject and of the students’ needs. Lessons are well planned; great care is taken to match work to the abilities and language skills of the students."
"Attitudes to learning are exemplary."
Looking to the future
Principal Kevin Early shared his enthusiasm for the ISI's encouraging feedback, stating that the school aims to keep moving forward in providing the facilities, the environment and the highest standards of teaching possible to enable every child in their care to achieve their fullest potential.
Learn about the BSN