Aims and History of BAISIS

Our Aims

The British Association of Independent Schools with International Students BAISIS strives to support those who provide education at different levels to international students in independent schools, colleges and study centres.

The Value of Membership

  • A meaningful network with professionals in the field of international education in the UK
  • Updates from, and invitations to events hosted by, our partner organisations including COBIS and CASE Europe 
  • A means of mutual support and development
  • Sharing best practice on academic and pastoral issues
  • Sharing agent knowledge to help with marketing and recruitment
  • Training and development relevant to the needs of staff caring for international students
  • Bespoke annual conference at reduced rates for members
  • Inclusion in BAISIS marketing efforts
  • An informal recommendation system between member schools
  • Information sharing networks between teachers of the same subjects in member schools
  • Part of a lobbying group on issues such as the visa system
  • Mentoring and development support for those with new international programmes
  • Free consultancy, including school visits
  • Annual membership fee: £395

 

The History of BAISIS

The Association of International Study Centres (AISC) was set up in 1997 by Sherborne School, Taunton School, Rossall School and Bedford School under the Chairmanship of Dr. Chris Greenfield.  At this time, they were the only four schools in the UK which had international study centres.  These were stand-alone units separate from their parent schools and headed by Principals who were pioneers in the sector of teaching not only English as an Additional Language but also the whole range of academic subjects to students with limited English.  Study centres were set up for such students to prepare them academically, pastorally and culturally for successful integration into a British boarding school and students from them went not only into the parent school but into many other schools which did not have the capacity to prepare international students in this way.

The Principals of these four study centres met regularly to network and to exchange best practice.  There was little knowledge to draw on or training available for teachers and houseparents to help them with the challenges that they and their students faced.  So from the beginning a major aim of the AISC meetings was to provide CPD for subject specific teachers, EAL teachers and house staff. 

AISC rebranded as BAISC (British Association of International Study Centres) under the Chairmanship of Duncan Rose and later became BAISIS (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students).  The reason for the latter rebrand was that, under the Chairmanship of Caroline Nixon, membership was opened to independent schools who were performing the same function of preparing international students for success in mainstream education, but perhaps using different formats from the separate study centre model.  Recognising that form was not as important as function, the criteria for membership allowed provision to be within mainstream schooling as long as it was of a high quality. Following this rebrand, membership expanded from 8 schools to the present 54.

However, the aims of BAISIS remain true to those of the original pioneers of AISC.  The market has changed but the needs of international students remain.  Indeed, it is ever more important as numbers of international students in UK boarding school increase, and as schools which do not have a long history of supporting international students start to recruit them.  BAISIS has always defined and shared best practice in the sector and always been generous with its members’ experience and expertise.  The training and development sessions that have always been a major part of the BAISIS offering have been informed and refined by 21 years of experience and are now being honed into a formal framework of CPD for EAL teachers, house staff and subject-specific teachers who are interested in giving their international students the very best chance of academic success.