The BSA and BAISIS are delighted to announce their partnership this month. BAISIS (the British Association of Independent Schools with International Students) exists to define and share best practice in academic and pastoral provision for international students in British independent schools.
General Secretary, 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. Christopher Greenfield, then Principal of Sherborne International College. At the 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 then 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 (Principal of Rossall International Study Centre) and later, when I became Chairman, became BAISIS (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students). The reason for the latter rebrand was that I wished to open membership 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. Moving with the times and recognising that form is not as important as function, the new criteria for membership allowed provision to be within mainstream schooling as long as it was of a high quality. As a result of this change, membership expanded from 8 schools to 54, and presently stands at 62 schools with 16 supporting members.
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 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 22 years of experience and this year have been honed into a formal certificated course of CPD for EAL teachers, subject-specific teachers and managers who are interested in giving their international students the very best chance of academic success.
This course has now been accredited by the BSA and we are delighted that our partnership will allow us to support more teachers and other staff looking to understand better the needs of international students and learn practical strategies and techniques for effective T&L in the mainstream classroom, as well as explore the benefits of a whole-school approach to learning for international students. The course also includes specific modules on a Content and Language integrated approach to learning in STEM subjects and Humanities.
The present BAISIS Executive Committee comprises Chairman Julian Baker of Box Hill School, Deputy Chairman Elyse Conlon of Moreton Hall, Mark Jeynes of Bishopstrow College and Padworth College and myself as General Secretary, ably supported by our Executive Officer Sue Harris.
L-R Caroline Nixon, Julian Baker, Robin Fletcher, Elyse Conlon.