Welcome Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions that you can make for your child’s future, so we are delighted that you are considering the British International School of Marbella (BISM). BISM offers a modern and vibrant education to boys and girls aged 2 to 18. The school serves expatriate and Spanish families looking to provide their children with a private education of the highest standard. We nurture high aspirations for each and every one of our students. Many achieve great academic results while others discover a passion or special talent. Our day-to-day focus is on helping pupils to thrive in their own unique way. We offer a rich and varied curriculum that allows pupils to explore the breadth and depth of their abilities. Work is underpinned by a highly qualified and dedicated teaching body. Small class sizes and low student to teacher ratios mean that pupils can receive the support they require to make good progress both academically and in their personal development. BISM has preserved a strong sense of community since its foundation and every member of the school has many opportunities to contribute to the welfare of the school community. We are proud of the role our families play in our school and in turn the role we play in their lives during their time in Marbella. A printed handbook can only go so far in conveying the ethos and spirit of a school but we hope this brochure can give you some insight into what makes BISM special and unique.
Dean Moore Headteacher
Overview BISM provides British private school education in an international environment. Our educational programme is organised into five stages. • • • • •
Early Years Programme (age 2 to 5) Primary School Programme (age 5 to 11) Middle School Programme (age 11 to 14) IGCSE Programme (age 14 to 16) Sixth Form Programme (age 16 to 18)
The programmes are unique in their design and have been developed and refined over two decades, drawing on the experience and expertise of the British School Foundation in establishing successful schools all over the world. The education we provide has two broad aspirations in mind: Academic development. Standards at our school are high and students are expected to achieve to the best of their ability. We believe every student can and must do well. We provide the rigour and, where necessary, the support required for students to develop strong academic skills. Personal development. BISM is unique in its commitment to the personal development of its pupils. We consider it essential that students develop character and positive values in order to do well in life. Beyond the classroom, BISM is rich with activities and opportunities for students to explore their interests and develop a broad set of abilities. This is complimented with a strong mentoring programme to guide and support pupils throughout their time at the school. As students approach the final years at BISM, a greater emphasis is placed on getting ready for higher education. Students work towards IGCSE and A Level qualifications which are the most widely recognised university entrance qualifications and provide the most reliable path for entry into top universities all over the world. As required by law, Spanish students from age six onwards complete the language and cultural studies requirements of the Spanish national curriculum which also ensures that they are able to gain access eventually to Spanish universities.
Teaching and Learning BISM combines modern and innovative child-friendly pedagogy with traditional values and high standards. The school balances a nurturing environment that fosters understanding, critical thinking and enthusiasm with a stimulating curriculum. BISM employs highly qualified teachers with a genuine passion for their profession. Small class sizes help ensure our mission of providing the support required for every student to succeed. Teaching and learning at our school is based on three fundamental principles: • Stimulating curiosity and nurturing an interest in learning • Thinking critically and taking a structured approach to understanding and solving problems • Having an open mind and respect for other people and new ideas These principles are supported by lessons that are delivered in an interactive and thought-provoking manner using a wide variety of teaching styles. Lessons are planned to suit a range of abilities allowing every student to benefit and improve upon their skills and knowledge. Our approach to teaching and learning encourages active participation by all pupils. Students’ progress is evaluated frequently. Regular tests begin in the Primary School and become more challenging and formal so that by the time students sit IGCSEs and A Levels they are used to performing under pressure and have a good understanding of what they need to accomplish to succeed.
Pastoral Care At BISM, the personal development of our pupils holds equal importance to their academic development. We see academic and personal development as intertwined and complementary to one another. In the Early Years and early Primary School years the class tutor is responsible for overseeing the well-being of every child. From late Primary onwards, every student is assigned a mentor whom he or she sees daily and meets individually on a regular basis. Tutors and mentors are expected to get to know their students well. They are responsible for following their students’ academic progress and personal development, discuss any difficulties and provide guidance. BISM offers students a lot of choice and opportunities so it is also the role of mentors to guide students as they make their various choices and help them to make well considered decisions. Tutors and mentors are the main point of contact between home and school and will take a lead in keeping parents informed of their children’s progress. BISM runs a very open community. Its doors are always open to parents who are welcome to contact tutors and mentors at any time. BISM has come to be known in the community for its warm and friendly environment. It is important to us that our school is a place where students, staff and parents feel welcome and at ease, a place where everyone can thrive.
Early Years In the Early Years our focus is providing children with enjoyable educational experiences that will help them develop a positive approach to school and learning. By creating a learning environment where children feel at home, they are more willing to explore new concepts and ideas. Self-discipline, a sense of responsibility and respect for others are encouraged. Classroom walls are covered with displays of children’s art and crafts, as well as language-based information to help them develop literacy skills. Displays of educational material related to topics being studied and an ever-changing role-play area helps further stimulate their enthusiasm. Lessons incorporate communication, language and literacy, enabling development towards independent speaking, listening, reading and writing. Initially, particular emphasis is placed on speaking and listening and in pre-reading and prewriting activities. In Mathematics, children are introduced to important aspects of mathematical understanding and are provided with the foundation for numeracy. This is achieved through practical activities and by using and understanding simple mathematical language. Children acquire a basic knowledge and understanding of their environment, other people and features of the natural and man-made world. Personal and social development focuses on children learning how to work, play, cooperate with others and function in a group beyond the family. The physical development programme aims to help children develop physical control, mobility, awareness of space and manipulative skills in indoor and outdoor environments. Children are actively encouraged to establish positive attitudes towards a healthy and active way of life. Opportunities to be expressive and creative are, of course, crucial and offered daily through art, craft, role-play and music.
Primary School The main purpose of the Primary School years is to develop happy, competent and confident young boys and girls. The programme consists of the core curriculum, the extended curriculum and the personal development programme. The core curriculum includes English, Maths, Science and Spanish. Core curriculum subjects are based on the English National Curriculum (ENC) and are enriched and adapted to our context. The objectives set out in the ENC are considered a minimum requirement and many pupils will go on to achieve more. Spanish lessons are organised by level ranging from beginner to native. Attainment in English and Maths is externally assessed and benchmarked every year to ensure pupils are making good progress. The extended curriculum includes compulsory and elective elements. Pupils select from a range of project based modules designed to offer a broad and rich curriculum experience. The programme not only covers the subjects and requirements of the ENC but goes further and is designed to encourage students to explore their interests. Music, sports, arts and languages are taught by specialist teachers. Life in the primary school provides many opportunities for children to thrive and develop. There are weekly house sports competitions in which all children can participate. Opportunities to perform abound through the various modules and the various musical groups that practice and perform regularly. Children are also given many opportunities to take on small but valuable responsibilities that contribute positively to school life. The pastoral care of pupils is looked after by form tutors in the lower primary school and by mentors in upper primary. Every child receives the individual guidance and support required to make excellent progress both personally and academically. While our pupils enjoy an element of choice in their curriculum experience, it is the mentors who guide them towards making increasingly well considered decisions.
Middle School In the Middle School students continue to build on the solid academic foundations established in the primary years while at the same time developing more critical thinking, independence and responsibility. The programme comprises the core curriculum, the extended curriculum and the personal development programme. The basis continues to be the English National Curriculum and all elements are delivered by subject specialists. The core curriculum includes English, Maths, Science and Spanish. Science is taught separately as physics, chemistry and biology. By the end of Year 9, students will have acquired the intellectual and academic foundation to face the rigour of IGCSE courses. The more able students will have had the opportunity to start working at IGCSE level in some subjects. The extended curriculum in the middle school offers students more choice and more variety while covering the subjects and requirements of the ENC. Pupils who have demonstrated capability to work independently are allowed to propose modules and pursue areas of study that are of interest to them. In Year 9 students complete IGCSE introductory modules in a wide range of subjects to help them decide which subjects to pursue in the next stage. Middle school at BISM is a time when students can really begin to explore their leadership qualities and discover how to contribute to their community. In addition to sports competitions, artistic projects and performance opportunities, students can get involved in a range of school service programmes that improve the school community. They can also become student representatives within the Pupil Voice programme. Students see their mentors as a group every day and meet with them individually on a fortnightly basis to discuss their progress and general well-being at school.
IGCSE In Years 10 and 11, pupils at BISM work towards obtaining IGCSE qualifications offered by UK examination boards. The IGCSE programme is academically rigorous and is recognised to be amongst the best in the world. The study of English Language, Maths, Science and Spanish are compulsory for all pupils. In addition, pupils select a minimum of 3 IGCSE course options from the non-core subjects offered by our school. The diverse range of subjects includes options from Humanities, The Arts, Technology, Additional Languages and PE. All BISM pupils are expected to achieve qualifications in a minimum of eight IGCSE subjects. Students are encouraged to take more responsibility in community programmes within school and beyond and many students will complete the Bronze and Silver awards as part of the International Award programme. This is a time when pupils begin to consider their possible future professions. Structured careers advice begins in Key Stage 4 in order to make sure that A Level selections are consistent with career ambitions and students have the opportunity to plan and organise relevant work experience during the sixth form.
Sixth Form In Year 12 and 13 our pupils complete up to four A level qualifications of their choice from a wide range of subjects. A Levels are the most widely recognised university entrance qualifications and provide the most reliable path for entry into top universities. Whilst academic performance and exam preparation is a major focus of the A level programme, our approach requires that pupils learn to enquire more broadly about their subjects of study and how they link to the world outside the classroom. They will be encouraged to acquire a level of intellectual curiosity that is not only important to gain a place at a top university but is also key to professional success thereafter. Students are also encouraged to investigate in greater depth their potential career paths, deepen their understanding in those areas and where possible take up some practical experience in a relevant field. Choosing university degree courses, selecting university destinations and submitting applications is an important part of the work of a sixth form student. Specialist career advisers guide students through this process to enhance their career options and present the best version of themselves. The mentoring programme at this stage is very much focused on supporting sixth formers through this challenging but exciting period so that by the time they leave BISM they are ready to take on life beyond school as well-prepared, responsible young men and women.
Sports BISM has a very busy sports programme that goes well beyond the prescriptions of any standard curriculum. Students have access to sports and games at three general levels. General fitness and recreation. A wide variety of lessons and activities are provided for students to pursue their own personal fitness, start practicing a sport or simply as recreation, for the simple joy of it. House leagues. The school runs internal leagues for each age group in 6 different sports throughout the year. Each league lasts for half a term and games take place every week. The leagues are open to all students and they take part within their house team, with the winning house taking the cup at the end of the league. The house leagues offer students the chance for competition, foster teamwork and team spirit and for many children is one of the highlights of the week. Inter-school competition. BISM enters teams in several external leagues and competitions. This higher level of competition is an opportunity for the more able and competitive to thrive. Training for school teams typically takes place after school and games are mostly on weekends. Some teams compete in weekly leagues that last several months requiring a high level of dedication and commitment.
Music and Performance The centrepiece of the BISM campus is our 400 seat theatre. This speaks to the importance of arts and performance at our school. Opportunities exist to cater for different levels of ability, interest, commitment and dedication. All pupils up to the end of middle school experience art, music and performance in some form as part of the curriculum. Those who want to do more can choose from a range of optional modules. As a result at any one time there are a number of bands and ensembles. The more able performers are invited to be part of the school band or the school choir. Individual instrumental lessons are available to students in a wide range of instruments. Lessons take place during the school day and are imparted by visiting specialist musicians. School plays are an integral part of school life. A number of shows are put on during the course of the year by different age groups. The shows also offer non-performers the chance to contribute in some capacity behind the scenes.
Our Campus Our purpose-built campus is located in the Nagüeles neighbourhood of Marbella and overlooks the Mediterranean sea, with Marbella’s iconic mountain of La Concha as a backdrop. The campus offers age-appropriate facilities designed to nurture the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development of our students. Our classrooms are large, bright and spacious and students have access to a wide range of resources. The state of the art facility includes a large sports field, 25 meter indoor swimming pool, 400 seat auditorium, music suites, art studio, a large library and a wide range of specialist classrooms. Our school building has been certified to the highest environmental standard. It combines a mix of intelligent design features, renewable energy systems such as solar heating and low energy consumption systems such as underfloor heating.
The British Schools Foundation
Our school is a member of The British Schools Foundation (BSF), one of the world’s leading founders of quality British international schools. Since 2003, BSF has established 12 premium schools around the world. BISM is fortunate to be able to draw from that expertise and to attract staff of the highest calibre. The Foundation has established a reputation for high academic, managerial and employment standards.
Admissions Admission to BISM is selective. We are committed to achieving the highest levels of academic and personal attainment, seeking students who thrive in this rigorous and challenging learning environment. We look for students who are all-rounders with strong academic potential, a positive attitude and an interest in extracurricular activities. We are committed to ensuring our pupils are able to continue their schooling at the highest level. BISM welcomes individual visits to our school throughout the year and holds open days for parents to visit our campus and learn more about our curriculum. How do I apply? Applications for enrolment at the school must be submitted through our online application form. Parents unable to complete an application online can call the admissions office for assistance. Parents can also complete the online application form at BISM with the assistance of our admissions team. Together with the application form, parents will be required to submit: • Signed copy of our Declaration Form • Copies of your child’s most recent school report • Application Fee Once the application is submitted, a parent meeting and pupil assessment will be scheduled. The school aims to communicate the application outcome within a few days of the assessment date. For more information, see www.bsm.org.es or call us at (+34) 952779-264.
Urbanizacion Rocio de Nagüeles Calle Teba No 4 29602 Marbella Spain +34 952-779-264 email@example.com www.bsm.org.es