British International School of Ljubljana

The British International School of Ljubljana was founded by Jeremy Hibbins in September 2008.  Jeremy was a person of many talents and interests; an educator, entrepreneur, musician and more.  He loved animals (especially dogs) and the outdoors and he also loved Slovenia.

Jeremy aimed to always offer the best to students of his school.  He sought out the best teaching and learning methods, best technical and education aids, and, above all, the best teachers.  He dedicated all of his time to this.

His vision was to build a contemporary school that would give expat and Slovenian children the opportunity for an international education and a good platform for jumping off into their future lives.  In this he succeeded.

jeremy-hibbins-british-international-school-of-ljubljana

On a trip in Rakov Škocjan in September 2010.  Jeremy with his labrador retrievers Charlie and Whiskey, my wife, my sister and children.

Jeremy Hibbins tragically lost his life in November 2013 in a car accident near Rakek.  His death was a cruel blow to the school.  Upon this loss of its founder and Headmaster, the school’s true spiritus agens, recovery was long time in coming.

Fortunately, toward the end of 2014 the British School of Ljubljana was taken under the wing of Orbital Education Group, which has taken over Jeremy’s mission.  Moreover, the school’s students now have the privilege of attending an even stronger and more internationally comparable educational institution.

Following are seven main advantages of the British School of Ljubljana and a basic comparison with other international schools in Slovenia, as well as Slovene public schools.  More content to follow.

7 Key Qualities of the British International School of Ljubljana

1. CHILD PROTECTION

Why is protection of child’s integrity at the very top? Because it’s that important.

Academic success doesn’t mean much if a child is psychologically and emotionally damaged after years of exposure to verbal and physical violence during their most sensitive periods of development.

Protecting the whole child at the British School of Ljubljana

Schools differ from one another greatly, but the basic difference between them is in their relationship to the child as a person.  Traditional schools, contrary to what some people think, don’t have proper standards in this regard, so everything depends on the school’s teachers and administrators.

Unfortunately things are not good.  Obedience is a desired virtue, mistakes are sought out and punished, violence is tolerated.  All of this slowly but surely undermines children as individuals, who may be permanently damaged after years of exposure to these negative situations.

The British International School of Ljubljana is based on precisely the opposite philosophy. Every child is good at something, every child can succeed, the school develops student’s strengths and skills, and shows zero tolerance to all types of violence.

For a broader discussion on how traditional schools can harm child’s integrity and why and how British School is different, click here.

2. CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM

It’s not enough that a school simply protects child’s integrity and dignity, this is a basic standard of civilized societies.

The school must also, by definition, systematically build children’s competences and promote their self-esteem.

Building child's self-esteem at BISL Ljubljana

Each child is unique, and so standard educational programs don’t benefit them much. Because every child is unique, they each need an individual plan for optimal growth.

Children will not believe in themselves, like themselves, and thrive at school just by coincidence.  A close cooperation between the school, the child, and child’s family is needed from the first to the last day of schooling.

The British International School of Ljubljana has a strategy for how to achieve these goals.  It implements it through its principles, teaching and learning plan, teacher selection and training, and partnership with parents.  There is certainly still room for improvement.

3. REAL-LIFE COMPETENCES

Children that have a positive self-image and have the opportunity to spend their days in the company of teachers who are kind, genuine, witty, and brilliant at what they do will definitely develop their talents.

Everything is possible for a child who has someone looking out for them and their futures, and not just at home.

BISL Ljubljana teaches students competencies and skills

Due to the rigidity of the system, traditional schools are caught up in a world that turns too slowly.  They’re not in touch with reality and are not able to — and don’t even know how to — look a decade and more ahead, when today’s primary school children will enter the workforce or business world.

The British School of Ljubljana’s strength is that it teaches concepts and skills that children can use in real-life situations now and in the future.  Instead of useless memorization of facts, the development of competences is in the forefront of learning; not only logical thinking, but also verbal, spatial, artistic, technical, and interpersonal skills.

4. MULTICULTURALISM

Getting to know other cultures helps children develop critical thinking, see beyond stereotypes, and understand the opportunities offered by connecting and cooperating with people from various parts of the world.

In traditional schools children from other countries and ethnic groups are often harassed and marginalized because of being “different.”

BISL Ljubljana is multinational and multicultural

Children in this kind of schools, especially if their parents and teachers accept it uncritically, grow up convinced that their country or ethnic group is worth more than others, which will not serve them in life.

International schools in Slovenia present themselves as advantageous precisely because of multiculturalism, despite the fact that some display ethnocentrism.  The British International School of Ljubljana is more international than British, and is probably the most open and tolerant school environment in Slovenia.

5. MULTILINGUALISM

One of the reasons parents enroll their children in international schools in Ljubljana is so children can learn to speak English or French at the level of native speakers.

Some of these parents are convinced that bilingualism is not enough, especially not in our European cultural and economic environment.

Learning foreign languages at BISL Ljubljana

There are quite a few children and teens in Ljubljana international schools who are able to fluently speak five languages, of these at least two or three at the level of a native speaker.  Those with the biggest repertoire of languages tend to come from mixed families and naturally their linguistic success is more due to their parents than the school.

International schools are a good environment for multilingualism, but the problem is that many of them use the same inefficient foreign language teaching methods as the public schools.  The British School of Ljubljana is also no exception to this, despite being aware of better approaches and despite the fact that the solutions are relatively simple.

6. ARTISTIC EXPRESSION

Both theory and practice confirm that when a child learns and masters artistic skills this will benefit child in every area of his or her development.

Writing stories and poems, drawing and painting, dance, photography, designing things, playing music and singing…

… when children spend time doing these things  and enjoying them  they develop two important skills for success: imagination and creativity.

Music and art at British School of Ljubljana

There are many outstanding music and arts teachers in Slovenian and international schools, but there are not many programs like the one at the British School of Ljubljana, where children not only interpret and reproduce others’ work, but actively create their own.

They write their own poems and original texts, create choreographies, and independently put together musical compositions.

7. SUCCESS IN LIFE

Average schools produce average people, who don’t find the best place in this competitive world.  Of course there are exceptions, but these are a result of exceptional individuals and their (also exceptional) parents.

One has to ask what such children could achieve under better circumstances.

Good overall results at British School of Ljubljana

Young people on the brink of maturity are hindered most by fear of success and fear of failure — two sides of the same problem.  We blame the economy, the government, or the family’s social status for passivity and apathy among young people, but this is nonsense.  Success and happiness in life have always been and will always be dependent on the individual.

If we put aside the curriculum and the child protection issues, an aspect of traditional schooling that harms children and their long-term prospects the most is the grading system.  This system “teaches” that mistakes are unacceptable and will be punished.  Day after day a child is reminded that risk doesn’t pay and that what counts are grades on a report card, not being original or have a great imagination.

The situation at the British School of Ljubljana is also not ideal, but there they are at least aware of how challenging the task of a school is these days. It is not enough to have excellent knowledge, great skills, or even an exemplary self-image, if a child does not develop a strong character, a winning mentality, and a code of conduct for his/her own behavior.

Characteristics of the British International School of Ljubljana (BISL)

#) BISL Principles

Every school has its set of values, its “ideology,” which it seeks to instill in the children’s conscious (and unconscious) minds during their schooling.  The Waldorf School promotes specific values, as do Roman Catholic schools, certainly the American school QSI in Ljubljana, and, last but not least, the Slovenian public schools.

Which values are important to the British School of Ljubljana?  What does the largest international school in Slovenia seek to spread?

A mixture of conservative and liberal principles: order, work, discipline, and teachers’ authority, but also equality, respect for difference, freedom of speech, and individuality, to mention just a few.

Just like schools, families have values in which they believe and principles for their behavior.  When we decide which school to entrust our children to, our first task is to determine if we share with the school the same or at least similar beliefs.

The values and principles of the British International School of Ljubljana are discussed in detail here.

If you wish to find out more about British School Ljubljana or arrange for an appointment to visit school, you can get in touch with the school’s management directly via this contact form.

Contact British International School of Ljubljana