British International School of Ljubljana
Opened in September 2008, the British International School of Ljubljana is unique in offering a traditional British education for children aged 3 to 18 in Slovenia. The school’s ethos is to encourage a passion for learning amongst young people within an international setting, with students from over 40 different countries.
Following the English National Curriculum, BISL’s unique pedagogical approach is rooted in the best of British and international education systems, providing a modern, relevant and appealing curriculum, which maintains a careful balance between tradition and innovation.
The school welcomes children of all abilities, backgrounds and cultures. It is non-selective, all the way from the Early Years Foundation Stage up to Secondary School. Students take GCSE and IGCSE examinations at the end of Year 11 and A Level examinations at the end of Year 13. A Levels are considered by universities as the gold standard for university entry around the world. There is a certain level of English that the older students must have in order to be able to access the curriculum at I/GCSE and A Level, however, the school does offer extra English language support for those who need improvement and will carefully assess their level prior to admission.
Whilst learning is, of course, the school’s main focus, their aim is to ensure that each and every child has a happy and fulfilling learning experience throughout their time at school. The school encourages its students to take every opportunity, accept challenges, build friendships and be the creators of positive experiences during their school years. Most importantly of all, the school encourages students to be engaged and inspired to believe in themselves, so that they can be successful in whatever they do.
All subjects, except Slovene and French of course, are taught in English by a team of dedicated teachers, mostly native English speakers or fluently bilingual.
There is a real close-knit community of parents, teachers and students at BISL. The school takes pride in its happy, purposeful and positive atmosphere, in which all members of the community are valued and respected. The school recognises the importance of this vital link between parents, school and the community and works hard to foster this collaboration. BISL’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) have been very active since the school’s foundation, and play a key role in communication, development and social activities for BISL. They share important information about the school, organise social and charity events, provide a social network and assist in many learning activities at school.
The school recognises the importance of students’ nationality as part of their identity and celebrates this diversity among its student body. Currently, there are over 40 different countries represented in the student and staff body – what a rich environment to learn in! Teachers take the time to get to know every child to help their individual learning and development, in an environment where every child feels unique, respected, heard and valued.
BISL has a holistic approach to learning. Teachers aim to foster a love of learning, the development of skills and the application of knowledge among students. Each child is encouraged to aim high, to be creative, to take calculated risks and to learn from their mistakes.
The key strengths of the British International School of Ljubljana are discussed in detail here.
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. Jeremy always strived to offer the best for his students. He was an inspiration to colleagues, students and families.
He sought out the best teaching and learning methods, best technical and educational 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.
On a trip in Rakov Škocjan in September 2010. Jeremy with his labrador retrievers Charlie and Whiskey, my wife, my sister and children.
Jeremy tragically lost his life in November 2013 in a car accident. This date is now designated as Founder’s Day at the school in lasting memory of him.
The British International School of Ljubljana is part of the Orbital Education family of schools since 2014.
Orbital Education are a UK-based group who currently own and operate a group of 10 schools around the world from China to Ecuador, specialising in the English National Curriculum, enhanced to meet the needs of an internationally diverse student body.
3 Reasons why I would recommend the British International School of Ljubljana
1. Promoting children’s self-esteem as individuals
All schools should, by definition, systematically build children’s competencies and promote their self-esteem. Children will not believe in themselves, like themselves, and thrive at school just by coincidence. Close cooperation between the school, the child, and the child’s family are needed from the first day of schooling. Schools differ from one another greatly, but the basic difference between them is in their relationship to the child as a person.
The British International School of Ljubljana is based on precisely this philosophy and implements this thinking through its principles, teaching and learning, and its partnership with parents. At BISL, every child is good at something, every child can succeed. The school focuses on students’ strengths and skills and has a solid behaviour policy.
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. In such traditional schools, obedience is a desired virtue, mistakes are sought out and punished, violence is tolerated. All of this slowly but surely undermines children as individuals. (For a broader discussion on how traditional schools can harm a child’s integrity, click here.)
2. Developing real-life competencies
Children that have a positive self-image and have the opportunity to spend their days in the company of teachers who are brilliant at what they do, are kind, witty and respectful will definitely develop their talents.
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 International 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 the useless memorization and regurgitation of facts, the development of competences is in the forefront of learning; not only logical thinking, but also creative, verbal, spatial, technical, and interpersonal skills.
Both theory and practice confirm that when a child learns and masters creative skills, this will benefit them in every area of their development.
Writing stories and poems, drawing and painting, dancing, doing 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.
There are many outstanding music and arts teachers in Slovenian and international schools, but there aren’t many programmes like the one at the British International 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.
3. Celebrating diversity
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 around the world.
In traditional schools, children from other countries and ethnic groups are often seen as outsiders because of being “different.” Children attending such traditional schools may grow up convinced that their country or ethnic group is worth more than others, which will not serve them well later on in life. International schools in Slovenia present themselves as advantageous precisely because of their multicultural environments.
The British International School of Ljubljana is actually more international than British and is probably the most open and tolerant school environment in Slovenia.
One of the reasons parents enrol their children in international schools in Ljubljana is so children can learn to speak English (or French) at the level of native speakers. There are quite a few children and teens in Ljubljana’s international schools who are able to fluently speak five languages, of these at least two or three at the level of a native speaker.
International schools are a great environment for multilingualism and the British International School of Ljubljana is no exception to this. While English is the common language in school, students have the opportunity to learn Slovene, French and German as part of the curriculum, while after-school clubs offer a variety of other languages based on student interest.
Those students that do not have English as their first language receive additional English language support to allow them to catch up and be able to fully access the curriculum and develop confidence when using English.
If you wish to find out more about British International School Ljubljana or arrange for an appointment to visit the school, you can get in touch with the school's management directly via this contact form or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principles of the British International School of Ljubljana (BISL)
Every school has its set of values, its “ideology,” which it seeks to instil 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 International 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 differences, 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.