David Newsham, Secondary School Deputy Principal at the International School of Bucharest (ISB): “We feel confident that ISB students leave the school ready to make a difference in the world”

What would parents choose to enrol their children in the International School of Bucharest? What makes the difference here from the point of view of academic offer and curriculum?


The International School of Bucharest offers our students a truly international educational experience with our students coming from over 40 different nationalities.

The Secondary school follows the English National Curriculum in Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14), supplemented by the Cambridge Secondary curriculum in English, Maths and Science; internationally recognised IGCSE  examinations in Key Stage 4 (ages 14 – 16) and GCE ‘A’ Levels in the Sixth Form (ages 16 – 18). We are presently in the process of applying to become an IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to our Sixth Form students.


How much emphasis is put, in the learning process,  on developing students’ skills and abilities?


Following the English National Curriculum ensures we offer broad, balanced learning which enables our students to develop skills across the full range of their abilities. It also helps us to ensure that learning is not done in isolation but the skills developed in one subject are used to support the learning in another. This is especially true of the lessons in Art, Drama and Music where the students develop attention to detail, presentation, confidence, public speaking, listening and team working skills which are enormously beneficial to the rest of the curriculum.

By the time they reach 14 years old, they are ready to start choosing which subjects they wish to learn about in more detail and these subjects for the basis of their IGCSE course in years 10 and 11 leading to the awarding of the IGCSE certificates following externally marked examinations at the end of Year 11. Further specialisation takes place as the students move into the final 2 years of their schooling and they choose the subjects which will be most useful to them in preparing for, and applying to, university.


What is the strategy used by the ISB teachers to stimulate and encourage the students to perform and achieve notable results?


We are immensely proud of the achievements of our students across all of the year groups. This includes inside and outside of the classroom and also outside of the school in the wider community. We have a number of students participating in high-level sports competitions and we work hard to support their education alongside sometimes rigourous training schedules.

We take the time to celebrate the small things too. Students are rewarded in classes for showing progress, for giving good answers, for helping others and for any of a multitude of other reasons to congratulate what they are doing. One of the most pleasant parts of my job is to work out which students have gained the most “positive comments” each week so they can be publicised and recognised.


What could you tell us about the international recognition of the high quality standards of the learning process at the ISB?


Our students work hard and the reward for this hard work is reflected in their results in external exams and tests. Recent international standardised testing of our Year 9 students shows, as a school, our students perform significantly above the expected standards for their age group in all areas (Vocabulary, Maths, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Skills). On an individual level, a full half of our students reached the standards of the top 25% of students of their age. This performance follows through to good IGCSE results in Year 11 and, ultimately, our Year 13 graduates gaining acceptance at some of the most respected universities around the world.  This year the offers include institutions such as Bristol, Bahcesehir, Exeter, King’s College London and Washington to study subjects ranging from Architecture, through Biomedicine, Computer Science to Engineering. The final hurdle for them is the exams which they are sitting right now and we wish them well.


The awareness for the social responsibility principles is “a must” in the today’s society, and these values should be impregnated to our children since their early ages. What is the vision applied by the ISB team of teachers to make the students become more aware of the community issues?


Our students are looked after socially and emotionally by their Form Teachers who see them every day and are there to discuss and offer guidance when the students have problems or difficulties. They are encouraged to take part in activities after-school to further broaden their experience. Most especially they are encourage to  think about the wider community, both locally within Romania and globally. Last year saw a concerted effort to obtain relief supplies to flood affected regions. This year our senior students recognised the problems caused by lack of access to drinking water in parts of Africa as a global issue on which they could have an impact. They set up a fund, organised several activities and the school is well on the way to raising enough money to construct a well with the help of  “Kimse Yok Mu” (KYM) Foundation.


How does the future of an ISB graduate look like, having in mind the rich luggage of knowledge accumulated during the school years spent at the ISB?


The Secondary school years see students grow from being children to being young adults ready to take a productive  place in society. As a school, we hope our students will be proud of their time with us, however long or short that might be. By focussing on both the academic and personal aspects of development, we feel confident that ISB students leave the school ready to make a difference in the world.





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