For the second time in a row, a school in Romania offering the British curriculum has been awarded the rating of ‘Excellent’ in all categories by the rigorous UK Independent Schools Inspectorate, who inspect the highest achieving and prestigious independent day and boarding schools in both the UK and around the world.
The British School of Bucharest received the highest assessments for both ‘the quality of pupils’ learning and achievement’ alongside ‘the quality of pupils’ personal development’. Only a few schools around the world manage to receive this qualification in both categories.
The benefits of the British curriculum and the reasons why schools that offer it are in such high demand
According to a study conducted by U.S. News & World Report, the British education system was designated, in 2019, as the best in the world, followed by those in the United States and Canada. Moreover, four UK universities ranked in the top 10 of the best universities in the world last year.
However, these results are a reflection of a long-established educational process – compulsory education was introduced in Great Britain in 1888 – focusing on creative teaching methods and on encouraging student development educationally, personally, emotionally, physically and socially. The focus has always been on acquiring both information and discovering the abilities of each student, striving for a blend of knowledge acquisition and the practical application of this knowledge to foster critical thinking.
The British School of Bucharest teaches children to think rather than to merely memorise facts. A simple example is the multiplication tables: students learning a British curriculum do not necessarily have to memorise them but are helped to understand the mechanism enabling them to apply the tables flexibly. Or perhaps, rather than learning the periodic table by rote, the student may be asked to apply the knowledge of the properties of different chemical elements in different experiments or conditions.
‘Our goal is for students who enter our School to evolve and develop so that they become confident adults in themselves and their abilities, able to cope with changes of any kind, to ultimately become global leaders who affect positive changes in all areas of society and, above all, to be happy within themselves. In order for this to be possible, we encourage our students to be active in class, not to be passive spectators; to ask questions, to experiment, to be able to complete a project independently and also to work as a team. Our amazing staff expertly help our students navigate the complexities of learning. In addition to the usual subjects, we offer them a very generous range of co-curricular activities to choose from, so that it is much easier for them to develop their skills and interests and discover new ones’, said Mr. Grant Gillies, the BSB Headmaster (photo).
This has been noted in the most recent ISI report, where the pupils` impressive attitude to learning is also highlighted: ‘[the pupils] are outstanding, as seen in their excellent behaviour in class, and the high aspirations in their studies, activities and charitable work’.
‘When it became clear to me which university courses I was considering applying for, things became much easier. Conversations with my Form Tutor, Head of Key Stage 5 and University Guidance Counsellor helped me to clarify my selections. Along with the Guidance Counsellor, we explored options available within Europe and the UK. For the past two years, I had studied the subjects at A-Level which were required for entry to my chosen engineering course. The pressure is high because so many of us dream of being accepted by top universities, like many of the students before us, so being able to focus exclusively on the subjects of interest, is extremely important and studying A-Levels helps you to do this. Life in the Sixth Form at BSB has been awesome and everything I had hoped for and has developed me as a student and as a person with lots of support for my university application,” said Etienne, Year 13 Student.
In the last two years of Secondary School, education focuses on early specialisation. More specifically, students choose three or four subjects depending on the varying aspirations and academic levels of each student and the requirements of the university courses for which they want to apply. The A-Level system enables students to therefore specialise in certain subjects and for an increased depth of study for those subjects. Students can choose subject combinations which may not typically be advised in other curriculum systems but the flexibility of A-Levels enable a student to study subjects which play to their academic strengths and passions, consequently enabling them to achieve the very best they can.
Another benefit of studying in an accredited British school is relocation. If parents need to move from one country to another, the children who learn in this system can adapt with relative ease to other systems given the number of accredited British Schools Overseas (BSO) throughout the world they can keep the same direction in their education.
What is the Inspectorate of Independent Schools and why the qualifications awarded by it are so important?
ISI is the inspection regime appointed by the UK Department for Education to inspect independent schools in the UK and for those with a UK curriculum around the world. The role of the inspectors is to review and recognise excellent practice in education, on the one hand, and to make recommendations designed to help schools make improvements in the educational process, on the other.
‘The ISI inspectors monitor the compliance with standards imposed by the UK Department for Education, which covers important parts of school, such as: the quality of education; students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development; student welfare and health & safety; the right choice of teachers and other employees; the provision of teaching materials and the analysis of the owners; the campus and its facilities; providing information; how complaints are resolved or leadership quality. ‘It’s basically a quality standard that you have to meet if you want things to go from good to better,” said Mr. Grant Gillies, BSB Headmaster.
The British School of Bucharest has been awarded the highest rating possible in both categories, reviewed by the British Inspectors for the second time in a row, following the inspection that took place this spring. The overall quality of the education is perhaps also reflected in the higher education destinations attained by the students.
Graduates of this School have been accepted, in recent years, to prestigious universities such as the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Oxford, UCLA and University of Toronto among many other universities in countries throughout the world.