Q+A: The English International School, Moscow East
The English International School, Moscow East, answers our questions and gives Winter's readers a virtual tour.
What happens when parents visit the school?
Normally all prospective parent visits are organized to meet with the Principal so there is always that all-important first contact, which we hope will show the parents how much we value getting it right from the very beginning. The Principal will introduce the school to the parents in an informal Q and A meeting, record all the necessary details about the children and give a conducted tour of the campus.
What do you do to help children settle in?
How children settle into the East campus is a high priority for us at EIS, so we ensure it is as supportive as possible. We always arrange for children to visit the campus before they officially start school so they can physically orientate themselves with their new environment, meet their class teacher and classmates to be. We will also arrange ‘taster’ mornings or days together with the family if it is thought it will help the induction. We then allocate a classmate as a ‘Buddy’ so the children have that immediate peer support for the early part of their new start. Both the DH and Principal will make a point of visiting the children in class a few days after they have started to find out how they have settled.
What accreditations do you have?
We are members of COBIS, (The Council of British International Schools), CIS (Council of International Schools) and currently proceeding through the CIS accreditation process with a Team Visit scheduled for March 2017. We’re also registered with both Cambridge and Edexcel Examination Boards.
What assessments are required to enrol?
We are an inclusive campus, but as we teach the English National Curriculum exclusively through the medium of the English language, students from the age of six need to have appropriate levels of English language, which we assess as part of the admissions process.
What is the background of your teaching staff?
We are a British-style international school, using the English National Curriculum so we consciously recruit qualified and experienced British teachers in the main, but we also respect and are interested in the abilities of teachers of other nationalities who can demonstrate they relate to our ethos and are capable of teaching the ENC. We employ a very thorough safe recruitment process which demands submissions of both references and a police check for every employee who works at EIS East.
Do you have a rewards system to encourage good work?
Yes we do have a reward and merit system right through the campus for all ages that is part of our positive-reinforcement philosophy. Students of all ages have their achievements and efforts celebrated in regular assemblies throughout the year.
How do you support pupils who are struggling, and how do you challenge the more able?
Firstly, we are lucky that we have class sizes that are on average 15 students, with a class teacher and TA in primary, and in secondary the classes are on average 10 or 11. This ratio allows for a lot of focused teacher-student attention. We easily identify the levels of the students through our regular assessments and teachers’ professional judgements. We have just recently introduced the GL online assessments in English and Mathematics and CAT 4, which provide us with very thorough diagnostic information that allows the teachers to address all ability levels.
"Students of all ages have their achievements and efforts celebrated in regular assemblies throughout the year."
How are pupils with English as an additional language supported?
As a truly international school we are always admitting students who have different levels of English language. To ensure we provide every support for these students to be able to access our curriculum and achieve progress over time, we have a dedicated EAL department of trained teachers who provide both in-class and, where needed, individual English Language/development support.
How can parents get involved?
At EIS East we practise what we preach and that is we absolutely believe there has to be a healthy working partnership between school and parents. We work with a volunteer Parent Teacher Group which meets once a month through an open coffee morning, and together plan a calendar of events where the parents can be involved in many different ways, e.g. Christmas Bazaar and international events, school day trips, story tellers, musicians. We always welcome parents into school who can offer personal skills that enrich the experience of the students.
How often do parents receive written reports?
The Primary students receive two full reports at the end of terms 2 and 3, and the Secondary receive half-termly Grade Reports as well as the end-of-term reports. The Secondary also receive a post-mock-exams brief report.
What opportunities exist for parents to speak to their child’s teachers should they have any worries or concerns?
We firmly believe parents need to feel welcome to be involved in dialogue with teaching staff for the betterment of their child’s wellbeing. We issue a parents’ handbook which lists all the teaching staff’s school email addresses and post the same information on the EIS East website so we are completely transparent and accessible when contact needs to be made. Parents are invited to contact the school/teachers whenever they feel the need, also using contact books in Primary and the OneNote platform in Secondary.
"We firmly believe parents need to feel welcome to be involved in dialogue with teaching staff..."
What extra-curricular activities do you offer in your school?
We offer extra-curricular activities all year round for both the primary and secondary phases. In the September—November and April—June periods, Secondary are offered outdoor and indoor clubs like football, volleyball, exercise sessions, ICT, Minecraft, photography, art, drama and ballet. The Primary students are offered a varied extra-curricular programme in school-time due to the necessary transport arrangements. Combined with these activities music lessons, individual keyboard, singing, choir, guitar and ballet are offered in school time around normal lessons.
How do most children travel to and from school?
Due to our location we operate nine bus routes across the city of Moscow and other families provide personal transport. Some senior students travel by metro.
Do you have a ‘House’ system?
Yes, we have a very active and well-supported house system (Bears, Tigers, Wolves and Eagles). The children are allocated to a house when they first arrive, with siblings placed in the same house. Events take place throughout the year and include sport competitions, quizzes, inter-campus house events, etc. The students are very proud and loyal to their houses. This system is also combined at times with our Student Councils.
How do you tackle bullying?
We have a very robust Child Protection approach in school that is constantly communicated to both the parents and students, and this includes a zero tolerance to bullying in any form. Students are made aware of our stance and philosophy through assemblies, form tutor time and our PSHE programme. We also promote our stance in different ways through ‘safer internet day’. We have recently introduced a dedicated anti-bullying resource called Tootoot, which is online software that allows students to report bullying to us anonymously. This has proved to be very effective.
Do you arrange for guest speakers, such as authors and experts to come into the school?
Yes we do, as we firmly believe our students should learn ‘outside the classroom’ and out of school in conjunction with the dedicated academic programme. We have utilized local theatre groups, artists, Russian musicians, visiting Samba bands, local and international story tellers, sports coaches etc. Along with this, as previously mentioned, we always encourage our parents share their skills with the students too.
To view EIS Moscow East's profile on Winter's, please go to this link.
All images: The English International School, Moscow East