Q+A: Britannica International School, Shanghai
Britannica International School (part of the Orbital group of schools) provides a British education for the children of expatriate families living in Shanghai. Here the school answers our questions and takes us on a virtual tour...
What happens when parents visit the school?
Parents will be welcomed by a member of our Admissions Team, who will provide an introduction to Britannica, an information pack and a personal tour of the school. If the Principal or a member of the leadership team is available, then they will also spend time with them. The member of Admissions staff will do their best to answer any questions that parents or children may have. If it is an assessment visit, which usually happens on the second visit, the Principal will always meet with the parents.
How old is the school?
The school opened in August 2013.
How many students do you have?
We currently have around 400 students. We are a small school, which focuses on providing a personalised education for our students. Our maximum capacity is 700 pupils.
What accreditations do you have?
We have a range of accreditations including Council of British International Schools (COBIS), Council of International Schools (CIS), Edexcel, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), Duke of Edinburgh International Award and ASA Swim School Member.
Why should I send my child to your school?
Unlike all other schools in Shanghai, we offer A Levels in the Sixth Form. We also actively keep our student intake and classroom sizes to specific levels, to ensure that we can provide the best possible education for our students. We are one of the best-located schools in ‘downtown' Shanghai. Our teacher body is over 90% British, and we are the only truly British-owned school in Shanghai.
What facilities do you offer? E.g. sports, music, arts
Our facilities include music studios, arts rooms, a theatre, sports hall, indoor play areas, tennis courts, football courts and an indoor heated swimming pool. Students have the opportunity to play Football, Netball, Basketball, Touch Rugby, Kwik Cricket, Athletics, Swimming, Badminton, Table Tennis, Dance, Gymnastics and Field Hockey.
What extra-curricular activities do you provide?
Our extensive After School Activities Programme ensures that our school provides maximum curriculum breadth, covering all areas of interest, skill and talent development with the students. These include Film Club, Math Club, Martial Arts, Drum Line, Orchestra, Choir, Keyboard Club, Drama Club, Public Speaking, Lego Club, Cooking, Art, Calligraphy, Web Design, Native Language lessons (Korean, Japanese, French, Hebrew and Mandarin Chinese), Sports and more.
What curriculum do you follow?
We follow the English Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum up to the age of five, and then the English National Curriculum in Primary and Secondary. Our examinations at 16+ are IGCSEs, and pupils graduate to university through our A Level programme. Our educational programme reflects the best of British private education, with specialist teaching starting as young as nursery age.
How have your pupils performed in examinations in recent years?
In 2016, our Year 11 class achieved 100% Grade A* to C in their IGCSE examinations. A significant proportion of our pupils, throughout Primary and Secondary, progress at a rate well above UK national expectations for their age.
How large are the classes in your school?
We have a maximum class size of 22 pupils. For our younger pupils in Early Years, the adult ratio is 1:6 students. In examination classes at 16+, pupils are often taught in small groups of less than five students to personalise their programme and ensure maximum attainment.
What is the background of your teaching staff?
All teachers, from Pre-Nursery right up to Sixth Form, are fully qualified teachers with a Bachelor’s degree, and many also having an MA in Education or their specialist subject field. The vast majority of our teachers are British, which makes us very unique in the city.
How are pupils with English as an additional language supported?
Our teachers are trained and experienced in managing pupils in their classroom who have English as a second language. Planning for these needs is therefore found in every single teacher’s lesson plans. Many of our teachers are specifically qualified in EAL or TEFL. We offer specialist support for pupils who have above-average EAL needs. We also hold a Saturday morning English-language school to further support our EAL pupils.
Do you have a mother-tongue programme?
Our mother tongue programme at Britannica is very important to us. Although we are a very British school in terms of our philosophy and ethos, we also celebrate and embrace our internationalism and our broad international student population. To support the needs of this we have a mother tongue programme for our Mandarin, Korean, French, Japanese, Hebrew and Italian native speakers.
Do you offer a wide range of field trips?
All our pupils, from Pre-Nursery upwards, go on trips and expeditions. For our youngest pupils this may be a ‘teddy bears picnic’ or a trip to the zoo, progressing to visits to local art galleries and museums for our Primary pupils or residential trips for upper Primary and Secondary, eventually leading to the challenge of expeditions for Duke of Edinburgh Award for older Secondary pupils. Our Sixth Form pupils take part in an annual trip to Sri Lanka.
Do you offer the Duke of Edinburgh Awards?
Yes, we are accredited with the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) scheme, and have an active programme for our students.
How important is music and the arts in your school?
Music and the arts are very important to our school. We hold regular recitals and encourage students to learn a range of instruments.
Do you have a school orchestra?
Yes, the Britannica Chamber Orchestra meets regularly to practice and compete in local competitions. Students are also welcome to join ’The Uke Crew’, made up of experienced and brand-new Ukulele players. The ‘Britannica Voices’ group explore a range of different musical singing styles, while the school’s ‘Drum Line’ ensemble perform and practise drumming from a wide range of musical cultures and styles.
How do most children travel to and from school?
Many students choose to use our dedicated bus services, which will deliver students to and from school. There are currently 22 different bus routes, providing access to Britannica from all across Shanghai.
Do you have a cafeteria?
Yes, our cafeteria has a wide range of food options that are updated regularly. These include a range of Western and Chinese meals.
All Images: Britannica International School, Shanghai
To view the Winter's profile for Britannica International School, Shanghai, please go to this link.