When you have kids in Singapore, the first question people ask is “where will they go to school?” Choosing an education for your child is not easy, especially when you live overseas. From the curriculum to extra-curricular activities, there’s much to consider. That’s why, when we heard the Australian International School (AIS) had received official accreditation from the Council for International Schools (CIS), we wanted to share the good news. But what exactly does it mean?
What is CIS?
The Council for International Schools, or “CIS”, is a community of 711 member schools in 112 countries. Like AIS, these schools are all committed to providing high-quality international education. They share one common ideal: to provide their students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to pursue their lives as responsible, well-rounded global citizens.
How does it work?
Membership to the CIS club offers schools an external set of rigorous checks and balances. To become a member, a school must demonstrate how it infuses its programs and offerings with international and intercultural perspectives that will provide students with a solid base, wherever their studies or work may take them.
Full accreditation is the next step up. To qualify, a CIS Member School must commit to a deep dive into its services, educational philosophy and performance by a special evaluation team, as well as ongoing quality assurance programs in the future. The 18-month process that saw AIS receive its full CIS accreditation involved a series of feedback surveys and workshops with everyone from staff to students, and even parents.
However, there is no specific model to which schools must adhere and no methods are imposed upon them. The underlying principle is to discover if the school delivers what it claims to deliver to its students – is it living up to its own guiding statements?
How did AIS do?
AIS clearly got the thumbs up. The feedback on their curricular and extra-curricular programs, as well as the culture and community of the school, was overwhelmingly positive.
The evaluation report is full of statements like ‘excellent and effective alignment with the standards for CIS accreditation,’ and commendations for its strong commitment to its guiding statements; to continuous improvement; to respectful interactions between staff, students, parents and visitors; and its strong focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of students.
The school and its staff were also highly praised for their commitment to creating stimulating learning environments, as well as for their curriculum planning, design, articulation and implementation.
What does it mean for AIS staff and students?
A significant feather in AIS’s cap, this latest accreditation strongly supports the school’s vision to be a globally recognised centre of educational excellence, whose students are committed to addressing the needs of our world. As AIS’s Head of School, Simon Leslie explains, “We strive to provide a nurturing community where students can flourish and fulfil their potential. CIS accreditation is an immediate signal to higher education institutions around the world that AIS students share their values and have the skills and educational standards they are seeking.”
However, while CIS accreditation acknowledges the school’s current success, it also challenges it to continuously reflect on how it can improve and adapt. “Everything we do is underpinned by respect, opportunity and achievement,” says Simon. “The regular, objective assessments and self-evaluation required by CIS will help us stay true to our goals.”
Find out more about Singapore’s international schools.