Q+A: British International School of Kuala Lumpur
The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) answers our questions and takes us on a virtual tour...
What happens when parents visit the school?
When parents visit the school, they are greeted by a member of our admissions team. We typically grab a seat with them, and try to get to know the family a bit. We try to engage the children as well — and try to involve them throughout the conversations. We ask questions to gauge their needs, interests, and priorities to customise their tour accordingly. During the tour, we will take them to the respective school (i.e. EYFS, Primary or Secondary) to show them the facilities, and wherever we can, we step in to a live class so that the parents and children can get a true idea of what a typical class will feel like. While on the tour, we continue to build rapport with the family, teaching them about the school, the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, etc.
All in all, we want to ensure we're providing them with as much guidance and support through their decision of selecting a school as possible. We then close the tour by sitting down with the family to answer any questions they may have, discuss next steps (if they are interested in progressing), and provide them with further reading to take home about the school (i.e. booklets, school calendar, bus routes, fees etc.). We also aim to follow up with them a few days after the tour, as sometimes new questions might pop up that they didn't have the chance to ask.
What assessments are required to enrol?
For Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Reception, the prospective students will meet with leaders of the Early Years team one to one, where they will be assessed against the curriculum expectations for their year group. The assessments are quite casual, aiming to find out whether they will be prepared and able to join their year group.
Often they will spend a bit of time in the classroom as well to help assess how they interact with other children, follow direction, etc. For Primary School, it usually consists of the students meeting the Head of Primary for an assessment. During this assessment, brief work is prepared for the child to complete, again to gauge their current capabilities and skills.
In Secondary School, the assessments are a bit more formalised, where students complete online assessments such as MIDYIS and YELLIS. In addition, all secondary students tend to meet with the Head of Secondary (in particular, to discuss IGCSE and A Level aspirations). All prospective EYFS, Primary and Secondary students are also required to provide past school reports and contact details for us to obtain teacher/tutor references.
"...we enhance the curriculum where necessary to provide an innovative, challenging and creative programme."
What curriculum do you follow?
The programme is based on the English National Curriculum but is not bound by its constraints. Instead, we apply the most appropriate elements and enhance the curriculum where necessary to provide an innovative, challenging and creative programme.
Students study English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, History, Drama, Art, ICT, Graphic Design and PE. In addition, students choose to study two Modern Foreign Languages from a choice of three.
What is the teaching programme in your Sixth Form?
At BSKL we deliver the A Level programme. We offer a wide range of A Level subjects and pupils are supported in making A Level option decisions based on their future plans and aspirations. Alongside A Levels we offer the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), a wide range of co-curricular opportunities and a comprehensive university and careers programme.
What links do you have with other schools?
BSF is one of the largest networks of international schools in the world. Its mission is to provide world-class education in an international context. Each school in the Foundation shares common management, principles and policies aimed at ensuring high standards in all aspects of school life, from academic performance to high quality-facilities and excellent conditions for staff.
Are there any residential trips throughout the year?
BSKL runs a wide range of residential trips including International Award (Duke of Edinburgh) trips, bonding residentials for all year groups, an annual ski trip and overseas sports trips. This is as well as the many residential trips offered by subject departments and single-day educational visits that take place throughout the year.
How do you support pupils who are struggling, and how do you challenge the more able?
The continuous use of Assessment for Learning strategies allows teachers at BSKL to identify students that require additional support or challenge. Focused questioning, the use of differentiated success criteria and high-quality resources support all students in accessing tasks that have been well matched to their next steps in learning.
Our dedicated learning support department provides advice and practical support for students and teachers when required. This may involve our Gifted and Talented leader who oversees the provision for students who are working significantly above the expected standard for their age.
Each class in the Primary school is supported by a full-time native English-speaking teaching assistant. We believe this to be a particular asset in meeting the needs of all students.
What languages do you offer?
We offer Spanish, French and Mandarin. Our Mandarin curriculum is designed to develop and challenge those that are both native speakers and those that are new to learning Mandarin. Additionally, Bahasa is taught to all pupils who are Malaysian. This is taught from Year 2 upwards.
How often are parents invited to parents’ evenings?
We have an initial ‘meet the teacher day’, which happens before the first day of school. The main purpose is for tutor, student and parents to reach a shared understanding of the student’s goals for the school year and form a positive relationship. Another aim of this part is to furnish parents with basic information, to make them feel they are well informed about school routines and expectations.
Parents are also invited to ‘Parent Teacher Consultations’ in terms two and three to discuss their child’s academic and pastoral progress, share highlights of the term and discuss targets set. In Primary, parents are also invited to a ‘Student Led Consultation’ in term three. This is where their children share with them work that they are proud of and discuss the learning journey they have been on and their biggest achievements. This is also an opportunity for parents to ask their children questions about their learning.
What opportunities exist for parents to speak to their child's teachers should they have any worries or concerns?
Parents are welcome to approach class teachers at any time to informally discuss their child’s progress or any concerns they may have. This can be done through a discussion before/after school and we encourage parents to make an appointment so that a convenient time may be found. Parents can also communicate to teachers via email.
What performing arts opportunities do students have?
- One lesson per week in Years 7, 8 and 9.
- Whole-year group performance to the public in Year 8.
- The school production.
- GCSE and A Level Drama are offered as examination subjects.
Shortly, we will be offering LAMDA lessons during the school day via Blubricks — approved centre for LAMDA exams.
Do you have a ‘House’ system?
When our students enrol they become either a Norman, Saxon, Roman or Viking. They compete throughout the year for academic and non-academic house trophies.
The overall winner takes home the coveted house cup at the end of year.
Do you have a swimming pool on site?
We have a large outdoor 25m pool split into nine lanes and a smaller covered 8m pool split into two levels using buoyed lane ropes.
Is there a school bus service?
Our safe and efficient bus service covers all the major neighbourhoods in Kuala Lumpur. All buses are modern, clean and in accordance with our bus policy, including seat-belts and medical kits.
Do you arrange for guest speakers, such as authors and experts to come to the school?
We have a continuous programme of visiting authors and experts who enrich the experience of our students outside of the classroom.