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British Schools Overseas (BSOs)

Welcome to the British Overseas Schools (BSOs) page. Please click on the headings below to view the content.

“British Schools Overseas” (BSOs) are schools that have been inspected under the DfE-endorsed system developed for the purpose and which is quality assured by Ofsted. BSME was heavily involved in the adaptation of the draft regulations to suit an overseas context and the Middle East is the most active region in terms of the number of inspections: at the time of writing, 40% of the world’s BSOs are also BSME schools.

The framework is based on the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) system used to inspect the vast majority of UK-based independent schools, but modified to meet the context of schools operating under different legal and educational jurisdictions. Judgments under these systems are comparable and so BSO schools rated, for example, as “Outstanding” are at a comparable standard to UK-independent schools with the same grading.

Five inspectorates have been given the authority to carry out BSO inspections: ISI , Tribal Education, PENTA International, G2G Education, Cambridge Education, and CfBT Education.

Schools that have been inspected under the BSO regulations are accorded certain benefits, which, it is anticipated, will increase over time. Currently, BSO schools:

  • may call themselves BSO schools
  • are listed on the DfE website, together with their inspection reports
  • can hire and induct Newly Qualified Teacher from the United Kingdom
  • can work with graduate teachers, who do not have a teaching qualification, to help them qualify for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) through the Assessment Only route
  • are eligible to attend the annual BSO conference (held in Abu Dhabi and Barcelona in the first two years, with Hong Kong the venue for the 3rd conference in November 2014)

BSME continues to be active in lobbying for more support for BSOs – and, of course, all BSME schools. One initiative close to fruition will be realized when the UK government has obtained world-wide protection of the BSO brand – a process it is pursuing, following intensive BSME lobbying, under the “Paris Convention”.

The continuing development of BSOs worldwide has led to an agreement, at the BSO conference in Barcelona in late 2013, to form a body (tentatively the “Association of British Schools Overseas” – ABSO). BSME’s view is to encourage this, but in a manner that ensures that a BSO body is a symbiotic partner with BSME and not a competitor! This tenet (applied also to the relationship with the other regional organisations – LAHC, FOBISIA and NABSS) was agreed by heads at the Conference to be fundamental. BSME has proposed that the new body’s remit be the sharing of good pedagogical and operational practices between BSOs and also adds its weight to the lobbying power of all overseas schools. If this remit is accepted, then there will be no conflict of interest in the case of Heads who wish to contribute to the development of both bodies.

The existence of so many BSOs within BSME adds considerably to the lobbying strength of BSME and our recognition by DfE and other UK government ministries. As Chairman, I encourage as many of our schools as possible to undergo a BSO inspection – it will surely, over time, become an important mark of quality, alongside the strength of the BSME “brand”, that will be recognized by parents looking for a school for their children and to teachers seeking the best places in which to work.

Current BSME / BSO schools are listed below, followed by further documentation about BSO; its development and BSME’s role in this.

Ed Goodwin OBE Chairman

BSME Schools that have undertaken a BSO Inspection:

Bahrain

  • St Christopher's Infant and Junior School
  • St Christopher's Senior School

Egypt

  • British School of Alexandria
  • El Alsson School
  • Modern English School Cairo Primary
  • Modern English School Cairo secondary
  • New Cairo British International School

Kuwait

  • Gulf English School
  • The British School of Kuwait
  • The English School
  • The New English School
  • The English Academy

Oman

  • British School Muscat

Qatar

  • Al Khor International School
  • Doha College
  • Park House English School
  • Sherborne Qatar

The United Arab Emirates

  • British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai College
  • Fujairah Private Academy
  • Horizon School, Dubai
  • School of Research Science, Dubai
  • Sharjah English School
  • The Pearl Primary School, Abu Dhabi

Please find below a link to the BSO part of the DfE website. Here you will find a list of individual school inspection reports, listed alphabetically ‘by country’. You can also use the button at the foot of the page to click through the eight pages on which schools are listed. Alternatively you can search schools via the map, though currently this does not appear to include every school.

DfE Website : BSO Section

The survey was undertaken in response to a request from the Department for Education (DfE) for data on the possible uptake, within British Schools Overseas, of the Assessment Only route to UK Qualified Teacher Status. The data would inform discussions and decision about the possible location of testing centres outside of the United Kingdom, where candidates for the AO route could take the required tests in Literacy and Numeracy.

The opportunity was also taken to assess the current and possible future levels of employment of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) who had attained this status within the UK.

Full Report  PDF302KB

BSME welcomes the newly-launched UK “International Education Strategy”.

BSME is grateful for the opportunity it was given to contribute to the “co-creation” of the strategy at three BIS workshops devoted to this task. We welcome and support the strategy and look forward to playing an active role in the development and realisation of the objectives, as they relate to the overseas schools sector.

Please follow the link below to read the BSME website entry in initial response to the DFE / BIS International Education Strategy launch.

BSME : UK International Education Strategy

The full text of the international education strategy and supporting information can be found here : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-education-strategy-global-growth-and-prosperity

Alternatively, the following are direct links to the relevant pdfs.

International Education Global Growth and Prosperity PDF526KB

International Education Accompanying Analytical Narrative PDF716KB

BSME and Penta International have worked closely with the Department for Education (DfE) over the last year, and more intensively in recent months, to develop a kitemark for British schools overseas that have been successfully inspected under the BSO framework. 

As a result, we have been advised by the DfE that it is possible for the government to register a term such as ‘British Schools Overseas’ as an Official Sign, and that it is their intention to do so.  The link below gives more details of the step that the government intends to take.

BSME is particularly pleased with this success, not least because 40% of all currently BSO-inspected schools worldwide are BSME members.    

BSME will continue its on-going work towards further recognition and benefits for our schools and has every confidence that these will grow over the coming years.

Press Release UK Government Recognition for British Schools Overseas (22 Sept 2013) PDF87KB

Over recent years BSME (British Schools in the Middle East) has been very active in lobbying the UK government for further support for British Schools Overseas (indeed, from before that term even existed).

With reference to these BSME activities, we are pleased to attach details of a successful lobbying and development initiative, concerning the ability for unqualified teachers to pursue QTS status in British Schools Overseas. The final negotiations leading to this breakthrough were mainly conducted by the Oxon Bucks SCITT Partnership, after BSME had solicited their support in this important matter. This followed research and lobbying of various bodies, by BSME, over an extended period and groundwork with DfE and others.

This follows success of a joint Penta International / BSME strategy to put us on the route towards the institution of a BSO official badge.

NB: This latest development allows unqualified, graduate-level staff, in BSME schools that have also undertaken a BSO inspection, to achieve QTS through Assessment Only. (As yet, this will not assist those non-graduates who have an international PGCE). A number of details concerning implementation are being discussed between BSME and the OxonBucks Partnership and these will be released to members when finalised.

BSME Announcement Assessment Only Route to QTS for Teachers in BSOs (3 Oct 2013) PDF83KB

Statutory Guidance on induction for newly qualified teachers (England). For appropriate bodies, headteachers, school staff and governing bodies. Revised December 2013. Statutory Guidance on induction for newly qualified teachers (England) PDF571KB

To accept NQTs for their induction and the induction to be recognised as valid by the UK government, a school must be a member of BSME and have successfully completed a BSO inspection. The school then has to work with an "appropriate body". The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust is such a body and is BSME’s preferred partner. 

The cooperation between BSME, Buckinghamshire Learning Trust and their Initial Teacher Training provider partner, OxonBucks Partnership SCITT, has resulted in success for those schools that have successfully completed a British Schools Overseas inspection (BSOs). In future, candidates meeting certain criteria, including the possession of a degree or equivalent, will be able to achieve QTS status through their work in British Schools Overseas.

Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) can therefore complete their NQT Induction in qualifying BSME Member Schools. 40% of all currently BSO-inspected schools worldwide are BSME members: 

Bahrain

  • St Christopher's Infant and Junior School
  • St Christopher's Senior School

Egypt

  • British School of Alexandria
  • El Alsson School
  • Modern English School Cairo Primary
  • Modern English School Cairo secondary
  • New Cairo British International School

Kuwait

  • The British School of Kuwait
  • The English School
  • The New English School
  • The English Academy

Oman

  • British School Muscat

Qatar

  • Al Khor International School
  • Doha College
  • Park House English School
  • Sherborne Qatar

The United Arab Emirates

  • British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai College
  • Fujairah Private Academy
  • Horizon School, Dubai
  • School of Research Science, Dubai
  • Sharjah English School
  • The Pearl Primary School, Abu Dhabi

Please find below a link to the BSO part of the DfE website. Here you will find a list of individual school inspection reports, listed alphabetically ‘by country’. You can also use the button at the foot of the page to click through the eight pages on which schools are listed. Alternatively you can search schools via the map, though currently this does not appear to include every school.

DfE Website : BSO Section

Changes in the law in September 2012 have allowed schools that follow a British curriculum abroad, to recruit NQTs and support them through their induction year. Teachers working overseas who have not previously been able to obtain QTS are now able to achieve this via induction with The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust.

The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust is BSME’s preferred partner to act as an “Appropriate Body” for NQT induction to BSME Schools. BSME has negotiated preferential rates with The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust for BSME Members.

They can also provide the opportunity for experienced staff to gain “fast-track” Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Experienced teachers with the correct experience can achieve this in as little as one term of induction.

The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust is proud to affiliate itself to BSME and is pleased to offer these services at a special rate to our member schools.

Please follow the links below to access more detailed information about the NQT Induction programme and the Assessment only QTS Progrmame.

A Package for NQT Induction from the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust for BSME Schools PDF1.4MB

NQT Registration Form for BSME Schools 2013-2014 word 400KB

NQT Handbook 2013-14 PDF1MB

Assessment Only Supporting Guidance NCTL PDF323KB

Assessment Only QTS For Candidates Working in BSME Schools PDF98KB

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