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Sunday, January 22, 2012

International Schools Award

International Schools Award

The British Council School International School Award (ISA) is a benchmarking scheme that accredits schools as having an outstanding level of support for its teaching practice to add
  1. International Dimension in its curriculum
  2. Innovation to classroom curriculum transaction

In India it was launched in 2004 and till date 550 schools have received the award with an additional 330 more working on it in the current year. The range of schools participating in the International School Award includes the elite private schools to government schools from rural areas.

Why should schools work towards the International School Award?

Schools across the world are grappling with the challenge of providing relevant education in a changing world scenario. Moving away from the traditional chalk and talk model of content oriented teaching towards process and value oriented experiential learning requires a transformational change.

This type of change is hard to bring about by discrete workshops or even extended staff training away from classroom where follow-up on action is difficult to ascertain, achievements difficult to measure and success rarely celebrated.

The ISA approach to school development is holistic and mirrors and models the approach that we are encouraging teachers to use with their students. It is also rigorous and evidence based.

The ISA is a leadership challenge, which will foster teambuilding, innovation, and project management. Getting the Action plan and dossier together will bring the staff together to examine each others practices and evolve a new way of working. Keeping them motivated and going through the course of one academic year will test the head teachers and ISA coordinators leadership skills. As we know good leadership is second only to good teaching in raising students outcome in schools.

It is content free and sits within individual schools curriculum framework just harnessing the every human beings innate desire to explore the world to drive learning. After all, the entire tourism industry thrives on peoples desire to spend their free time going from one place to and another and putting themselves to considerable trouble and discomfort only to be able to come back to say they had a wonderful holiday.

ISA gives context to practice new skills in ICT and pedagogy in a safe and structured manner. It adds the element of excitement and enthusiasm that is needed to make learning joyful.

Participating in Action Planning workshop, online community and the award ceremony brings together a large network of schools across the country fostering rich exchange of ideas, broadening of vision and creating of a strong community of education professionals.

ISA allows learning to end on a positive note with each project leader, the head teacher and the ISA coordinator receiving an individual certificate from the British Council when the school achieves the award.

An ISA is not the end. The schools and teachers involved in the ISA may remain engaged with the British Council programmes online beyond the assessment year. Outstanding coordinators and schools may be invited to become a British Council School Ambassador, join the ISA assessment Panel and co-facilitate workshops.

Is your school ready to participate in the International School Award?

A school is ready to participate in the International School Award if it has basic infrastructure and at least one computer with Internet facility accessible to students. At least one teacher has to have adequate working knowledge of English language.

The schools that benefit most are schools that are seeking ways of improving teaching and learning practice in the classroom and would like to see some transformational change from traditional methods to more innovative methods.

What are the cost implications of participation in the ISA?

All independent privately managed and funded schools will have to pay a one time registration fee of Rs 15,000 to be eligible to participate in the programme.

Government managed schools participating through the sponsorship of their parent organisation will need to pay a discounted fee of Rs 10,000 per school if upto 50 schools from that organisation are applying together and in this case a separate agreement will need to be signed of between the sponsoring body and the British Council in India.

Schools recommended and supported by a British Council School Ambassador will be able to participate at a discounted registration fee of Rs 12,500 only. Our BCSAs are copied on this mail.

The one time registration fee entitles the school to the support provided by the British Council as listed below but it does not cover cost of travel to and from the workshops or award ceremony venues, incidental project costs or accommodation costs if any are required.

The payment of registration fee does not entitle the schools to the ISA which is granted after rigorous assessment of standards and schools cannot claim the awards on the grounds of payment of the registration fee. In case the school is unable to get the ISA in the first assessment year then no fee needs to be paid for the second attempt. Thereafter a fresh registration will be needed.

What support do schools get from the British Council on their ISA journey?

British Council will arrange an ISA Action Planning Workshop and a ISA Dossier Guidance Workshop and Review Meeting at their offices in Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai and other major cities across India based on demand. These are delivered by British Council staff and / or British Council School Ambassadors (highly skilled and specially selected school teachers and head teachers who have experience of working on ISA or are a part of the ISA panel). 

Besides the two one day workshops it will also have information and support available to schools through its portal British Council Schools Online

Community and schools may seek help from registered British Council School Ambassadors for queries at any time through the process of working towards their ISA.

Schools may also seek prior appointment and come into the office and British Council libraries to view dossiers of successful schools.

What is the process involved in working towards a successful ISA dossier?

They need to make an action plan with at least seven specific activities for a range of year groups and a range of curriculum area running through one academic year. The first draft of the action plan is carefully assessed by an assessment panel and either approved or may be asked to improve according to recommendation. Schools execute the activities and submit a dossier of evidence. The evidence portfolio is assessed by the British Council Assessment Panel. ISA panel may suggest recommendation for improvement and resubmission after more work or approve the dossiers as appropriate.

What is the Award?

The schools that are able to complete their action plan and present evidence will receive the ISA and will be able to use the ISA logo on all their school correspondence for a three year period. They will also have the opportunity to attend an award ceremony and the Connecting Classrooms workshop held at any of the four metro cities across India each year.

Those dossiers that demonstrate outstanding achievement and innovation in delivering the international dimension in the curriculum will be awarded a silver and a gold standard ISA in recognition of their exceptional achievement the number and decision of such award will be at the discretion of the ISA assessment panel.  

Besides the award the outstanding schools will have the opportunity to show case their dossiers at our offices and libraries, speak at British Council events as resources persons, get invitation to selected events and workshops and be may be invited to join the ISA assessment panel in the future.

Signing up for the ISA?

To sign up for the ISA please fill out the attached registration forms and return to the address given below with the appropriate registration fee. (Cheque/draft for the correct amount may be drawn in favour of “British Council Division”)

The Connecting Classrooms School Team
British Council Division
17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110001

The ISA Briefing Dates in the near future are

20 January 2012 -  10.00 am  – 4.00 pm Delhi

23rd January 2012 –  10.00 am – 4.00 pm Bhopal

10th Feb 2012 – 10 AM to 4 PM Chandigarh

14th Feb 2012 – 10.00 am -  4.00 pm Jaipur

24th Feb 2012 – 10.00 am – 4.00 pm Delhi (depends on seats available)

Please indicate your preferred date on the form. The dates will be on first come first serve basis.

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