Given enough time, the quality of an international school will naturally reveal itself in several distinct ways. Student performance, student wellbeing and parent satisfaction, for example, are indicative of a school’s efficacy, ethos and overall quality. However, these indicators may not paint a complete picture.
After all, some students are gifted and highly-motivated, and would perform well enough in any school, consequently skewing a school’s average scores; likewise, some parents are easy-going and unworried by the concerns of others, which can skew the general perception of a school: “I know little Timmy’s mum said his teacher Miss Y spends a lot of time on her phone during lesson time, but my daughter is excelling in Miss Y’s class, so I give the school full marks!”
To paint a larger, more detailed picture of a school’s quality, external validation by authorised, unbiased experts proves vitally important. While international schools do not always require such validation in order to operate, the most academically serious schools submit themselves to expert scrutiny for helpful feedback, quality assurance and accreditation. Of the various institutions that provide such accreditation for British international schools and their stakeholders, none is closer to the realities of international education than the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).
COBIS is the most important and influential global association of, and for, British International Schools. Member schools have the option to apply for a COBIS Compliance accreditation or the more robust (and more searching) COBIS Patron’s Accreditation. Wellington’s leadership opted for the latter and, in 2019, Wellington College Bangkok became the first school in the world to earn the COBIS Patron’s Accreditation within its first year of operation.
To qualify, Wellington needed to meet or exceed the following criteria:
- The school has as a priority the recruitment of appropriately qualified and experienced staff.
- The school provides a safe and supportive environment for all young people
- The school provides all students with access to an environment conducive to learning and that keeps them safe.
- The school’s governors/proprietors work to support students and the work of the school.
- The school has an evident British ethos and promotes internationalism.
- The school recognises that their core business is teaching and the quality of this helps define the school. The school celebrates the learning of students and ensures that it can identify and support learning both in the classroom and elsewhere.
- Schools are successful because of the high quality of leadership at different levels throughout the organisation which supports students.
- The school communicates effectively with parents to keep them informed and to support the progress of their child.
- The school values a wide range of clubs, activities, charitable and community projects which exemplify the all-round education the school provides.
Not only did WCIB exceed accreditation requirements, but COBIS officially reported that Wellington College International Bangkok is “an example to all COBIS schools of best practice.” However, the picture is still not complete. COBIS is committed to helping British international schools develop on a five-year cycle, and WCIB has no plans to rest on its laurels. Now in its second year of operation, Wellington College Bangkok will continue regular correspondence with COBIS accreditors, adhering to their evolving guidelines and embracing their ongoing visits.
Yes, WCIB’s students are achieving academic success. Yes, the children are safe and happy at school. Yes, their parents are satisfied. Now, in addition to these already vibrant layers of colour, this unprecedented conferment of the COBIS Patron’s Accreditation places Wellington College Bangkok in a frame of its own.