The British Association of Independent Schools with International Students (BAISIS) celebrated its 25th birthday with a special event at the beginning of this year’s BSA National Boarding Week (20-26 June).
On Monday, June 20, BAISIS held a tree-planting ceremony outside Burton Bank boarding house to celebrate 25 years since its launch. The ceremony took place on the first day of this year’s BSA National Boarding Week, which sees boarding schools all over the world taking part in a series of activities to highlight everything that’s great about boarding.
Appropriately, with BAISIS celebrating a silver anniversary this year, the tree planted was a silver birch. Joining me to plant the tree were Caroline Nixon (Director, BAISIS, International and Membership Director, BSA Group and former BAISIS Chair) and Robin Fletcher (CEO, the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and BSA Group). Special guests at the event also included former Chairs Olive Burnside, Julian Baker and Andrew Rattue.
Originally formed in 1997 as The Association of International Study Centres (AISC), BAISIS was set up by Sherborne School, Taunton School, Rossall School and Bedford School. At the time, these were the only four schools in the UK with international study centres. These were stand-alone units, separate to their parent schools, which were led by Principals who had pioneered teaching English as an additional language, as well as a range of academic subjects for students with limited English. The centres were designed to help students to prepare academically, pastorally and culturally for successfully integrating into a British boarding school, which many schools were not set up to provide at that time. The Principals of each centre would meet regularly to network and share ideas of best practice.
BAISIS joined BSA Group in the summer of 2020 and has continued to go from strength to strength and now has 121 member schools and 20 supporting members. It supplies both teaching and pastoral staff with strategies to enable them to support their international pupils inside and outside the classroom. BAISIS membership also acts as a mark of quality to international parents and agents through its commitment to academic and pastoral provision for non-native English speakers.
The theme of this year’s National Boarding Week is ‘one boarding community’, and that continues to be at the root of everything BAISIS does to help give international students studying in British independent schools the best possible chance of academic success and cultural integration.