September 2015 | COBIS Connect


COBIS Connect - September 2015

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In This Issue:

1.    Welcome
2.    Dates For Your Diaries
3.    School Member News
4.    Professional Development
               • Forthcoming Conferences
5.    COBIS Student Competitions and Events
6.    New COBIS Member Schools
7.    COBIS Services
8.    News from COBIS Schools Around the World
9.    Lobbying News
10.  COBIS Webinars
11.  Supporting Member News
12.  Contact Us

Welcome from Colin Bell, COBIS CEO

Dear Colleague,

A warm welcome to the September edition of COBIS Connect! Especially to colleagues who are new to the global COBIS network. With the new academic year underway, for COBIS school communities and COBIS supporting members alike, may 2015/16 be successful, full of exciting challenges, enjoyment and reward for all.
As you would expect, with the support of our members, COBIS continues to deliver more opportunities for students, teachers, support staff, leaders and governors to develop, learn and grow professionally and personally. With a range of high quality interactive conferences, webinars, forums, competitions, consultancy and mentoring programmes – on a truly international scale, there’s certainly lots of ways to participate and to get involved!
Please look out for the next edition of the COBIS World Student magazine, which will be delivered to approximately 2,500 British international schools in the next couple of weeks. In addition to world student news, travels, exchange programmes, academic and co-curricula achievements, the theme of developing positivity and what drives us forward in life is also explored. A great reminder to us all as developing this skill and positive mind set is as important in September as it is in any other month of the year.  
In terms of UK and international lobbying activities, COBIS continues to represent the needs and aspirations of its members. COBIS is well connected with the UK Department of Education and other Ministries of Education worldwide, BSO inspectorates, UKTI, examination and curriculum providers, Universities and other organisations. Therefore please don’t hesitate to contact COBIS if we can offer any lobbying support, to add value to your school, organisation and to the British international schools sector.  
Finally, during August, as COBIS grows, we have welcomed Monica, Padma and Sakina to COBIS Head Office. I know you’ll join me in wishing them well as they join myself and the team as we work to serve the needs of COBIS members worldwide.  

Kind regards,


Colin Bell

Dates for Your Diaries

COBIS Student Leadership Weekend
9-11 October 2015
King's College Madrid, Spain

COBIS EYFS Conference
23-24 October 2015
British Embassy School Ankara, Turkey

COBIS/King's Group Professional Development Weekend
6-7 November 2015
King’s College Madrid, Spain

COBIS Conference for Bursars, Business Managers and HR Staff
20-21 November 2015
The British School in The Netherlands, The Hague

    School Member News

    COBIS Welcomes Three New Colleagues to Head Office Team

    We were delighted to welcome three new colleagues to our Head Office Team in Russell Square in August (pictured from left to right): Monica Rude, Padma Sivapunniyam and Sakina Zafar.

    Monica Rude, our new Senior Professional Development Officer (maternity cover), joins us after completing a Master’s degree in the Anthropology of Childhood, Youth, and Education at Brunel University. Prior to that, she was the Head of University Counselling at a three programme IB school in Asia. Monica graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in History and Educational Studies, cum laude. She is a fully qualified history teacher and holds a certificate in College Counselling from UCLA.

    Padma Sivapunniyam joins us as our new Finance Officer.  She has worked as a financial accountant with over 15 years' experience ranging from Commercial to Not for Profit and is very excited to join the COBIS team at the start of this new academic year.  

    Sakina Zafar joins us as our new Academic Officer. Sakina is an experienced international education consultant and has worked with schools in the Middle East region. Her responsibilities have included developing programmes for whole school improvement as well as school operations and management, overseeing professional development and teacher training, private schools start up and international staff recruitment. Sakina has also worked as a School Improvement Advisor at Local Authority level with secondary schools in the UK.

    We hope you will join us in welcoming our three new colleagues to the COBIS Head Office and we look forward to working with them as we begin the new academic year 2015/16.

    COBIS School Members - Staff Changes

    COBIS is pleased to welcome the following Principals and Headteachers to COBIS schools. We look forward to working with you:

    Justin Blakebrough – British School of Alexandria

    Mark Leppard MBE – The British School Al Khubairat

    Dr. Steffen Sommer – Doha College 

    Mike Lambert – Dubai College 

    Jason Taylor - ELA Primary School

    Jonathan Massey – New School, Rome 

    Chris Greenhalgh - The British School of Milan 

    Christopher Nicholls - The British Primary and Secondary School of Wilanow

    Sigve Austheim – Baku Talents Education Complex 

    Sean McCloskey – Links School

    Jane Greenwood - British School Of Ulaanbaatar  

    Dr. Andre Nel - British School in Baku

    Kieran Earley - British School in The Netherlands

    COBIS reminds all member schools to notify us of changes to their administrative and senior leadership staff. This will help us stay up to date with all important contacts and make it easier to facilitate dialogue with the appropriate person in each school. To inform us of any changes, please email Natalie Friend.

    COBIS Membership Subscription Fee – Prompt Payment Required

    Invoices for the 2015/16 COBIS Membership fee are being sent out this month and prompt payment is required by Friday 25 September 2015.

    If you require a copy of your invoice, please contact Padma Sivapunniyam

    COBIS World Student Magazine September 2015 Is On Its Way To Your School

    Issue three celebrates a theme that resonates with many international students: travel. If anything, the one thing that unites international students is the desire to embrace cultures other than their own, to understand the world they live in, and to do so by embracing travel at any opportunity. Their ability to explore, understand and appreciate the diversity of the world is truly what makes them a global citizen.

    To celebrate this, issue three introduces two exciting new regular travel features, showcases vibrant travel photography and shares the inspirational, thought provoking experiences of students that have travelled abroad for exchanges, international competitions and events.

    COBIS World Student magazine is looking for students to submit articles inspired by their views and experiences by November 2015 for the January 2016 issue. Please email Samantha Wilkins at


    COBIS Members Receive Discounted Rate for Playful Pedagogies

    A copy of Playful Pedagogies: How Young Children Learn in International and Multicultural Settings was sent to all COBIS schools earlier this year. The publication, which was launched at the COBIS Annual Conference in May 2015 and published by our supporting members John Catt Educational Ltd, includes contributions from Early Years experts in the field from high quality international schools worldwide. When the book is ordered through the John Catt website, COBIS member schools can access a 30% discount per copy by using the code "COBIS". For more information and to order a copy, please click here.

    Congratulations To All Students On Their Exam Success

    Well done to all COBIS students and schools who received their A-Level, IB and GCSE/IGCSE results this summer. We received news from many of our schools reporting outstanding results, many of which can be found retweeted at Their achievements are the result of a huge amount of hard work and commitment to their courses. COBIS would like to extend their congratulations to all students and also wish them good luck with their next steps whether they are continuing on to sixth form, college, university or work.  

    Anne Keeling's article on international schools' exam success included reports of a number of COBIS schools' achievements and can be read here.

    Important Notice From The DBS

    DBS officials have contacted COBIS to highlight that a number of DBS applications have been submitted with inaccurate or missing information. As you will appreciate, this is a major concern, which could result in putting children and/or vulnerable adults at risk.

    Submitting a DBS application form with incorrect information runs the risk of generating an inaccurate disclosure result. For example, you may receive a clear disclosure when there is in fact information you should be aware of, or the DBS may match incorrect criminal information against an applicant.   

    To view examples of inaccurate information which have been flagged to COBIS and to find out what you can do to help, please click here.

    NQT Induction – Registration Deadline Approaching

    Qualifying COBIS Accredited Members which have employed NQTs for 2015/16 are reminded that all NQTs must be registered with an induction panel before the approaching deadline in order to complete their induction year. All schools that have had a successful BSO inspection are eligible to provide induction for Newly Qualified Teachers. For more information, deadlines or to register NQTs for induction, please visit one of the COBIS Supporting Members below who offer this:

    The Independent Schools Teacher Induction Panel (IStip) has supported a number of COBIS Schools and NQTs with inductions in recent years. For further details contact Judith Fenn, IStip Executive Director.

    COBIS Supporting Member,Buckinghamshire Learning Trust also offers a package for induction of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in COBIS Schools. For more information, please download this flyer, or contact Roxanne Willis-Jackson, Head of NQTs. 

    Register Your School To The Growing With Gratitude Program

    Immanuel Primary (a non-COBIS member IB International School) in Adelaide, Australia has developed a wellbeing program for primary schools called Growing with Gratitude. It aims to prevent mental health issues in children and also provides schools, teachers, students and families with the tools needed to develop habits of gratitude, kindness, optimism, mindfulness and happiness from an early age. Their quest is to expand their global community from schools in 24 to 50 different countries. 

    Becoming a Growing With Gratitude school enables your school to become part of a global community, access the school library, download resources, upload resources and discount entitlement, among many other benefits. Being part of the Growing with Gratitude community is an exciting way to connect and share resources with other schools, teachers and families locally and globally in the space of primary school wellbeing. It’s about creating the next generation of grateful, happy and flourishing children. For more information, please click here and to register your school for free, please click here.

    Professional Development

    2015/16 COBIS CPD Calendar 

    The 2015/16 COBIS CPD Calendar includes a range of courses and conferences for:

    Please click here for a list of the high-quality professional development opportunities that COBIS will be running for the next Academic Year 2015/16. Booking is open for the conferences below:

    October 2015 

    November 2015 

    Forthcoming Conferences

    International Programme for Middle Leaders – National College and COBIS

    Last academic year, a number of colleagues from COBIS schools participated in the ten-month International Programme for Middle Leaders, run in partnership between COBIS, the National College for Teaching & Leadership and The British School in The Netherlands. The feedback from the course has been very positive. In May, COBIS also ran a facilitator training course for colleagues who wish to deliver the IPML in their own schools. In 2015/16, there are a number of IPML cohorts confirmed and which are planned to run in a range of countries including The Netherlands, Spain, Oman, Kenya, Turkey, and Romania. There are opportunities for colleagues to join some of these cohorts, including programmes that will be delivered in The Hague and Madrid, starting this autumn 2015. Further details and booking forms can be found by clicking the links below.

    19-21 November 2015; 14-15 April 2016 - The British School in the Netherlands

    26-28 October 2015; 10-11 March 2016 - King's College, Madrid

    18-20 November 2016; 17-18 March 2016 - King's College, Madrid 

    COBIS EYFS Conference, Ankara – British Embassy School Ankara, Turkey – 23-24 October 2015


    Teachers and Support Staff working in the Early Years are invited to attend the first COBIS EYFS Conference hosted by British Embassy School Ankara. The programme will include courses and workshops on a range of topics, plus an optional post-conference Paediatric First Aid Course on 25-26 October. For more information, online booking and links to the Conference website, please click here.

    COBIS/King's Professional Development Weekend, Madrid, Spain


    6-7 November 2015
    King's College, Madrid

    Teachers and Teaching Assistants from Primary and Secondary Schools are invited to register for the COBIS/King's Group Professional Development Weekend, hosted by King's College, Madrid. Building on the success of previous Teachers' Conferences hosted by King's Group, this 2-day event includes a host of excellent speakers and workshop presenters. This year’s Keynote speaker is Mungo Dunnett who will be giving a plenary session on “The Changing Market: Current Issues in the International Education Sector”.  With over 30 educational experts, trainers and facilitators involved, the Professional Development Weekend offers something for everyone: School Improvement and Excellence, Leadership and Management, ICT and elearning, Coaching , Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, Outdoor Learning, SEN, co-curriculum, etc. The programme also includes specific workshops in key subject areas in both Primary and Secondary: English, Maths, The Sciences, Humanities and Creatives and a number of highly participative, interactive ‘Spark Workshops’ for sharing teaching ideas amongst participants. We are confident that the weekend will prove to be professionally stimulating and will provide you with an excellent opportunity for development, networking and sharing best practice.  

    For more information and to book your place, please click here. 

    2nd COBIS Conference for Bursars, Business Managers and HR Staff The Hague, The Netherlands  20-21 November 2015


    Delegates are invited to book their place for the second COBIS Conference for Bursars, Business Managers and HR Staff in British International Schools, which will be held at The British School in The Netherlands, 20-21 November 2015. This two-day training and networking event will include plenary sessions and practical workshops on a range of topics: Strategic planning & management; School budgeting; Developing school management; Recruitment solutions; Schools of the future; and more. The conference is sponsored by WCBS International. The delegate fee is €350 for COBIS Members and €450 for non-COBIS Members. For further details and booking forms, please click here.  

    COBIS Student Competitions and Events 

    Information regarding all COBIS 2015/2016 student competitions and events will be emailed to schools in the next couple of weeks. This information will be emailed to Heads at all COBIS schools. However, if you would like to receive this information, please contact Catriona Lawless to be added to the mailing list.  To download the latest COBIS Student Competitions and Events flyer, please click here.

    Student Competition and Events Dates For Your Diary 2015/2016

    Below are the proposed dates and deadlines for all COBIS Competitions and Events for the next academic year: 

    Autumn Term 

    Spring Term

    Summer Term

    COBIS/King's Group Student Leadership Weekend, Madrid – 9-11 October 2015


    COBIS is pleased to announce that the next Student Leadership Weekend will take place at King's College Madrid, 9-11 October 2015. The Student Leadership Weekend will provide leadership training and life skills for senior pupils (aged 16 and over). Through interactive activities with trainers and prominent motivational speakers, the students will be presented with opportunities to develop self-awareness, interpersonal skills and life competencies. Places are limited and the booking deadline is Friday 18 September 2015. For more details and a booking form, visit the COBIS website.

    New COBIS School Members

    The British School of Caracas

    COBIS is delighted to welcome our first member school in Venezuela. The British School of Caracas was approved by the COBIS Membership Committee following the submission of a detailed and robust membership application. As the school has been BSO inspected, the school will now apply for COBIS Accredited Membership through the COBIS Inspections and Quality Assurance Committee.

    Head of School Yasir Patel said upon accepting COBIS membership, “We are pleased and delighted to now be part of this prestigious organisation and look forward to many years of positive collaboration”.

    On behalf of the COBIS network, we would like to welcome the staff and pupils at The British School of Caracas into membership.

    The British International School of Riyadh

    COBIS is delighted to announce our first member school in Saudi Arabia. The British International School of Riyadh has recently been approved by the COBIS Membership Committee as a COBIS Member.

    Principal Chris Mantz said upon accepting COBIS Member status, “I look forward to our school enjoying the benefit of our relationship with COBIS”.

    On behalf of the COBIS Board, Head Office team and our family of schools, we would like to welcome The British International School of Riyadh into membership.

    British International School Wroclaw

    COBIS would like to welcome the British International School Wroclaw, suituated in Poland, into membership. The school, our sixth in Poland, was approved for COBIS Member status by the COBIS Membership Committee in August.

    Head of School Wayne Billington was delighted to accept membership on behalf of the school, which is the sister school of the British International School of Cracow, also a COBIS member.

    On behalf of COBIS, we would like to welcome the staff and pupils at the British International School Wroclaw into membership.

    COBIS Services

    COBIS Consultancy Service

    If your school has specific CPD needs that would be best addressed by having training delivered by an external trainer or consultant in your school, then the COBIS Consultancy Service can help. COBIS Schools can submit a request for consultancy or training via the COBIS website. The consultancy request will be shared with some of the quality-assured consultants and training providers in the COBIS database and the school will then receive proposals from individuals or companies who would be able to deliver the training within the school’s proposed budget and timeline. There is no cost for COBIS Schools wishing to use this service. For more information visit the COBIS website or email

    COBIS Leadership Mentoring and Support Service

    For Senior Leaders looking for more tailored, personalised CPD, the Leadership Mentoring and Support Service offers the opportunity to work with a trained mentor with successful experience of the professional challenges in the international school environment. For more information visit the COBIS website or email

    News From COBIS Schools Around the World

    Students From The Alice Smith School Continue Fundraise for Nepal

    Students from The Alice Smith School organised yet another successful charity event at the Primary Campus. A staggering amount of 85,025 RM was raised over two days by children from Pre-school to Year 6. The amazing array of stalls and activities set up, as well as the creativity, teamwork and entrepreneurship exhibited, reflected the wonderful charitable spirit of the school community.

    Assistant Principal, Alison Nadarajah explained how the children had taken their lunch break off to set up a variety of stalls selling various foods such as cupcakes and cookies, gifts such as bookmarks and accessories as well as games. There was also a competition among the houses to fill tubes with coins, the house with the most coins win. 

    The money raised this year was sent to the British School of Kathmandu who are supporting school rebuilding programmes in Nepal. The impact of the recent earthquake has been enormous, affecting the lives of many people in Nepal. The contribution from the school community will go some way towards the rebuilding of lives, families and communities. These projects being supported will benefit children, are related to education, and will give long term benefit to the children and people of Nepal. To read the full report please click here. For a link to donate, please click here.

    The British School Kathmandu - Update on Dhading Schools Project

    The British School Kathmandu has provided COBIS members with an update regarding the rebuilding of 3 schools in Dhading province. These schools have been the focus of the school's sixth form charity project for the last 5 years and TBS charities have committed the funds to the rebuilding of all 3 schools. 10 members of staff from the school visited the province in August. Please click here to read the full update.

    International School of Stavanger Celebrates 50 Years

    The International School of Stavanger (ISS) celebrates its 50th Year/Anniversary during 2015-16. In 1966, ISS started with 4 teachers and 45 students. Today, more than 70 educators work with nearly 650 students representing 50 countries (British is one of the top nationalities).

    This year also marks the 30th year of running the British I/GCSE examinations, the 20th year of the IB Diploma Programme and the first year of a new French Maternelle programme. ISS also has a new director (hailing from Wales): Mr. Gareth Jones. (Dr. Linda Duevel, “International Superintendent of the Year” and "Oil Woman of the Year" in 2014-15, retired last June.)

    With much to celebrate, ISS held an all-school assembly (featuring a trip down memory lane) and took a drone photo and video (featuring all students, 3-18 years old). More 50th events are planned.

    COBIS would like to congratulate the staff and pupils at the International School of Stavanger in this, the school's 50th anniversary year. Enjoy the celebrations!

    Lobbying News

    Department for Education (DfE) Publication of Key Stage 2 SATs Online

    Members may be aware of issues surrounding the online publication of the Key Stage 2 SATs papers last academic year. Due to the exam papers being published earlier than stated by the DfE, and the lack of secure online publication, some schools experienced problems with pupils and parents accessing the live papers in advance of the exam sitting.

    COBIS is in contact with the DfE about this issue and has secured reassurances from the DfE that these papers will be published online, on a given date which will be advertised to all schools well in advance, this academic year. COBIS is grateful for this reassurance but is still pursuing the publication of these papers on a secure, password protected website so pupils and parents will be unable to access this exam material beforehand.

    COBIS will update schools regarding this important issue as information becomes available. If you have any comments which you would like to share regarding this issue, please contact COBIS CEO Colin Bell.

    COBIS Webinars 

    The COBIS webinar schedule for Autumn 2015/16 is available on the COBIS website here. COBIS has now delivered over 30 webinars on a range of topics relevant to all members of the school workforce. 

    Past webinar recordings are available in the COBIS Member Area. Should you require your login details for the Member Area, please contact Amy Carter.

    Supporting Member News

    Learn About How UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Can Help You to Grow Your Business

    COBIS has recently been approved as a UKTI Trade Challenge Partner, working closely with UKTI to provide our supporting members with expert international trade advice and practical support. In order to provide our members with more information about the support available to them through UKTI, we have updated the COBIS website with full details here. Support available includes:

    A useful guide to the basics of exporting can be found on the UKTI website here.

    COBIS encourages our supporting members to look at the services available to them through UKTI. If you have any questions, please contact Natalie Friend –

    Contact Us

    If you have any comments or requests, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.

    Colin Bell, CEO -
    Natalie Friend, Communications and Membership Officer -
    Amy Carter, International Marketing Intern -
    Catriona Lawless, PA to Colin Bell -
    Monica Rude, Senior Professional Development Officer (maternity cover) -
    Padma Sivapunniyam, Finance Officer -

    Sakina Zafar, Academic Officer -

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    Telephone: +44 20 3826 7190
    Address: COBIS, 55-56 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 4HP, UK



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