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Case Study - Lady Eleanor Holles International School Foshan
  • Accreditation
  • Schools

As one of the earliest COBIS Provisional schools, and the first to complete the process of moving from Provisional to Member (Compliance), we hear from Jane Arden, Headteacher, Lady Eleanor Holles International School Foshan, about their experience.

Becoming a Provisional school with COBIS was an important first step when LEH, Foshan was in its infancy. The founding team thought very carefully about what support the school would need and who best could help them. The offer of a Lead Improvement Partner was the initial main draw, along with the secure knowledge that every piece of advice given to the school would be done in the spirit of collaboration.

Undertaking COBIS quality assurance for LEH (Lady Eleanor Holles), Foshan was an easy decision; we wanted expert guidance on quality assurance for the early development stages. When we read their recent case studies, we were reassured that their approach would suit our school in its opening stage and COBIS very quickly became the backbone to the initial opening phase when writing policies and deciding to how to implement an ethos which would define the school as an outward–thinking international school. The six standards that are the COBIS Accreditation, gave senior management a comprehensive overview of how to recruit staff safely, and adopt and then implement a range of policies and values necessary to our establishment. Safeguarding was foremost in our minds when it came to writing school policies and having COBIS to refer to and consult with, in a non-judgmental relationship made the process much smoother and reassuring that we could ask as many questions as required to get it right.

The Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment Standard contains a check list of actions for the school to reference. This helped garner the best international teaching staff during the recruitment process. Many teachers were attracted to a school that offered an authentic British curriculum with values and an ethos which they could recognise as the gold standard of school practice. COBIS supported our implementation of policies related to the start-up phase, such as how to write essential procedures required to establish essential daily routines, and finally the virtual visit validated all our work.

The relationship was consistently supportive, non-judgmental, and contextually sensitive. The personal approach was essential in establishing ‘a guide on the side’ element to the process and having an objective voice cemented our trust in COBIS. Staff came together with our Lead Improvement Partner (LIP) and thanks to his insight and sensitivity, the virtual visit was validatory in many ways, and we received many commendations. The extensive personalised feedback, which was incredibly humbling, gave us Priority Next Steps.

To our stakeholders we have been able to demonstrate that the school has not wasted any time establishing itself as a school which draws upon the absolute best of British and international practice, and is well on the way to becoming an outstanding educational establishment.

Having previously worked in an international school in China with COBIS Accreditation, I know how supportive they are to new schools and the advice given was that of an open dialogue, given in the spirit of producing positive outcomes which lead the school to best practice. It reassures staff, and parents, that they are joining a school that values sound practice. It also is especially useful in the fact that LEH, Foshan has joined a trusted community of schools with unimpeachable standards.

We met with our Lead Improvement Partner (LIP) regularly for many weeks before the visit and he shared sound advice and support about how to meet the COBIS Standards. He was able to share the processes which enabled us to reflect a true picture of the school, and even though we were meeting online across time zones, we had a real connection with our LIP because he took the time to listen and helped us create realistic and achievable goals.

The impact of the process continues to be wide-reaching. Every parent who visits the school appreciates that the process of opening LEH, Foshan has been treated with the utmost care and thought. It shows them that we live our values and are unafraid of the rigour connected to COBIS. Teachers applying to teach at the school feel safe in the knowledge that the school has established professional standards that are far-reaching and exemplary.

The feedback was given in timely manner and gave us clear next steps. We were immediately able to create a timeline to move to full compliance. The teachers who have worked tirelessly during the startup phase were given much praise and recognition, and emphasised to all our stakeholders how important it is for a school to employ outstanding practitioners. Our parents and our stakeholders were reassured that their choice of school and trust in LEH, Foshan was well placed.

I would recommend any school to go through COBIS Provisional status to membership as it defines the parameters of what is required for an international school to become a safe, well-managed, well-planned institution.

The next step for LEH, Foshan is working towards full COBIS Accreditation, which will provide validation that the teaching and learning is ‘happy, busy, and a purposeful fit for 21st century’ that our education caters for globally-minded students and teachers, and we prepare our students well for the top universities of the world.

The continued support from COBIS’ tailor-made courses and CPD are targeted to support international teachers who wish to remain life-long learners. It allows schools like LEH, Foshan to offer all staff a happy, fulfilling, rewarding career and for our parents and students to be safe in the knowledge that they will receive an education unashamedly rigorous and forward-thinking in its approach.

For more information about COBIS Provisional school status, please visit: