News June 16, 2023
King’s InterHigh wins the 2023 COBIS Award: Delivering education in wartime
Amidst the darkest of times, resilience and unity can cast rays of hope. We at King’s InterHigh are honoured to announce that we have won the COBIS Supporting Associate of the Year Award 2023 for our work with the British International School of Ukraine.
Since conflict erupted in Ukraine over a year ago, lives have been turned upside down. For many families, the disruption of education has been one of the most acutely felt losses.
School isn’t just a place of learning — it’s a stable cornerstone, a haven of friendship, and a place of positivity and growth. Students aren’t just learning; they’re blazing pathways towards their dreams. Teachers aren’t just educators, but also nurturers and pillars of strength. As so many schools shuttered their classrooms and hallways went silent, wartime cast a harrowing shadow of uncertainty on the lives of young people of Ukraine.
The British International School in Ukraine (BISU), a partner of ours for many years, faced the same upheaval. Yet, as difficult as it may have been to keep education going, BISU’s devoted team of educators took on the challenge with determination.
Together with BISU, King’s InterHigh has worked to ensure that learning, growth, and community never faltered for the school’s students, even in spite of everything happening around them.
What is COBIS?
For those who are unfamiliar with COBIS, the Council of British International Schools is committed to championing high-quality British education worldwide. This esteemed global association represents over 500 member schools, with supporting associates across 80 countries.
King’s InterHigh is a COBIS Supporting Associate, partnering with COBIS schools across the globe to bring their students world-class online learning. Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, for example, King’s InterHigh was already working with BISU to expand the school’s Sixth Form curriculum. As part of the COBIS network, we endeavour to enhance British international education around the world with unparalleled flexibility, quality, and innovation.
The COBIS Supporting Associate of the Year Award
Each year, COBIS recognises the Supporting Associates that have provided exceptional support to member schools and helped to create the best possible education experience for today’s young people.
This is no small honour, which is why we are incredibly proud to be the winner of the COBIS Supporting Associate of the Year Award for 2023 for everything we have achieved with the British International School in Ukraine.
The British International School in Ukraine
The British International School in Ukraine, also known as BISU, has been educating students to global success for more than 20 years. With campuses nestled in Kyiv and Dnipro, BISU was a vibrant hub of intellectual discovery, heartfelt teaching, and harmonious community before the conflict began.
Always ahead of the curve, BISU had already embraced online learning in 2020 when the school’s Principal, David Cole (along with Head of Sixth Form, Loretta Conway), approached us to bring their students high-quality online teaching for new A Level subjects their students were requesting. Even in these challenging times, their commitment to supporting students in every way hasn’t wavered.
Our impact: Delivering education in wartime
When conflict broke out, the British International School in Ukraine was thrown into disarray. Like so many across the nation, numerous BISU students and teachers had to flee their homes in search of safety. The school’s community soon found itself displaced, both across the country and across the world, with almost one-third of BISU’s devoted teachers forced to abandon their posts. In the blink of an eye, students lost the rhythm of school that had been there for them every day.
However, Principal David Cole was determined that learning and community would continue, even while the school itself was closed. Together, we at King’s InterHigh worked to bring BISU’s learning online, giving pupils as young as 11 and all the way up to 18 a semblance of continuity, normalcy, and hope.
Just like their global peers in our King’s InterHigh community, dozens of BISU’s secondary and Sixth Form pupils now enjoy a broad curriculum through live, online learning. Led by our highly experienced teachers, they can study subjects like English, Spanish, history, economics, and law in virtual classrooms that offer all the benefits of in-person learning (and many extras).
In spite of staffing constraints and physical barriers, BISU students once again have structure to their days, navigable paths to knowledge, and their sights set on a brighter tomorrow. In this time of uncertainty, it has never been more important to arm the future generation with the education and understanding they’ll one day use to shape a better world.
And it’s not just about academics. Alongside collaborating with classmates during lessons, BISU students have access to our wide array of clubs and co-curricular activities. Welcomed by our vast community, students have been able to pursue the interests they find joy in and forge newfound friendships. In many ways, this is one of the most heartfelt outcomes of our project with BISU, restoring students’ shared sense of belonging, connection, and unity even when their in-person community stands fragmented.
Through it all, we have also worked to make sure BISU’s student-teacher connections remain strong. After training in how to monitor progress and achievements through our online platforms, BISU’s teachers remain integral to their learners’ journeys, even when they’re physically apart.
Reflecting on the journey, BISU’s Principal David Cole said, “We express our deepest gratitude to King’s InterHigh and all our international partners for working with BISU during such an unprecedented emergency.” Access to online learning has undoubtedly been invaluable for the British International School in Ukraine, and we are honoured to have worked with the school in bringing students this beacon of hope.
“Our students will be the next generation to help Ukraine rebuild and prosper in the future,” Principal David Cole states emphatically. As we stand by the British International School in Ukraine, we’re reminded of the importance of unity and the transformative potential of education.
Even outside of the situation in Ukraine, the same strengths we put into action to support BISU are the qualities at the heart of each school day at King’s InterHigh. Whether you’re a partner or a parent, King’s InterHigh is the school that revolves around you, where every student will find an education that meets their needs and nurtures their potential.