News September 5, 2022

Kings InterHigh and British International School Ukraine: Building a community of hope, perseverance, and support together

By King's InterHigh

Established in 1997, The British International School Ukraine (BISU) has grown to become a family of three campuses in two cities – Kyiv and Dnipro – offering high quality education to local and international students aged 3-18.

Widely recognised as Ukraine’s most prestigious international school, BISU’s vision is to be a centre of excellence, with the care and wellbeing of students at its core. As an inclusive international community which promotes learning for life and focuses on meeting every child’s individual needs, the school is constantly looking at ways to innovate, evolve and adapt.

The school is a COBIS member, a registered Cambridge authorised exam centre and an Edexcel authorised exam centre and is the first school in Ukraine to offer A-levels, allowing for a more bespoke programme for international university preparation.

Addressing students’ needs

In September 2020, a handful of A-Level students at BISU wanted to pursue further maths. Without the existing provision to support this demand, David Cole, BISU Principal, explored ways to cater for these students’ needs.

It was through some research that BISU came across King’s InterHigh and immediately recognised the synergies between the access to A-Level further maths studies that BISU needed to continually support and stretch its students, and the high-quality provision and flexible nature in what King’s InterHigh offers.

Students were given access to three lessons each week via the King’s InterHigh online platform. This not only aided their studies, but each student also received a warm welcome into the international student community at the online school. This has been incredibly helpful in not only supporting BISU students with their academic studies, but in collaborating with peers from across the globe and building culture and global citizenship.

Throughout the two years, BISU’s teachers were kept up to date with how their students were performing and progressing through regular and termly reports. The relationship between the two organisations has been incredibly positive and beneficial to all those involved, including the A-Level students who have done exceptionally well.

Supporting through the war

In February 2022, Kyiv was devastatingly thrown into crisis as Russia invaded Ukraine. To ensure the safety of its students and staff, BISU had no choice but to rapidly adapt and evolve. Students were dispersed across the country, including hundreds of international students returning home. Teaching staff also either had to return home or resign, resulting in a 20-30 per cent reduction in staff.

The disruption to families in Ukraine is far beyond what many of us could ever fathom. Not just for children’s education, but also in regard to their safety, lives, living situations, jobs and more.

With a commitment to high academic attainment and support for every individual student, BISU remained resilient and adapted its provision so it could continue to serve its school community through online and virtual methods. It was incredibly important for David to be able to provide a small slice of normality, routine and hope for children through such an unsettling and turbulent time – and one which sadly is still very much continuing.

In preparation for the new academic year, BISU is determined to keep going despite the odds and will be welcoming students back to campus from September. With modifications to the building to create a safe and secure space for students and staff, and to operate lessons safely, David was keen to continue innovating for the sake of its remaining students, despite a reduced scale of staff and resource.

Building on the existing partnership and wanting to help the community through its hardships, King’s InterHigh will now be delivering further support to BISU by offering KS3 English language and literature lessons, as well as KS4 English Language as part of the iGCSE programme, alongside two additional subjects which students can choose.

It was important for King’s InterHigh to be able to offer a solution that fits with what the school was offering on campus. Therefore, King’s InterHigh lessons will be timetabled around students’ physical day-to-day lessons and commitments. Due to the familiarity of the platform over the last two years, BISU staff have a good understanding of how it works, how lessons and days are structured and how students are assessed and monitored, meaning there will be zero disruption – but instead, the partnership will bolster BISU’s provision and support for its students.

Working together for the benefit of every child

The partnership between the two schools allows BISU students access to a wider network and greater choice of subjects and lessons in keeping with the international school’s high-quality provision. Not only that but it also teaches King’s InterHigh students first-hand, the very sad reality of what is currently happening in the world and instils a sense of empathy, communication, and global mindedness.

While uncertainty and instability remain at large in and around Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine, the continuation of BISU is testament to the commitment, dedication and resilience of its senior leadership team, staff, students, and their families. Offering flexibility and choice to students is so important at this stage of their educational journey in helping to keep them motivated, engaged and focused, particularly during such disconcerting times.

Speaking about the partnership and what it means to BISU, David Cole, said: “BISU follows school-day routines to maintain normality and continuity of regular teaching. Our intention has always been to remain in Ukraine and to physically open as soon as it is safe for students and staff. In addition, we will continue with our online methods and resources to ensure students have continuity of learning. Russia’s war against Ukraine will end with Ukraine’s victory, and it is crucial that schools stay there to keep providing children with quality education. We express our deepest gratitude to King’s InterHigh and all our international partners for working with BISU during such an unprecedented emergency. Our students will be the next generation to help Ukraine rebuild and prosper in the future.

If King’s InterHigh can play just the smallest part in supporting those families that want so much for their children and are sacrificing so much to continue offering them the very best that education can provide, then we remain committed to the partnership with BISU and stand by the amazing work and efforts that have gone in from David and his team.

To learn more about working with King’s InterHigh, check out what our Education Partnerships have to offer.

By King's InterHigh

King’s InterHigh is an independent British international online school. Offering Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form education, we cater to students from age 7 – 18 who are looking for a high quality British education delivered in a way that revolves around their lifestyle.