Because it's easy to make friends here. Everyone is known and valued.
Alongside academic learning, BISS is committed to the development of students as individuals, so that after they leave school, they have sufficient self-knowledge to steer themselves towards leading happy and fulfilling lives. This is a joint effort between the parents and the school, and the school’s part is carried out in the following ways;
-Pastoral care. Form tutors come to know their students well enough to monitor their wellbeing, and where students experience difficulties that are unrelated to their academic work, the tutor often notices this well before a student approaches them. Any concerns are discussed at weekly departmental pastoral meetings in which staff compare notes and remedial actions are discussed. Where needed, parents are approached and included in planning any corrective action. Students are encouraged to approach any member of staff, and the school nurse is available for confidential meetings with students. In PYP, class teachers monitor their students daily and intervene when and where appropriate. Parents are encouraged to contact form tutors with any concerns they may have.
-In the secondary school the IB curriculum includes Affective skills as part of the package of ATL skills that are taught. These Affective skills are included, where possible, as an intrinsic part of the lesson plans. This covers the following qualities and abilities – Caring, Mindfulness and Principled, Perseverance, Emotional Management, Self-awareness and self-motivation, Resilience and risk-taking.
-PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lessons and assemblies complement the whole curriculum and address how students live in their respective communities and practice looking after their own wellbeing. For example, any bullying is addressed not just when it occurs, but pre-emptively so that students are encouraged in a structured way to take responsibility for the quality of their relationships, their boundaries and by being empowered to speak up (and be heard by their peers and staff). The aim is to make an environment where bullying does not work, and as a result it is uncommon. In PYP students benefit from weekly quality circle time, joint assemblies and events, diversity awareness, coaching and feedback both individually and in groups.
-Special Educational needs (SEN). Individually tailored support for students that need help with language acquisition, self-organisation, and support in class. Besides improving academic performance, the aim is to improve students’ self-esteem, sense of mastery and cope with their anxiety to avoid compensatory behaviour. Their resilience benefits.
-Contact with Parents. Parents are encouraged to contact class teachers and form tutors in the first instance and other staff as necessary. Twice yearly parent-teacher conferences and other meetings are arranged on request. There are open information meetings, good contact through FAU (the parent-teacher organisation) and on occasions courses are run for parents.
-Norwegian Law and Social services. The school nurse, Lydia Amundsen, visits the school two days a week and is available for confidential advice on health and emotional wellbeing.
Norwegian Law paragraph 9A holds that students are entitled to a safe and good school environment that promotes health well-being and learning. It requires the school to have a documented internal referral system that tracks all staff concerns. This means that where a child is seen not to be thriving at school, the source of the problem is included and recorded for anything arising at school or outside school (home). The school will support the affected student in whatever way it can, short of counselling and psychotherapy which need to be resourced outside the school. Where issues arise at home, good communication between parents and the school is essential for the student to thrive.
-Specialised support. Internally, there are staff with SEND/EAL skills to support students as well as a weekly SEND meeting that monitors individual students’ progress. Externally, specialists can be called in for evaluation of learning difficulties. This includes Educational Psychologists, and the Barne Ungdom Psykiatrisk Avdeling (BUPA)
-Student Voice. Students are encouraged to voice issues that affect the wellbeing of whole student body in a number of ways. Two students are elected to take part in the SU Stakeholders Committee. Teachers, Board members, Parents, the HSE rep, and school management attend SU meetings. There is an INTERACT group that works with Stavanger Rotary group on several charitable programmes. There is also a student council that gathers students’ opinions and suggestions. Students in the primary school have a playground buddy system. There are also opportunities across the curriculum for students to make decisions about their own learning, and in cross phase activities e.g. Action as Service.