The People Who Do It
Even with strong core convictions and practices, the success of a school rests on its people, their competence, determination, skills, unity of purpose and passion for education. In this crucial respect, the success of Internationella Engelska Skolan rests mainly on three legs:
Strong school leadership. We invest considerable energy into finding principals who are dedicated, who deeply believe in our ethos and who are also able to implement what IES stands for. A good school starts with a Principal able to assemble an excellent staff around shared strong convictions about education – and also secure an environment in which teachers can teach and students learn. We apply the “broken windows”-theory in our schools; by being attentive to seemingly minor things, we uphold an environment of respect for each other and for the school as a workplace. This demands that the Principal is constantly out there, from welcoming students in the morning and throughout the school day, not hiding behind a desk. Any sign of vandalism, bullying or disrespect must be acted upon without delay. Principals find strong support and valuable ideas in the closely knit circle of colleagues in the organization. With a strong national organization, we can also give important added support to our principals, for example from a full-time, very qualified school lawyer. Principals also have strong support from the leadership group in each school, typically consisting of a full-time Assistant Principal for student care and an Academic Coordinator. If a principal would be found not to meet the requirements, he or she must be replaced. Students and their future always come first.
Recruit the absolute best teachers from around the world. Our teachers must be prepared to “go the extra mile”. Their main reward is a stimulating work environment, where they can excel in their profession. We have a network and proven methods for recruiting superb teachers in primarily Canada, USA and Britain – with Canada graduating the best teachers in science and math in the world, according to studies. IES has a special exemption in the Swedish school law, and by permit from Skolinspektionen, to use qualified foreign teachers in our schools, teaching several subjects in English. Our Swedish teachers are also carefully selected, mainly by the Principal of each school, to make sure that they share the core convictions which have shaped Internationella Engelska Skolan.
Help teachers to develop and stay energetic. The mixture of teachers from many different countries, often coming to Sweden at a rather young age, contributes to an energetic and uplifting atmosphere in our schools – lifting the spirits of everyone, also Swedish teachers. “Work hard – Play hard” is an American expression. A school with high ambitions from everybody and marked by a safe and orderly environment tends also to be filled with laughter, joy, and community.
We have introduced a mentorship program, through which “star teachers” in each subject help observe and give good advice to other teachers – in a trustful collegial relation. Due to the size of the organization, we can add also other forms of teacher development, teacher exchanges, collaboration with universities, etc. At regional conferences, teachers in the same subject meet to discuss common issues, share sources for teaching material, get new inspiration etc. Since a main part of education is performed in English, we can easily use the rich flow of inspiration and material coming from the English speaking world.
The people - their dedication, inspiration and sense of purpose - are crucial to the success of a school.
Where our teachers come from, 2015-16: