As we settle into 2022, it is always a good time to reflect on what we have learnt from the past year and to celebrate particular achievements. 2021 was, once again, a complex year due to the pandemic, but it has also been a year full of challenges and resilience, a year to pull together and a great opportunity for us to grow as a whole school community.
As a result of this desire to continue developing all areas of the school, we are particularly proud of our students’ fantastic academic achievements in the face of adversity, with BSB students gaining the best ever examination results in the school’s history in 2021. Another significant milestone has been our success in the recent BSO Inspection, with BSB being rated as an ‘Outstanding School in Every Category’. The inspection took place in October 2021 by an independent inspectorate body that evaluates the quality of British schools overseas. This achievement highlights the outstanding work accomplished by BSB staff and students, in the most challenging of situations due to the global pandemic.
But there have been many other notable advances for BSB. The opening of the BSB City campus in the city of Barcelona, the new BSB STEM Centre in Castelldefels, our recent gaining of the Wellbeing Award for Schools highlighting our excellence care and support, or the development of the BSB Digital Strategy throughout the school. In this article we have summarised our main developments during the last academic year.
BSB: “Outstanding School in Every Category”
As mentioned before, this is one of the main accomplishments in 2021 that everyone at The British School of Barcelona feels very proud of.
In October, BSB was rated as an “Outstanding School in every Category”. This is the highest recognition that an international educational centre can receive and was the conclusion reached following the recent British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection. This recognition places BSB as one of the best British schools in the world.
The inspection report released by Penta International, an independent inspectorate body accredited by the English Department for Education (DfE), highlights the quality of education provided, the strong sense of community among staff, students and families, and the global educational standards of the school.
Obviously this the result of many years of hard work and dedication from everyone at BSB: staff pulling together to continue to drive improvements and developments, families showing incredible loyalty and support over many years, and our students reaching their best potential and growing into confident, curious young adults, prepared with everything they need to shape the future.
This achievement places BSB as one of the only five schools in Spain that are currently recognised as outstanding by BSO, and the only school in Catalunya to have gained this prestigious accreditation.
New BSB City Campus in the City of Barcelona
In February 2021, we announced the opening of our new campus in the city of Barcelona: BSB City, joining our existing three campuses in Castelldefels and Sitges. Located in the district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, the campus opened in the Foundation Campus in September 2021 for Early Years and Primary students.
Our BSB City Foundation campus offers a unique, family-like environment, which combined with the care and dedication of our outstanding teachers, ensures that even the youngest children start to feel ‘at home’ from their very first day in school. Our BSB City family has not stopped growing since we opened and you are very much welcome to visit us if you would ike to find out more about our globally minded curriculum.
This is the first step of a spectacular expansion project at BSB City: The new building, located within walking distance of the current one, will open in September 2023 and will offer an all-through, first-class international education to up to 750 students of all ages (from 3 to 18 years old). The registration period for both the Foundation Campus and the new building is ongoing and families can apply for a place throughout the year.
Cognita Study Abroad Programme Launch
In April 2021, we launched our new Cognita Study Abroad Programme for BSB students aged 11 to 14 years old with to offer our students a life-learning experience outside the classroom and abroad that enriches the pupil’s curriculum and learning, and opens up new horizons.
This programme, organised in partnership with Ardmore, presents an exciting opportunity for students to spend one term, one semester or a full academic year in another Cognita school in the UK. Three BSB Secondary students have already enjoyed the entire Autumn Term of this academic year 2021-2022 in a Cognita British school. Three BSB Secondary students have already enjoyed the entire Autumn Term of this academic year 2021-2022 in a Cognita British school.
Record Examination Results for BSB Students
For a third year running, our students have demonstrated superb resilience and have achieved record examination results at A Level, IB and GCSE. Through a combination of hard work from the students, expert guidance from their teachers and great support from their families, our students achieved the highest results ever in the history of BSB.
Thanks to these extraordinary results, our students secured again places at a range of prestigious universities both in Spain and around the world (with 95% securing their first choice university). In the UK, students gained entry to some of the very best Russell Group universities, including York, Warwick, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Bristol, Exeter and UCL (University College London). The picture for Spain was equally strong with students gaining places in ESADE, University of Navarra, University of Barcelona (UB), IE University and La Salle, amongst others. Finally, the trend of more BSB students seeking places at Dutch and US universities continued in 2021 with students securing places at Universities in Groningen, Amsterdam, British Columbia, New York, Illinois and Michigan.
“Outstanding Learner Awards”: Top in the World and Top in Spain
Through the prestigious annual programme “Outstanding Learner Awards”, in 2021 our students were again recognised by the examination board amongst those scoring the highest marks out of all candidates across the whole of Spain or the World at (I)GCSE an A Level, in recognition of the enormous talent and hard work not only amongst learners but also within our teaching staff.
In the June 2021 examination series, one Secondary student scored Top in the World in Foreign Language Dutch and no less than six students in Secondary and Pre-University achieved the highest mark in Spain in their subjects (one of them in two subject).
New BSB Wellbeing Centre
In line with our commitment to the wellbeing of our students as a top priority, in September 2021 we opened a new space dedicated to the wellbeing of Secondary students.
The new BSB Wellbeing Centre is a large, open and well-lit room which is quiet, comfortable and private if necessary, which has been designed with non-educational furniture (sofas, beanbags) and natural elements such as wood and plants. It is a device-free area for students to perform non-academic activities supervised by our Secondary Wellbeing Mentor.
This new space has been warmly welcomed by students and it is a joy to see them play and read quietly every single day now!
New BSB STEM Centre
In October 2021, we opened a state-of-the-art centre, a purpose-built space for the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Castelldefels.
The new BSB STEM Centre extends our existing Lad space and opens up multiple opportunities for collaborative practical work and facilitates innovative and flexible teaching methods for Secondary and Pre-University students. In the main Laboratory area, the supply of services (water, gas and electricity) comes through an innovative gallery suspended from the ceiling, allowing total flexibility of the space when it comes to organising practices and group work.
Undoubtedly, an amazing addition that supports our aim to prepare our students with the practical knowledge and skills required to respond to the demands of university and future workplace. An outstanding facility for our students to be ready to shape the world!
BSB Digital Strategy
Following the launch of our One-To-One Digital Devices Programme in September 2020 to equip all students from Year 3 to Year 11 with their own personal digital device (ipad or laptop) as a learning tool for use in school and at home, 2021 has seen a boost of theuse of educational technology across all campuses at BSB.
In 2021 we introduced our “BSB Digital Strategy Action Plan” with a clear vision of the goals and what we want to achieve notonly intemrs of teaching and learning, but also involving our families, an aspect which we consider essential if we want to succesfully deliver our digital programme. For this, we have worked in partnership with the different stakeholders of the school (BSB Digital Strategy Committee) and the collaboration of experts such as Mark Anderson, ICT evangelist in the educational field, to define our medium and long term action plan, and to teach children and young people to develop a critical sense when making use of digital tools.
BSB Learning Habits
Here, at BSB, we share an understanding of exactly how we want our students to develop as learners, realising the value of knowledge acquisition alongside skilful learning behaviours. Linking across all key stages and campuses is our commitment to developing students’ capability to become life-long learners, empowering them with the heallthy dispositions and positive attitudes which will allow them to flourish in school and beyond it.
Over the last few years we have been following a learning approach based on the development of soft skills. Last year, this model saw a uniform implementation in all our curricular and extracurricular activity across all key stages and campuses. The BSB Learning Habits provide the foundation for success at school and in life by ensuring that students are ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead when they graduate from BSB.
The nine essential learning habits that we specifically plan opportunities to strengthen relate to four key areas:
- Emotional engagement – attention and determination
- Critical and independent thought – curiosity, imagination and thinking
- Strategic learning – organisation and reflection
- Collaborative teamwork – socialising and leadership
It is fantastic to see how our students are developing their confidence and resilience to embrace every challenge!