The Benefits of BSB Forest School on Children’s Wellbeing

Last month, our Forest School Leaders, Ms Emma Satchel at BSB Sitges and Ms Kerry O’Connor at BSB Castelldefels, attended the Forest School Conference in Surrey. It was a fantastic opportunity for teachers from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, the US and Canada, who use the British Forest School model, to share best practices, discuss the latest research and evidence and refresh and acquire new skills.

“This year’s themes were a celebration of diversity and inclusion, the importance of physical, outdoor, nature-based experience as a support for cognition, as well a reminder of Forest School’s impact on children’s wellbeing.” Ms Emma Satchel said.

Forest School outdoor learning in BSB was launched in the 2017-2018 academic year at BSB Sitges and, following its success, was then introduced in the 2018-2019 academic year at BSB Castelldefels. Since then it has become part of the Primary learning approach in all year groups offering opportunities for curriculum-based activities as well as physical and mental health by connecting to a natural environment, taking part in sports and games, and learning new skills and crafts.

During the Conference there were many fascinating workshops; our Forest School leaders highlighted the following:

  • Building Mental Toughness Naturally: Paths to resilience, through determination, self-challenge and agency.
  • Lose your Mind – Challenging Mindfulness and Championing Play: A reminder that children’s state of mindfulness and that of adults are not the same, that children under 8 are usually in a relaxed state, fully mindful or ‘present in the moment’ when in movement and in play.
  • Forest School in the International field: The importance of developing practice communities locally, as well as internationally.
  • Physicality in Forest School – Ropes: How to build wings and other structures using ropes; something we have already put into practice with Year 4!
  • Storytelling and Provocation with Early Years and Beyond: Which advocated being ‘at one’ in the woods and developing children’s confidence, language and imagination through a variety of exciting, outdoor storytelling approaches.
  • Forest School and Autism: Which explored the sensory needs of not only children with autism might be seeking but others as well. It provided valuable tips on how to ensure an all-inclusive forest -outdoor session ensuring that sessions are accessible, safe and memorable for any child.

Keynote speakers were Tristan Gooley, author of The Natural Navigator and Andy Smith, founder of ‘A Spectrum of Possibilities,’ who gave a deeply inspiring speech about the benefits of Forest School for the neurodivergent.

There were also STEAM Workshops and a demonstration of engineering in the woods, using the ‘ask, imagine, plan, build, test, improve’ design process for creative problem solving.

“It was an invaluable experience and I particularly found the speakers from the Neurodiversity Forum, Andy Smith and others incredibly inspiring. A brilliant experience all round.”, Ms Kerry O’Connor.


About Forest School

“Forest Schools are nature-based communities where trained practitioners nurture learner led exploration and discovery, nurturing meaningful experiences for positive lifelong impacts. Wellbeing is the foundation of our practise and through recognising the social, emotional and physical needs of participants we provide the guidance and facilitation for our time in nature.”

Forest Schools Education


Related links:

‘Forest School’ Programme Explained. By Richard Skrein

BSB Wins 4 Gold Medals in Cross Country

A wonderful, sunny morning preceded the fantastic efforts of our BSB students from a range of year groups in competing in this year’s Cross Country event in Parc de la Muntanyeta last Saturday.

This was the opening event of a range of sport activities scheduled in the annual Jocs Escolars programme promoted by the Castelldefels town council among local schools. Director of Sport & PE Mr Cross was on hand to support, alongside the parents, a wonderful few hours of fun and competing. He said: “I really enjoy these one-off events to engage with as part of the wider community, as our pupils love to compete; all of them did so with passion and determination to do their best, and they did themselves proud as always!”

Over 300 children came from across the schools in Castelldefels. BSB took gold in 4 of the 9 age categories, so let’s celebrate with them once again!

  • Gold medals: Zachar, Kurma, Phillipp and Valeriia
  • Great effort: Akysha, Procor, Emil, Maria, Alba, Valeria, Aurora, Ainara, Jules and Stepan

Congratulations to them all for participating!


The British School of Barcelona celebrates “Global Be Well Day”

The British School of Barcelona celebrates “Global Be Well Day”, a groundbreaking initiative promoted by the education group Cognita to raise awareness about the importance of physical and emotional wellbeing


On the 27th September, The British School of Barcelona joined “Global Be Well Day”, a unique worldwide event created and promoted by Cognita, the education group of 75 schools of which BSB is a member, along with over 45,000 students in 9 countries in three continents, to participate simultaneously an entire day focused solely on wellbeing.


“Starting the Day on the Right Foot”

The children, teachers and parents at BSB started the day off on the right foot with an event that brought together over 1,300 participants in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people hopping on one leg in the school’s recently inaugurated rugby pitch. The school was grateful that two of our city’s most cherished figures agreed to come along to encourage the children: Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC did the countdown to begin the world record-breaking hop.


The event was also attended by Cognita representatives, such as Björn Robens (Cognita Board Director, Partner of BDT) and Germà Rigau (Cognita Spain’s Manager Director) and from the Castelldefels’ town council: María Miranda, Mayoress, and Fernando Cerpa, councillor for Public Works and Maintenance, Activity Licences, and Senior Citizens, among others.


Over 50 different activities focused on wellbeing

Throughout the day, a range of indoor and outdoor activities focused on the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing took place: beach walks at dawn, yoga, Tai Chi and meditation workshops, talks about emotional intelligence, body image, philosophy, communication and mindfulness, as well as sport activities, healthy breakfasts and snacks, with over 175 BSB families participating.

The mental health and wellbeing of young people is one of the most pressing issues of our times around the world. Thanks to the “Global Be Well Day” initiative, this is the first time that a school in the province of Barcelona dedicates an entire school day to raise awareness within its community (students, teaching staff and parents) about the importance of physical and mental wellbeing and the positive impact on the student’s personal and academic growth.


A fantastic initiative open to the whole school community

Parents, teachers and students alike regarded the event as “a fastastic experience for everyone!”. A parent agreed about the importance of wellbeing in a child’s life: “I think that if your child is in balance and feels well emotionally, they are capable of everything, because when they believe in themselves this reflects on everything in their daily life.”

At the end of the day, the students reflected about their wellbeing and how the school can support:

“Wellbeing is being happy and feeling good about yourself, and having a balance between social life and school. The school can help by talking about it and helping us in difficult situations.” Secondary Student.

“Wellbeing is achieving the right balance between mind, body and soul. You need physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing to be fully supported; without one, the other two crumble down. School can help by providing you with an environment where you can develop all three types of wellbeing and where you can reach out for help if you need anything if one of them is not working out.” Pre-University Student.




“Global Be Well Day is just the beginning”

“Global Be Well Day is a celebration of the wonderful work that happens at school to support our students, our families and our staff to be physically healthy, mentally healthy and spiritually healthy.

“We all have ups and we all have downs in our lives. Educating our students with wellbeing is so important because we are equipping them with the life skills to be able to face the challenges that are thrown at them in life.

“Today, as exciting as it has been, is simply a marker in the sand; it’s what happens after today that is the most important thing: what happens in our classrooms, what happens in our playgrounds, in our work with our families. This is just the very start of something, and ensuring our students and our adults who work in our schools have the right skills to keep them physically, mentally and spiritually healthy.” Heather Bell, Headteacher of BSB Sitges.


“The physical and the academic parts are intrinsically linked”

“We live in quite stressful times and I think especially for young people, since expectations for them are increasingly high, whether these are in terms of the jobs they are going to do or the exam results they are going to get.

“As a school we sometimes separate the physical from the academic, but the two are totally intrinsically linked. If you are well physically, you do well academically and for our school of course that’s the ultimate.

“Knowing how you work best and feel best is the secret of success.” James Petrie, Head of Secondary and Pre-University, BSB Castelldefels and BSB Nexus.


“To be able to cope with the demands of tomorrow’s world”

“Mental wellbeing affects all areas of a person. The main benefits of mental wellbeing are to improve focus, the learning ability and the general wellbeing of students. Students who develop skills such as resilience, creativity, flexibility and determination will be empowered to be able to cope with the demands of tomorrow’s world in a very complex and changing world that we live in today.” Carol Coleman, Designated Safeguarding Lead, Bsb Castelldefels and BSB Nexus.


“We help students understand who they are and who they can become”

“It’s important that when we look at wellbeing that we focus on spiritual and the spiritual dynamics of all of us as individuals: Who am I, who am I to you and who am I to the wider world. These are important questions that we must be asking, and we must be encouraging our students to explore. You are helping students understand who they are and in knowing who they are, they start to see who they can become and what they can, therefore, achieve.” Andy Burns, Wellbeing Mentor, BSB Castelldefels and BSB Nexus.


Related links:

#CognitaBeWell on Instagram

#CognitaBeWell on Twitter

Cognita Be Well

Cognita Be Well – Resources for families

BSB Summer STEAM Camp students develop several STEAM skills through play this summer

This summer, at The British School of Barcelona expanded we have expanded our summer camp offer with a groundbreaking 4-day-long Summer STEAM Camp in English, which we carried out in partnership with IGNITE Serious Play, a company specialised in STEAM activities.

Directed at students aged 5 to 15, the new Summer STEAM Camp’s goal was to teach students new STEAM skills through engaging and creative projects based on the values of the Tokyo 2020 Olimpic Games, working with different ‘MAKER’ tools, such as Robotics, Coding, 3D Design and Virtual/Augmented Reality.

The summer camp took place in BSB Castelldefels and it was a great success; the students did not want to miss a single second of it! We have spoken to the IGNITE Serious Play team, asking them to tell us the details of such a positive and enriching experience which helped develop several STEAM skills:

“The entire week was designed, planned and organised with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in mind. We then created three work groups according to the students’ age in order to adapt the activities to their playing and learning needs.

Early Years Group

We had a pre-school group where children were introduced to the world of robotics and coding based on emotion identification sequences, needs analysis, and solution proposals.

Using LEGO pieces, they built a setting for the Olympic Games, creating Castelldefels, Tokyo and the Olympic Stadium. They were introduced to coding using small robotic caterpillars and bees travelling from one setting to another, and they were also introduced to a new culture, Japan, getting to know their customs and culture.

They also built crossbows, cars and even dragons using small mechanisms which became part of little Olympic challenges and the most fun rúa olímpica. The children were proud to show their creations to older students across the school.

Primary Group

The Primary work group focused in recreating the famous Pong game using Scratch. The goal was to create an Olympic pong competition, where students could develop their coding and software skills, teamwork, positive competition, communication and leadership skills.

In this second group, students had the opportunity of working with makeys, developing their most creative and artistic side, and with motorised machine boxes to develop their building and spatial vision skills. All these skills were developed in a creative and competitive context in the same spirit as the actual Olympic Games.

Secondary Group

The group with the oldest students dedicated this week to working in coding and 3D design skills, always following the theme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

We started the week focusing on coding, building “Mbot” robots and learning their basic functions in order to quickly move on to using them during the week for racing and even football matches for robots! This activity was so popular among the students that they kept organising robot matches during break times throughout the whole week, attracting pubic and participants from the younger groups.

Also in the context of 3D design and coding, this work group used the “Co-spaces” platform. They designed an interactive Olympic Games museum after an initial analysis and research stage. The museum was adapted to be visualised as a tour using virtual reality glasses and it was afterwards shared with their classmates and the youngest students that attended the last day of SummerCamp, enjoying their 3D and VR works.

In the context of 3D design and Co-spaces, the students also created digital parkour circuit, coding in timers, forbidden zones, obstacles and other interactive elements, creating a project which many students dedicated a lot of time to, even from home!

The students in the third group had the opportunity of developing their creative and artistic side through 3D design and printing using the TinkerCad tool. Students could then design 3D olympic medals, rings, commemorative statuettes, etc, which they took homes as Olympic prizes at the end of the STEAM CAMP.

All in all, it was a great week during which children enjoyed, learnt and developed several skills in the most fun way: by playing!”


Related Links:

BSB Summer STEAM Camp

BSB Summer STEAM Camp Leaflet

IGNITE Serious Play

Eight Ugandan Children will Benefit from €7,600 BSB Community Fundraise this Year

The British School of Barcelona is proud to announce that the joint efforts of the whole BSB school community (students across all campuses, staff of all phases, parents and friends, school partners and supporters) have managed to raise no less than 7,600 euros during the 2018-2019 academic year for the children in Malayaka House Ugandan orphanage.

This amount will help finance one year of schooling for more than eight children who are being cared for in the orphanage.

Mrs Maria Kovac, IBDP and CAS Coordinator, stated: “We are fortunate enough to have access to an excellent education, and we want to create equal opportunities for Malayaka children providing funds to cover their school tuition.” And added: “BSB students are contributing to create a better future for Malayaka children and Malayaka House is contributing enormously, in turn, to the global mindset development of our students. We feel very proud of them and we have to celebrate every success.”


An Amazing Year of Events and Initiatives

This year our school community has organised and/or actively participated in all these activities and initiatives (not a comprehensive list):

  • Launch of Malayaka House Friendship Bracelets on Friendship Friday in order to raise awareness and promote the #friendsofmalayaka campaign, a BSB Nexus initiative
  • Primary Christmas Fair, at the BSB Sitges campus
  • BSB Sponsored Walk, at the Olympic canal, a whole school event organised by the BSB Nexus CAS Committee
  • BSB International Summer Fair, a whole school event organised by the BSB Castelldefels Primary team
  • Primary Non-Uniform days, at BSB Castelldefels and BSB Sitges
  • Fundraising sales of handmade products by the Secondary Enterprise Society, at BSB Castelldefels
  • End-of-school-year Secondary event with raffles, stands and activities towards fundraising, at BSB Castelldefels


The BSB Support Dimension

BSB’s commitment to raise awareness about the importance of helping others in a variety of fundraising events and non-monetary initiatives is deeply rooted in the DNA of the school community.

This year our amazing community has taken part in many global and local activities to raise funds, support awareness campaigns or just help others (not a comprehensive list):



About Malayaka House

Malayaka House España is a non-profit, international humanitarian organisation that works to guarantee the rights of Ugandan children and offer them a better life.

For more information, please visit: Malayaka House España

“Thank you for your contributions”: Wishing all the best to our Class of 2019 Graduates

The end of the school year also saw the Graduation of a new cohort of 87 Year 13 students of The British School of Barcelona: The BSB Class of 2019. (See video below)

In a warm summer evening, our students, their proud parents and relatives, and members of the Pre-University staff of BSB Nexus gathered at the Restaurant Les Marines, in Gavà, to celebrate this milestone together in a beautiful scenery by a flower garden and a shady pine forest.

Mr James Petrie (Head of Secondary and Pre-University) made the opening speech followed by Jethro and Annette’s, our pre-University Prefects, who shared a few memories of their time at BSB. Jethro highlighted “kindness and openness” as two of the qualities which “encapsulate not simply our graduating year group but also the essence of what means studying at BSB”, and Annette stated that “studying here is feeling good with oneself and facing cultural and personal diversity, which pull us out of our comfort zone and allows us to develop an open mind and feel at home.”

Luz, a Year 13 bright pianist and vocalist, entertained everyone with a beautiful piano performance and song, and Mr Rod Musson, Head of Year 13, rounded up the event with his moving and witty poem addressed to the students.

Mr Jon Jocke, BSB Principal, focused his closing speech in Nelson Mandela’s inspiring words to the South African rugby team in 1995 World Cup, based on Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “The Man in the Arena”: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, […]; who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Mr Locke concluded: ”I hope, and I think that the evidence is clear, that BSB has helped you to understand how important it is that you put yourself in that arena, and you don’t stand in the side-lines with those cold and timid souls. Thank you for your contributions, good luck, and we wish you all the best”.

These inspiring words were the perfect end to a graduation ceremony full of amazing memories, as well as bright dreams and hopes for the future. A refreshing cocktail followed in the garden preceded by a photo group of the Class of 2019. Recent graduates and the teaching staff enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Many congratulations to our new BSB Alumni! This is an exciting time for them with so much to look forward to, and we wish them all the best.



Related links:

BSB Alumni network

BSB Alumni leaflet

Sign up to BSB Alumni


BSB Nexus Hosts Cognita Compliance Challenge

The British School of Barcelona hosted the latest meeting of the Cognita Compliance team at  BSB Nexus, the Pre-University campus, recently.

Members of the Operations and Finance Teams of Cognita Spain’s seven schools and its regional office recently took part in the Cognita Compliance Challenge, as part of their training and networking programme.

The gamification session is a business simulation which allows managers to see in real time the impact of their operational compliance and ethics decisions.

Our thanks to Murray Grainger and his team at Impact on Integrity for delivering an engaging and stimulating session.


For further information, please visit Compliance and Ethics Training




BSB Alumni Network Celebrates its First Anniversary

On Friday, 14th June, we had another emotional reunion with former students from The British School of Barcelona. (See video below)

Since the launch of the BSB Alumni Network exactly one year to this date, the number of BSB graduates that have reconnected with the school has kept growing. Throughout the school year, several BSB Alumni, whether professionals or university students, from different fields of activity have visited our classrooms to share their expertise and career experience with our students. From marketing and communications professionals to medicine, engineering and business students, including a virtual reality expert, are some of the BSB Alumni that have already participated in this year’s Programme of Activities!

The BSB Alumni Reunion 2019 was a great opportunity for students who graduated ten, eight, five years ago, or maybe last year, to celebrate the achievements of this still young network together, and to reconnect with those who could not attend due to previous professional commitments but still sent their greetings from different parts of the world (London, Lisbon, Berlin…) and were eager to collaborate in the future:

“If you ever need someone to help students get into TOK, you can always hit me up!” Electronic Engineer

“I certainly hope to be involved in future events.” Analyst, Programmes & Innovation

“Look forward to future events and talks and do let me know if I can be of any assistance.” Investment Banking Analyst

“I would be more than happy to pop by and talk about my experience.” Computer Science with Management

In his welcome speech, Mr Alan Woodruff, BSB Alumni Link, commented: “Many cannot be with us today, but it is clearly an idea that appeals to past students as we are seeing the registration of graduates from BSB grow in number from all over the world. We have with us students that graduated from BSB eight, nine, and even ten years ago. It is fantastic how this service is meeting its objective and keeping us together.”

This year’s reunion, which has already become an annual summer event to look forward to, set off with a moving farewell to Mrs Janice Serra, our current Deputy Head of Pastoral in Secondary, who is retiring after 43 years of service. Being able to meet up with so many BSB graduates expressing their best wishes for this new chapter of her life was, undoubtedly, one of the evening’s most touching moments.

The attendees were then off to socialise, catch up, enjoy some tasty food and refreshments. The photos speak for themselves.

We are very excited with the planning of activities for next year and all BSB Alumni are very welcome to join!



Related links:

BSB Alumni network

BSB Alumni leaflet

Sign up to BSB Alumni


BSB Raises Awareness of Protecting the Environment on World Environment Day

World Environment day falls on Wednesday 5th June. It is the United Nation’s dedicated day to raise awareness of the issues affecting the environment and to educate the public on what they can do to protect the natural world.

Using this day as the central focus point, the Cognita Community launched a global initiative aimed at educating the next generation on human interaction with the environment and its negative impacts (such as global warming and plastic pollution) and arming the next generation with the information and practical skills they need to conserve our natural world.

For the past few days Cognita schools worldwide have been participating in a number of different activities. The British School of Barcelona has contributed to this goal across all phases:


BSB Sitges led another successful Beach Cleaning activity for Years 2 and 5. This action-packed day saw practical and tangible efforts by pupils related to their curriculum: ‘Explore, Rescue, Protect’ and ‘Planet Earth’.

At BSB Castelldefels Primary school children were encouraged to wear green on the day. They managed to raise a whopping 370.50 euros which Year 2 will donate to an environmental cause of their choosing.

At BSB Castelldefels Secondary school students in Year 8 French lessons worked on making posters to promote an “Environmentally friendly lunchbox”, describing foods and steps to take to ensure that we reduce the amount of waste we create. Students worked on the vocabulary for food and environment (vocabulary sheets, quizzes, etc.) in French in order to create their poster.

Also, different year groups in Geography designed campaigns to reduce pollution and raise awareness of climate change, including some Year 8s making geography versions of well-known boardgames (work in progress!) and some Year 10s decorating some masks to raise awareness about air pollution and climate change as a whole.

English students across Key Stage 3 analysed a thought-provoking cartoon challenging those who denied the evidence for climate change. They then used this text as a stimulus for their own creative writing. Some wrote poems about the environment whilst others wrote narratives from the perspectives of the creatures most affected by climate change. A lot of fun was had by all!


Sophie Hickzy, Communications Officer at Cognita Schools said: “Thank you to everyone for sharing your World Environment Day activities with us here within the community and on social. We have loved seeing what you and your students have been doing to raise awareness of climate change. Thank you also to Nina Hamilton from Hydesville Tower School for coordinating and championing the group-wide activities that so many of our schools took part in. A World Environment Day to remember I think!”


BSB Sitges Begins the “Share a Story Around the World” 2019 edition

The British School of Barcelona is very excited with the new edition of “Share a Story Around the World”, a creative, collaborative, student-led project within the Cognita family. This year Mr Joe Woodhouse, a poet and literacy support teacher at BSB Sitges, is leading on the creative writing element of the project, which is expected to be bigger and better than last year, with over 20 schools across the network collaborating.

We have spoken with Mr Woodhouse to learn more about what to expect of this year’s edition:

What’s the main purpose of the project?

“The ‘Share a Story Around the World’ is an initiative that brings together inspirational creative writing from across the panoply of schools within the Cognita network. Last year, Fiona Ritson, from Colchester High School in the UK curated and co-ordinated a stunning piece of work that was written collaboratively by 17 Cognita schools.”

What is this year’s story about?

“We want to create a story centred around a magic lift that can take you anywhere, anywhen. With this quite simple narrative framework, the idea is to unleash the imaginations of the students, whilst keeping the flow of the story easy to continue.

In our story, this magic lift transports two students, a brother and sister, through a series of worlds and time periods that our students dream up. The main theme of the story is how “the things about ourselves that we perceive as challenges can become superpowers”. For example, Lyla, the main character, has just been diagnosed with dyslexia, which means that she has difficulties in a classroom environment, but can flourish in terms of things like creative problem solving.”

How have the characters been chosen?

“With growing awareness around the globe about children’s health, both physical and mental, we’d like to add to this conversation and have ‘wellbeing’ as a running theme throughout the story. To this end, our two main characters have difficulties (that can of course become strengths) of their own.”

How does the project work?

“Each week, a chapter of the story is written by one school, then passed on to the next, ultimately ending in an action packed, truly global tale that the students can cherish, be proud of, and be emboldened by to do other great things with their lives. The tale is then printed, published and distributed to every school involved.”

Has the 2019 project started?

“Yes, BSB Sitges has begun the story, which was written by students in Year 5, and has already been passed on to the next school involved.”



About the Share a Story Around the World Project 2018

Sameera and Javier’s Cog-tastic Adventure’ was the first book of the project, a scintillating story that followed characters Javier and Sameera through a series of (beautifully written) trials across the globe.

Related links:

BSB and Cognita Schools Share a Story Around the World for World Book Day (March 2019)