The British School in the Netherlands

BSN invests in their teachers' development to ensure top quality education

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BSN has started a new International Leadership Academy, which will bring in professional development experts to help further improve current staff members' teaching practices. [Contributed by The British School in the Netherlands]

Every day we are affected and inspired by the people who surround us. Whether they be our role models, politicians, peers or colleagues — these people help define the lens through which we see the world. So, shouldn’t we endeavour to surround ourselves with people who aspire to be the very best they can be?

This is especially true within school systems. It is a given that we want the people who teach our children to be the very best at what they do. We trust them to inspire the next generation to want to do great things, to enjoy life and give them every tool they need to succeed.

This is why the continued development of teachers and school support staff, along-side that of their students, is so essential.

“The students’ experience is predicated on the professionalism of the people they come into contact with,” explained CEO and Principal of The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) Kieran Earley.

“It’s purely about the very best people deploying the very best skills, in the best way — every single day. We want our staff to feel committed, purposeful and ready to be challenged … and that doesn’t just happen. That has to be supported and on top of that, it has to be expected.”

The beginning of the International Leadership Academy

The BSN’s International Leadership Academy (ILA) is an in-house facility that will employ experts to teach, develop and invest in current staff members, so that they can be their very best professional selves.

While Continued Professional Development (CPD) programmes have long been part of the BSN’s ethos, the ILA will add strategic direction and a centralised (and physical) base of operations. Its goal is to stream-line a number of pre-existing development programmes and to find ways of improving and adding to them. After all, what better way to encourage constant self-evaluation and development in your staff, than by leading by example.

The ILA will ideally be up-and-running by September 2016, but some of the courses that are already on offer include teaching assistant qualifications, international leadership, middle leadership and various safe guarding programmes.

'Productivity and collaboration is visible'

Many of the school’s current CPD programmes, focus on understanding and implementing cutting edge teaching techniques. 

Staff members at the Junior School in Leidschenveen have been working with Dr Frank Serafini, Professor of Literacy Education and Children’s Literature from Arizona State University, in a virtual residency. During these sessions, the teachers look at ways to develop children’s critical literacy skills and find dynamic ways of encouraging engagement.

In the name of sharing new-found knowledge and best practices, a notice board has been put up in the Junior School in Vlaskamp's staff room. Here you will find golden lesson plans, encouraging notes and moral boosters, all aimed at fostering a positive work environment and giving staff a place to acknowledge colleagues' successes.

At the Junior School in Diamanthorst, staff have been focusing on their own growth and development as a team.

“As a whole staff, we have worked together with a coaching team from [the company] INPRIME to increase our understanding of our communication style, how we respond and feedback to each other, and how to perform at an optimum level at work,” explained JSD Deputy Head Teacher, Rebecca Findlay. “The results have been really effective, thus creating a highly motivated, cohesive and happy team of staff. There is an enthusiastic and positive vibe throughout the school and the productivity and collaboration is visible,” she added.

This dedication to building a ‘strong team’ is one of the factors that the school prides itself on. After all, ‘we are only as strong as our weakest link,’ is a cliché for a reason. At the BSN, staff members try to take every opportunity to support one another and to create a healthy and happy working environment — once again, using their own behaviour to set examples for their students to live up to.

The opportunity to exceed

With these opportunities, however, come a high level of expectation and responsibility. According to Mr. Earley, current and future staff members need to show initiative and a real desire to be developed by the school.

“If you join this school, we expect you to develop. We expect you to be better this year than you were last year. This is not a neutral statement - it’s a statement of intent. This is what it means to join the BSN,” he said.

By prioritising staff needs, and ensuring career progression and job satisfaction, the BSN and its new ILA make sure that each and every member of staff will contribute to the continued development of the school, and ultimately its exceptional standards of education.

For more information on the ILA, please read BSN CEO and Principal Kieran Earley’s article on embracing change in education.


Contributed by The British School in the Netherlands (BSN)
The British School in the Netherlands

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