The British School in Colombo has had steep progress over the years, since its inception in 1994 the school has attempted to perfect every aspect of its curriculum and today, with fifty five percent of local pupils and the remainder of foreign pupils, the school has become an apt example of gradual but steady success.
Mr. Roy Chapman a British Schools inspector responsible for auditing quality assurance within the school on a visit to Colombo said that he was extremely pleased at how the school had progressed and was confident that it would secure the momentum to go forward. Mr. Chapman; who has a vast experience in the British educational sector said that when he first visited the school in year 1999, the school was relatively small and that on his subsequent visits in 2002 and 2006 he noted the steady progress the school had achieved. "We believe in schools not merely being a factory that produces good results, we attempt to provide a holistic education to pupils so that they pass out geared to face the outside world."
British School in Colombo is a school that offers the closest educational standards to those of Great Britain, and Mr. Chapman was very impressed by the pupil turnout and courtesy. BSC is keen on the general wellbeing of its students, what we call pastoral care; we believe this is an aspect that we cannot afford to compromise and we aspire to extend this initiative to other schools in Sri Lanka. "We are aware of how intricate this type of project can be because we must be able to convince the majority of Sri Lankan teachers that this is part of their core role as opposed to their current opinion that this is a chore attribute of their role as a teacher" Chapman said.
The education curriculum in Great Britain focuses extensively on dance, drama and other aesthetic subjects as well, but it is viewed differently in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka the Arts are considered as part of an add-on feature of education. We want to change this perception; and we have made such aesthetics part of the education we offer at British School so that students have exposure to these areas apart from the academic support they receive. Another unique feature of the British School in Colombo; is that it encourages pupils to achieve their respective potential as opposed to the potential that the school wants them to achieve. The school appreciates that skill levels and aptitudes can differ from one pupil to another so they are assisted in bringing out the best in them in a unique manner.
Roy Chapman also spoke on the level of English amongst teachers and students in Sri Lanka. "It is remarkable! I am amazed by the standard of English they speak and feel they speak better English than those who live in Britain. I am certain that this has worked in favour of the school in achieving the level of success it has today."
The Principal of The British School in Colombo Mr. Andrew Fowler-Watt, said that an advantage the school has with its pupils is that they come from English speaking homes, this eliminates the need to conduct sessions on how to talk in English, as seen in other British schools based in foreign countries. Elaborating on Mr. Chapman's comments on the importance of dance, drama and music within the school curriculum, Mr. Fowler-Watt said that BSC had a pool of talented students who were closely involved in fine arts. "We are very proud that we have a student who is a member of the Sri Lankan Symphony Orchestra and we also have pupils involved in eastern music. This is a good example of the encouragement we render to students. We are aware that a sports activity is an area of development for the school. We are hopeful that we will cross this hurdle in the future and have students who excel in a variety of sports too."
In response to a question raised in relation to the cost factor of international education in Sri Lanka, Mr. Fowler-Watt and Roy Chapman said that the cost aspect in Sri Lanka was significantly lower than those costs in Britain or any other international schools based in the Asian region. "We offer education at least five times lower than the cost one will incur to receive similar private education in the United Kingdom" Mr. Fowler- Watt said.
The British School in Colombo takes pride in the robust educational system that they offer.The administration board is keen on updating our curriculum from time to time in accordance with British standards that suit the Global trends in education. The inclusion of International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which is an alternative to the GCSE popularly knows as London Ordinary Level, has brought BSC in line with the broad base of exams Britain allows students of its private institutes to follow. The International Baccalaureate (IB) which is offered at the Advanced Level stage is an alternative to London advanced level courses and according to Chapman is now preferred by Universities due to the component of non-academic exposure it offers through the parameter of assessment named CAS (Creativity, Activity & Service). The students of the school recently implemented a charity project at a hospital and were taken up by the dynamism and empathy such study programmes have instilled in them.
In conclusion Mr. Chapman and Mr. Fowler-Watt mentioned that The British School in Colombo was British in standard but local in terms of majority of population. "Many parents want their children to join us because they are aware of the standard of education we offer. The positive response from the inspection has given us the platform to focus on achieving higher benchmarks and also ensure we do not get complacent in whatever is achieved so far" Fowler-Watt said. The inspection that is currently underway regardless of the short time frame it may entail, will provide evidence that BSC strives for standards not only momentarily, but as a feature that The British School in Colombo can be identified with.