Warwick Academy makes the grade
Achieving a top international accreditation just days ahead of the island shutting its borders against Covid-19 has been cause for celebration at Warwick Academy.
Dave Horan, principal at the school, said this month the certification from the Council of International Schools was “seen as a gold standard”.
CIS is a global non-profit covering primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities, in 122 countries.
Member bodies must show commitment to developing students as “global citizens”, with a commitment to “high-quality international education”.
Schools are also required to commit to ongoing quality checks to enhance their work.
But getting seven evaluators from around the school to vet Warwick Academy’s performance, after years of preparation, was almost stymied by the lockdown of flights to Bermuda on March 20.
After the evaluations squeaked through just one week ahead of lockdown, the school ultimately got a 275-page blueprint for its next five years of development.
Mr Horan said: “It’s a deep drill into every aspect of the organisation.
“Some accreditation bodies will just look at the curriculum or the academic side.
“CIS goes into everything, from the financial performance of the organisation to child safeguarding.”
Mr Horan added: “Ultimately this is not necessarily a pass or fail exercise. It’s a continuous improvement model.
“Sure, we get commendations, but also recommendations to follow through self study.”
The school got high marks for its self-evaluation, and was commended for its sense of purpose and leadership by its board as well as the school.
Mr Horan said the school was working on “how we embrace cultural learning and our global 21st-century skills”.
“They thought our lines of communication were all very sound — we were true to what we said we were.”
Mr Horan added: “It was the last accreditation they did before the pandemic shut the world down.”
The school dived immediately into remote learning, and the principal said adapting to a Covid-19 world meant “next year could be a very different year”.
Colin Smith, chairman of the school’s board, said: “It came at a time when anybody in the world receiving good news was a welcome relief from the stress and adjustments so many have made.
“To get the evaluators here a week before the shutdown was extremely timely and lucky.”
Mr Smith said: “We were certainly confident we were doing a lot of things well, based on feedback. But it was rewarding to see recognition by a peer group with experience running school after this tremendous investigation of how we operate. It was great news.”
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