Speeches were delivered by the founding Headmaster, David Laird, His Excellency Chris Sainty, The British Ambassador, Filipe Lowndes Marques, Chair of the British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Jessica Ordovas, a Trustee of The Schools Trust. All speakers shared their enthusiasm for the development of an outstanding British School in central Lisbon.
Probably the most pertinent speech of all came from Sofia Tangsrud, a student from the family of schools founded by The Schools Trust. She spoke of the wonderful opportunities given to her by the school and how an outstanding teacher gave her the confidence to be successful in a subject she once found difficult.
“In my first lesson I was worried since the academic level was very good, but the environment was very positive and everyone seemed so friendly and confident. I soon grew to love lessons even in subjects I was not naturally good at. As an example, I had always hated Maths and thanks to Ms. Michell I learned that Maths was fun and last year I actually won a prize in Maths.” (Sofia Tangsrud – BSL Presentation Event).
These are truly exciting times for all those involved in this project and for those looking for the very best educational offer in Lisbon. The school is due to open its doors on September 12th and Saturday’s event was an excellent opportunity for parents to see the ‘before’, picture.
Adorning the walls of the campus were various pictures and digital renders to show that it’s going to look very different once the renovations are completed.
The building is centrally located in Cais do Sodré, and is architecturally beautiful, with an incredibly rich history as the former Casa da Moeda (Coin Mint), it was constructed in the 1700s and received a full modernisation in 2010.
The school plans to completely renovate the interior and the exterior courtyard to accommodate students who will be exposed to the best elements of a British Curriculum. One of the aims of the school is to produce students that are confident World Citizens who have a life-long love of learning.
The school is initially offering classes from Nursery (age 3) through to Year 4 (age 8, and will continue to open consecutive years groups in subsequent years, until a full secondary school is realised.
Classrooms are very large, with high ceilings and are bright and airy, uncluttered and conducive to great learning. They will, of course, contain the latest educational technology with Interactive Smarts Boards in every classroom. This combined with the conservative use of tablets and laptops ensure the very best of modern and traditional teaching techniques are blended to maximise each and every learning opportunity. The foundations of learning still apply, with handwriting, reading and writing stories, and being able to calculate mentally are just as important.
Mr. Laird said that “Learning will not just be confined to the classroom, but takes place in all areas of the school, from the canteen to the playground.”
The canteen provides a nutritional and balanced diet for students. The school also houses a comprehensive and innovative library, which will encourage a passion for reading. Students will take books home on a daily basis and the school is keen for parents to also take an active role in supporting their children to learn.
While some may feel that the school has a lot to do to be ready for September, it is clear that The School’s Trust has substantial experience. BSL are in the fortunate position that the building is already an educational institution, with classrooms and spaces already in place, the works are largely cosmetic, rather than heavy building work.
The big question for parents… Why choose BSL?
The Headmaster clearly defined the vision for the school. The promotion of creating ‘Confident World Citizens’ was stressed. This would be achieved by recruiting the very best UK qualified teachers. In addition to this, BSL will continue to invest in its people with regular professional development for teachers that will keep them at the forefront of the latest pedagogical developments in the world of education.
The school is keen for parents to get involved in the newly created Parents’ Association. There will also be a Parents’ Club, a BSL parent only coffee shop, that mums and dads will be able to go to and network with other families after they drop their children at school.
BSL is part of The Schools Trust a global network of schools, which sees the September opening of new schools in St Petersburg, Russia, and Vilnius, Lithuania. The schools will network together to make their offer stronger. That’s not something every school can say.
An outstanding education is a given at BSL. However, the school will go beyond by offering opportunities to students with the networks they create locally, nationally and internationally. So for example, when the school has its science fair, they want to go beyond for their students and think bigger. They will have the opportunity to talk to astronauts! When they develop their coding and robotics curriculum, students will be inspired by academic intuitions that are at the forefront of programming. And when they offer music, the school will invite students to hear the finest musicians play.
“We’ll nail the basics (that goes without saying) but we’ll think big in the opportunities that we offer.” David Laird (BSL Presentation Event)
And finally, and maybe most importantly for parents, the school is keen to stress its pastoral commitments. They will be kind, compassionate and create a happy and safe environment for children to meet their full potential.