News | 31 May 2023
Internationella Engelska Skolan’s overall goal is to give every student the possibility to achieve high academic expectations and aspirations and to navigate through an international environment, whatever their background. The academic expectations are high for every student, in every school that IES runs. The journey there has to be tailored to the composition of students and local circumstances, though. To succeed in this, IES must maintain a consistently high level of quality across all our operations, based on the same underlying principles.
Internationella Engelska Skolan is a bilingual Swedish school with an international profile, where each student is given the opportunity to achieve high academic expectations and aspirations and where teaching takes place in a safe and calm environment. The organisation was founded in 1993 with one school in central Stockholm.
Our organisation has always believed in the same basic idea, that there must be a high level of quality in our education and that teachers must have high academic expectations for their students, regardless of their starting point. One important factor here is creating a supportive, safe and dynamic environment that helps to generate a positive view of the school and the learning experience. In other words, it’s about “hard” and “soft” quality. IES follows a systematic approach to ensure quality and identify potential areas for improvement, including regular evaluation, actions and follow-up. These are based on four indicators: a student survey, a parent survey, a teacher survey and national tests.
Throughout the entire organisation there is a strong desire to keep improving so as to fulfil our promise to parents and students. While it can be difficult to measure the quality of different schools, one measurement that can be used is the national test results as these tests are conducted by all schools. This is why IES has focused on following up the results of these tests for many years. When measured over time, the results of IES’ students are approximately 15 per cent higher than the national average in the subjects of mathematics, Swedish and English. One of the primary goals for IES is for all students to qualify for further studies. In the 2021/2022 academic year, 95 per cent of IES students qualified for upper secondary school, compared with the national average of 85 per cent.
Strong and clear leadership
Strong local school leadership is an important parameter for a safe and orderly school environment. This is in turn essential to effective learning – in other words to achieving quality. IES is driven by its core values and recruits principals who live and lead according to these. The role of the principals is to ensure that IES’ core values are converted into actions and behaviours, every day.
This work is based on the Basic Defining Policy, which describe IES’ targets, expectations and ethical guidelines. The principal is responsible for ensuring that operations live up to these policies. All students and parents sign off on the school rules, and all teachers are expected to act as role models for how these should be put into practice.
Structured and continuous quality process
Quality improvement work follows a carefully structured annual process. Every school sets goals and plans its operations for the upcoming academic year. In other words, while goals are set locally, they are agreed against the overarching goals for IES as an organisation. These goals include results and environmental factors, i.e. the dimensions of quality defined by IES.
In April every year, students, parents and employees are surveyed to assess how well the organisation lives up to these goals. The questions are formulated per target group under the categories of academic environment, social environment (i.e. safety, support and a calm study environment) and the school environment. Parents and employees are also asked about how well the school’s leadership works.
The answers are evaluated during the summer by the school’s quality managers, i.e. IES’ head of education, head of academics, head of pastoral and the principal of each school. Any deviations versus the goals are identified, and an action plan is developed jointly with the relevant school at the beginning of the academic year.
IES’ quality improvement system can monitor several different areas, including per student, school, academic year and subject, and it allows comparisons over time. Data is compiled in a report that every school works with during the entire academic year.
It is most likely that the pandemic has affected the results of the quality surveys for the past academic year as teacher and student absenteeism due to illness have been higher than usual, which has decreased the sense of safety. When measured over time though, our quality indicators generally remain at a high level. Our focus is now on implementing actions to improve the areas where a decline has been noted. Due to the pandemic, several schools were forced to depart from certain procedures, and these have been reinstated during the year, which is one area we are focused on to ensure safety and a calm study environment.
To read the full quality report, click here.