International School Awards – the winners!

By Anne Keeling

The 2019 International School Awards highlighted some exceptional initiatives that have been introduced and successfully implemented by individual schools:


Overall winner for 2019

The International School of the Year 2019 was awarded to British School Muscat, Oman. The school was a finalist in two of this year’s categories which attracted over 230 nominations from international schools across the world.


The school won the Outstanding Strategic Leadership Initiative, sponsored by the EAL Academy for its teacher and teacher assistant training programme for Omani nationals, which provides professional development to British international school standards, for educators in the school and within the wider community. The programme has resulted in the successful appointment of eleven new Omani nationals at the school, and eight new interns. The school was also a finalist for the Creativity in Learning Initiative award as a result of its innovative ‘Discovery Learning’ teaching initiative which provides a child-centred, enquiry-based approach to children in Key Stages 1 and 2.  The overall award was sponsored by Pearson.


















Working towards an award-winning school

Kai spoke to ISL Magazine about some of the work that has gone on to get the school to where it is today: “Over the last seven years we have learned from many international schools and a range of specialist partners, which has served to develop and enhance the quality of our teaching, learning, curriculum, pastoral care and facilities.  This commitment to continual improvement, building on very strong foundations and always striving towards the goal of being the ‘best school for the world’ is our constant driver at British School Muscat (BSM) and the next step was always to share this with our wider community. 


“We have worked creatively to overcome the increasingly prevalent teacher recruitment crisis to attract, develop and retain the right team for our school. This approach has contributed to strong levels of employee engagement, typically well over 90% in our annual staff survey, and has helped BSM to attract colleagues who will enable our students to leave British School Muscat prepared to be ‘best for the world’.”


Other winners at the 2019 International School Awards:

  • The International School Kuala Lumpur won the Outstanding Inclusion Initiative for its programme to integrate students of all abilities into every aspect of school life including after-school and elective options. The award was sponsored by Scanning Pens

  • Dulwich College Seoul won the Outstanding Teaching Initiative for its fluid maths grouping model to meet the specific needs of learners. The award was sponsored by Lexonik

  • British International School Riyadh received the award for Outstanding Community Initiative for its student-led support for over 600 refugee children in Lebanon which included the provision of learning resources and one-to-one digital links. The award was sponsored by COBIS

  • GEMS Jumeirah Primary School, Dubai received the Initiative to Support Wellbeing Award for its whole-school well-being programme including children, parents, staff and the community. The award was sponsored by International SOS

  • Dulwich College Beijing won the Creativity in Learning Award for the implementation of a transdisciplinary Design and Technology course that focuses on real-world problem-solving. The award was sponsored by Fieldwork Education

  • Alice Smith School, Primary Campus, Kuala Lumpur won the Outstanding Pastoral Initiative Award for its student-led positive playtimes initiative with Year 6 students developed as playground leaders supported by teaching assistants. The award was sponsored by TeachAnywhere

  • JESS Dubai received the Innovative Technology Through the School Award for its development of an automated live reporting system for parents. The award was sponsored by Paramount

  • British School New Delhi, India received the Digital Technology in Learning Award for developing a gamification programme to help students develop maths proficiency. The award was sponsored by Pamoja

  • Shrewsbury International School Bangkok won the Outstanding Initiative that Supports Students’ Pathways to Higher Education for its engagement with Shrewsbury alumni and a programme to identify the right higher education course for the individual student. The award was sponsored by the University of Bath

  • The British School in Tokyo won the International Impact Award for its development of an off-site sports facility to enable links with schools and universities around Japan which promotes new sports including disability sports. The award was sponsored by The International Teaching Partnership

  • Anuradha Monga, Head of Bangalore International School in India, was presented with a special Individual Achievement Award for her work, over many years, spreading the awareness of international education throughout India and beyond. The award was sponsored by LSC Education

  • A special award was presented to Corona Secondary School in Nigeria which was a finalist for the Community Initiative Award for its student-led water borehole initiative. Professor Clare Elwell, President of the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) and Director of the Near Infrared Spectroscopy Research Group at University College London, presented the school with a student bursary to attend the 61st LIYSF this summer at Imperial College London.


The International School Awards are hosted by International School Leader Magazine and ISC Research. Several of the winning initiatives will be featured in International School Leader Magazine throughout the next twelve months.

Kai Vacher, Principal of the British School Muscat who collected the award on the night said, “We are immensely proud to win this award, and we are delighted for our school that the hard work that has gone into setting up our award-winning internship programme has been recognised.  In recent years British School Muscat has been going from strength to strength due to the dedication and commitment of our talented teaching team, supported by our parents, governors and partners locally and further afield. It is wonderful for our whole school community, not least our amazing students, to see our progress validated with this prestigious award.”

©2019 International School Leader