We have two children at BSW and have been with the school for four years. The teachers and curriculum have consistently met and exceeded our expectations. The children are challenged and develop a love of learning from the beginning. We have seen this continue each and every year. Teachers are caring, dedicated, challenging, creative, and hard-working. The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is one of the many aspects that help make BSW a unique and special school. The IPC is taught in the Primary School (Reception (PK) - Year 6). It is an engaging curriculum designed to foster rigorous learning, particularly focusing on on academic, personal and international learning. Through the IPC teachers are able to provide their students with innovative and exciting ways to learn, which I have seen first hand in our children. They truly do love learning and we can't imagine providing our children with a better education than at BSW!
Our daughter started attending BSW this year (elementary school) and we have been very happy with the experience so far. Her home room teacher is excellent, and her reading and math performance has improved dramatically. I believe that the academic standard is quite high compared to any private school in the area. Most importantly, our daughter is very happy. We have particularly appreciated the school's willingness to help students who enter the school at varying levels to catch up to their class mates through individualized attention. I did not get that impression from any of the other private schools we visited, most of which seemed more concerned with what the student would bring to their school, rather than what the school could do for the student. That said, the physical facilities are not really up to par (particularly in term of sports, play areas etc.) and the language program needs strengthening. But there are signs that this is being addressed - so we'll see. Our daughter has only been at the school for half a year, and it remains to be seen whether our experience will extend to other teachers, but so far, we have had an excellent experience.
I have several children at BSW. Quality of the school is best at the primary stage and then steadily deteriorates in secondary and student numbers drop making it a very small school at IB level. Teachers variable - some excellent, others far from it. Strengths: design and technology, maths and english. Weaknesses: sport, language program. School building very average - below DC public schools in terms of facilities. Governance structure is not responsive (for profit, based in the UK). Parent involvement correspondingly limited.
As a student attending this school, and having attended for over 5 years, I can honestly say my experience here has not been the best. Although I have gained a lot from having to cooperate with classmates, it's definitely been a struggle. There are some teachers who show clear signs of favoritism, and these displays are very discouraging for the rest of the class. Having seen the IB room (which, by the way, is simply disgusting), I was really worried about going here next year. I now attend a public school taking AP courses instead, and not once have I regretted it. There have been several occasions as well where I have seen students mistreated by teachers both unfairly and wrongly. Some punishments that are put on some students are then not put on other students who rightly deserve them as well. I don't know how well this school works for kids, for me it didn't. That's just my own experience.
My child attended the lower school for 2 years and had a very rough time of it. Teachers need more training. There is a focus on appearance and presentation in everything that is done. Creativity and individuality is not valued. The environment is very structured, but not consistent. There is also some bullying. I just can't recommend the school, but I will say that the music program and the foreign language program for lower school is very good.
Our child has been at the British School for nearly 3 years now and it goes from strength to strength. All three teachers have been excellent, and the management team are improving the school every year. Best of all, she loves going there.
We have been at the BSW for 2 and half years. We will no long be attending. We have been very disappointed with the teaching and schools responsiveness (?).
This is our second year with the school and we absolutely love the education our son is receiving. His teachers are excellent and the structured environment has proven to be a great fit for him. We also like the fact that parents are highly encouraged to be involved.
We are into our second year with the British School of Washington. Last year went rather well. The teacher was creative and really worked with the kids. This year is totally different. The teacher doesn't seem happy to be there or to be teaching. Our child is unhappy, which is the worst of all. We've tried working with the administration. They seem 'understanding,' but this doesn't solve the problem. Bullying has also been an issue, and some kids seem allowed to break the rules that others are forced to follow.
I have been to this school for nearly four years and I agree that some of he teachers are good but for the most part they never manage to actually teach us anything unless they're one of the good teachers. The fact that we don't have a playground isn't a problem at all. In fact, many of us think it's a good thing because it gives you more of an opportunityto be creative with games and you'd be surprised at how easy it is to play games with something you brought from home like a skipping rope or hula hoop. What my classdoes is have someone bring in a ball each day and we all play soccer. Thanks to that I have actually made more friends because we play as a team. The only thing I don't like is that they give us too much homework, more than they tell you.
There is a new head so people are hopeful that things will improve at the BSW. I concur with most of the comments below. The school has incredibly inconsistent results for different grade years and teachers involved. The school has rolling admissions and appears to for the most part accept just about anyone at any point in the year; that alone should tell you something about the school when you compare it to excellent private schools in the DC area where very long waiting lists are the norm. In theory the school concept has great promise; but in practise it has not achieved its potential by a long shot. Maybe some day it will
Our child used to attend BSW but sadly, it just didn't work for us especially as we progressed into the Middle School. We thought we were signing up for a British private school education but instead, the school models itself on British public/state schools. Academically, it's OK, I always felt the students could have been pushed more and the teachers very much taught to the tests and no further. I'm not suggesting the teaching was poor, in fact, there are a few good teachers but when the school has very few facilities to offer for $20,000 a year the classroom teaching throughout the whole school needs to be excellent. If you have a 3 year old it's worth a look as they teach reading and writing at a very young age but visit other schools to compare. It shouldn't be your first choice.
My daughter has attended BSW for the past 4 years and I believe the faculty and the administration (yes, the administration) are excellent.
Our child has really flourished at BSW for the past several years. It's especially great for any 'quirky' kid who doesn't fit in a really socially competitive environment. BSW teaches kindness and respect, and the teachers really know their pupils as individuals. Not for everyone, sure, but worth a look.
Clearly this school is going through growing pains where it has never quite found its footing. I agree that academics are the school s best point; however, like any school it has some excellent teachers and some very mediocre teachers. Historically we have been happy about the curriculum, especially in the earlier years where there was a strong emphasis on teaching fundamental concepts; however, we have been disappointed as of late, where the academic rigor in some subjects is lacking including an insufficient level of homework and scant use of textbooks. Considering the tuition is now in the $20K range with no discounts available, one should take a VERY close look at this school compared to other private schools in the area. The new facility is very lacking and appears to be the product of another unilateral decision by the baffling administration who continue to blow-off the inputs from parents.
Students who have remained with the school over a long period have excelled academically because of its high standards, quality of curriculum, and outstanding teachers. While I agree there are big problems with the school's administration (& this has been true since the very beginning, in 1998) the negative impact appears to be on the parents and not the students, who generally speaking, have flourished. The curriculum is very demanding but the kids who've stuck with it from the early years are now doing very well academically, as measured by UK and U.S. standardized exams, awards in national competitions, and university admissions, as well as personally (early emphasis on courtesy, respect for diversity, and articulateness pays off in high school). BSW's certainly not parent-friendly, but the students seem happy, and if a parent can tolerate the daily frustrations and focus on BSW's long-term results, the returns make it worthwhile.
This school is run as a total profit enterprise -- little care is given to the well-being of the students or relations with parents. There is no playground, and many parents with ideas to improve the school and community relations are ignored at best, if not treated as pariahs. We have just received notice that a venture capital firm has invested in the corporation, and therefore can expect that the almost blind profit drive of the administration will worsen. Don't put your kids here yet.
We concur with the comments on the inadequacy of the school administration and the almost antagonistic relations with well-meaning and highly educated parents. The absence of any confirmed outdoor play space and an inadequate indoor playspace is problematic. Art, science and music are scant. Having said this, the teachers themselves are incredibly dedicated and hardworking.
The academic quality at BSW is high, and the teachers are good. Yet overall we have been disappointed and have decided to enroll our child elsewhere. The leadership has been surprisingly unilateral, even when approached in a constructive way by parents. Earlier this year, the pre-k class enrollment rose to 26 children, with only one teacher, and other classes were at 23 or 24. Discipline in the classroom was a problem and there seemed to be little time to attend to the social and emotional needs of the students. Problems relating to the move to the new location caused us to lose seven full school days, and we have been informed that this time will not be made up. Thus, our sense is that when the chips are down, the school will sacrifice the well-being and education of current students for somebody else s bottom line
The teachers are fantastic. That's why most parents stay. However, the administration of the school is very poor. There are many examples of poor leadership. One example relates to outdoor play space. The school is now in a new location. Unfortunately leadership did not make an outdoor play space for children over 5 a priority. Parents/children have been granted a grassy area for 6 months but have been repeatedly told that there is no guarantee this space will be available next year. This is very upsetting to many parents of younger children, especially given the fact that the previous location had a dedicated outdoor play space. Had leadership communicated effectively with parents prior to signing the lease at the new location this situation could have been avoided. BSW may be great school in 5 years - but would not recommend it at this time.
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