This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
British School of Washington1
Posted November 30, 2014
- a parent
Our children attended BSW for several years, and we loved it. Unfortunately, the school has been so poorly managed for the last couple of years that I'm glad we got out when we did. As an initial matter, all of our children's teachers were excellent. That said, I'm not impressed with the current head teacher (the 5th in just 3 years). As BSW is is a for-profit company, the head should at a minimum treat parents like paying customers. Instead, I think he sees us as a nuisance (and it doesn't appear he treats teaching staff much differently). Don't expect much if you raise a concern. Similarly, the head has not followed-through on many promised facility improvements. The focus seems to be on increasing profits. And now that BSW is owned by Nord Anglia Education (a Hong Kong-based company traded on the New York Stock Exchange) I would expect an even greater emphasis on profits and less on students and their families -- reading the investor prospectus was an eye-opening experience. I also fear BSW will lose many of its best teachers because of current management. In sum, DC has some exceptional private school options. Sadly, BSW is no longer one of them.
I had such high hopes coming to BSW. I really did. First things first, I do think most of the teachers were good, but the flip side was that some were very bad. I had a teacher who just assumed everyone had taken the "prerequisite" for her class (what is this university?) and literally used PowerPoints instead of actually standing up and TEACHING. Seriously? Also, I was a brand new student and even though I asked for help, I got none in that class. I had another teacher who would yell and ridicule a student if he or she didn't know the answer and who obviously had anger management issues. Secondly, at least in my year, I felt that there was a very negative attitude towards Americans and D.C. in general. I noticed students (and some faculty) were very condescending and would go out of their way to make fun of American citizens and culture. I understand that this is a British school, but is snobbery really necessary? How is that inclusive? And really is this not an INTERNATIONAL school? Lastly, the pretentious and entitled attitude by nearly everyone was excruciatingly distracting and disheartening. So I must ask is this worth the exorbitant fee that is tuition? Former Student
I used to think that our family would leave BSW with a heavy heart but instead it was with a sigh of relief. We were at the school for 7 years and experienced the primary, middle and high school sections of the school. Primary is best by far, the leadership is dedicated and motivated and baring a few notable exceptions the teachers are fantastic. The school gets progressively weaker, with the High School being the weakest 4 years. On top of the high cost of tuition we also had to employ tutors for subjects where the teachers were weak, not something that should be necessary when the largest class size was 12. The school has gone through a large number of changes including a change of ownership and 5 Head Teachers in the last 2/3 years. The leadership does not truly understand the needs of students who want to go to US universities and believe that it lack of facilities is acceptable, Don't expect action if you raise concerns or even answers to emails. This is a for profit school with a public school attitude, they need to start behaving like they are being paid to provide a service rather than treating parents like they are a nuisance and an inconvenience.
well first things first i am the realest. I have been at BSW for a while and just to say a little i think i have lost some IQ points along the way. The teacher don't seem to care if you learn the subject. They only care about the test scores and the lengths of girls skirts. The freedom that students get at year-9 to year-7 is zero from the time you arrive at school to the time you leave a teacher will always be watching you. Its like a prison here. I would just like to say don't waste your time and money going here, don't even go to the website not worth your time.
We have had a wonderful experience at BSW. I cannot vouch for the upper school but the Nursery is outstanding. Incredibly committed teachers, a very warm and friendly community, 3 and 4 year olds nurtured and guided through their learning and socialization. It is very structuted, which I think is a good thing. They think they are playing but they are learning every minute. The head of nursery is incredibly hard-working and devoted to her job. Children as young as 3 take part in incredibly poised assemblies and school productions. They are very much part of the wider school community whilst retaining their own special nursery identity. Behaviour is noticeably excellent. I have never once observed poor manners around the school, the older children are delightful.
We've had two very happy years so far at BSW, with 3 kids really enjoying going to school. The teaching staff are, by and large, excellent - caring, well qualified, and enthusiastic. Yes, the sports facilities are very poor, but the sports staff make up for that with great organization and energy, so our children haven't suffered at all in that department. On the contrary. Music and languages are mixed, but additional activities - school camp, musicals, a world-beating skiing trip by all accounts are out of this world. And a terrific school community. We've been made to feel very welcome. So why only 3 stars? It's a for-profit school, and that has implications. It's great in that the school never asks for additional money or fundraising. But it seems to lead to a one-dimensional focus on increasing school pupil numbers at all costs. And a constant drive to cut overheads (over burdened staff, never-ending promises about facilities that don't materialize, incredibly old computers that don't work). If they spent a little more money, they'd get 4 or 5 stars from me.
We have been very happy at BSW. Its a very small community of parents and students; which is great because it becomes a big family. The best part about BSW is how they teach the children, the kids don't simply memorize they analyze and understand a subject matter. For example they don't come home having to memorize the times table as I had to do as a child but they spend time explaining to the children the concept behind the times table and how one may use it for division, what it actually means to divide. Its a wonderful way to learn and this way it will stay with them forever. The smaller children in Nursery and PreK learn via play. My 4 year old is already reading and writing! I was shocked when I found him writing his name one day. He wants to learn and homework is not a chore its fun. BSW has some fault (such as lack of sport facilities , which they are working on) but one thing they do well is instill a love of learning in kids, and that to me is priceless. BSW unlike other private school is a for-profit school, which is great because they do not ask for any extra donation in addition to the tuition. There is lots of opportunities for parents to be involved at the school
My 3 year old son started at BSW in Sept and has made a smooth and worry free transition into his school life. The welcome from staff in both his class and those of others has been extended to all the family and has made him feel right at home. Some concerns over his speech development have been dealt with sensitively and in a supportive manner. He has so many opportunites to talk about his learning with peers, adults and older students, backed up by informative weekly newsletters that have enabled us to follow up at home as well as with extended family members around the world. It is clear that the ethos of this school is about pastoral care working hand in hand with individual academic progress and this is exactly what i am looking for in a school environment. We look forward to our continuing relationship with the school as we progress on our son's learning journey.
It is the best school my child has been to, we've been moving a lot and that means a lot of different schools. He tells me he hates being sick when it means missing school. The school's teachers are very good at encouraging kids to challenge themselves, especially Mr. Horton.
Think again before you send your child to this school and he or she intends to return to the UK for studies. They do not offer the IGCSE options that even most state schools offer in the UK, teachers set work from websites and teh choice of languages is very poor considering it is an international school with kids from all over the world. This school has hardly eany pupils in the upper years and the teacher turn around is alarming. Look in last year's yearbook and you will see that most teachers are no longer there. It is a huge disappointment. It professes to care for individual needs but it truly doesnt. All it really knows how to do is sell a false image in exchange for exhorbitant fees. It is worrying to see that it is a school accountable to no educational authority, such as Ofsted, unlike most British Schools outside the UK.