Establishing a new international school

Posted on 2nd Oct 2018 in School News, Germany, International Schools

Kirsty Sharp, the founding Headteacher of King’s College Frankfurt, answers our questions in an article that first appeared in our Guide to International Schools 2018/19, published in July 2018...

What are your thoughts on the international education sector in Germany? Is there a growing demand for places?

There are many international schools in Germany and several in and around Frankfurt. King’s College is the first British school and we are delighted to be bringing British education to the city. Frankfurt is an international hub and we are delighted to be opening there. The interest and demand for places at King’s College The British School of Frankfurt is growing daily.

How long has it taken to get to the point of opening (from the first plans for opening the school)?

King’s Group has actively been looking for opportunities to open a school in Frankfurt for approximately a year. Since locating our new premises things have moved quickly and we are looking forward to welcoming our first pupils in August this year.

What has been the response so far to news of the new school opening? How many applications have you had?

Interest from both the international and local communities has been very positive. We have received a very warm welcome in the town of Friedrichsdorf and the city of Frankfurt. Applications to the school are progressing well and we have increased year groups to include Pre-Nursery and Year 6 due to parental demand.

What is the expected make-up of the first cohort? (i.e. where do you expect your students to come from?)

Our first pupils have come from both local and international families living in and around Frankfurt.

Do you expect to offer places to students from the local community as well as international students?

Yes, we expect to offer places to both groups.

Can you explain the main challenges in opening a new school?

To be honest we haven’t really faced any big challenges yet. King’s has an amazing team of people working on King’s College The British School of Frankfurt and many of them have been involved from King’s Group Central Services and on the ground in Frankfurt. King’s Group is experienced in opening new schools having recently opened in Panama and Latvia. As the Headteacher I am extremely lucky to be supported by such as excellent team!

How challenging is it to recruit staff to a new school?

When the positions at King’s College Frankfurt were advertised we received a large number of excellent applicants for teaching, support and academic roles. I am pleased to say we have recruited a first-class team to open KCF this year.

Can you explain the ethos of the school?

We want our students to receive the best British education possible and achieve high standards both personally and academically to allow them to go onto amazing opportunities. How does that look in reality? The safe and secure learning environment and excellent teaching will encourage students of all ages to try new things, push themselves, ask questions and challenge responses. We have high expectations of dress code, behaviour, manners and respect – first impressions count! Our excellent standards of pastoral care mean that the needs of the whole child are met, we are not a factory for robots but encouraging each child to be individual, grow their talents, work hard and achieve the best they can. We expect our students to work hard, make mistakes, learn and try again. Close collaboration with parents is key to making this work together we are a team that can make a real difference to a child’s education.

‘No one ever created something new by doing the same as everyone else was doing’ – we want our students to make a difference and be future leaders around the world.

How will the school work and partner with other schools in the King’s Group?

King’s College The British School of Frankfurt is the tenth international school within the Group. The schools work closely together to ensure consistency and academic standards. There is always a little friendly competition between the schools and Headteachers, KCF is looking forward to joining the inter-school competitions in the near future.

We take opportunities to learn from each other too, if we’re learning about rainforests we can video call King’s College Panama, if we’re learning about the beach we can contact King’s College Latvia or for warmer climes King’s College Alicante. It is one of the many great features of being part of King’s Group.

Do you have targets for progress and achievements in the first year, three years, five years?

Our first achievement will be welcoming our pupils to their new school on Monday 20th August. Then there will be many more firsts to come including our official opening in the Autumn term. We will also be completing our first BSO inspection early in 2019. Later in 2019 we look forward to opening our secondary department at King’s College The British School of Frankfurt. In the coming years we look forward to our school growing and developing our school community further.

In general, what do you think is the appeal for families of sending their children to an international school?

For many families sending their child to an international school gives them access to a world-class education and allows them to select the type of education they aspire to for their children. For international families that may move-on in the future it allows them the flexibility to move between international schools with relative ease. At King’s children can transfer between the schools with priority placing and seamless transitions.

What are the advantages for young people of gaining an international education?

There are many advantages to gaining an international education from developing a real life global perspective to a broad understanding of culture and diversity. At King’s College we take a great pride in celebrating the culture and traditions of our pupils to develop everyone’s understanding of the world.

Kirsty Sharp has more than 16 years of experience in education. Kirsty holds an MA in Education, a BA (Hons) in Primary Education with qualified teacher status and a national professional qualification in headship (NPQH). Kirsty joined King’s Group in 2013 as Deputy Head of Primary at King’s College The British School of Madrid. In 2015 she was promoted to Headteacher of King’s Infant School in Madrid and in 2017 successfully led the school to ‘excellent’ in all categories in an ISI BSO inspection.