New COBIS accreditation scheme for British schools overseas

With school improvement at its heart, on 1 April 2017 COBIS, as the largest educational association for international British schools overseas, is introducing the new ‘Patron’s Accreditation’.

COBIS Patron's Accreditation
COBIS is introducing the new ‘Patron’s Accreditation’ alongside a new COBIS Compliance scheme. “We are honoured and delighted that the COBIS patron, HRH The Duke of York, KG, has lent his name to the scheme,” said Colin Bell, CEO of COBIS.Launching 1 April 2017, it will run in parallel with and complement the current BSO inspection system. COBIS states that it will offer an “alternative quality assurance system” and that it is being introduced in direct response to school members’ views.

A five-year cycle

The five-year school development, improvement and review cycle is available to both COBIS members and all other British schools overseas. Rather than just providing a ‘snapshot’, as a school inspection tends to, the new scheme aims to engage the school in self-evaluation and to support it in improvement against a benchmark of high standards. The scheme will be the primary route to COBIS membership.Mr Bell explained, “What is distinct about The Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance is that it is a development journey rather than a one-size-fits-all snapshot of the school. Our Standards for the scheme are designed to support highly diverse schools, a lot of which operate in complex contexts.”

The new system structure

Under this new system, by 1 September 2022, all COBIS schools will be either:
  • a COBIS Patron’s Accredited School (Completed COBIS Patron’s Accreditation)
  • a COBIS Accredited Member School (Completed BSO inspection) or
  • a COBIS Member School (Completed COBIS Compliance)
All COBIS Member Schools will be encouraged to work towards the Patron’s Accredited School status.“By 2022, every COBIS school will have been through the scheme and this means that parents can be confident when choosing a British school overseas that COBIS schools offer safety, security and, of course, educational excellence,” Mr Bell said.

How does this relate to the BSO accreditation?

The BSO (British Schools Overseas) scheme was implemented in 2010 to give parents and others an assurance that a school had been inspected by the UK government’s Department for Education and that it had been judged to have met an acceptable standard. There are more than 140 BSO accredited schools around the world.In order to display the BSO logo, the school had to have had a successful BSO inspection within the last three years.  Although the initiative was welcomed, research suggested that many British international schools felt that an alternative quality assurance system was needed – one that focussed on long-term school improvement.The BSO system will continue to run alongside the new COBIS Patron’s Accreditation.  For related news and features, visit our Education and Schools section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre