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Parent's Review of International School Bergen in Bergen, Norway

What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)

International School Bergen

In what town or city is this school located?

Bergen

How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)

International

What grade levels are represented at this school?

Preschool to Grade 10

How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)

Bus, car, walk

How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?

very poor

What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?

The school is a local school and caters to locals. They have very little experience with expat children

How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?

There is PTO but its activites are limited

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?

I would think twice before enrolling my child the buildings are old and unkempt and the curriculm is not up to international standards

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Comments about this Report

guest
Apr 13, 2012 04:12

I would completely agree with this report. There is very limited extra-curricular activities. On the web page they mention some activities but these are ones that they have had in the past and are not regular. It is an English School for Norwegian children and thus the students are not challenged. The curriculum is about 2 years behind a curriculum from any English speaking country (i.e., US, Canada, Australia, UK). There are not enough text books in the MYP program for all the children in the class and the PYP program does not believe in math workbooks so most of the children's math homework is from the internet. They do not use a structured literacy program, such as Jolly Phonics, Letterland, etc, but combine them - even those these programs have been developed by professionals in the field. They also do not have a structured numeracy curriculum in the PYP. Most of the teachers have very little international experience. The school leadership is very poor. Unfortunately, it is the only International School in Bergen, and hence the school does not strive for excellence because there is no other option. Many families who would like their children to have a good education are extremely frustrated with the school's attitude and look for other options. Those options being relocating, local schools, or boarding schools.

guest
Aug 30, 2012 17:12

I have yet to hear a good thing said about this school. It is pretty costly to send your children here so why is it not possible to complain about things or to make sure the children are pushed? I am very worried about sending my children here but have no other choice. They are very young but they have come from a brilliant school in the uk. I would hate to see them get behind.... Can someone eradicate my fears??

guest
Feb 22, 2014 02:44

I have children at ISB, and figured I should write something to counter the negativity of the posts here. Many parents at the school would tell you of a very small minority of parents affiliated with one particular staff member (now former, thank God!), who liked nothing more than to spread lies about the school and cause dissent. limited extra-curricular activities -- agreed, but this is the norm for schools in Norway. Children enrol in activities outside of school, or the school helps parents set up activities if they want. A friend of mine had their child in Indian Dance class last year, which was held at the school. Facilities -- yes, facilities need to be updated. I have heard that the school is hoping to move, but that it depends on the city council organizing this. I agree that facilities are important, but of course not as important as my children receiving a good education. Curriculum -- I know two families whose children have gone back to the UK. Both times the children had to write tests to get into schools, and both times they succeeded. One family with 3 children all got into the school they wanted. ISB is an IB school, so they get visits from the IB team every few years. Part of those visits is making sure the curriculum is up to standard. Besides the families in the UK, I have friends who have returned to India and Canada, and the transitions have been fine. It's true that the PYP classes at ISB don't use textbooks, but that is true of most if not all PYP IB schools. If you want textbook learning, which means one way of learning for everyone, then don't go to an IB school! I asked another parent about the number of textbooks in the MYP classes, and she said every student has a textbook...so the comment that there aren't enough textbooks in the MYP is deceptive, to put it kindly. English school for Norwegian students -- ISB does have a lot of Norwegian students. From talking to parents, they come to the school because they are not happy with Norwegian schools. Norwegian schools do not emphasize academics as much as ISB does, and are notorious for being too laissez-faire when it comes to children's behaviour. Parents come to ISB for an international education and more structure for their children. They do not use a structured literacy program, such as Jolly Phonics, Letterland, etc -- That is true from what I know. But my children learned to read and write at ISB and I had no problems with the strategies used by the teachers. I'm not sure slavishly following only one programme would work for every student. They also do not have a structured numeracy curriculum in the PYP -- This is a lie. I have been sent the math curriculum and it is very structured, sane you would find at any school. I'm not sure how the writer of this comment would think otherwise. Perhaps they can offer proof? Most of the teachers have very little international experience -- This is not true. My children have teachers who have worked in overseas schools, including Middle East, Europe, United States, Asia. Teachers are qualified and many have been at the school for many years. The school leadership is very poor -- See above when I wrote of a particular disgruntled former staff member and a minority group of parents. Many parents including myself find the management team to be approachable and eager to work with parents. Many families who would like their children to have a good education are extremely frustrated with the school's attitude and look for other options -- again , proof of this? are they marching in the back alleys, because I don't see them or hear of them.:)

guest
Jul 3, 2014 11:02

I have been a parent at ISB and can say I have had enough of the poor facility weak management and limited options for my kids. And considering the comment above, parents are voting with their feet, in 2012 they had 205 plus kids now they have 155-60. They closed the IB Diploma and seem about to close the entire High School. To make matters worse the local Norwegian school that offers the IB Diploma now will not except ISB students as they say they are not prepared! So if you leave ISB MYP you must now do a prep year to get ready for IB Diploma! So you miss a year! As for teachers some are great , some OK and , some downright awful, but that is any school. As for the troublesome teacher listed above she was at least one of the better staff. Last year I met the former Chairmen of the board in Scotland and she told me the reason she left Bergen was that the school was not good. I have placed my children in local schools and have found them much better, much cheaper and the students friendlier. But we speak Norwegian so it an easy transition . If you are in Bergen only for a few years it is the only English option and ok in the short term. But Stevanger has much better International schools.

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