Increasing opportunity through education

Sponsored: An explanation of how Buckinghamshire Learning Trust successfully works with UK schools overseas

With Izzy Hall, NQT Services Manager, and Mark Bignell, Head of Education Traded Services

Could you explain a little about how Buckinghamshire Learning Trust came about?
Buckinghamshire Learning Trust (BLT) is an education consulting and service provider offering school challenge and development services throughout the UK and to British schools overseas.

Formed in consultation with the leaders of schools at home and abroad, BLT is a social enterprise delivering market-driven services to schools and is passionate about increasing opportunity through education while supporting schools and leaders to achieve their potential.

What sort of services do you offer to British international schools?
From working with British schools overseas we know that a common concern is a lack of coherent, long-term support tailored to school priorities.

BLT works with schools worldwide with contracts throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. We offer a full spectrum of training and consultancy services across all phases of education from 0–19 years. We provide bespoke packages designed to validate quality and to support schools to offer exceptional provision. In addition to the DfE NPQ suite of programmes, our NQT and QTS services are available to UK independent schools and independent schools overseas that have had a BSO inspection.

How do you think the role of senior leaders is changing?
The leaders of independent schools both in the UK and overseas are more accountable than ever for the standard of education they provide, particularly in terms of the quality of teaching and learning, effective assessment practice that ensures student progress, behaviour and student welfare, and their impact on the standards in their school.

It is our belief for children who are displaced from their home environment that it is critically important that an international school is able to offer a link back to the home education experience, and that it is run with the same sense of aspiration and commitment as the very best schools in the UK. Experiencing an international lifestyle is a life-changing experience for a young person and we are committed to working with leaders within the sector to maximise the positive benefits to children during their time overseas.

Why do schools want to achieve BSO status?
The DfE BSO scheme of inspection was implemented in 2010 to give parents and others an assurance that a school had been properly inspected and to give access to the inspection reports of each BSO. The BSO inspection regime is based on the standards used to inspect the great majority of independent schools that are based in England and Wales.

Schools that have successfully undergone a BSO inspection demonstrate to parents and the school community that they have reached a similar standard to that of a UK independent school that has attained the same rating in an Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection.

BSOs enjoy certain benefits, such as the right to take British Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) through their induction period, in the same way as a UK-based school. Experienced graduate teachers overseas who, for one reason or another, do not have a UK-recognised teaching qualification may also pursue the Assessment Only Route to QTS in a BSO school.

How have schools benefited from the support for BLT?
Over the last five years BLT has supported in excess of 500 NQTs and unqualified teachers in BSO schools across the world to achieve full QTS and over 200 school leaders to access the gold-standard DfE NPQ programmes within their schools.  We believe in ensuring that the very best CPD opportunities are afforded to our colleagues in the independent sector and remain committed to supporting all leaders to achieve their ambitions.

For more information, visit or call 01296 382859

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