The International Schools Association is a network comprised of the headteachers of many of the best independent schools in the UK. The organisation, which is a registered charity, brings together approximately 541 headteachers and their staff, providing them with a comprehensive range of membership services. These include networking opportunities, access to high quality training courses, regular conferences, and support and advice services.

Sir Peter Birkett is a member of the ISA, acting from his position as the founder and Executive Chairman of Highgate Hill House School. More details about Highgate Hill House School can be found in the PDF attachment to this post.

The ISA has published guidance for schools operating during the current challenging times, as organisations everywhere struggle to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Part of the support provided to members by the ISA is access to a variety of services based around improving mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic has resulted in the past year being one of the most challenging ever faced by most of the world, and the educational community has faced a unique set of challenges which have placed additional stresses on many individuals.

Members of the ISA have access to a range of counselling and support services, including face-to-face and telephone counselling, a 24/7 telephone support line, and online resources. There is also a team of volunteer experts on hand to answer any questions members may have about leading schools in the midst of a crisis, who are able to offer professional expertise on the implications for schools of COVID-19.

Some of the most recent statistics for school pupils and coronavirus cases can be seen in the embedded infographic.

Expert Crisis Mentoring Group

The Expert Crisis Mentoring Group for school leadership from the ISA is a community of school leaders on hand to discuss any issues that may arise relating to coronavirus, or to any other form of related crisis including school closures and business continuity.

This does not have to be a formal service – members of the ISA are welcome to call any time to share experiences or express frustrations, knowing they will be talking to someone who has the skills and the wisdom to provide the necessary support.

Barry Hugget is the Special Educational Needs specialist, but the entire team can be used as a source of advice at any time.

ISA National Arts Calendar

The ISA offers a number of national events and competitions related to fine arts and performing arts on an annual basis, providing unique opportunities for pupils at independent schools to showcase their talents in music, drama, art, dance, creative writing and other creative subjects.

While the 2020 calendar has had to be revised in light of government guidance surrounding the pandemic, these subjects are still highly valued by the ISA. Each year the calendar of events is expanded, and new opportunities are created for students to exhibit or perform at showcases and competitive events.

These types of events play a role in boosting self-confidence and self-esteem for the pupils taking part, as well as allowing them to hone their skills and perform or display their talents in front of a wider audience.

All sporting events both regionally and nationally for the upcoming autumn 2020 term have unfortunately had to be cancelled in line with government guidelines. Up-to-date information about upcoming events can be found on the ISA website.

The short video attachment contains an outline of a typical year in ISA national sporting events.