Junior School Vlaskamp is Shortlisted in the Tes  Awards for International Schools
Achievements Announcement

We are delighted to share that Junior School Vlaskamp (JSV), The British School in The Netherlands, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the first-ever Tes Awards for International Schools.

There were hundreds of nominations across over 30 countries for these inaugural awards from Tes. Tes has run the UK Schools Awards for over 15 years as a provider of educational software and services. These awards aim to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary commitment, quality and innovation shown by teachers and support staff across the globe. The finalists will be announced on 25 April.

The Pond Redevelopment at JSV was entered into the Sustainability Award category and is one of eight schools in the running for the award.

JSV’s Pond Redevelopment

The Pond Redevelopment Project is an ongoing initiative that has so far resulted in establishing a living-learning environment that includes an Education Zone with an information board and viewing tank, a bug corner, a digging corner and a sensory zone. A boardwalk and safety shelf enable students to explore the environment safely and interact closely with the plants and wildlife in the ecosystem. In this area, children see their lessons come to life, whether related to species, life cycles, ecosystems or food chains.  

Our mission at The British School is to prepare our young people to become successful global citizens who can make an impact and help to build a better world. The pond project has given students, school staff and families at JSV an opportunity to make a difference and redevelop the pond in the school playground as a sustainable ecosystem.

- Claire Waller, Junior School Vlaskamp Headteacher

 Sustainability is not just a concept but active learning with a tangible outcome: a sustainable and vibrant wildlife pond ecosystem for children to learn from and enjoy.

Leading Change and Inspiring the Community

This project is the vision come to life of Teaching Assistant and Pond Redevelopment Lead Hannah Loftus. Starting in 2021, she led a community group of school staff and families working together during weekends and holidays to reclaim the overgrown, old pond. In Phase Two, 2022-2023, the new space was transformed into a living-learning environment as new features were installed.

Hannah also leads the student leadership group, the Eco Warriors and organised significant fundraising initiatives during the school year 2022-2023, when the Eco Warriors and Student Counsellors worked together to raise money through sustainable fundraising initiatives. This fund is earmarked for financing a sustainable energy source, consisting of a wind turbine and solar panels, to power a series of mini waterfalls, with the sound of the water adding to the Sensory Zone while providing oxygenation of the water in the pond.   

Environmental Sustainability Made Real

The Pond Redevelopment Project has provided both an opportunity to create a sustainable environment and an illustration of the concept for BSN students. It provides engaging and continuously changing demonstrations of how life on our planet functions.

Through practical action, starting from their involvement in planning to building to simple ongoing maintenance activities such as using a net to clear pond weed, students have been involved in creating and maintaining an environment which is attractive to wildlife and promotes biodiversity and a haven for protected species (the pond is now home to smooth newts, a protected species in the Netherlands!). They can see sustainability in action before their eyes and learn about the contribution of different species to preserving life on our planet. 

Making a Positive Difference

Teaching children how to care for our planet is a vital component of education today and essential for the future of our planet. Through their engagement with the pond, children are learning how to make a difference in a positive, practical way that they will apply in their future lives

BSN CEO Heath Monk welcomed the news: 

Inspiring our young people to develop their learning and deepen their understanding of the environment and sustainability so that they are empowered and can make a positive impact exemplifies our mission at The British School in The Netherlands.

No matter the outcome of this award, I am immensely proud of what the JSV community and Hannah Loftus, as Lead of the project, have achieved thus far."

The Tes International School Awards

The shortlisted finalists have been selected by a panel of expert judges, including school leaders, experts, and education researchers. The judges’ objectivity, professionalism, and high standards will help establish winning the awards as a highly sought-after achievement.

The shortlisted schools and teachers are representing 36 countries across the world.

Dan Worth, International Editor for Tes Magazine, said, “The Tes Awards for International Schools give our inspiring international education colleagues worldwide an opportunity to celebrate educational innovation and success in a raft of important areas.”

“The shortlist highlights some incredible achievements across the sector and showcases the best that international schools delivering either the British Curriculum or International Baccalaureate have to offer across the world.”

The awards have been supported by leading international school associations, including BSME (British Schools in the Middle East), COBIS (Council of British International Schools), ECIS (The Education Collaborative for International Schools), FOBISIA (Federation of British International Schools in Asia), and the IB (International Baccalaureate), a global leader in international education.

The winners will be announced on 25 April 2024 at https://www.tes.com/school-awards.

More details on who was shortlisted can be found at 12:00 PM GMT on 15 January here: https://www.tes.com/schools-awards




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