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The British School in The Netherlands

Staff Reflections

Take a look at what some of our staff have to say about working at The BSN.

Anna Lunn - Junior School Leidschenveen

I came to the Netherlands from the United Arab Emirates, where I had taught at the British School for four years. I was keen to continue working in an international school, as I enjoy the experience of teaching children from a huge range of backgrounds; and I had followed the BSN website for some time prior to applying. The BSN attracted me because it is very well known internationally and has a really excellent reputation.

The interview process was rigorous but enjoyable – the candidates were made to feel very welcome as we toured each one of the Junior Schools. I felt very well looked after during the recruitment process, with lots of contact from HR regarding the paperwork for my move and answers to the many questions I wanted to ask! By the time August came, I was very excited to start the week long induction course with new colleagues from JSL, JSD and JSV. This helped me to build some fantastic friendships before I had even set foot in the classroom! Existing staff were keen to ensure I was happy in my new house and involved me in social events from day one.

The BSN provides exceptional support for both the students and the staff, they want everyone to achieve their potential. JSL is a wonderful school to work at – we have bright, modern classrooms and some excellent facilities – a cookery room, Science lab, a Sports Hall, a spacious media centre and a computing lab to name but a few. Year 6 students each have their own iPad for learning and this has led to many exciting projects and research opportunities within class.

I love being in the Netherlands and enjoy the freedom of cycling to work each day – it is totally different to being stuck in traffic jams. People are outdoors come rain or shine and the scenery is gorgeous. Public transport is excellent and there are plenty of interesting places to visit within easy reach of The Hague.

I’m already thinking ahead to next year, to how we can develop our curriculum and all the exciting events we have planned. Moving here was definitely one of my best decisions – for both my career and my lifestyle!

Caroline Desborough - Business Units

Having worked in school recruitment for several years in the UK, I was excited at the opportunity of joining such a prestigious international school. It was clear to me from the very beginning that The BSN has very high standards and the students’ best interests at heart in everything they do. All of my colleagues work incredibly hard and they are passionate about what they do which creates a fantastic atmosphere to work in every day.

I’m so impressed by the support that The BSN offers in terms of professional development. The BSN is as ambitious for staff as it is for students and I feel supported in my goals. I have attended several trainings since joining The BSN - I also travelled to a recruitment fair in Bangkok with more experienced colleagues which was an exceptional learning experience for me. The BSN is open to new ideas and for me this is such a positive because I really feel I’m contributing to the organisation’s development. Everyone at The BSN strives to improve and this keeps me motivated.

I really enjoy living in the Netherlands as well. I love the outdoors, so the culture here is perfect for me. I love cycling everywhere and having beautiful woodlands and the beach on my doorstep. This combined with living in a truly international city with lots of activity is great! The BSN helped me to settle in to life in the Netherlands greatly. I was supported with Dutch lessons from when I started here and I’m about to sit my NT2 exams. I can honestly say that being part of The BSN is a wonderful experience! I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring.

Jennifer Madge - Cross School

Having lived in Singapore for five years, I made the decision to move back to Europe for a variety of reasons, including the desire to be closer to family and friends. This was a difficult decision as I left an establishment in which I was very happy, with excellent staff and children and a variety of competitive CPD opportunities. However, as soon as I started working with my colleagues at JSV, I realised that the move I had made was very positive; The BSN attracts members of staff who are passionate, energetic about learning and, moreover, able to work as an incredibly effective, yet humble, team.

I have learnt a lot over the last two years at The BSN, particularly from my peers. What I find unique about The BSN is the way that staff from all areas of the school are valued and encouraged to share their expertise with others during staff training sessions; surrounded by capable and professional people, I am constantly learning and developing in this environment. With a shared vision for our school, I feel that I am able to contribute to this in a community that continuously strives to improve and develop.

Working in the Netherlands, for me, is nothing short of brilliant. I have a very pleasant cycle ride to and from work every day on my Dutch bike and I am often outdoors, which is encouraged here in all weathers. I find that the Netherlands provides the familiarity of Europe that I sometimes lacked in Singapore, whilst still being different enough to keep the ‘wanderer’ in me interested. The travelling opportunities from here are great and it is fantastic to see all that Europe has to offer. I am certainly very happy that I made the move here and I am excited to see what the next years here will bring!

Martin Pratt - Junior School Vlaskamp

When I first moved to The Hague, I didn't have employment, knew only a couple of people and was aware that it would be a challenge to settle. Three years later, I feel professionally and socially rewarded, for which I have The BSN largely to thank. When I started working at the school, I immediately felt welcomed and appreciated, as the staff took their time to support my first steps in a new work place.

The Hague is a great place to live. There is plenty to do and see without the crowds of Amsterdam, whilst it is perfectly located for exploring the rest of north western Europe. Another great bonus is being close to the beach; whether you enjoy cycling in the dunes, enjoying the many beach bars or simply walking in the sand, it is only a short cycle ride away.

At first, I began working as a Cover Teacher. It struck me early on that the staff always found the time to help me and ensure I could teach well and enjoy my time working with them. Naturally, I was eager to then apply for a Class Teacher position, which I have been happily doing for the last two years.

Due to the size of the school, I found myself able to make good friends with both other new starters and those already present. A thoughtful induction program had been set up to help us all settle and know friendly faces before our first day, whilst those requiring help with relocation felt suitably supported. Swiftly, I realised there were many like-minded people who bring the care they have for their pupils to the friends they make outside of the workplace. There is a healthy balance between work, professionalism and friendship.

It is great to look back at the last three years and realise how many positive things have happened. The opportunities for career progression and professional development have provided great reward, whilst, because of the people I have met, it is now a pleasure to call the Netherlands ‘home.’

Matt Bennett - Senior School Voorschoten

I joined The BSN having previously taught in the UK, USA and Qatar. Having been on the international circuit for a number of years I was familiar with the reputation of The BSN as one of the premier international schools. This was reflected in the whole recruitment process, being the best I have experienced. The fact that The BSN not only flies candidates to the Netherlands for interview but in addition brings you and your family back for a familiarisation visit is an indication of the importance they place on making staff feel comfortable and welcome.

The Netherlands is a fantastic country to live in. Compared to other countries I have worked in, this was the easiest and quickest place to feel settled. The location of the schools in and around The Hague is a real asset. The Hague is a brilliant city to live and work in with the beaches, city centre and lots of green space on your doorstep. The Dutch really value the outdoor lifestyle and enjoy being outdoors, regardless of the weather!

Working at The BSN you really feel part of a successful organisation. The schools value success, both in student learning as well as in their staff. I have already benefited from training in the UK and online courses from British Universities. I have found the schools to be forward thinking where new ideas and fresh perspectives are valued. All schools are well resourced and the administrative support provided is exceptional. As a teacher I have found the support The BSN provides staff both professionally and personally makes this a fantastic environment to work in.

Vicky Foulkes - Junior School Diamanthorst

When I first joined The BSN, I didn’t plan or expect to be here nine years later! This a reflection of how much I have and continue to enjoy working for the organisation. There have been lots of opportunities for extra responsibilities and I have worked in a variety of leadership roles. With this I have been challenged constantly and been able to innovate and lead projects that have had a direct impact on learning and teaching.

The organisation has offered lots of CPD within school, including inspirational speakers and trainers who have visited. There have also been chances, which I have taken up, to visit the UK to attend high quality training events. The BSN also offer staff the chance to apply for funding for further education and programmes of study in other areas, as well as supporting staff wellness initiatives.

I have had the pleasure of working with fantastic, professional and dynamic colleagues. Who have a wealth of experience and expertise, whom have all been incredibly supportive and bettered my practice and became firm friends. From day one I was welcomed and made to feel part of the ‘BSN family’.

We are a British international school and I have met colleagues, children and parents from all over the world. This has enriched my teaching and my personal life. I have learnt so much from all of the new people I have met and continue to do so. The BSN is an inspirational, innovative, caring and supportive place to work!

Rolf Dekker - Cross School

I joined The BSN Language Centre five years ago after twelve years of teaching in the Dutch system. I was immediately impressed by The BSN’s high standards and the opportunities available for students and staff.  The opportunity to grow within an organisation, with professional development support along the way, wasn’t something I had experienced before. 

After two years with the Language Centre I joined Junior School Vlaskamp, teaching Dutch as part of The BSN curriculum. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work on developing the Dutch curriculum together with the rest of the department. As well as excellent annual professional development opportunities, the atmosphere day to day across The BSN is one of sharing expertise and working hard together to give the students the best education we can. Another benefit of working at The BSN is support with work/life balance. A group of colleagues and I have enjoyed activities through the school's Well-being Fund, such as yoga and squash.

It is fair to say I really found what I was looking for in my teaching career when I joined The BSN. As well as teaching at JSV, I also joined the Senior School team last year. Having the opportunity to broaden my experience by working across two of our campuses, with different age groups, is a fantastic opportunity which I’m really enjoying.