Southbank International School Executive Principal Siobhan McGrath on delivering an education fit for future life in an evolving world

As the world continues to evolve, the way in which we prepare our children must do the same. Southbank International School is an IB World school for children aged 2-18 years old, with campuses located across central London. The IB at Southbank is a comprehensive and international curriculum that takes a holistic approach to education, fostering intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills, from early years to post-16 education.

With new technologies revolutionising the way we live and increased global uncertainty impacting the world’s economy and future outlook, it’s more crucial than ever that we equip young people with the tools to navigate the complexities of our century.

The onus is on schools and colleges to support students as they take their first steps in the outside world, ensuring they are ready to thrive in whatever path they choose after school. A focus on cultural diversity, independent thinking and nurturing morals and values is what many believe needs to come to the forefront.

Southbank International School on learning for growth
Developing children’s ability to ask questions and inquire via the IB is, says Siobhan McGrath, a great preparation for life

I hold the view that the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme gives children the best possible start in life, both academically and personally. It is a curriculum that encourages its students to do more than blindly accept what is put in front of them. It is also a curriculum that develops young people’s natural capacity to question, to inquire, to be inquisitive and to think independently, critically and creatively.

The school’s aim is to support individuality and encourage our young people to be inquisitive about the outside world. We also work to instil in them the desire to explore, to challenge the status quo and to make a difference to the world around them. We ensure our students enjoy and learn from all the rich resources available to them in and around London, using this great city as their classroom. This includes organising visits to the many museums, art galleries, historic buildings, theatres and concert halls. Our young people also get involved in student conferences and visit parks, woodlands and nature centres to study wildlife.

At the heart of Southbank’s ethos is a focus on community service and giving back – large and small, global and local. This is embedded across every campus and every age group. Examples of community projects across our three central-London campuses are wide-ranging ­– everything from busking to raise money for refugees to cooking meals for vulnerable people. We also work to provide practical support for homeless communities and to help combat loneliness among elderly people in our neighbourhoods.  

Our teaching accelerates individual growth while encouraging openness to the outside world and an appreciation of different cultures and perspectives. It nurtures a readiness to see other points of view and builds an acceptance of people who are different from us. Here at Southbank, we emphasise inquiry, creativity, risk taking and accountability. We teach valuable skills for life, whatever the future holds for your child in our evolving world.

Southbank International School

Further reading: Reddam House on teaching tomorrow’s skillset