Students in a classroom
Students in a classroom

The British Council International School Award (ISA) is a benchmarking scheme that accredits schools as having an outstanding level of support for:

  • Nurturing global citizenship in young people
  • Enriching teaching and learning

ISA was introduced in India in the year 2003 and nearly 2500 schools across the country have joined this exciting journey since then. The range of schools participating in the International School Award varies from the well-resourced private schools to government schools from rural areas and schools for the less advantaged communities. The International School Award now has a presence in 31 countries worldwide.

Benefits of the International School Award

It is widely accepted that the traditional chalk and talk model of content-oriented teaching cannot adequately prepare young people for the future. We need to shift focus emphasise on value-oriented experiential learning. To counter the challenges that the schools across the world are grappling with, we have an International School Award approach that is holistic and promising.

Key takeaways:

  • International School Award is a leadership challenge and fosters teambuilding, innovation, and project management.
  • Working on the Action Plan and the Portfolio encourages collaboration and critical thinking. The staff is motivated to improve teaching standards in their respective schools.
  • Pupils are taught using a methodology that embeds global themes in the curriculum.
  • International School Award gives context to practice new skills in Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and pedagogy in a safe  and  structured manner.
  • After registering for the International School Award, you can attend briefings and  workshops, join an online community that provides a platform to all for exchange of ideas.
  • Once the school receives the award, the head teacher and the International School Award teams receive certificates that acknowledge their outstanding contribution as educational professionals.

How accreditation has a positive effect on the school, pupils and teachers?

  • Opens a window to other countries and cultures, giving teachers and pupils a new outlook on the world.
  • Prepares pupils with skills for life and work in a global economy, opening their eyes to new opportunities.
  • Gives your school a fresh and attractive identity, and a new globally conscious ethos.

Eligibility criteria

Any recognised school offering any curriculum, state, national or international; is eligible to apply for the International School Award. The minimum requirements include basic infrastructure, at least one computer with internet facility and at least one teacher with adequate working knowledge of English language.

The schools that benefit the most are the ones that are proactively seeking ways of improving classroom transaction and would like to see some transformational change from traditional methods to more innovative methods.

Your school is ready to participate if it is primed for reflecting and reviewing its teaching practice as well as ready for change.

Entry level 1: Foundation Certificate

The Foundation certificate introduces internationalism and prepares schools to work towards establishing international partnerships, forming the foundation for future international collaborative work. Schools or educational institutions which are awarded the Foundation certificate will have prepared for international work or will be reinitiating it after a break.

Entry level 2: Intermediate Certificate

A school applying for the Intermediate certificate has already started its international journey and has established relations with international partners. The school is now gaining experience of working on collaborative projects and increasing the level of activity and impact in the school. Educators at this level are observing development areas in practice for themselves. Young people are becoming more aware of different global themes.

Entry level 3: International School Award

Schools accredited with the British Council International School Award are experienced in working with international partners on a range of projects, sustaining activity throughout the academic year, and embedding international learning across the whole school and curriculum. Resources are committed to the school’s international co-ordinator, and their international policy is revised and developed as required. Schools disseminate their learning to others in the local community and educators benchmark practice with partner schools.

Registration fee

  Applying directly to the British Council Applying through a British Council School Ambassador (BCSA)
Foundation Certificate INR 8,000 INR 8,000
Intermediate Certificate INR 19,500 INR 17,500
International School Award INR 35,000 INR 30,000

The registration fee entitles the school to support provided by the British Council in the following ways:

  • International School Award kit and one-day face to face action planning workshop
  • Assessment of the action plan and recommendations
  • One day face-to-face mid-year review and portfolio guidance meeting (only for Intermediate level and British Council International School Award)
  • Assessment of portfolio of evidence and recommendations for resubmisiion (if required)
  • A celebratory award ceremony for successful schools (only for those schools who enrol for International School Award)

The registration fee does not cover the travel or accommodation costs for individual participants for briefings/workshops.

It is important to note that the payment of registration fee does not automatically entitle a school to the different Certificate levels or the International School Award accreditation, which is granted after rigorous assessment. Schools cannot claim the Award on the ground of payment of the registration fee. In case the school is unable to get the International School Award in the first assessment year, no fee will be charged for a second attempt. Thereafter, a fresh registration will be needed.

Support for participating schools

International School Award is a new learning experience and it is normal for schools to require assistance and guidance along the way. British Council offers ongoing advice and support to schools through face-to-face interactions and online platform.

Online Support

The British Council website offers support to schools not only for International School Award but also for all other school projects. Following key features of the website are especially useful for schools working towards the International School Award:

  • Template projects on various themes for different age groups.
  • Partner finding tool which is easy to access and has a wide range of schools registered from around the world.
  • Links to UK partner organisations who schools can  work with; examples include 100 Words,  BBC World Class, Big Dance etc. These provide invaluable support in adding creativity and  innovation to the planned activities.
  • Short online courses in global education, intercultural understanding and ICT for International School Award coordinators and coordination team - these courses offer opportunity to teachers to undertake professional development at their own pace.
  • Discussion forums for peer-to-peer support and sharing of best practice and trouble shooting.
Offline Support
Registration for International School Award entitles the school to three face-to-face engagements:
  1. Action Planning workshop
  2. Mid-year review workshop
  3. Award Ceremony 

Besides these, schools may seek appointment with a British Council staff to clarify doubts and view sample portfolios. You can also get assistance from a British Council School Ambassador (BCSA), an experienced school teacher or Principal who has volunteered to assist new International School Award aspirants. The BCSAs receive training and input from the British Council and are well-equipped to give high quality advice. If you have any difficulty in contacting any BCSA, do get in touch with your nearest British Council office (contact details provided in the next section and we will find a BCSA to help you.

The International School Award as a kaleidoscopic programme that facilitates understanding of international educational and cultural practices and fosters camaraderie between nations. The experience of this incredible journey has already prompted us to go beyond our known level of innovation and experimentation in the field of education and groom our teachers and students into global mentors and pupils.

Privileges of the accredited schools

Schools that complete the Foundation certificate will be awarded with certificates to the school, Principal and International School Award Coordinator.

Schools that completes the Intermediate certificate will be awarded with certificates to the school, Principal, International School Award Coordinator(s) and a plaque for the school.

Schools that completed the British Council International School Award (meeting the minimum required standards) is entitled to the following privileges as part of the Award:
  • International School Award trophy for the school
  • Certificates for school, Principal, ISA Coordinator and up to 10 members of the ISA team in school
  • Use of the coveted International School Award kite mark on all official stationery and promotional materials for three years
  • Invitation to attend the annual British Council School ISA ceremony and associated seminars and workshops

The outstanding schools will have the opportunity to showcase their portfolios at the British Council offices, speak at British Council events as resource persons, participate in selected events and workshops and get invited to join the International School Award assessment panel in the future.

Reaccreditation

The International School Award accreditation is for three years only.

Schools will need to re-apply for accreditation. The reaccreditation process is similar to the process followed to get the accreditation for the first time. Reaccreditation gives a chance for new staff that has joined the school to understand the programme to participate and  learn innovative ways of adding global dimension to their classroom. It will also give you the opportunity to renew your old networks and re-connect with peers and like-minded schools updating your professional skills in the process. ISA is an evolving programme and  each year more supporting resources are being added to the offer to make it a richer experience for schools and to keep the programme fresh and updated. If you are working towards re-accreditation you are still advised to read the guidance notes carefully to ensure that you are abreast with new changes in process and success criteria.

Registration process and contact details

To apply for the International School Award (at any level), the school needs to complete the registration form as given in the downloads section below. The documents must be submitted to the local British Council office (please keep a copy of the forms that you submit to us) along with the registration fee through cheque or demand draft drawn in favour of 'British Council Division' and payable at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai (depending upon your  nearest British Council office).

North India

E: ISA_NorthIndia@britishcouncil.org | T: +91-11-41497017 

British Council Division, 17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001

West India

E: ISA_WestIndia@britishcouncil.org | T: +91-22-67486762

British Council Division, 901, One Indiabulls Centre, Elphinstone Road (West), Mumbai 400013

East India

E: ISA_EastIndia@britishcouncil.org | T: +91-33-40074348

British Council Division, L&T Chambers, First Floor, 16 Camac Street, Kolkata 700017

South India

E: ISA_SouthIndia@britishcouncil.org | T: +91-44-42050629

British Council Division, 737 Anna Salai, Chennai 600002