A DIFFERENT CLASS
“There is a lot that sets our school apart,” says Tino Sven Časl, Director of the British International School of Zagreb (BISZ). “We are pioneering in our education programme; we are a family business; and we have facilities that are almost impossible to find elsewhere in Zagreb, Croatia.”
BISZ has always been an innovative institution. It was the first school in Croatia to be built by a private individual (Časl’s father Martin, the current Principal); and it was the first Cambridge International School in the country to teach the British examination curriculum in English, with IGCSEs, AS levels and A levels. Now, five years after its formation, it is setting up its own boarding division – again making it the only school of its kind, not just in Croatia but the entire region.
There is ample room for this expansion. The school’s green areas cover 25,000 sq m. “We have an orchard containing over 200 trees,” says Časl, “a vegetable garden and a playground. Students are within the city but at the same time they are protected from its pollution and noise. And now, to meet our international parents’ demands, we will be opening our own boarding school for children from grades 7 to 13.”
To house the boarders, BISZ is currently constructing a state-of-the-art building in the school grounds, which will offer world-class facilities. Student accommodation will include 52 air-conditioned rooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom and a TV with foreign channels to match students’ needs. The students – who come from over 50 different nations – can also enjoy familiar food in the dining hall during the school’s monthly “International Cuisine Week”, which will cater for special diets, such as gluten-free and halal.
Since many BISZ students are the children of diplomats, security is of paramount importance. A key-card entry system connected to the reception desk together with 24-hour, onsite security will guarantee the safety and supervision of the students. Staff will be arranging excursions, offering extra studies or free-time activities, and providing personal guidance. After school, there will be compulsory sports programmes, including table tennis, basketball, futsal and volleyball, or swimming, yoga and gymnastics.
Students will have access to a large games room, a generous lounge and entertainment room, a gym/fitness studio staffed by trained coaches and a purpose-built clinic with a nurse always on duty. The new building will also contain a music room, a laundry room and a sun terrace.
TRAINING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
At the same time, the school’s existing building is being modernised. Brand new classrooms will be equipped with smart boards, projectors and tablets. The building is also being kitted out with a new science lab, a large library, an art studio, a media and TV studio, and extra robotics and technical studies rooms.
“We’ve identified that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects are one of the most important areas in the 21st century,” says Časl. “Robotics will be crucial, so we start teaching it to children when they are in primary school. For this we have employed one of the best teachers in Europe. Education is the key factor that distinguishes one individual over another. Our school is outstanding because we not only offer a top education, we also view our 200 students and staff as part of the family.”