“I was the first private individual in the history of Croatia to build a school,” says Martin-Tino Časl, founding Principal of the British International School of Zagreb (BISZ). “I wanted to provide schools for those who wanted to, and were able to, achieve more than the average.” The private school, which opened in 2013, offers a radically different curriculum to that taught in other Croatian schools and caters for students from 49 countries.

“We are the first Cambridge International School in Croatia to offer a broad curriculum of IGCSE, AS and A levels,” he says. “Cambridge is the most prestigious and demanding exam provider and, for a small country like Croatia, it is important that our students’ achievements are recognised abroad.”

A former assistant professor of chemistry and medicine at the University of Zagreb, Časl is a PhD biochemist who received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Science at INPEX XIII – the world’s biggest science innovation festival – in 1997. He set up Elementary School Kreativan Razvoj (“creative development”), Croatia’s oldest and most renowned private primary schools, in 1995. Eight years later, he founded Private Gymnasium Dr Časl as a logical continuation for his students’ education.

“With so many families of foreign diplomats and businessmen in Zagreb, parents started asking me to open an international school where the lessons would be taught in English,” says Časl. “That is what led to us establishing BISZ.”


A home from home

Based in an elite part of Zagreb, BISZ caters for children aged one up to 18. The school serves three meals a day and all extracurricular activities, homework and sports are scheduled within school hours. “It is a truly holistic curriculum,” says Časl. “Children feel like this is their home from home.”

Parents are invited to join the annual ski trip to Austria and senior-year pupils have been taken to countries such as Egypt, India and China to experience how other cultures live. “Seeing first hand the challenges other children face makes a real impact,” says Časl. “You can’t really teach that in the classroom.”

BISZ students have gone on to study all around the world, attending some of the world’s most prestigious universities. Their global perspective on further education and careers is in keeping with the school’s wide range of nationalities, its IGCSE curriculum and the ethos of academic excellence that underpins the school. “I founded this school not to make money,” says Časl, “but for the pleasure of seeing pupils achieve their goals.”