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COBIS launches new quality assurance scheme

The COBIS Patrons Accreditation and the COBIS Compliance will work on a five year cycle. Photo: COBIS

"The new COBIS Patron’s Accreditation system encompasses British values with sensitivity to local cultural context"

COBIS, which represents over 270 British international schools overseas in 76 countries, will roll out it’s Patron’s Accreditation and the COBIS Compliance System in the spring of next year.

The accreditation and compliance systems were created as a response to the need for a space for an “alternative quality assurance system which can run in parallel with and complement the current BSO [British Schools Overseas] inspection system”, according to COBIS’s website.

“The focus is on supporting schools as they pursue a school improvement agenda”

The new schemes aim to support school improvement by allowing them to select which areas to evaluate that fit with their own development objectives.

Schools can volunteer to work towards the patron’s accreditation which incorporates the compliance aspects, making them an accredited member of COBIS.

However the schools must undertake the COBIS Compliance as a standalone process in order to be COBIS members. Both schemes work on a five year cycle.

They also both require a school visit to validate statements, explained Peter Simpson, director of accreditation at COBIS.

“The focus is on school improvement with schools being assigned a Lead Improvement Partner who begins a dialogue with the school six months before a school visit and continues in their relationship with the school for a number of years after the visit,” he told The PIE News.

“Hence the focus is on supporting schools as they pursue a school improvement agenda.”

After significant consultancy with the sector and research in existing inspection and accreditation systems, COBIS claims there can be improvements made in specific areas of the inspection process, including in value for money, consistency and international understanding.

“The new COBIS Patron’s Accreditation system encompasses British values with sensitivity to local cultural context and has a strong emphasis on scrutinising the effectiveness of safeguarding practices,” said Colin Bell, CEO of COBIS.

He added that the new system “challenges the principles and effectiveness of school leadership and governance while harnessing digital power to reduce time and cost.”

Selected schools in Europe, Asia and the Middle East will participate in the initial pilot of the programme. Both schemes will be available to members from April 1, 2017.

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