PARENT ESSENTIALS

At the British International School of Washington, our parents, teachers, and students work together to make our time at school fun and successful. If your child is currently a student with us or you’re thinking about joining us, here are some important details you’ll need for your child to flourish.

BISW Key Term Dates: 2022–23

The school calendar at BISW includes a balance of term dates and break times that help our academic success. These are the most important dates for the school year.
Term dates

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

At BISW, our students stay engaged through a wide range of activities and school trips beyond class time, as a key feature of our curriculum. Our students explore the world beyond our walls: they grow new talents, explore their existing passions or interests, and gain impressive experience. 
Clubs and Activities
Your child will love participating in the various extra-curricular clubs and activities we offer after school each term.
Sports
Our students further their fitness abilities and keep healthy through our BISW sports. Every student can have fun while developing physical skills, setting goals, and collaborating on a team.
Sports

While our primary school students can participate in various sports clubs throughout the year, our secondary school sports teams consist of both Junior Varsity (Middle School) and Varsity options. Training sessions are held before or after school, and equip students to compete in leagues against other schools in the following sports:

  

Basketball (MS and Varsity)

Football (Soccer) (MS and Varsity)

Field Hockey (club only)

Cross-Country Running (club only)

Volleyball (MS and Varsity)

Tennis (MS Only)

▪ Cricket (club only)

 

Other sports may be offered depending on student interest.

Local Visits
We love to find ways to take full advantage of our capital city's rich history and cultural opportunities – so we frequently organize short trips or excursions regularly to make incredible memories.
Overnight Trips
We offer extended overnight trips to enhance the physical, emotional, and social development of the students. For instance, Year 2 pupils have stayed overnight in Delaware to enrich their unit of work “We’re Going on Holiday”. Years 7, 8, and 9 have visited the premiere educational North Bay Adventure Camp in Maryland, while Years 10 and 11 have taken trips to Camp Horizons in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. These experiences always present exciting new challenges that inspire the students in a natural environment.
A Truly Global Classroom
At BISW, we take pride in the diversity of our classroom, and we all enjoy exploring the world, whether it’s participating in a challenge on our NAE platform, "Global Campus," or doing a service expedition.
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Our classroom connects across borders. We have several opportunities that integrate international perspectives into our discussions and experiences, such as virtual activities and challenges on Global Classroom – our online platform, that’s unique to Nord Anglia Education and challenges our students with global issues. In Global Classroom, our students are led by world-leading experts to develop their team building and creative skills in thought-provoking situations. 

Similarly, our senior students travel internationally for our Global Classroom Annual Expedition, where they may help build a construction project in a local village, for example, and learn about sustainability in their environment. Meanwhile, they collaborate with other Nord Anglia students from around the world, building invaluable international friendships.
 

LUNCHTIME

The British International School of Washington partnered with Flik Independent School Dining to provide delicious, healthy, and locally sourced meals for students and staff. 

Each meal includes an entrée, two sides, a dessert, and a drink. Vegetarian options are available daily. Nuts and pork are never part of the school lunch offerings. 

All students in Pre-Nursery through Year 11 have a meal plan through their enrollment package unless the family opts out at enrollment or re-enrollment. 

 

Meal Plan

OUR UNIFORMS

BISW has a school uniform in order to encourage a better academic environment by placing the focus on learning. The uniform is an important part of life at British International School of Washington.

On Fridays, the school uniform for all students in Years 1-13 is 'spirit wear'. Spirit wear is defined as any article of clothing with our BISW logo, which students can accumulate from extracurricular activities or our online spirit wear shop. Our students are proud to wear their BISW spirit wear, which embodies our school’s vibrant spirit.

Our IBDP students in Years 12 and 13 can choose to wear their own business-casual clothes, which we believe will help them develop appropriate dress choices and prepare for the professional world after graduation.

Uniform guide

TRANSPORTATION

Because BISW families reside all around the DC area—including many locations in Maryland and Virginia—we offer door-to-door bus services within a wide radius of our school, so that our students can get to and from school safely.
Bus service

SCHOOL PORTAL AND APPS

At BISW, we use market-leading education apps and technologies to enhance our students’ learning and to keep our parents directly informed by their children’s teachers.

For our Primary School, we use Seesaw: a web-based app that allows our students to create digital portfolios, which students shared with parents. Parents will see both their child’s work and their teacher’s constructive feedback.
 
For our Secondary School, we use ManageBac: this app supports their “curriculum mapping” of assignments, homework, and assessments, and also tracks and reports their progress. By providing an integrated experience, ManageBac helps teachers, students, and parents navigate every aspect of the curriculum.

PREPARING FOR SCHOOL

Explore the links below for easy access to important information.
Acorn Oaks Registration
Fill in the form on this page to register for Acorns and Oaks after school care at the British International School of Washington.
Afterschool Care
Our school offers a high-quality day and on-site afterschool care programme for children ages 2 to 11 called Acorns and Oaks.
Health forms
The District of Columbia (DC) requires annual health certificates and assessments for students attending schools in DC, including our school, that must be submitted before your child's first day.
Parent Association
The BISW Parents' Association (PA) enhances the student experience and promotes excellence in BISW's international education by facilitating collaboration between BISW families, the school administration, and the DC community.
School Bus
Learn about getting to and from the British International School of Washington with our dedicated bus service for families near to the school.
School Day
Read about the school day at the British International School of Washington, broken down by year group, and download our helpful resources.
School Meals
The British International School of Washington partnered with Flik Independent School Dining to provide delicious, healthy, and locally sourced meals for students and staff.
School Uniforms
Read about the school uniforms at the British International School of Washington and download our current BISW uniform guidelines document.

FAQs for Current Parents

  • How many students are in a class, and what is the current student-to-teacher ratio?
    Our class sizes typically range from 12 to 22 students, depending on the year group. The average student-to-teacher ratio will also vary, depending on the year group, as follows:
     
    Early Years 
    Pre-Nursery (2 years old) 
    1:4 student-to-teacher ratio  

    Nursery (3 years old) 
    1:8 student-to-teacher ratio 

    Reception (4 years old)  
    1:10 student-to-teacher ratio  

    Primary School 
    The average size of each year group in BISW’s primary school is 36 
    students. We divide each year group into two (sometimes three) classrooms for an average of 18 students per classroom.
     
    Years 1–2: Each class has a classroom teacher and a learning assistant. Our students see specialist teachers each week.  

    Years 3–6: In addition to the classroom teacher, our students see specialist teachers each week.  
     
    Secondary School 
    The average size of each year group in BISW’s secondary school is 36 
    students. Years 7–13 typically have an average class size of 14–24 students. The class size is dependent upon the course and the total number of students per year group. 
  • What languages do you offer, and when do they start?
    BISW offers Spanish instruction from Nursery to Year 13 and French instruction for intermediate to advanced speakers in Years 7 through 13. We also permit families to externally arrange foreign language tutors to provide lessons in other languages to substitute for Spanish or French. 
  • How is your approach to teaching different from other schools’ approaches?
    BISW implements Nord Anglia Education’s “Create Your Future” approach to teaching. We are committed to developing children’s minds and relationships, as well as their understanding of their place within the community and the world at large. Your child will leave our school with everything they need for success, no matter what they choose to do or be in life. 

    We achieve this by educating children to become:
    • Lifelong learners who are principled and empathetic
    • Tolerant and sensitive members of the school and community
    • Responsible, knowledgeable, and adaptable citizens who are ready to prosper in an ever-changing and challenging world
    • Future leaders
  • Do you have provisions for children with special educational needs?
    BISW is an inclusive school, and our Learning Support Department provides targeted assistance for children who need extra help. The best way for us to know if our school is the right fit for your child is to complete an application and include any documentation about your child’s needs. This documentation may consist of psychology reports and Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
  • Where do your families live, and do you have school buses?
    Our families come from all around the DC area, including locations in Maryland and Virginia. We offer bus services within a 20-mile radius from the school.
  • As a parent, how can I get involved?
    BISW encourages every parent to take an active role in our school’s life and events. Our Parents’ Association offers excellent opportunities to become involved through volunteer activities at the school and through Parent Representative roles.
  • How does the school communicate with parents?
    BISW stays in touch with parents through various mediums:
    • Face-to-face conversations, which are always available, either at formally planned parent-teacher conferences or informal meetings at the request of the parent or teacher.
    • Reports throughout the school year, which help parents understand their child’s academic progress so far.
    • Email dialogue between the teacher and parent, which helps our community remain connected.
    • Web-based app portals, for posting pictures and updates from your child’s class.
    • Our social media presence (on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), which helps us showcase exciting moments from around the school and gives our community a chance to cheer on our students.
    • Our weekly newsletters, which include letters from our senior leadership team and which highlight events and activities.
    • Regular coffee mornings at our school, which give parents and guardians a chance to meet other parents and faculty members.
  • Is a school lunch provided? If so, where is the food sourced from and made?

    Yes, BISW partners with FLIK Dining, an independent school dining service that provides delicious, healthy menus to school children. FLIK adheres to the highest standards of food hygiene and preparation. 

    They source local ingredients when possible and create their menu items right here in our on-site kitchen. This makes it possible for your child to enjoy a range of wholesome, hearty meals each week.

  • Are you a selective school?
    BISW is academically non-selective because we believe that no child has a limit to their potential or ability. 

    However, when considering applicants, we look to see if they share our values of respect, tolerance, and open-mindedness and whether we can accommodate their individual needs to ensure they receive the best possible education.
The latest BISW news

OUR NEWS

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Homework
Read about homework at the British International School of Washington, including information about its importance and how parents can help at home.
read more
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The House System
Learn about the house system at the British International School of Washington, which gives children a sense of belonging and community.
read more
News image Blog
Moving to and from another school
Find out important information about moving to or from the British International School of Washington and how we help students change schools.
read more

We look forward to welcoming you!

Our school year runs from the middle of August until the end of June. Typically, the winter season is a great time to apply for the upcoming school year.

However, BISW’s Admissions Department takes rolling admissions, meaning families can apply at any time throughout the calendar year. By providing space for mid-year starters, we make our outstanding educational experiences accessible to our truly international community.

Inquire now