International Community School (ICS) in Amman, has become the first school in Jordan to achieve the IQM Inclusive School Award.
The International Community School (ICS) was originally founded in 1953 as a Primary School to cater for students whose parents were in the British Military stationed in Amman. Today, it is an all through school and has 736 students on roll made up of families connected with the Forces, Embassy and UN as well as a significant proportion of families from the local Jordanian Community. The school is owned by the Society for the International Community in Jordan. It is an independent, non-profit making school. ICS strongly believes in Inclusion which is at the heart of the its practice. It has a ‘unique brand’ called the ‘#themonalisaeffect’ to ensure that every student’s needs are met on an individual basis so that they can achieve the best possible outcomes in terms of their personal development as well as their academic achievements.
Seven core values permeate throughout ICS: Integrity, Determination, Respect, Compassion, Equity, Happiness and Challenge. The values are instilled in everyday practice and ensure the vision ‘Where Every Child Can Thrive’ is achieved.
Working Closely Together
The Primary and Secondary school work closely together with staff liaising and ensuring smooth transitions between phases. In the Primary Phase, the school caters for EYFS, KS1 and KS2. All classes have a teaching assistant. In the Secondary Phase, the school caters for KS3, KS4 and KS5. Assessment tools are used to assess each student in terms of their attainment, aptitude and attitude. This means that the Leaders and Staff have a solid baseline for each student to see where their individual needs are in a holistic sense. This allows the school to develop personal learning plans to address the needs of every student so that ‘learning is directly looking at each child’: ‘#themonalisa effect’.
Vision and Strategic Direction
The hashtag ‘The Mona Lisa Effect’ is just one of three hashtags that support the vision and strategic direction of the school. The second hashtag is ‘#earlyyearsup’. ICS use evidence-based approaches to ensure that outstanding pedagogy is at the forefront of learning and that together, staff and students develop a growth mindset to keep motivated, engaged and have fun. The third hashtag is ‘#makethepoint’. The students and staff are encouraged to ‘think beyond themselves’ and to enrich the lives of the local, national and global community through the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Excellent Inclusive Practice
ICS is an excellent example of inclusive practice. This is evident in all areas of its work. The SLT, Inclusion Team, the Governing Body as well as all the staff work very hard to ensure that everyone has high expectations to achieve the best possible outcomes for the students in terms of both their academic ability and their personal development.
Inclusion is a Crucial Element
ICS is made up of students from a wide range of ethnic, cultural and faith backgrounds with over 50 nationalities. 90 students are classified as EAL with 22 of these students with no or little English. 70 students have additional needs and are classified as SEN. Inclusion is a crucial element of all the school structure. The appointment of the Head of Inclusion has successfully brought together key areas of Inclusion within the school. The Inclusion Team has specific individual expertise and work very closely together within the team as well as supporting class and subject teachers with specific interventions and strategies to improve outcomes for the students. This structure contributes to the overall high standard of achievement of the students on both an academic and personal level in developing positive characteristics.
Calm and Friendly Atmosphere
The excellent calm and friendly atmosphere is everywhere. During the tour, the students were very polite. It was apparent that they all felt happy, safe and secure. There was a strong feeling amongst the students of respect for the environment and for the whole community. Students’ behaviour was exemplary.
Very Happy Students
The students I met ranged from Primary to Sixth Form. They were all full of praise for the staff and said that the teaching was excellent as well as the care of the students. All the other students I spoke to at lunch agreed. It was clear that each student felt included and that there was always someone to talk to if they had any concerns. They felt that the four teams of students regarding Community, Events, Learning Atmosphere and Well-Being promoted Inclusion and led to changes and student voice being heard. One Year 5 student also explained that Kelso’s choice which is promoted by posters throughout the school helped to solve problems and supported students to be empathetic to others.
An Ethos of Nurturing
There was a definite sense during the two day visit of an ethos of nurturing every student to develop and make progress. This is reflected in the Inspection Report by Penta International October 2016 where it states ‘Part of the school’s unique character is that students across a range of ages and backgrounds mix socially in a harmonious community. The school aims to ensure senior students develop a sense of responsibility towards younger ones, becoming leaders and positive role models.’
Exciting and Sustainable Learning Journey
From EYFS to the sixth form, ICS prepare and lead the students along an exciting and sustainable learning journey. By the very nature of the tight structure for Inclusion, students develop academically, socially and emotionally to become mature, resilient, tolerant and responsible young adults.
A Personalised, High Quality Education
I believe that ICS meets the standard required by the Inclusion Quality Mark. As the mission statement reads: ‘The International Community School provides a personalised, high quality education, drawing on the best of British and international practice. We will continue to nurture and invest in an inclusive and diverse learning community of happy, confident and creative global citizens.’
High Quality of Provision
The Self Evaluation Report, the warm welcome and timetabling on the Assessment Days reflects the high quality of provision that exists in the school. ICS meets the needs of its students and is an excellent example of the commitment to, and the implementation of, inclusive practice. It is a safe and caring environment for both staff and students where high expectations have a huge impact on their attainment and personal development despite the fact that a proportion of students face challenges in terms of entering a new school at different stages due to family relocation with some being Third Culture Kids.
Sources of Evidence
Evidence was gathered from a variety of sources within the school. The range was outstanding in presenting a full picture of life at ICS.
Interviews during the two day assessment were carried out with the Students, Principal, the Head of Primary and the Head of Secondary, the Leadership Team, the Head of Inclusion, SEN Co-ordinator, the Inclusion Team, Teachers including Assistant Heads developing Learning and Assessment, Speech and Language Therapist, ABA Therapist, School Counsellors, Lead on Restorative Justice, Governors including the Inclusion and the Chair of Governors. The interviews were in-depth and everyone displayed excellent knowledge and passion for their individual and vital role in the school to ensure inclusive practice. Tours of the school each day and informal lesson observations also informed the evidence base. The Head of Inclusion had co-ordinated the assessment process with professionalism to show the impact of the inclusive work of the school.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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