Southbank International School

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Southbank International School is a selective, mixed independent school located in the City of Westminster, Kensington and Hampstead, London, England. It is an international school for 3 to 18 year olds, from Early childhood to Key Stage 5. It has three campuses serving the educational needs of the international community in central London and surrounding areas.

It is an International Baccalaureate World School, authorised to deliver all three of the IB Programmes.

Southbank Hampstead and Southbank Kensington are both International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (“IB PYP”, from Early Childhood to grade 5) schools. Southbank Westminster offers the IB Middle Years Programme (grade 6 to 10) and the IB Diploma Programme (grades 11 and 12). One of the peculiarities of the Primary Years Programme at Southbank International School is that the pupils are taught to play violin or cello using an adapted “Suzuki Music Programme” from age five.

The Southbank Westminster campus occupies two sites at Portland Place and Conway Street (by Fitzroy Square).


Southbank International School was founded on 12 September 1979 as the American International School. It opened in September 1980 in a disused primary school on the south bank of the River Thames near Waterloo station with 80 upper school students. In line with its founding principles, the school's name was changed to Southbank American International School, following staff and pupil suggestions.

In 1982 the school moved to Eccleston Square near Victoria Station and by 1985 a secondary section was added, and the IB Diploma Programme was eventually adopted. In 1987 the School's name changed again to Southbank International School.

In January 1989 the School moved to the present Kensington campus, and with an ever-growing demand for places the Hampstead campus opened in September 1996. In June 1996 MYP authorisation was achieved and this was followed in June 2000 by PYP authorisation. Southbank International School then became the first school in the UK, and one of the first twenty schools in the world, to be authorised to offer all three IB programmes.

Demand for places continued to grow, and in September 2003 the Westminster campus opened. In December 2006 the Milton Keynes based private company Cognita became the major shareholders and Southbank International School became the first in Cognita's international division. Cognita has run into serious criticism of its management of Southbank International School with a parent group claiming it has "no serious interest in maximising the educational experience of ... children if it impacts on their bottom line". Cognita denied the allegations, claiming that its profits were in line with others in the sector.

Cognita provided funding to open a dedicated IB Diploma Programme Centre on Conway Street for Grades 11 and 12 and this operates as an annexe to the main campus on Portland Place. The Conway Street building opened in August 2007 and students from the Middle School in Hampstead (grades 6, 7 and 8) joined the Westminster campus. Hampstead then became a two class entry Primary School for 3 to 11 year olds.

In August 2012 Cognita acquired the Charteris Sports Centre in London as a facility for Southbank International School which is let out to the community in non-school time.

In 2013, students from the school performed at the United States Academic Decathlon. Southbank's Grade 10-11 team came in ninth with a national Silver in Interview and two scholarships for academic excellence, whilst the Grade 6-9 team came in fifth and were awarded with ten national medals.

School Demographics

The school has 1,428 students and 53 full-time teachers. The composition of Southbank School is very hard to break down, as it is very international.

See also

  • International Baccalaureate Organization
  • IB Primary Years Programme
  • IB Middle Years Programme
  • IB Diploma Programme



External links

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