Gulf Weekly July 30-Aug 5 2014 "Expansion Plans"11 September 2014, 3:00 am
The Multinational School-Bahrain may be less than a year old but thanks to its continued success, expansion plans for the facility are already in the pipeline as are arrangements to broaden the age range of its student body.
The academic establishment, offering youngsters an Aussie-style education, first made a name for itself in September last year, welcoming students between the ages of three and 11 to register from kindergarten to Year 6.
By next month, the school will be accepting students aged 12 to 14 and is currently working with the Ministry of Education to enrol students aged 15 to 18 for the 2015/16 academic year.
Principal David Tansey said: "Just before opening our doors last September we had 50 students on board. But as the year has gone by, the numbers have grown. We now havemore than 350 students enrolled and we are expecting to get 50 to 100 more at the beginning of the new term. We are pleased with the growth as it has surpassed our expectations within the first year.
"We are already looking at building projects to expand our campus in order to accommodate everyone. We will add further Kindergarten classrooms as well as science laboratories."
The school, located in Adliya, follows an Australian Learning Standard curriculum that encourages a flexible and creative approach to learning.
Mr Tansey believes parents are keen to enrol their children at the school because of its inclusive approach and motto 'Distinction in Diversity'.
He said: "We follow an academically-rigorous programme but provide support for individuals to excel. We don't have an entrance exam that acts like a wall around the school to keep people out."
This inclusive philosophy aims to help children become confident, happy and caring individuals who achieve personal success and develop a love of learning and of life, regardless of their abilities.
Mr Tansey continued: "We value all children and offer a great atmosphere at the school for students of all abilities."
There is a Learning Support department to assist students who have a weakness in one or more learning areas including comprehension, spelling or sentence construction and gaps in education caused by disruptive schooling. It also aids those with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, attention difficulties including Attention Deficit Disorder, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Children who may require learning support are identified first by teacher observation and assessment. Then the teacher will discuss the analysis with the child's parents to plan how best to meet the student's needs through additional support or intervention programmes.
The institute's success follows in the footsteps of its sister school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is one of the only schools in the area with a dedicated special needs facility. It has more than 1,500 students of 60 nationalities and 200 teaching staff.
The concept for the institution was born in 1998 when Julia Jefferson, a former teacher, moved to Saudi with her family and decided to set up a school where every child would get the support needed to reach their full potential.
She is now the principal, board chairman and company director of the Multinational brand. Her husband Grant is also school board vice-chairman and the company director.
Mrs Jefferson said: "My husband and I were only expected to be in Saudi Arabia for two years and 18 years later I'm still very much involved in education and trying to improve it.
"Parents in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain get a family feel from our schools. We have a very healing, holistic approach in our schools taking in all children if we can. The children are our priority along with their happiness."
Pursuing higher education for all levels, the Jeffersons also launched the Ishbilia Kindergarten (Ishbilia KG) located in the Ishbilia Compound, Riyadh, dedicated for children aged three to five. Ishbilia KG is a satellite KG campus managed by the Multinational School - Riyadh.
It follows the same curriculum, standards and policies. Now they are setting their sights on opening a 'girls only' school in Riyadh to
help provide high-quality education for girls in Saudi.
For further details, contact 17711444 or visit www.mns-b.com