Aims and Ethos


Specifically for girls and boys from non-British educational backgrounds, Bishopstrow College is a safe, friendly and exciting place to live and learn.  Every aspect of Bishopstrow College life contributes to a successful and enjoyable learning experience for our students.

Bishopstrow College is a caring, kind, well-organised boarding community, where an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for others characterises professional and personal relationships and the day-to-day experience of both students and staff.

This ethos is encapsulated by “The Five Virtues” of Bishopstrow College that underpin all aspects of life at the college.  At Bishopstrow College we each strive to be:

  • kind;
  • polite;
  • organised;
  • hard-working; and
  • a team player.

The Five Virtues represent the core of the character of a member of the Bishopstrow community, staff and students alike.  They are interwoven throughout every aspect of College life, ensuring that the life of our community, international in make-up, character and ambition, promotes virtues that contribute positively to global society.


Consistent with the underlying ethos of the College are its aims:

  • to give each student a thorough linguistic, social, cultural, academic and sporting preparation that enables a seamless and happy transition to a British boarding school.
  • to ensure that students who leave Bishopstrow not only feel comfortable in a classroom with English speakers, but are able to compete at the appropriate academic level in their next school.
  • to prepare each student for appropriate Cambridge English Language Assessments and, where relevant, for British public examinations.
  • to provide each student with the appropriate advice, assistance and qualifications to select and gain entry to a suitable British independent school for the next stage of their education.
  • to emphasise the Five Virtues such that children set themselves high standards and develop self-awareness, resilience and confidence.

Achieving These Aims

Using small class groups, well-structured teaching and appropriate resources, we introduce international students to conventional British teaching and learning approaches.

This enables the College to increase our students’ knowledge and proficiency in spoken and written English, and across an appropriately broad and balanced academic curriculum.

Time out of class is also planned to promote learning.  The College has a 24-hour curriculum with broad outlines which enable flexibility in use, but which make clear how all aspects of Bishopstrow life support our Ethos and Aims.

With generous staffing levels, we create a caring, efficient and effective boarding community that responds positively to students, parents and agents.  We keep parents and agents comprehensively informed of welfare matters so that students feel clearly supported, well-known and understood.

We report in detail to parents at least twice each term.  This provides feedback to parents, a summary for the students themselves and also forms a clear report to destination schools about the effort and progress made by the student, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Both academically and pastorally our structures and practices conform to the requirements of UK law, including safeguarding and promoting the welfare of students, and we welcome external audit in a spirit of further improving everything we do.

We work closely with other distinguished British independent schools that our students are interested in joining and co-operate with them in support of the most effective transition from Bishopstrow to their destination school.

The Five Virtues in Practice

Students are rewarded whenever they conspicuously demonstrate these virtues.  Their successes in showing these virtues are celebrated through weekly and termly awards.  Students who regularly show these virtues are promoted to the status of Head of House or Prefect, giving them the opportunity to model this behaviour for the rest of the student body.

Teachers and staff refer to the virtues throughout the day, in the classroom, during meal times, in activities, during prep or free times, and when interacting with people beyond the College community.

The Five Virtues are at the core of our community, and they and the Aims that flow from them are the criteria against which we seek to measure ourselves.