International School Suva is a multicultural school community and includes students from approximately 40 different countries. While English is the primary language of instruction, consideration is given to the fact that a significant proportion of the student body come from homes where English is not the main language spoken. Through our curriculum the school looks to celebrate the cultural similarities and differences of our families and acknowledges that we cater for a wide range of students, each with different backgrounds, abilities and needs.
ISS admission requirements and assessments are used to ensure that all students are able to access the curriculum in English. All students sit the Australian PAT tests as part of the enrollment process at ISS. In addition, students from a non-English speaking background sit the Oxford Probe tests, which determine proficiency in English in the four language domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The results of these assessments give ISS an indication of which ESL English course is most appropriate.
ESOL students in Years 9 to 12
In order for international students to completely benefit from studying at ISS, they should have an adequate level of English skills to be able to understand and communicate effectively. Students in ISS Year 9 and above will be required to have a prescribed level of English in order to be able to manage the academic demands of study existing at ISS.
These levels are equal to IELTS levels and Australian ESL standards used by ISS.
- Year 9 students will require an IELTS level 4
- Year 10 students will require an IELTS level 5
- Year 11 and 12 students will require an IELTS level 6
Prior to enrolment at ISS, prospective students wishing to enrol in Year 9 or higher year levels will undergo ISS evaluation tests, including assessments used to measure the student’s English ability. ISS will use the outcome of these tests and assessments to determine whether to accept the student as an ISS student, or to recommend that the student completes a course of English study before acceptance into ISS, either in Fiji or abroad.
English Lessons in Years 9 to 12
If an ESOL student attains entry into the Years 8 and above programs, they will then be provided with support that will help them achieve the appropriate level of English required to ensure progress. The international curricula taught at ISS in Years 9 to 12 are the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) in Years 9 and 10, and the International Baccalaureate (IBDP) and Australian Capital Territory Year 12 Certificate taught in Years 11 and 12. All of these programs require a significant level of understanding of English to be able to complete the program successfully. In addition, students may be able to study their own language for the IBDP as a Self Taught Language A, with approval from the IB Co-ordinator and Head of School.
Additional support in English instruction is provided by specialised ESOL teachers, for up to 5 hours per week for individuals or small groups. Students may be removed from second language classes or other classes which have intensive English demands, and study English using a range of resources including the Cambridge International Education’s More! English teaching program, a variety of audio visual resources, English teaching computer programs, academic vocabulary books, and the use of a wide selection of library resources. This is regarded as a temporary option only, as the aim of ISS is that students are provided with sufficient skills in the English language to enable them to successfully move back into mainstream classes as soon as they are able.
In addition, if a student does not acquire a sufficient level of English to progress from one year level to the next, ISS will recommend that the student remains in the lower year level in order to improve their English skills, so that they may achieve success in the curriculum program being studied.
‘Inclusion in an IB context’
“ IB programmes encourage students across the world to become active ,compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
ISS LEARNING SUPPORT PROGRAM
At International School Suva we take a collaborative approach to meeting the needs of our Learning Support students in Middle School and High School. Our Learning Support teachers work with the classroom teachers, specialist subject teachers and parents, to ensure that we are providing a high quality education and that our students have the support they need.
IDENTIFICATION AND PLACEMENT
Students who require Learning Support are identified through their placement tests, by requests or recommendations from their parents or guardians, or through their previous school’s reports. ISS will consider each application on an individual basis, through interviews and the review of all academic and medical documentation. Acceptance of students with learning needs will also be dependent upon the ability of ISS to provide the appropriate specialised assistance, resources and environment.
In addition, students currently enrolled at ISS can be referred to the Learning Support Team by their classroom teacher at any time. Once the referral is reviewed, the Learning Support Team will make a recommendation that can include formal Learning Support services. Students accepted into the Learning Support program will have their needs addressed and documented in an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), which is created in consultation with the Learning Support team, the teachers, parents and the student, and which is reviewed regularly. Learning Support services are delivered within the regular classroom setting to the greatest extent possible, although in some cases a Learning Support assistant is required to assist in the delivery of services. Alternatively students may be withdrawn for a small number of specialised lessons. There is a supplementary charge for some of ISS’s Learning Support Services or resources.
OVERVIEW OF LEVELS OF SUPPORT
The Learning Support Department at International School Suva coordinates programs and services for students with learning needs. The model is based on the belief that students vary in their level of ability, achievement, motivation and interest and that individuals respond best to educational programs that provide appropriate challenges and meet their individual needs.
Currently ISS offers three levels of support ranging in spectrum and intensity.
Level 1 support is for students who are able to follow the regular curriculum with differentiation, adaptations or accommodations.
Level 2 support is for students who require some modificaitons to the content in order to be able to access the curriculum. This may include either inclass support from a Learning Support teacher, or individual or small group out of class instruction.
Tier 3 support is for students who require significant accommodations and/or modifications to the content of the curriculum. Students who require this level of support will usually require documentation from a qualified professional educational provider which states accommodations are needed for a student to access the mainstream curriculum. A Learning Support teacher will ensure that accommodations are available to the student in the mainstream classrooms.
A student who requires Tier 3 support may also be required to have an individual Learning Support assistant to help them in the classroom, either full time or part time. The cost of this service and other necessary resources will be borne by the parents and/or guardians.
EXTERNAL SERVICES AND ASSESSMENTS
ISS works with number of external experts who can provide assessment and expert information on a wide range of learning needs. If applicable, the ISS Learning Support team will recommend an external assessment, and provide relevant contact details and information. Parents and guardians then correspond directly with these experts.
STUDENTS OF CONCERN (SOC)
Students may be placed on SOC status if an academic concern is noted in the admissions process or in mainstream classes at ISS. Parents and guardians will be notified if their child is placed on SOC status, and a Learning Support teacher may monitor their progress through reports and contact with mainstream teachers and the student themselves.