International Schools of Excellence

In order to maintain the position as an innovative energy and industrial city, Stavanger has to remain attractive for highly skilled people from all parts of the world. Two of the main international schools definitely play a vital role in this respect.

It is hard to underestimate the importance of the British School and the International School of Stavanger (ISS) in sustaining a vibrant international community in Stavanger. 

Many of the highly competent foreign employees, managers and directors who have contributed to the remarkable economic development in this region the last 50 years, simply would not have been here without these international schools.

Both the British School and the ISS have recently made changes in their top management. Steve Bizley has become Principal of the British School, and Kevin Gilmore was appointed Head of ISS a few months ago.

Rosenkilden asked them both to outline their ambitions on behalf of their schools, and to share their views on the developments in the region as a whole.


What are your ambitions leaders of your respective schools?


Steve Bizley: The vision is to continue to provide a first-class international education for every young person who studies at our school. We are already an IB World School and are one of only four schools worldwide to have been awarded the Higher Performance Learning. The aim is to focus on excellent teaching and learning with an innovative curriculum which prepares young people for the remaining part of the 21st Century. 

Kevin Gilmore: ISS has been in Stavanger for 53 years and has deep roots in both the local and international communities. Accredited by the IB, IGCSE and NEASC, offering Reggio Emilia, and a member of the Northwest European Council of International Schools (NECIS), we have been very successful serving both the expat community and Norwegians looking for a recognized international education that allows graduates to successfully go anywhere in the world for post-secondary studies. My goal is to encourage our school community to continue to build on this success.


What are the most important challenges your school is facing at present?


Steve Bizley: The recent downturn in the price of oil hit many hardworking families in Stavanger. Many established energy firms withdrew education funding for their employees which resulted in tight household budgets. Some parents want to see fees reduced without compromising our high standards.   Therefore, the British International School is in the process of applying for Friskole. This means parents will only have to pay 15% of the current funding for the same high-quality education. 

Kevin Gilmore: I suppose the most common answer these days is....the new bompengers! But seriously, ISS has been part of the tremendous growth in Stavanger for over 50 years and has benefited from both the oil industry and the NATO Joint Warfare Centre locating here with a globalized workforce. With this growth, the successful integration of these international families and globalized Norwegians into ISS and our community is always an exciting challenge. Over the years, we have also watched our lovely rural setting gradually become part of the city expansion and now we will be at the centre of the ambitious Madla-Revheim project as it transforms the whole area around us; this will present both opportunities and challenges. 



What is your impression of Stavanger as an international city?


Steve Bizley: We have over 50 nationalities at our School. They bring a wonderful diverse mix of culture and experience to our everyday lives. Stavanger reflects this vibrancy. As a city it has the potential to be a leading light in Norway because people from all over the world can bring new skills and new innovative ways of thinking. As one of a handful of ‘smart cities’ Stavanger presents an exciting place to live and work. If the city can continue to adapt it has every chance of being a key player in the future of the country and in Europe.


Kevin Gilmore: We love Stavanger for both its Norwegian and international character. As Canadians, my wife, Tanya, and I come from another large, beautiful country with a small population, but a global outlook. The transition has been a very positive experience over the past 2 1/2 years since our arrival. Our son graduated from ISS and played for the Oilers U20 team, I rowed at Stavanger Roklubb, and my wife belonged to a hiking and running group. So we feel part of both the local and international communities. We enjoy the size of Stavanger, the proximity of nature, and the character of the city centre and harbour. 

 Rosenkilden wishes them both the best of luck in their new positions!


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