Today’s article is by Martin Hall, Head at ACS International School Hillingdon.

When I speak to parents about what they want for their children, the most usual answer is simply to be happy. They also want to know, however, that their children will leave school ready for the future with the aptitudes they need to thrive.  But what are those characteristics and skills?

Recent research from the World Economic Forum asked executives from the world’s leading companies what they thought would be the most important job skills in 2020. They cited complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and emotional intelligence as the top five aptitudes.

Education must give young people the foundations of literacy, numeracy and scientific knowledge plus a broad range of skills readying them for university and beyond.

An International Mindset

The International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) programmes are two such qualifications that successfully marry academic rigour with the development of a global mindset and other valuable life skills; all nurtured here at ACS International School Hillingdon.

The IB allows students to select a wide range of topics to study across the sciences, arts and languages, ensuring they graduate with a mix of skills rather than the comparatively narrow subject areas of A Level study for instance.  The AP is a qualification widely respected by universities internationally and in the UK,allowing students to select specific subjects from across the curriculum and complete them in one year. By offering AP and the IB, ACS Hillingdon is able to provide tailored education for each student, relevant to their passions and learning style.

Both qualifications encourage students to develop an inquiring mind and critical thinking, then apply their knowledge to the world around them.

Importantly, in our globally interconnected world,the IB and AP approach all subjects with a cross-cultural perspective. Subjects are studied in the classroom from multiple viewpoints and, coupled with a class comprising of many different nationalities, students develop a broad appreciation of different ways of thinking.

Becoming Global Citizens

For us though, it is not enough that students are simply ready for the world beyond the school gates, we want all our ACS graduates to have confidence to pursue opportunities wherever it may take them, make waves and change things for the better.

This means encouraging students to embrace creativity, take action on meaningful issues such as the climate change protests, and dedicate time in service to their wider community.  Just two recent examples include the five students who took part in internships with multi-national eyecare charity such as Orbis UK or those who spent the last year fundraising and then visiting for the ACS Hillingdon’s partner school in Kenya.

In an effort to develop students who are intellectually, creatively and physically balanced, our students, emerging global citizens, work hard on gaining a deeper understanding of social and environmental responsibility and their ability to create positive change within these areas.

It’s certainly a very exciting new world that awaits our graduates each year, and they depart our school equipped not only with the necessary skills they need for higher education but also to break boundaries, no matter what their future holds.

Isabella Rose, ACS Hillingdon alumna: “The IB instils in students a curiosity and it is through this curiosity that we get a passion for learning – discovering new things, understanding how the world works around us and ultimately a sense of taking a risk to learn new things.”

About ACS International Schools

Founded in 1967 to serve the needs of global and local families, ACS International Schools educate over 3,700 students, aged 2 to 18, day and boarding, from more than 100 countries.

At the heart of their approach is the idea of readiness – empowering their students with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a world that is changing fast. Their world-renowned curriculum includes all International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes, and top US programmes including Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the AP Capstone and International Diplomas.

Students leave ACS as well-rounded global citizens with the academic and emotional intelligence to empathise and engage with tomorrow’s big issues, turning compassion into action as they stand ready for a future full of opportunity.

ACS International Schools have campuses in Hillingdon, Cobhamand Eghamas well as in Doha, Qatar. They hold regular Open Daysfrom September to March. They also offer a Bursary programmewith financial aid ranging from 10%-100% of tuition fees. Applications run from 2ndSeptember 2019 to November 29th2019.