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'Inspiring a lifetime of learning': British Junior Academy of Brussels expands to age 14

21:47 17/02/2019

The British Junior Academy of Brussels is expanding this September to include years 7 and 8. The new pupils will be taught in an additional building, close to our existing site in Etterbeek. Our new building is home to superbly equipped classrooms; a dedicated art and DT building; a music and drama studio and outside play space.

A close family atmosphere is the BJAB trademark, with an ethos of high standards in academic achievement and pastoral care. As an authentic prep school, now serving ages three to 14, our aim is to prepare children for their first-choice next school, whether in Brussels or at one of the many schools in the UK where we have close connections.

Our balanced curriculum, delivered by teachers who speak English as a first language and were trained in the UK, has been developed to advance the potential of all our children. We provide additional support where necessary and special programmes for advanced pupils. BJAB encourages resilience, determination, care and respect for others, all designed to establish the solid foundations that lead to a lifetime love of learning.

The British Junior Academy of Brussels is a familiar name in the international school landscape in Brussels and beyond. For nearly 25 years, the school in Etterbeek has built a solid reputation for high quality British-style education in a small and friendly environment and is now expanding its curriculum to offer places to children up to age 14.

Values revolving around care and respect for others, as well as high standards of behaviour are expected and met. Parents are closely involved in the community through a wide range of social and curriculum-related activity.

The location of the school in the European Quarter makes it a popular choice for those with jobs in the international and European institutions, and the school provides an after-school care service to help working parents.

While there are many nationalities, cultures and languages at BJAB, the style of learning is distinctly British. All teachers speak English as a first language and have been trained or employed in the UK.

The school is rated as “Outstanding” by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), has accredited British School Overseas (BSO) status and maintains memberships in a range of professional bodies, including COBIS and IAPS.  

“The joy of BJAB is knowing where everyone is on their personal learning and development journey,” says BJAB school head Sarah White. “If you have heard of BJAB, you’ll probably know I greet and shake hands with everyone when they arrive at school in the morning. This means I have contact with each child right at the start of the day and I can gauge how they are.”

White began teaching in the UK in the 1980s and gained further qualifications as a specialist teacher for those with additional learning needs in primary, secondary and tertiary education. She completed her Masters in Education with a dissertation on school leadership whilst serving as Head of British Education for a group of schools in the Middle East.

“Every day at BJAB is busy, varied, hard-working and fun, but sometimes we must nurture someone through a difficult patch or, alternatively, give extra challenges and goals to another,” White continues. “I can’t underestimate the importance we place on the individual, and the amount of attention each child receives. My leadership team is particularly skilled at tracking the academic progress and the personal development of each child. Our goal is to provide the solid foundation and skills needed to inspire a lifetime of learning.”

Parents are equally enthusiastic about the school. “Another whizzbang assembly,” one parent recently wrote to us. “So proud of the class for speaking up about an important topic and thinking of creative ways (a homemade video) to engage their diverse audience. A high bar indeed! I honestly did a lot of laughing, too … this assembly – there was something for everyone. Well done Year 5 for an outstanding piece of work.”

Also recently, a member of staff had a message for her colleagues: “I went home last night talking about just how wonderful my colleagues here at BJAB are. We are so lucky to work in not only such an academically outstanding environment, one that challenges us and pushes us to be the best teachers we can be, but one that also supports, nurtures and understands us all as individuals.”

The school’s newest development is to offer places in Years 7 and 8, which take children up to the age of 14. An additional building nearby has been acquired and is being renovated to provide multiple learning spaces, including a separate art and DT building, a music and drama studio, outside play space and multi-functional classrooms.

The expansion has been widely welcomed by parents and fulfils the school’s strategic aim to become an authentic prep school, delivering pupils into a range of schools in Brussels, the UK or further afield. “The aim is for us to prepare each pupil and family for their first-choice of next school,” explains White. “We have been very successful already in sending our children to the top schools in Brussels and to schools in the UK such as Eton, St Mary’s Ascot, Cheltenham, Westminster and Magdalene College. But teaching Year 7 and 8 gives us more opportunity to develop the individual child, build their confidence and record of achievements and prepare them for this next step.”

Written by The Bulletin with British Junior Academy of Brussels