Welcome and study at BICS
"Happy children achieve more"
May I warmly welcome you to the BICS community! Our school strives to maintain a caring and enthusiastic environment where we challenge everyone to achieve their academic and personal potential. We do so in the context of our Christian values. We strongly believe that ‘Happy children achieve more’. We place the child at the centre of all our efforts. It is important that the learning experience is both sufficiently structured and enjoyable so that pupils are motivated to achieve their best.
Our vision is to work with families in the task of educating your children in a climate of mutual trust and cooperation between leadership, teachers, pupils and parents. Our excellent staff enable us to offer academic programmes of high standards in English and French.
At the beginning of the new year we shall organise a series of meetings, where you will be able to meet your class teachers and I also look forward to seeing you then. In the meantime, I wish you a very pleasant summer holiday.
Canon William Hudson, MA (Cantab)
Canon Hudson is a priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
Before his seminary studies near to Florence, Italy, he read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
He has been Headmaster for the past twelve years.
To share with parents in the spiritual, moral and intellectual formation of their children, in a Christian community with which their families may be joined in friendship for the rest of their lives.
To educate the young in the tradition and sacramental life of the Church and to encourage each towards a joyful, free and self-disciplined life of faith and virtue.
To work for excellence in all our endeavours, academic, sporting and cultural. We ask each student to give of their best. We ask much of the gifted and we encourage the weak. Each is taught to appreciate the value of learning and the pursuit of the truth.
To help our boys and girls grow up mature and honourable, inspired by high ideals and capable of leadership, so that they may serve others generously, be strong in friendship, and loving and loyal towards their families.
"We aim to achieve high standards in a purposeful yet calm and comfortable department"
This Department is housed in a newly renovated school building on Chaussée de Wavre. An additional building with three more classes opened on September 2015. Children start in the Nursery at the age of two and a half, and move on first, second and third Pre-primary years. Classes are small and there is a truly caring and friendly atmosphere with individual attention being given to each child, enabling them to grow in confidence and to have the best start possible to their academic life. We aim to achieve high standards in a purposeful yet calm and comfortable department.
Our Pre-primary department gives younger children their all-important introduction to the learning environment from the age of two years and a half. We provide a very effective introduction to those concepts that are central to successful learning, without subjecting the children to any feeling of pressure; learning is presented to these young children in an enjoyable, easily assimilated way.
As the children develop, we foster their skills in reading, language and number work to provide a secure basis for literacy and numeracy. By the time they join the Primary department at the age of six, we would expect them to have good verbal and writing skills alongside the ability to be comfortable with numbers and with concepts such as big, small or heavy.
We introduce our Pre-primary children to science by exploring a variety of living things and materials in the environment, stimulating their curiosity by using an enquiring approach.
Early Pre-learning activities include access to sand, crafts, construction toys, books, games, and puzzles. These activities stimulate the children’s ideas, increase their awareness of shape and space, develop their powers of communication and help them to learn how to work effectively together.
In the Pre-primary classes we have Physical Education everyday, which includes following a movement programme, dance, music and following obstacle courses. These activities help children to develop and practice their motor skills.
The addition of social experience and plenty of play provide a fully rounded educational foundation during the vital early years.
Parents are kept aware of what is happening in the class by our Newsletters updated in Smartschool. The children receive regular reports during the year and the teachers encourage regular contacts with parents.
Respect & Order
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child adapt to your programme as he/ she speaks neither English or French? Mon enfant peut-il s’adapter à votre programme s’ il ne parle ni anglais, ni français ?
In the Pre-primary and first year Primary department this poses no difficulty. Specialist support is given in the school, and we will assess whether extra tutoring is required outside school hours.
When will my child be fluent in both languages ? Quand mon enfant sera-t-il parfaitement bilingue français/anglais ?
Our experience shows that after one year a normally gifted child will be able to work in the language that is new to him or her. Total fluency can be expected at the end of the Primary school.
Do the children mix up the two languages ? Les enfants ne mélangent-ils pas les deux langues ?
We take extreme care in our teaching methods. Children have a great capacity to assimilate several languages at a very early age. In our school we insist upon teachers using one language even if they may themselves know several. In this way pupils naturally associate the person and the language. Equally it is important to begin reading and writing in just one language in Year 1 in English and in the first year of Primary school in French.
Are other subjects taught in different languages ? Y a-t-il des sujets plus spécifiquement enseignés en anglais ou en français ?
At BICS we have decided that in the Primary school mathematics is taught in English, while science, history and geography are taught in French.
Are your exams officially recognised ? Vos examens sont-ils reconnus officiellement ?
Our school is a Cambridge International School, and as such offers the Cambridge Primary Programme (CPP) exams and the Cambridge International exams (CIE). We are an accredited Test centre. These exams are recognised and satisfy the educational obligation in Belgium and throughout the world. In the Primary school, it is possible for children to sit the Belgian ‘Examen Cantonale’ which evaluates children at the end of Primary school education and obtains a diploma ( CEB- Certificat d’Etude de Base) giving access to all Belgian Secondary schools. In the Secondary school we offer the International GCSE and ‘A’ levels. In september 2015 the school opened the A level curriculum.
BICS is a bilingual school.
No one can doubt that the possession of several languages is a great advantage, giving a head start for the future. Based in the capital of Europe, our school has opted for English and French. All of our teachers are qualified native English and French speakers.
In the Primary department the approach is the following:
firstly a choice is made regarding the language in which a child will learn to read and write. Normally this will be French, given that this language is phonetic, and its interior logic helps to structure the child’s mind. During the first year of Primary school, the child will therefore continue to learn English orally.
A child who has followed our Primary school curriculum will be fully fluent by the end of his sixth year and should have a working knowledge after only one year. Specialist teachers in English (EFL) and French (FLE) offer necessary support to those children arriving without French or English. In the Secondary school we have slightly different approach. This department is more English based. The school is an accredited Cambridge University Examinations test centre, and as such offers the Cambridge International GCSE and A level curriculum. These qualifications are recognised internationally offering access to Higher Education in Belgium and throughout the world.
We are often asked how this works out in practice.
In the Pre-primary department the week is divided between two teachers, one English-speaking and the other French-speaking. At this level, communication and learning are mainly oral, and the children naturally come to associate the teacher with the language spoken. The week is divided into two parts, English on Mondays and Tuesdays, French on Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesdays divided into both. In this way, the child benefits from a full immersion into both languages. In the Primary department, students are taught in English and French on alternate days. This enables a 50-50% immersion in both languages.
The curriculum followed in the Primary department is based upon a Belgian programme for the French speaking part and the Cambridge Primary Programme the English speaking part. At the end of their six years of Primary school, pupils can take the Belgian ‘Examen Cantonal’, which is exterior to the school and obtains a diploma giving access to all Belgian and European Secondary schools (CEB – Certificat d’Etude de Base). Children who follow our curriculum have no difficulty integrating into other English-speaking, French and international schools. We understand the importance of this, as parents may, for professional reasons, need to move after three or four years.