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News Release (March 2012)


The Next Frontier Inclusion

image_gallerySpeaking of the inclusion of students with special needs, veteran international school leaders –in their own words:

These are our most vulnerable learners.  They need our best teachersBill Gerritz, Head of School, International School of Bangkok.

From a personal perspective, I don’t see how we have a choice about educating kids with learning differences.  They are simply members of the community we serve…When parents relocate, they’re in the habit of bringing all their children with them.  I don’t believe we have the right to cherry pick the ones who provide us with the least challenge Kevin Bartlett, Director, International School of Brussels.

Learning Support needs unwavering commitment from the school leadership (by which I mean the Board just as much as the administrators) in order to survive and thrive David Toze, Superintendent, International School of Manila.

Learning support reflects the UN Rights of the Child.  This is something we cannot, NOT do! Chip Barder, Head of School, United Nations International School Hanoi.

From March 14th  to 16th, 2012 sixty seven international school heads of schools, principals, curriculum directors and teachers met at the International School of Manila and engaged in a professional conversation on how we might build the capacity of our respective schools to serve a more learning diverse community.  This was the fifth Next Frontier Professional Conversation.  Previous conversations have been held at the International School of Brussels, the EARCOS Spring Heads meetings and the ACAMIS Conference in Nanjing.

The Next Frontier Initiative believes that:

High quality education is a basic human right of all children

We need to redefine international education to be inclusive of students who learn differently or at different rates.

Parents who travel overseas should not have to leave some of their children behind or divide their families between schools.

We are committed to a planned and carefully managed approach to including students who have special needs or may be exceptionally capable.

The inclusion of children requiring learning support enhances the education of all children.

Our goal: To have one inclusive school in every major city in the world.

During our time together in Manila, we explored both philosophical and practical issues relating to robust learning support programs.  We discussed issues including: different models of learning support, admissions, recruitment of staff, financial considerations, and marketing the vision of an inclusive school.  We also observed classes and had opportunities to talk with special needs students, their parents and teachers.

The twenty-four schools represented in Manila included:

American School of Jeddah, Concordia Shanghai, Cebu International School, Yokohama International School, Anglo-American School of Moscow, UNIS Hanoi, International School of Manila, Copenhagen International School, International School of Bangkok, the Beacon School, Ruamrudee International School, International School of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta International School, International School of Kenya, British School Manila, International School of Brussels, American School of the Hague, Hong Kong Academy, Nanjing International School, International School of Dhaka, American International School of Dhaka, Beacon Hill School and the American School of Bombay.

We are a collaborative group of schools that is ready and willing to support each other as we travel different roads towards inclusion.  We would welcome other schools that would like to join the important initiative.

The next NEXT FRONTIER Professional Conversation will take place on March 15-17, 2013, at the American International School of Johannesburg, South Africa.


William Powell Simon Gillespie, Sam Cook Kevin Bartlett ,Ochan Kusuma-Powell and Kristen Pelletier.

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