Philosophy and Values

Making a Difference

Our Mission

Diversity & Intercultural Understanding

The IB Learner Profile


Curriculum Principles

Making a Difference

Our purpose at South Island School is to recognise the ways in which we, as individuals, can make a difference to the world around us. Our learning philosophy and environment promote freedom of thought, expression, and action. We educate all students socially, emotionally, and academically to help them make informed decisions and take action responsibly.

We believe that individual success will be demonstrated when our students are happy, adaptable, and curious thinkers who thrive in an inclusive, diverse, and compassionate community. Our aim is to offer the opportunities and guidance for them to become honest, responsible and courageous global citizens. We want all of our actions as a community to promote learning, diversity, equity and inclusion, and the holistic concept of sustainable futures.

Our Mission

South Island School’s Mission is to promote Well-Being, Learning, Global Citizenship and Sustainability, through all aspects of our school. We expect our students, staff, and community to embed our Mission objectives within everything they do, as they strive to achieve the ESF Vision for every student to be the best that they can be.

Diversity and Intercultural Understanding

South Island School is a culturally rich, internationally-minded community. We strive to promote freedom of thought, leading to actions that have personal, local and global significance. Students are encouraged, through the curriculum and their day-to-day school lives, to develop their international mindedness and develop a deeper appreciation of different perspectives.

Accordingly, our Making a Difference philosophy helps students explore what diversity, internationalism, and intercultural understanding mean on a global scale. Our Making a difference (MaD) Service trips to countries such as Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, and China, as well as the vast majority of our extra curricular activities (for example, Model United Nations (MUN), Pride Council, and TEDx) provide students with the opportunity to engage with cross-cultural, social and economic perspectives and issues. Teachers at South Island School understand the importance of supporting students to comprehend and act on needs that may be far from their geographical context – but at the same time to not neglect human and intercultural issues within their own environment where inequities may continue to persist.

We celebrate diversity, equality, and inclusivity (DEI) within our school community. We believe that this environment allows our students to embrace the differences which surround them, intuitively and without deliberate intent. We believe that all students should understand what DEI means in a school context, and the school values student and parental voice in order to achieve this. We promote a wide range of languages through our curriculum: Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean, among others, to show an appreciation of multilingualism as a reflection of cultural understanding and our common humanity.

The IB Learner Profile

Our School Philosophy closely aligns with the IB Learner Profile (see diagram below). We see the Learner Profile as the aspirational ‘end’ and the IB Approaches to Learning (ATLs) and Service Outcomes as the means to that end. We expect each graduating student to have a personal profile to display progress and personal development in all ten elements of the Learner Profile. We see the Learner Profile as a summation of all of the experiences that an SIS learner is exposed to rather than merely a progress measurement tool. The three strands of our curricular offer – Academic, Pastoral, and Values in Action –  and the personal portfolio that a student will build against each of these three organisers, is the tangible record of progression and achievement towards the aspirations of the Learner Profile.


  • We work to nurture ourselves, our society, and our planet and take personal responsibility for a sustainable future
  • We approach and engage other people with respect and honesty
  • We manage ourselves and our learning by developing self-awareness, resilience, and courage
  • We explore our world with open minds and compassionate perspectives
  • We use our initiative and commit to making a difference by being creativeresourceful, and reflective 












Our planning for learning is determined by three broad filters and set within three concentric contexts. In turn, these give shape to our skills framework that seeks to support the development of a positive mindset in each of our learners.

Our broad curriculum principles aim to support

  • Breadth and balance
  • Disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding
  • Education for intercultural understanding
  • A holistic educational experience
  • Education for metacognitive understanding 
  • Learning access for all
  • Teachers as learners