Philosophy and Values


Making a Difference

Our purpose at South Island School is to raise consciousness in our school community about the way individuals make a difference in a complex world. Our learning philosophy and environment promote freedom of thought, expression and action. We educate all students to develop their skills and their deep learning so they can make informed decisions and take action responsibly.

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

Internationalism and Intercultural Understanding 

South Island School is a rich and diverse community. We seek at all times to raise a consciousness of the inter-connectedness of the world and our place within it. We strive to promote freedom of thought, leading to actions that have personal meaning and local or global significance. Students are encouraged, through the curriculum and in their day-to-day school lives, to develop their international mindedness and an appreciation that there are many different perspectives from which to view our human existence.

As we reflect in our Making a Difference philosophy, education for internationalism continues outside the classroom with the intention that providing diverse learning environments allows students to value the world as the ultimate context for their learning. The great majority of our extra curricular activities (for example, Model United Nations and TEDx) and our MaD Service trips (to countries such as Laos, Thailand, the Philippines and China) provide students with the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural 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 not to neglect human and intercultural issues within their own environment where inequities and misunderstandings continue to exist.

We celebrate the fact that the diversity within our school community supports students, both in understanding global issues and in developing pluralistic attitudes. We believe that this environment allows our young people to embrace the differences which surround them, almost intuitively at times and without conscious intent. Chinese students dance in Diwali celebrations, Europeans join the Lion Dance Team, our sports teams do not separate on racial lines, our student leaders come from all sections of our community. We promote a wide range of languages through our curriculum (Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and others) to show an appreciation of multilingualism and as a reflection of our common humanity and our cultural difference.

The IB Learner Profile

Our School Philosophy merges completely with the intentions of the IB Learner Profile (see diagram). 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 intend that a graduating SIS student will have a personal profile which shows progress and personal development again all ten elements of the Learner Profile. We do not see that the Learner Profile is a tool, in itself, for measuring progress but that it is a summation of all of the experiences that an SIS leaner is exposed to during a school life. 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
Welcome back SIS!