International school admissions

The International School of Siena serves a diverse community of students from a range of nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. We offer a broad based education which uses English as the main language of learning and caters for a range of student abilities. The International School of Siena is an IB World School and has adopted a set of core values that guide every feature of our educational provision and the school is explicitly committed to full implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). As the school grow in the future it will also adopt the IB Diploma Programme (DP).

Our admissions policy is articulated to encourage the maintenance of diversity in our student body, as well as to ensure that students who are admitted to the International School of Siena can benefit from our educational provision and be successful in the terms of our structured objectives for learning.

We recognise that a number of students are less likely to benefit from our model of education. Our policy and procedures are designed to identify these students in order to help parents and the school make the best choices in line with the individual needs of these students.

Students can be admitted to the school at any time of the academic year (with the exception of students joining the IB Diploma Programme in Grades 12 and 13) and decisions are primarily based on a student’s prior school record (where appropriate) and a personal interview in which students and their families can demonstrate a commitment to the Core Values of the school.

Admission

Admission to the International School of Siena is open to all students likely to benefit from our educational programme and to families who understand and commit to the core values of the school.

Priority is given to the following categories in assessing applications:

  • Siblings of current students of the International School of Siena.
  • Families transferring from other ISE schools.
  • Children of ex-students of the International School of Siena.
  • Applicants from the international community.
  • Applicants who have English as a first language.

Grade Placement

We usually place students in the grade appropriate to their age, seeking to differentiate for their individual needs within this context. However, transfers will also take into consideration the student’s previous educational records and seek to provide continuity in the progression of their ongoing education.

Admission Criteria

We will consider students who we believe will be able to benefit from our IB programmes (PYP, MYP & DP) by reviewing the following;

  • Copies of school reports for the previous 2 years - these report cards must reflect that the child’s academic achievements and behavior are at such a level as to allow the child to succeed in our school environment
  • Confidential Teacher references from previous school
  • Students language profile
  • Personal interview with Principal
  • Class visit and teacher observations (where possible)
  • Students performance in a Mathematics and English admissions assessment (for admission into Grades 10 / MYP 4 upwards).

Language Requirements

In lower primary, International students transferring to Italy will be admitted regardless of their ability in English and EAL provision will be made available by the school. Exceptions to this open admission policy are students with identified learning or behavioral issues where additional support may be necessary on an individual basis.  Italian national and other students transferring from Italian schools will be expected to have a satisfactory level of English for entry into Grade 5 upwards, or the family may be expected to fund appropriate individual support at additional expense. 

Students entering Grades 7 to 9 (MYP 1 to 3) will be assessed by our EAL (English as an Additional Language) /English Language Acquisition teacher in accordance with our language policy to determine their language pathway.

For students applying for admission into Grades 10 to 13 (MYP 4 to DP 2) students are expected to have an age-appropriate level of literacy and oral fluency in the English language. They will be required to take an English language admissions test covering four competencies (comprehension, speaking, reading and writing). The assessment is designed to determine whether the applicant will be able to access our curriculum and achieve their academic potential without English acting as a barrier.

Support for individual needs

As a small school, we are able to provide only a very limited level of support for students with mild learning difficulties.

We require that parents inform us of any previously identified special needs or previously received support at the time of application.

In some cases, parents may be asked to commit to providing extra support for their child, which may take the form of in-class support or out of school provision.

Trial Admission Period

In cases when it is not clear whether entry into the International School of Siena would be in the best interests of a student, provision may be made for a trial admission period.

In these cases there will be a written agreement between the school and the parents, outlining the terms of the trial, including targets, success criteria and time frames.

Motives for denying admission

Admission is at the discretion of the school and may be denied for any reason, such as the impossibility to find a place due to full enrolment or an evaluation that ISS cannot cater for the student’s individual learning or behavioural needs.

In general, admission will also be automatically denied in the following cases:

  • the student has been expelled from their previous school;
  • the student will not be living with his or her immediate family or a legal guardian.

Admissions Timeline

  1. If places are available, students who fulfill our admissions criteria may be admitted at any time during the academic year at the discretion of the Principal.
  2. Families of students seeking admission to the International School of Siena should contact the school to arrange an appointment with the Principal. The purpose of this meeting is for parents to become informed about the school (its core values and its educational programme) and for the school to evaluate the application. Ideally, the student should also attend this meeting or arrange a follow-up interview at a future date.
  3. Applications for the following academic year and those which are received between September and December are kept as pending unless there are spaces available and the Principal can guarantee a place. If availability cannot be not guaranteed, then current International School of Siena families are given the opportunity to re-enrol before the end of February and only after that will places be offered to families on the waiting list. Families who accept a place should register their child immediately, although some flexibility may be exercised in exceptional cases (for example families living overseas).
  4. Applications to enroll in Kindergarten can be accepted as soon as the registration process is open, usually from early December in the year prior to entry.
  5. In some cases, the school may carry out a formal assessment of the student in order to determine grade placement or to decide on appropriate learning or behavioural support. The school may also require further educational or psychological evaluations if there is felt to be a need for further information to support individual students. If individual support is deemed to be necessary, then specific arrangements will be negotiated with the family who may be required to wholly or partially fund the extra provision that is needed for their son/daughter.
  6. Once an offer of a place is made, it is confirmed at the moment the student’s family signs the official registration form and the school accepts payment for the registration fee and/or tuition fees. At this moment parents should be particularly aware of the commitments they are making towards the school.

Application process

Step 1 - Information

Please visit the schools website

 Step 2 - Parent meeting with principal

This meeting may take place on a face to face basis or over Skype depending on situation

Step 3 - Application

The following documentation must be provided or completed for each applicant:

  • The International School of Siena application form
  • Photocopy of the child’s birth certificate or passport
  • Photocopy of the permit to stay-non EU citizens only
  • Copies of school reports for the last two years
  • The results of any special academic or psychological assessments
  • Vaccination / immunization record
  • Nulla Osta from previous Italian school (elementary school onwards)
  • Confidential teacher reference (to be e-mailed / faxed directly from the child’s current school)
  • Any other relevant educational documents

Step 4 - Registration

The school will send a letter / e-mail of acceptance with the child’s start date. Contracts must be signed (by both parents) at the school in the presence of a school employee. Payment arrangements will be made at the time of signing.

Advice and information for parents following admission

Families whose students enrol in ISS are expected to commit to the following:

  • Our Core Values
  • Their contractual obligations indicated in the enrolment contract
  • Attendance at informative school presentations, workshops and three-way conferences
  • Provision of continuing opportunities for their son/daughter to develop and express themselves in their mother-tongue