Brisbane Independent School’s mission is to nurture, develop and trust our pupils’ innate love of learning and positive values, and to produce graduates who are respectful, confident, competent and self-motivated, with the skills necessary for lifelong learning in all facets of their lives.

Making the choice of schooling for your child is a huge decision for a parent. It is essential that you engage in a lot research and really become clear about what you are looking for. Some questions that can be useful to consider include:

  • What matters most to you about your child’s primary education?

    Everyone cares about their child’s emotional happiness, but does it balance equally with academic learning for your family?

  • What are the things that mattered most when you were at school?

    When you consider your own experiences of teachers and schooling in primary school, what are the things that mattered most? The features of those early years that stayed with you?

These are all big questions that are about making a conscious and courageous decision for your child’s education. The pressure is often to just go along with what everyone else is doing without thinking critically about what is the best decision for your child and family. Stay firm and do your research–only you know what is the best choice for your child.

How We Try to Help

The topics covered on this page are designed to help you really dig into what makes BIS tick, so that you can understand how we see our whole school and our learning framework. What makes BIS different to other schools, and what is similar? We hope that by finding out about the core of our school you can see if it matches with you and your family so that you can be confident in moving forward with your enrolment.

Our Mission

The Mission of our school was developed collaboratively with our school community and incorporates the original goals of the school when it first began. The Mission reflects two essential ingredients to BIS:
Child Focused – The education of the child sits at the centre of the decision-making, not the institution and not the needs of the adults.
Long Term View – We see your child’s primary education as the first learning step in a long life of learning. Consequently our mission is ultimately about creating experiences that will help them learn to be future great citizens and happy empowered human beings.

Brisbane Independent School’s mission is to nurture, develop and trust our pupils’ innate love of learning and positive values, and to produce graduates who are respectful, confident, competent and self-motivated, with the skills necessary for lifelong learning in all facets of their lives.

To this end, we provide a supportive, flexible and democratic educational environment for the development of the whole child, including social, emotional, ethical, physical and cognitive development, within a school community that supports our values.

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Our Values

The BIS Values sit as the principles that will deliver our Mission. Our Board may change and the curriculum be adapted but these core values will always sit at the heart of the school. The Values consequently form the core of the decision-making for all aspects of BIS: students, staff and management. The Values are therefore core content for our Expedition curriculum, underpinning the way we see the Australian Curriculum content and the basis for our Study of Self curriculum. Primary-aged children struggle with the big concepts wrapped up in Values words so we make sure that they live the experience of the Values in their daily world. The Values also sit as core to the way we make decisions on the budget, future planning and team direction.

We accept that we are all part of a lifelong process of values learning–it is not innate. This process has three stages, starting from the self and expanding to include the wider world. Our innovative Expedition curriculum supports this process by exploring themes and developing our student’s understanding of themselves and their place within the world.

values diagram
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Our Philosophy

Philosophy of Learning

BIS follows a developmental approach to teaching and learning based in Integral Theory. Simply put this means that we look at their own development and learning journey with a range of measures that helps us tailor learning to their needs. The particular unique aspect of this process is that all adults at BIS are involved in this developmental journey as we are also learning all the time. We insist that all our staff are willing to get to know themselves deeply so that they can be aware when teaching, to not fall into habits or processes that are not the best for the children.

Lines of development
As we grow up and change in our perspective on the world, we see new ways to make our life work well and to help us work with our families and communities with success. We track our students on some of the most important of these lines as they allow us to know when they are ready for various parts of their curriculum learning.

  • Cognitive

    Their brain readiness for mastery of existing concepts and introduction to new Australian Curriculum challenges

  • Physical

    The physical gross and fine motor skills needed for a range of learning and social skills

  • Moral Development

    Developing empathy and compassion and an understanding of rules and laws

  • Ego Development

    Understanding of the self in the world (e.g. time, space, self reflection)

  • Faith Development

    Belief in how their world is controlled (Ghosts and monsters or logical reasoning)

  • Emotional and Social Development

    Self awareness and self management of emotions and working with others

  • Self Direction

    Understanding of learning needs and ways of working (learning styles and organisational skills)

Development cannot be forced or ignored. If we try and work more than one level of development beyond where the child is at it will just sound like nonsense and they won’t understand. If we try to push them to the next level they will keep returning to the previous one whenever they are stressed. We give them time and attention to find their own way.
You cannot skip a stage, you need to be in it and explore it and find out that there are better ways to think and do that you can see others do. When your stage stops working you move to the next one. Experiential learning is key to the process. So we look at the individual child’s readiness to identify where they need to be within the BIS cultural expectations for moral development and community participation, as well as where they need to be to fit societal expectations of the Australian Curriculum.

We get to know you, respect you and believe that you are capable of anything with time, skilled teaching and learning and love.

Philosophy of Decision Making

BIS believes in the power of collaboration and community in building a school. Our school has its roots in Democratic Education, an educational philosophy that utilises the powerful interaction between choice, ownership and deep learning. The more freedom to own decisions in their learning that children have, the more likely they are to take responsibility for that learning. It does not mean that they decide on all aspects of their learning. Instead it means they are very active participants in the structuring of their learning. This same theory applies across the school structure, as a solid functioning community of learners, thinkers and enactors must have a strong connection forged through the balance of freedom and responsibility.
BIS is an active and robust democracy where we need to hear as many voices as possible, consequently we have a number of ways that we get everyone involved:

  • Students run our weekly whole school meetings, discussing the curriculum options for the term, excursions, events and their own plans and visions for the term
  • Association members make strategic decisions about the long term vision for our school in their role on the school board
  • Parents vote, give feedback and attend Whole School Meetings once per term to discuss big topics and engage in visioning
  • Our online community engages in discussion and debate on a range of issues that informs that actions of both the Board and the Principal and Staff Council

To support this process our Cultural component of the curriculum explicitly teaches students how to run meetings, speak publicly, present ideas clearly and logically, get involved and participate in the world around them and take on social responsibility. We love seeing leadership emerge in our students. Similarly our staff are trained to support this process and our parents also supported in taking on this new role as a members of a democratic organisation.

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Learn more about our Classroom structure and our innovative Exploration Curriculum.