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ISB Futures Spotlight - How ISB is perceived


#10 How ISB is perceived

At ISB, we believe that feedback is critical in the process of learning. As a community, we therefore regularly solicit feedback from students, parents, our employees, and alumni - all in an effort to grow in understanding and discern areas where we can adjust and improve.

Earlier in the year, as you may recall, we collaborated with a research firm, H2H Brand Solutions (the research division of IMPACT Marketing International), to perform a detailed study on the perception of ISB and other schools in the Brussels region. More than 250 parents - drawn from current families, as well as families in the process of inquiring about ISB, and families who ended up choosing another school in Brussels - participated in this study. We would like to thank everyone who took part, particularly those who offered to share more detailed responses by phone or in parent forums.

The full Report has now been published and is currently being discussed by both the Board and Leadership Team. However, we would like to share below a summary of key results taken directly from this study.


What were some key insights around levels of satisfaction?

  • Following a pattern seen in other international schools, “satisfaction is highest in the Early Childhood Centre and Elementary School, decreasing through Middle and High School”.
  • Satisfaction is higher among those who have had students attending the school for less than five years than those who have attended more than five years.
  • Satisfaction varies greatly between primary language groups.

How is ISB perceived relative to other local schools?

  • ISB is the school of choice for parents looking for a more international experience, a rounded approach to learning for their children, and a variety of learning support options.
  • ISB is not considered the school of choice by parents who are looking for a “strict learning environment or focus on standardized testing”.
  • ISB, along with some other local international schools, is considered to be academically strong.

What does ISB do well?

  • ISB is primarily known for its inclusion, internationalism, and beautiful campus. From a cultural standpoint, ISB’s strengths lie in creating a welcoming and friendly environment for all family members.
  • Caring teachers and excellent communication add to the warmth of the ISB experience.
  • That ISB welcomes students of various academic abilities creates a foundation of what is traditionally thought of as inclusion in the world of private or independent education. The mix of international passports in concert with an aggregate of local families creates a more international feel than any other school in the region.
  • The curriculum stands out as being forward-thinking and unique.
  • The whole child approach is a central driver for families who choose the school.

Where could ISB do better?

  • College counseling and university preparation ranks as very important to ISB parents and is identified as the area requiring improvement.
  • For parents who have been at ISB for several years or have children across multiple age groups, there is concern over the lack of cohesion between school divisions. In particular, the transition between Middle and High School was highlighted.
  • Relative to the other attributes, test preparation, high standardized test scores, and acceptance to top universities are perceived as lower-performing, but also less important to the parent community than other values.
  • Parents reported that assessment and reporting lacks clarity in certain parts of the school. 

Concluding remarks

“ISB is best suited to serve families who value what ISB values. They value inclusion and a warm, caring community and not to the exclusion of a robust and flexible academic programme.”


Again, we would like to thank all those who participated in the study. The findings are helpful to us and, for the most part, provide us with encouragement that we are on the right track in terms of our school development priorities. For example, High School parents and regular readers of the Spotlight will be aware of changes to our College Counselling planned for next school year. We have also shared with you how we are improving areas like our educational data systems and have modified one of our senior leadership positions to create a new role of Director for Inclusion and Challenge. 

In next week’s Spotlight, we will be sharing how we are acting to create a stronger whole school alignment. You can also expect to hear more on other developments, as we continue to use the parental perspective to help us inform our priorities.

The next ISB Futures Spotlight
Being ‘one school’

Read previous Spotlights