What is ‘Inclusion’ and why is this important at ISS International School?

If you’d like to find out more about ISS, please contact our Admissions Team or call them at 6737 9171 (for K1 to G8, Paterson Campus) and 6475 4188 (for G9-G12, Preston Campus).

ISS students come from all over the world!

“If you have a one size fits all (education system) and expect everyone to be able to do the same thing, and talk to them in the same language and not think about different people’s needs, then some people are going to find that a struggle.“ (source reference: www.plymouth.ac.uk/your-university/teaching-and-learning/inclusivity/why-is-inclusivity-important).

What this also creates are people who become intolerant of others, and who will find it a challenge to survive in a global economy.

ISS International School’s Heritage and Value System

Our Chairman and Founder, Mr. Chan Chee Seng, was a member of Singapore’s post-colonial government. His belief in the newly founded Singapore and his commitment to his country resulted in many of years of service to Singapore as a Member of Parliament, and Senior Parliamentary Secretary.

We enjoy the multinational friends made at ISS
We enjoy the multinational friends made at ISS

At the time Mr. Chan retired from politics, Singapore was ready to take its place on the world stage and sought to attract foreign investment. A critical obstacle to this was the limited number of international schools in the country. Mr. Chan combined his foresight of the importance of inclusivity, his deep-rooted love of learning with his understanding of his country’s needs and created the vision for an inclusive international school with a cosmopolitan outlook, and named it the International School of Singapore. Today this school is ISS International School.

ISS continues this vision today with our commitment that each child will reach his or her full potential and through ISS’s focus on being inclusive,nurturing and empowering.

Our Academic Philosophy

We continue to share Mr. Chan’s vision that quality international education should not be the sole preserve of academically high achieving English speaking children, although it should be noted that this group thrives in ISS’s inclusive community. Whilst some international schools may pride themselves on their exclusive admissions policies, ISS believes that we prove our success by ensuring that each and every student we admit, be they academically high achieving English speakers or not, are able to achieve their potential.

Our student-centric learning approach helps our stduents realsie their strengths and potential
Our student-centric learning approach helps our stduents realise their strengths and potential

Whether a student has the potential of going on to attend one of the world’s top universities or any myriad of other pathways to a happy and fulfilled life, ISS is committed to ensuring that each student can achieve personal success.

ISS is proud of its commitment to inclusive education and believes that inclusive education benefits all students whether they be highly academic or require learning support, whether they are native English speakers or are learning to speak English.

We believe that an inclusive education benefits all students in the following ways:

  1. Differentiated instruction increases student engagement for all students.

  2. Academic support helps each student access the curriculum in meaningful ways.

  3. Behavioural supports maintain a positive learning environment for everyone.

  4.  Respect for diversity creates a welcoming environment for all and promotes active global


  5. Creating high expectations for all students, supports realisation of potential.

How is Inclusivity created in ISS’s learning environment?

Our teachers have access to high quality information in the field of inclusion and are empowered to use the knowledge acquired, through sharing and collaborative planning sessions, staff meetings. Through specially selected programmes, and through their collegial relationships. Our Staff (teachers, support staff and administrative staff) are also trained in intercultural competencies to ensure that we learn and display these soft skills in our multi-cultural environment.

Our Japanese language specialist explaining the IB curriculum to our parents at a school event

Classroom and subject teachers are also given training in working with emerging English speakers and with students with various learning needs. We also include specialist support such as counsellors, learning support staff, English as a Second Language specialists, and a network of specialists external to the school.

Within our classrooms, teachers provide multiple means of representation, action, expression and engagement when facilitating learning. This facilitates a customised approach to learning and allows our teachers to differentiate and modify lessons to accommodate each student’s learning style, ability and needs.

our students hail from over 50 different nationalities
Our students hail from over 50 different nationalities

In our admissions policy, ISS is careful to adhere to guidelines which lay out the maximum number of students that we will enrol by nationality, learning needs and English acquisition. This is to preseve our ethos of a multi-national, balanced and productive learning environment.

Teachers are also aware that with the many unfortunate events that take place frequently as a result of cultural or religious intolerance, the need to ensure that our students are accepting of other cultures and religious beliefs is paramount. The concept of inclusivity spans beyond the physical at ISS. It is not only about accepting students of different nationalities or giving opportunities to students with different learning needs; it is also about instilling inclusivity in our students’ value system, so that our students become accepting of others, regardless of creed, religion and perspective. “We are prepared to give all students, with differing perspectives, an opportunity to study at ISS. Diversity reigns at ISS, and all students are encouraged to express themselves.” Mr. Jungo, IB Diploma Programme co-ordinator and Theory of Knowledge teacher.

Voices from our multicultural community

ISS has a student population consisting of over 50 nationalities. Our faculty is equally as multi-cultural with teachers hailing from all over the globe – the Americas, Oceania, Asia, and Africa.

Our students from Elementary, Middle and High school enjoy this multicultural environment and camaraderie. This is evident in their reflections and sharing whenever they are asked why they enjoy ISS.

This school has been my family for 8 years now and will continue to be so for many more. The large variety of cultures within the school makes me feel as if I am at home.” ~ Alex

“People respect each other’s culture, languages & nationalities. Students are kind and caring. We learn different cultures together!” ~ Claire

“I like how multicultural it is.” ~ Gabriel

“I like how ISS is an international school and students respect other cultures.” ~ Rapheal

“ISS is a school with students from many international countries. We all appreciate each other.” ~ Mckayla

Members of the PTA committee at the International Day celebration at ISS

Our Parent Teacher Association (PTA) mirrors the inclusive culture at ISS. The committee mix, the type and profile of the activities organised, types of communication platforms that the PTA leverages on to create awareness for the things and activities that they organise, reflect this mutli-cultural and inclusive ethos. Our PTA President, Vicki shares, “The PTA and I are immensely proud of our school’s diversity and as such respect the differences and acknowledge our shared commonalities. Since ISS is committed to enrolling an inclusive and diverse student body, we as a committee strive to support our parent community through as many inclusive activities as possible. We have gone to great lengths to ensure we have a little something for everyone, to foster a strong sense of community.” Some of the activities which our PTA has introduced this year, many of which were first in their history, covered activities like Quiz nights, and Parent field trips to not often visited places around Singapore. The topics covered at the Quiz Night ranged from general knowledge type questions to nationality specific ones. The field trips brought parents of all different nationalities together to build community and promote strong bonds. Many other activities were all organised to ensure that regardless of nationality, everyone came together to enjoy, bond and have fun. This builds the close-knit community that ISS is known for.

It is in this inclusive environment that we give ALL students, regardless of race or language, a chance to be educated , to learn, to be supported and to succeed in their own way, based on their individual strengths. As Mr. Whitehead, our CAS /Service as Action, Science & Environmental Systems and Societies teacher so aptly summarises the ISS ethos; “I like ISS because ISS believes in giving all students a chance and is inclusive. This aligns with my beliefs and that’s why ISS has been home for 17 years.”