10 March 2023
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Accreditation: A global association of international schools
The ICA supports each school on its own unique journey with the International Curriculum through the stages of Recognition and Accreditation. ICA experts and mentors work alongside teachers, leaders and the school community to collaboratively focus on improving learning.
The first stage of the Accreditation process is for schools to submit an application to the ICA . For this, we require a school to:
Have an ongoing subscription to the International Curriculum (IEYC/IPC/IMYC)
Be committed to a cycle of continuous quality improvement
To find out more about applying to the ICA, click here.
The submitted application leads the school to a consultation with the ICA team, following which schools are required to complete an ICA Registration Form. This information is used to help in matching the school with an ICA mentor and initiate the journey to accreditation.
Candidate schools work in partnership with allocated mentors to undertake a comprehensive self-reflection of their processes and systems for sustainable and effective self-review. The learning partnership between the ICA mentor and a candidate school is structured around the schools’ preparation for Recognition by the ICA. Candidate schools work with their mentors to define learning conversations emerging from their own unique starting point. For this reason, whilst there is no fixed period of candidacy, schools are expected to have been implementing the International Curriculum for at least two years prior to a Recognition visit.
Recognition is the first stage of validation in the ICA Quality Assurance Framework and provides a strong platform for continuous school improvement. To gain Recognised status a school is required to demonstrate that it meets the ICA Recognition Standards and International Curriculum specific criteria. During the Candidate school phase, a school prepares evidence of its alignment with the Recognition criteria, which is verified with a Recognition visit carried out by an ICA Evaluator. Schools recognised by the ICA for the implementation of the International Curriculum are awarded Recognised school status for a two-year period.
Accreditation with the ICA has one explicit and transparent aim - to improve learning. The intrinsic value of accreditation lies in its process, with the ICA's approach rooted in analytical reflection, informed by evidence and focused on the impact on the learner and the learning. The process of building an 'Improving Learning Portfolio' for accreditation is focused on a comprehensive school self-review encompassing perspectives of learners, teachers, leaders and members of the wider school community to establish a cohesive and holistic view of quality implementation.
Recognition is the first stage of the ICA quality assurance framework. To gain Recognised school status a school is required to demonstrate that it meets the ICA Recognition standards and International Curriculum specific criteria. Schools recognised by the ICA for the implementation of the International Curriculum are awarded Recognised School status for a two-year period.
There are three ICA Standards for Recognition.
Standard 1 focuses on the school’s administration and operations ensuring that the International Curriculum is implemented safely and in accordance with the respective regulatory bodies for the school context.
Standard 2 seeks to verify the school’s focus on improving learning for all, ensuring there are shared understandings, definitions, and policies to enable full implementation of the International Curriculum.
Standard 3 identifies the school’s approach to learning and teaching, ensuring that its pedagogical philosophy, practices, and processes are aligned with those of the International Curriculum.
A key service of the ICA is to support a Candidate school, seeking to improve learning, through the allocation of a dedicated mentor who partners with the school throughout their journey to Recognised status.
ICA mentoring is a formal relationship founded on the specific goal of achieving quality, as outlined by the ICA's Accreditation framework. An ICA mentor is selected and appointed on the basis of their experience in and knowledge of the needs and the working context of the school.
ICA Accreditation has one explicit and transparent aim – to improve learning. To achieve this we work alongside schools to champion quality and unlock their potential as effective learning communities. The intrinsic value of ICA Accreditation lies in its process which is rooted in analytical reflection, informed by evidence and focused on the impact on the learner and the learning.
Journey to Accreditation
A school with ICA Recognition status continues its journey to Accreditation with the continued support of an ICA mentor. The process of building the Improving Learning Portfolio for Accreditation is focused on a comprehensive school self-review.
The self-review is a school-led activity structured around the ICA Accreditation standards and is dedicated to improving learning, engaging learners, teachers, leaders and members of the wider school community to establish a cohesive and holistic view of quality implementation.
The Value of the Process
Through conducting a thorough Accreditation self-review in partnership with their allocated mentor, schools gain a deeper understanding of their own implementation of the International Curriculum, unique to each school’s context, that will guide the process for continuous improvement, led from within the school.
Accredited schools are invited to participate in International Curriculum Steering Groups and Advisory Boards to help steer the direction of the International Curriculum, ensuring the International Curriculum continues to be for schools, by schools for the future ahead.
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