Publicity March 2015

Classrooms without walls

Supporting young people’s character development

The British School in Tokyo (BST) aims for excellence in all that it sets out to achieve. It is self-evident that, for the many parents who choose to send their children to the school, outstanding academic performance is a priority.

Indeed, there is no getting away from the fact that examination grades are a valuable measure of the quality of teaching and learning, and schools that fail to deliver the results that students deserve will quickly find themselves exposed.

But, real education extends well beyond exam preparation. At BST we work hard to make sure that the children entrusted to us are given every opportunity to become happy, caring young adults.

Our hope for them is that they might aspire to be willing team players, who are prepared to step aside from the crowd and be leaders; intelligent risk-takers driven by curiosity and a thirst for learning; interested—and interesting—human beings.

Our school community is proud of our students’ examination statistics, and of the impressive list of schools, colleges and universities all over the world where they have gained hard-won places.

Yet, more gratifying than any of this is the students’ strength of character, sense of fairness and consideration for others, as well as broad range of skills and enthusiasm.

Character development is currently the subject of much heated debate in educational circles. Is this really something that schools can teach? At BST we argue that we should challenge—and support—our students in a way that encourages self-confidence, resilience and a sense of adventure.

In this area, we believe that one of the very worst things one can do to children is to fence them in with low expectations: it holds back their development.

When we expect more from them than they expect themselves, they grow in self-belief, derive greater personal satisfaction and begin to develop character.

This does not necessarily mean, though, that such attributes can be taught; and it certainly is not meant to suggest that the best way to teach young people to swim is to throw them in the deep end.

At BST, within the safety of a caring environment, we set our students demanding challenges—and we are prepared to see them fail occasionally. We aim to instil in them the confidence to risk stepping outside their comfort zone.

What is more, we allow them the privilege of making mistakes—because mistakes are precious gifts to someone who really wants to learn.

It is for this reason that many of our objectives lie far beyond the walls of the classroom.

On the sports field and in the concert hall, up mountains and on stage, BST students acquire skills, develop interests and face challenges that will equip them with the attributes they will need to thrive in adulthood.

Through community service, cultural exchanges and a wide-ranging series of residential trips, expeditions and educational visits, they learn how to stand in the shoes of others: how to appreciate beliefs and values that differ from their own.

In our extensive work experience programme, through internships, and with the benefit of advice from our high-powered network of business leaders, expert practitioners and professionals, they begin to develop a genuine understanding of the world that awaits them when their schooldays are over.

Founded just over 25 years ago and named Company of the Year at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s 2014 British Business Awards, BST offers an outstanding education to young people aged three to 18, who currently represent more than 50 nationalities.

To learn more, please contact our admissions team to arrange a visit: