BACKGROUND to SCHOOLS

The Özel Bilkent Schools enjoy an excellent reputation in Turkey and figure amongst the top foundation schools in Ankara and beyond. The schools are fee paying establishments and, therefore, attract middle to high socio-economic status children.

Often called ‘boutique’ schools by parents in view of the desire to keep the total school population relatively low, currently around 700 in primary (Pre-K to 8) and 290 in high (9-12), they are known as establishments which pay particular attention to individual pupils. The schools are committed to developing students’ attributes, in particular developing their voice and their confidence.

Entrance to the Primary School is decided by lottery in Pre-Kindergarten, the level at which most students enter the primary and middle school, and by entrance exam for students wishing to enter from then onwards. Thus, the primary and middle school at the outset receives a broad range of abilities due to this selection process. It aspires to provide an education which recognises the uniqueness of each pupil and is set on helping each student add as much value, both personally and academically, during their time as members of the school community.

The High School continues the development process and, over the past ten years in particular, has developed a special scholarship policy. This allows academically strong students from outside the institution an opportunity to join the school in Grade 9, based on the results in a special scholarship exam, and benefit from a full scholarship programme. The top graduating students from the primary school automatically get full scholarship. The policy, combined with a constantly improving teaching body and improved curriculum delivery, has contributed to increasing success in the school’s national university exam results.

The High School was authorized as an IB World School in November 2008 and graduated its first cohort of IB Diploma students in June 2011. The IB Diploma is run alongside the program for students following the Turkish Ministry of Education curriculum, focusing on the integration of teaching approaches within the school, with the IB educational philosophy informing the general educational approach, and students from both programmes working and studying together as appropriate.

The Primary School was accepted as an IB PYP candidate school from January 2009 and has developed a full Program of Inquiry (PoI) which it implements from Pre-K to Grade 4. The school is a leader in its approach to integrating the national primary curriculum into the PYP Program of Inquiry. The school received a PYP authorization visit in November 2012 and subsequently become an IB World School.

This is an exciting time in the history of the primary, middle and high schools with many opportunities provided for professional development and a rethinking of educational understandings. There is a stronger than ever desire to be a model school focused on the future.

The schools offer a substantial number of music scholarships every year, currently 70 children benefit in some measure from these scholarships. The scholarship exam is opened once a year for all students who wish to benefit from this scheme, and assessed by members of the Music Faculty of Bilkent University. Those who are successful are awarded free music lessons in the instrument of their choice. In the 2010-11 academic year a fledgling primary school band was formed, which gave its first performance in December 2010; now in its fourth year it is growing from strength to strength.