Principal (Head of School) at The British International School of Stockholm in Sweden
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Principal (Head of School)
The British International School of Stockholm (Sweden)

Appointed - Ciaran Harrington
Jan 22, 2021
Feb 15, 2021


On behalf of the British International School in Stockholm ( BISS ), it is our pleasure to announce the selection of CIARAN HARRINGTON  as their next Principal, effective August of 2021.

Ciaran Harrington is presently serving, since 2015, as the Head of the Junior School of Dulwich College in Singapore. From 2008 - 2015 Ciaran served as Deputy Principal at Kellett School, The British International School in Hong Kong. Before embarking on his international journey, Ciaran served in Senior Leadership including Head of Primary School in the London area.

Ciaran earned an M.A. in School Leadership from St. Mary’s University College, of the University of Surrey and a B.A. in Teaching Studies and Theology, also from St. Mary’s College of the University of Surrey.  In 2007 Ciaran earned the National Professional Qualification for Headship ( NPQH )

Ciaran brings a broad range of leadership experience to BISS, with a sharp focus on what he describes as "systems thinking, sustainability, social justice, creativity, and problem-solving”, all with a view to shaping “well-rounded and flourishing young people ready to take their next steps”. As a committed learner himself, Ciaran is a school leader who, as he puts it, "seeks systemic and impactful change for  students, families, and staff alike”, an outlook well-suited for his next leadership role at BISS.

The Board of Governors of the British International School of Stockholm, the BISS Search Committee, and Search Associates would like to thank all candidates who expressed an interest in the Principal position, and to everyone who assisted and supported the search process.

David Cope and Günther Brandt
Search Associates




PRINCIPAL (HEAD OF SCHOOL) - from August 2021

The Board of the British International School of Stockholm

is looking for a new Principal, to succeed the current holder of the post,

Mr Carl Hutson, from the start of the school year 2021-2022.



1.  Past

Established in 1980, The British International School of Stockholm has built a reputation for excellence in both teaching and pastoral care, with high academic standards in a nurturing yet challenging environment. As such, our school is the first choice in international education for discerning parents in both the international and local communities.

What began as The British Primary School of Stockholm, was initially run from a different location called Borgen. Within 5 years the school grew from a handful of students to a well-established setting offering a high quality international primary education, hence the move in 1985 to a larger site, our present location on Östra Valhallavägen.

We changed our name to The British International Primary School of Stockholm to represent our international nature in 2000, and then finally to today’s name in 2014, as we expanded into secondary education to offer IGCSE from our second site on Rinkebyvägen. Most recently, in 2019, we further expanded our curriculum to include the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. 2021 will see our first graduating IBDP class.

2.     Present

Today we are a truly international school with over 600 students aged 3-18 from around 50 different countries.   The school is situated across a split site in Djursholm, a beautiful suburb of Stockholm and enjoys an outstanding reputation for both its academic progress and achievement, and its pastoral care.   Our highly qualified staff, low teacher turnover and high teacher to student ratios stand us apart from our competition; as does our friendly and welcoming atmosphere. With our inclusive, close knit community, we pride ourselves in providing the international families we serve with a home away from home. We also have a number of Swedish families, returning to Stockholm or planning to go overseas, who value our globally minded education. Meeting internationally recognised standards of excellence, the British International School of Stockholm is the only accredited member of COBIS (the Council of British International Schools) in Sweden and received a commendable BSO inspection report.

3.     Future

We are a very ambitious school and look towards continual improvement in all practice. Over the past two years, we have invested a great deal of resources and training into the development of digital learning and the effective use and integration of IT. As a result, we have recently become a Google reference school. It has also put us in an ideal position to face distance learning challenges and encouraged us to think outside the box in terms of keeping our community together.

In the larger picture, we have ambitious plans for a purpose-built single site for the whole school and are currently working with a team of developers to turn this into a reality over the coming years. However, whatever our future plans and developments, our focus is always about the continual improvement of learning and the provision of a world class education for our pupils. Development of staff and building leadership from within is therefore extremely important to us. To this end, we have begun to move to a more distributed leadership approach, using coaching as a tool for both school improvement and staff development.

4.     Mission Statement

Through outstanding teaching, BISS will nurture a responsible, reflective, respectful and globally-minded community of lifelong learners who demonstrate high levels of achievement whilst maximising personal, social, physical and academic development in an environment of positive challenge.

A BISS education is designed to enable smooth transition to other English-speaking schools and examination courses around the world.

5.     Vision Statement

To be recognised as providing an outstanding holistic education which maximises learning for every pupil.  As such, BISS will be recognised as a leading international school and the International School of choice in Stockholm.

6.     Guiding Principles

As a learning focused, non-profit making organisation, BISS is totally committed to making a difference, not a profit.

The following guiding principles stand alongside our mission, vision and definition of learning and therefore underpin all of our educational thinking:

  • A safe and stimulating environment – safe to succeed, take risks and learn through mistakes.
  • Low stress, high appropriate challenge to enable all pupils to realise their potential.
  • Engendering a love of learning.
  • Effective learning for all, promoted by aiming for excellence.
  • A holistic approach to learning.
  • Celebrating success in all aspects of learning.
  • An inclusive culture, valuing the uniqueness and achievement of each child.
  • Developing reflective and motivated lifelong learners.
  • Promoting, modelling and developing respect for oneself, others and the environment.
  • A forward-looking school, that explores new research-based approaches to improving learning.

7.     Curriculum

We aim to bring together the best of the international curricula, to offer a progressive and challenging international education for lifelong learning. Our Nursery and Reception classes use a bespoke curriculum which incorporates best global Early Years practice. In Key Stages 1 and 2, we use a combination of the IPC and Cambridge Primary curricula to both inspire learning and ensure appropriate challenge. Key Stage 3 uses Cambridge Secondary and English National Curricula, together with elements of the IMYC, to ensure seamless transition into our programme of IGCSEs at Key Stage 4 and IB Diploma Programme at Key stage 5.

As a result of outstanding teaching and learning, our first three years of IGCSE results have been significantly above global averages and have surpassed expectations. This is an even more satisfying achievement as the school is non-selective and has a high number of EAL students.

Each stage of our curriculum ensures a strong foundation in core areas, whilst maintaining a breadth of learning across a broad range of subjects. Our learners also develop and apply the key skills and attributes found in the BISS Learner Profile, such as critical and creative thinking, enquiry and resilience; all from a global perspective.

8.     Further information

For further information about the British International School of Stockholm, please visit:

Or for a virtual feel for the school at Christmas, please click on these links:


1.     Role Description

The Principal is responsible for all academic matters and the delivery of high-quality education, pastoral care, enrichment and parent engagement as well as the day-to-day running of the School.

The successful candidate will report to and work closely with the Board to develop and implement the strategic vision for the British International School of Stockholm (BISS). He or she must subscribe fully to BISS’ ethos and core values as a non-selective, learning-focused school where wellbeing and progress for every individual matters.

The Principal is responsible to the Board for all aspects of the role description across the whole school.

2.     Senior Leadership Structure

The Principal leads the Senior Leadership Team that comprises:

  • Principal
  • Head of Secondary
  • Head of Primary

And the Extended Senior Leadership Team that comprises:

  • Principal
  • Head of Secondary
  • Head of Primary
  • Assistant Principal - Assessment and Teaching for Learning
  • Assistant Principal - Pastoral, Altorp
  • Assistant Principal - Pastoral, Ekeby
  • Assistant Principal - Individual Needs and Inclusion
  • Director of IT and Digital Learning

The Finance and Operations Manager is responsible for all non-academic matters of the School and has a dual reporting line to the Principal and the Board.

3.     Strategic Leadership

  • Oversee the continuing growth of BISS and communicate a clear, compelling vision for the School.
  • Work closely with the Board to articulate a clear strategic direction for the school that builds on the progress made over the past 10 years.
  • Continue to develop a strong leadership team and teaching excellence, through a coaching approach
  • Attend and participate in all meetings of the Board and present accurate and timely reports as appropriate.
  • Work with the school’s Leadership and Management Teams to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the school’s strategic plans.

4.     Teaching and Learning

  • Ensure that improving learning is at the centre of all decisions and discussions.
  • Champion the BISS Learner Profile and approach to learning.
  • Demand ambitious standards for all students and instil a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on student learning.
  • Secure excellent learning through high quality and innovative teaching and curriculum opportunities.
  • Deliver the highest standards of pastoral care, ensuring that student welfare and social, moral and personal development inform all decisions made within the school.
  • Be a visible presence within the staff body, encouraging and promoting teaching that is inspirational, innovative and professional.
  • Develop and maintain an outstanding learning environment that enables all students to fulfil their potential.
  • Assess, monitor and evaluate teaching standards across the curriculum in order to continuously improve practice and maintain first class learning throughout the School.

5.     Management

  • Recruit, develop and retain high calibre staff to ensure that BISS continues to deliver high class learning at all levels.
  • Promote the personal and professional development of staff, providing appropriate support, guidance and training.
  • Ensure the school promotes the well-being of the staff to maximise their professional contribution and their sense of satisfaction.
  • Participate in the School’s financial planning and management and, supported by the Finance and Operations Manager, meet the annual budget agreed with the Board.
  • Ensure budgets are effectively allocated and managed.
  • Lead the annual continuous school improvement cycle that integrates self-review and quality assurance processes with professional review and development planning, to ensure that the vision and objectives of the school are met.
  • Prepare the school for external accreditation and inspection processes, including maintaining accredited status membership of COBIS.
  • Ensure the school meets and maintains all of its legal obligations, including compliances with Safeguarding and Health & Safety regulations, and other legislation as appropriate; working with the Board and the Finance and Operations Manager.

6.     Stakeholder Relationships

  • Be an ambassador for BISS and maintain strong and positive relationships with existing and prospective parents.
  • Ensure appropriate and effective two-way communication between staff, students, parents, the school’s management and the school Board.
  • Play a central role in marketing and public relations activities.
  • Actively promote BISS and represent the School at all appropriate events and functions.
  • Play an active and effective role in the recruitment and retention of students.
  • Enrol students who will benefit from a BISS education.
  • Foster and maintain links with other school Principals, industry associations and other bodies for the benefit of the School.



1.     Essential experience and qualifications

  • A fully qualified teacher (UK B.Ed. or PGCE with relevant degree, or hold the equivalent recognised teaching qualifications from other countries).
  • A proven track record of successful leadership as a Principal/Head or whole-school Deputy Head in an all through school.
  • Evidence of successfully leading innovation which has resulted in improved student outcomes.
  • An understanding of the demands of an international independent day school environment.
  • Experience of successfully leading change, including managing a number of simultaneous projects, whilst ensuring the engagement and support of students, parents, colleagues, Board and the wider community.
  • Educational experience that illustrates a commitment to academic progress and to the welfare and safeguarding of students.
  • Proven use of data to drive improvement of learning and practice
  • Involvement in the assessment, appraisal, guidance, support and professional development of teaching staff, preferably through a coaching approach.
  • A firm grasp of financial planning and management and business processes.
  • Knowledge and understanding of recent educational developments.

2.     Desirable experience and qualifications

  • A postgraduate qualification; e.g. NPQH or relevant Master’s Degree.
  • Experience and understanding of a range of curricula.
  • Experience of growing student enrolments and managing change.
  • Recent leadership experience in an international environment outside of the UK.
  • Experience of working with students for whom English is an additional language.

3.     Personal qualities

  • A passion for improving learning.
  • Strong leadership skills and proven ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve aspirational goals.
  • Excellent and accurate verbal and written communication skills.
  • Evidence of relevant continuous professional development.
  • A personable, outgoing and cheerful leader, capable of cultivating strong relationships to support the development and growth of BISS.
  • Ambitious, resilient, hard-working, motivated and a strong positive role model.
  • Cross-cultural competence.
  • An unassailable desire to achieve excellence in all aspects of professional performance.
  • Ability to be flexible, to assimilate new information quickly in a new environment and cope with ambiguity.


The salary will be highly competitive and commensurate with the importance of the role. Free tuition for school aged children will be available through the Grant Programme for International Teachers.


The British International School of Stockholm is an Equal Opportunities employer and welcomes applications for all posts from appropriately qualified persons regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief.


The British International School of Stockholm is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Any offer of employment will be subject to relevant police checks, the receipt of satisfactory references and the production of relevant original ID documentation and examination certificates. The successful candidate must also be willing to undergo child protection training appropriate to the post.



Suitably qualified candidates should send their application as an email attachment to both

Gunther Brandt and David Cope of Search Associates,

including all the items below, collated together in a single pdf,

to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than February 15, 2021:

  • a letter of application (no more than one page), briefly outlining why the candidate wishes to apply for this position and what specific skills, qualities and experience she/he can offer
  • a CV (no more than two pages)
  • a short statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than one page)
  • the names and full contact details of at least three professional referees (one of which should if possible be the leader of the applicant’s current organization)

Interviews will take place during February and March 2021.   However, the Board of the British International School of Stockholm reserves the right to invite selected candidates to interviews in advance of this schedule.

Final closing date:     February 15, 2021

Applications to both: and

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