Membership Standards

CIS member schools are measured against the CIS core membership standards. As part of the membership application process, rubrics with criteria for each standard are provided with further details about the standards.

For schools wishing to pursue CIS International Accreditation, the accreditation process will help you understand how to go even further with all accreditation standards. 

Core standards for CIS Membership:

School purpose and direction
  • The school’s purpose, direction, and decision-making are guided by clear and aspirational guiding statements that are appropriate for the needs of all constituent groups and the context of the school.
  • The guiding statements provide clear commitment to high-quality learning and teaching which is effectively implemented at each stage of a student’s pathway through the school. 
  • The guiding statements provide clear commitment to developing global citizenship and intercultural learning.
  • The guiding statements provide clear commitment to well-being, conform to the CIS Code of Ethics, and demonstrate commitment to the values inherent in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990). 
Governance, leadership and ownership
  • The respective roles and responsibilities of governance and/or ownership and leadership are suitably defined in writing, respected in practice, and aligned with the CIS Code of Ethics to enable the sustainable development of the school.
  • The head of school is empowered to be the educational leader and, in partnership with the governors and/or owners, has clearly defined responsibility and accountability for student learning, well-being, global citizenship, and the culture of the school as a whole.
  • The governors and/or owners and leaders ensure there are educational and financial plans to support the school’s viability and implementation of the guiding statements, and that these plans are appropriately communicated to the school community. 
The Curriculum
  • The curriculum as a whole offers access, engagement, and challenge to support the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional needs of all students.
  • The documented curriculum determines the development of knowledge, understanding, skills, and attributes, including well-being and intercultural competencies relevant to the students’ current and future development.
  • Global citizenship, intercultural learning, and digital citizenship are intentionally planned for within the curriculum to ensure students are well prepared for life beyond school.
Teaching and assessing for learning
  • Teaching is closely aligned with the school’s definition of high-quality learning which enables all students to be engaged and challenged, to gain access to the curriculum, and to have success in their learning. 
  • There are effective policies and procedures in place to identify the varied needs and overall well-being of students, both at admission and while enrolled, to ensure that all students may benefit from the school’s programmes.
  • Teaching draws on a range of appropriate cultural and authentic contexts to provide meaning and purpose for the students in their development as global citizens.
Well-being
  • The school environment is characterised by openness, fairness, trust, and mutual respect to support student learning related to well-being. The school listens to students’ views and develops their agency, compassion, environmental stewardship, and leadership capabilities.
  • The school has clearly documented and effectively implemented policies and procedures relating to child safeguarding to protect and promote the well-being of all enrolled students. These policies set out how the school addresses the following issues: safer recruitment; staff conduct; student behaviour; reporting, managing and recording child safeguarding concerns and allegations of abuse; roles and responsibilities of staff, leaders and governors to manage and oversee safeguarding; staff training, student education and parental engagement; peer-on-peer harassment and abuse (including but not limited to bullying and sexual harassment); online safety; and security and health and safety. These exceed, where necessary, local regulatory requirements.
  • The school ensures the provision of healthcare, healthy relationship, and well-being education, and these exceed, where necessary, local regulatory requirements. 
Staffing
  • The faculty and support staff are employed in sufficient numbers, and with appropriate experience, qualifications, and competencies and in accordance with the host country employment law and the CIS Code of Ethics.
  • Thorough background checks have been carried out for all staff and volunteers to confirm their identity, medical fitness, right to work in the country, previous employment history, criminal record, qualifications, and suitable references. This information has been taken into account in determining whether their appointment will be confirmed.
  • The school provides for the continuous professional development of faculty and support staff that relates to school priorities, addresses the professional needs of the staff, and contributes to the development of student learning, well-being, and global citizenship.
  • The performance evaluation system is defined and implemented for all faculty and support staff based on pre-determined, explicit criteria and is supported by a programme of professional development and/or training, which is linked to appraisal outcomes and identified school priorities.
  • Collectively, the leaders, faculty, and support staff create a professional and trusting working environment. Written policies and guidelines establish expectations for the performance and conduct of all faculty and support staff, and they are applied fairly and consistently. 
Premises & physical accomodation
  • The school maintains premises and facilities, with supporting systems and services, to enable it to fulfil the school’s stated purpose and direction, deliver the curriculum and contribute to the well-being of students.
  • The premises have high standards of cleanliness, health, safety, and security, which are supported by written policies and effective procedures, and which exceed, where necessary, local regulatory requirements. 
Community & home partnerships
  • Effective communications foster a productive home-school partnership and a positive learning community. 
Boarding/Homestay/Residential
  • Student learning and well-being, in line with the school’s purpose and direction, is systematically enhanced by the boarding and/or homestay services provided.
  • The school’s policies and procedures in relation to child safeguarding are appropriate and/or adapted and effectively implemented to meet the needs of boarding and/or homestay students, staff, and facilities. These are: child protection including expectations for healthy relationships, both physical and virtual; complaints; behaviour management including anti-bullying and restraint; security; and health and safety reporting and record-keeping; and these exceed, where necessary, local regulations.
  • The school provides health and well-being support to residential students, including first aid, medical care, the management of personal and social well-being, crisis and emergency management, and age-appropriate health and well-being education.
  • The number, quality, and suitability of residential leaders and staff are appropriate to supervise and meet the needs of the students and also provide appropriate and effective education in the context of boarding and/or homestay.
  • Residential accommodation and the facilities available to boarding and/or homestay students are suitable and secure for the number, gender, age, and needs of the enrolled students and the staff providing care/supervision.