John Mil­liss – Head of Cam­pus for Aus­tralian In­de­pen­dent School in Bali


Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS -

Please tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self and your background.

I was born in Syd­ney Australia and I grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Syd­ney. I com­pleted a Master of Ed­u­ca­tion in Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tional Needs and I have worked in the field of Ed­u­ca­tion for 27 years. Be­fore Bali I worked in schools in the Lower North Shore and Eastern Sub­urbs of Syd­ney.

Can you tell us about the new cam­pus?

Our new cam­pus has been many years in the mak­ing and we are very ex­cited that this year we will be open­ing our doors to the Bali com­mu­nity. The new cam­pus is cen­trally lo­cated on Jalan Imam Bon­jol. Our eco-friendly build­ings have been de­signed for op­ti­mal air flow and nat­u­ral day­light. Fa­cil­i­ties are quite com­pre­hen­sive. There is a spa­cious 850 sqm multi- pur­pose court, a pro- sur­face outdoor ten­nis court, a soc­cer field, a 25m swimming pool, in ad­di­tion to an im­pres­sive am­phithe­ater. The state- ofthe-art science lab com­ple­ments the spe­cial­ist spa­ces avail­able for mu­sic, art and drama. Chil­dren have a great play­ground, while par­ents will be pleased to know they can drop by and have a re­lax­ing chat with other par­ents at our rooftop café.

What would you say would be some of the chal­lenges in switch­ing your cur­ricu­lum in the Se­nior School to the IB sys­tem?

The Au­tho­ri­sa­tion phase for the IB Diploma Programme was com­pleted over a two-and-a-hal­fyear pe­riod. Dur­ing this time we ad­dressed many chal­lenges and trained all our teach­ers work­ing in the Se­nior School on the IB phi­los­o­phy, cur­ricu­lum and core com­po­nents. The cur­ricu­lum is not that dis­sim­i­lar to other cur­ricu­lums. It is the “CORE” (Ex­tended Es­say, Cre­ativ­ity - Ac­tiv­ity - Ser­vice, The­ory of Knowl­edge) that makes it dif­fer­ent and this is why uni­ver­si­ties are very in­ter­ested in re­cruit­ing IB DP stu­dents.

En­rol­ments are al­ways a ma­jor source of anx­i­ety for school ad­min­is­tra­tors and boards. What is the en­vi­ron­ment in Bali like?

Mount Agung put a few peo­ple off mov­ing to Bali this year and en­rolling their chil­dren. Over the years we have seen en­rol­ments go up and down but we are an­tic­i­pat­ing that our en­rol­ments will in­crease once the new cam­pus opens. Bali is still an at­trac­tive place for ex­pats to come and ex­pe­ri­ence the cul­ture and en­joy an amaz­ing sea change away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life.

How does AIS in Bali dif­fer from other ed­u­ca­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions in Bali? What can fam­i­lies ex­pect from an ed­u­ca­tion at AIS in Bali?

Our main dif­fer­ence would be the cur­ricu­lum we of­fer. We fol­low the Early Years Na­tional Frame­work for pre- school, the Aus­tralian cur­ricu­lum from foun­da­tion to year 10 and the IB Diploma Programme for Years 11 and 12. Our school year starts in Jan­uary and fin­ishes in De­cem­ber so it is an easy fit for those look­ing to con­tinue ed­u­ca­tion in Australia. Fam­i­lies that en­rol their child at AIS can ex­pect a very warm wel­come to our school com­mu­nity. We are stu­dent-fo­cused, our teach­ers are very car­ing pro­fes­sion­als and have a child- cen­tred ap­proach to learn­ing. We un­der­stand that not all stu­dents learn at the same pace and in the same way. The pur­pose-built new cam­pus is on land that we own which also is a big dif­fer­ence from other ed­u­ca­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions here on the is­land.

For po­ten­tial stu­dents and par­ents, what ad­vice can you give them re­gard­ing their choices be­tween the schools in Bali?

Ev­ery school is dif­fer­ent and you need to look at all schools to see which one is the right fit for your child. Ask ques­tions, speak to fam­i­lies who are en­rolled in the school. At AIS we en­cour­age prospec­tive par­ents to talk to par­ents in our school com­mu­nity to help an­swer any ques­tions or con­cerns they may have.

How do stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity giv­ing? Are there other pro­grams to note from the school?

Ser­vice is em­bed­ded in all ar­eas of the cur­ricu­lum and our stu­dents are en­cour­aged to “give back” to the wider com­mu­nity in which they live. What this looks like to a five-year- old is very dif­fer­ent to a 17-year- old, but all stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in the var­i­ous pro­grams set up by the school or by in­di­vid­ual stu­dents. AIS sup­ports the Bali Chil­dren Foun­da­tion and each class spon­sors a child through the foun­da­tion. We are very lucky to have the op­por­tu­nity to live in In­done­sia and es­pe­cially in Bali. There­fore, as vis­i­tors, we en­cour­age our stu­dents to help oth­ers in a sus­tain­able man­ner that ben­e­fits the en­tire com­mu­nity.

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