For the first time Internationella Engelska Skolan has opened four new schools in one year - with Landskrona, Helsingborg, Södertälje and Årsta bringing the total number of IES schools in Sweden to 34.
The new schools will grow over several years but are already educating 1,600 students, bringing the total number of students currently learning with IES to 24,000.
The organisation also held its largest ever event for staff as more than 700 newly-employed colleagues gathered together in one place, at KTH’s Aula Medica, to learn more about the company.
IES Landskrona is the first ever brand-new school that the organisation has opened, after a project in partnership with landlord Hemsö and Landskrona municipality saw the construction of a custom-designed school, next to the municipality's new sports hall, in the up-and-coming area of Borstahusen.
This is also the first time that IES has opened an F-9 school, welcoming seven-year-olds who will learn with IES all the way through until they are ready for gymnasiet.
Mr. Fredrik Alvarsson (pictured above, left, with IES Landskrona Principal Mr. Chris Nilsson and the captains of all four houses) , who is in charge of development for the project’s landlords, Hemsö, spoke in front of students in Landskrona as he donated 10,000 SEK for them to choose recreation facilities for their student lounge.
He said: “We have planned and built this school over the past three years, to create the best possible environment for you, so that you can learn as much as possible every day and become the best students that you can by the time you graduate from grade nine.
"We also wanted to give some money to you, and we will hold a contest for your houses. The house that wins the contest will decide what the money will be spent on."
While the school in Landskrona represents two important firsts, it is only one of several schools which is opening this year, and each of them is the focus of the excitement of the staff and students attending.
Speaking at the opening in Helsingborg, a new 4-9 school in a refurbished building with certified historical significance, the founder and vice chairman of IES, Ms. Barbara Bergström, said. “For me it is an incredible honour to stand here this morning and welcome you to Internationella Engelska Skolan in Helsingborg. I address you with a huge amount of humility, I understand that you as the parents are entrusting us with that which is most special in your lives, your children, our students. It is a tremendous honour for all of us. Mr. Andersson and his staff with their enthusiasm, their dedication, their passion for learning, will take this honour extremely seriously. The school is not anything without you, our students, and their parents. We treasure the confidence that you have given us this morning and for the years to come.”
Each new school commemorated its opening according to IES tradition, by planting an apple tree, and cutting a ribbon to mark the school open.
At the first of the four opening ceremonies, for a new 4-9 school in Årsta, the principal, Mr. Julian Dent, said: "It is my honour to stand in front of you and open the 31st IES school in Sweden. The team has worked extremely hard to get this done and welcome you here today. We are very excited to have all the students here finally.
"Almost a quarter of a century ago a few kilometres away in Enskede, Ms. Bergström started the first IES school and from there, dare I say, we have revolutionised Swedish education. We invite you students here to command the English language. We want to prepare you to go out there in the world. That is why we have teachers from 11 different countries, teaching students here at this school."
At the opening of the school in Södertälje, also for years 4-9, the principal, Mr. Johan Öhman, said: "When I was hired as principal of this school, in my first interview I said ‘As always with IES the expectation is set to a high standard. The expectation of continually high standards gives us great inspiration to provide all students with a first-class education.' That is why I took this job, it is a choice of education to achieve excellence. Students, I believe in you all, each and every one of you can achieve beyond your own expectations, and believe me, when you do, it’s not only fun, it creates strength, you will be self-aware, and self-confident.”