"Welcome to your school." - Frederik Granström, principal of IES Skellefteå, and Cecilia Marlow, interim CEO of IES, planting a ceremonial apple tree.
IES opened its 37th school, in Skellefteå, during a grand opening ceremony attended by students, parents and staff.
The school in Skellefteå is opening with around 240 students in grades F-9, and will grow over time. It has been opened following a close dialogue with the local municipality, to compliment the schools they run, help attract families with an international background to the town, and above all to provide more school places which offer students a high-quality of education.
Before planting an apple tree in IES tradition the school’s principal, Mr Granström, told students: "Welcome to your school, I promise you that this will be a school where you can feel safe every day. This will be a school which helps you to develop academically and also socially, with a view to the future. We live in a global society and the borders outside of Sweden will be open to you. This is a school where you can be exactly who you are and be respected for that.”
Turning to the parents he added: “It is with a great sense of responsibility that I promise that I will do my very best to take care of your children and their education when they are with me, thank you for choosing IES Skellefteå and thanks for being here today.”
IES has been teaching children since 1993 and today has 26 000 students in Sweden. The organisation follows the clear convictions set out by the organisation’s founder, Barbara Bergström, about what constitutes a really good school, where children can develop to their fullest potential.
The school will provide a bilingual education to children from Skellefteå and the local area, following the IES promise to help students learn to command both the English and Swedish languages.
As with other IES schools it will also provide a safe and calm environment, so that students can enjoy their time at school and concentrate on what they are being taught.
Cecilia Marlow, interim CEO of Internationella Engelska Skolan, told the audience: "That means that we can use every minute of the lesson, it means that it is a safe environment to learn in and to teach in. It also means that your children will gain the most knowledge during their years in this school.
“Thank you for entrusting us with the most valuable thing you have, your children, it is a very big responsibility, but I can personally vouch for that your children are in very good hands with Mr Granström and his team."
Student volunteers proudly held up the ribbon for Mr Granström, to cut, before he welcomed everyone into the building.
Ten-year-old Maya Gillerstedt (pictured above, furthest left) was one of the children who held up the ribbon. Although she has a Swedish-background, she has lived in Canada for the past eight years, and her lessons so far have been in English. She is now looking forward to a fully bilingual education.
She said: “I like the school, the teachers are nice and I think it is a very good building. I think I have a head start in maths and English, I might be a bit lower in Swedish because it is not what I am used to in school, but I know the teachers will help and I am a pretty quick learner.
“I don’t know the national anthem, so I need to learn that."
The ceremony concluded as parents watched their children line up by class, to be led into their new school by their teachers. Everyone who attended the opening ceremony also had the opportunity to tour the building, which has been transformed into a bright and modern educational environment.
With the school officially open students will start learning, get to know one another, and embark on a journey which will see them put on blue caps and gowns as they graduate at the end of year nine.
Norran subscribers can also read how the paper covered the school's opening here: https://www.norran.se/nyheter/skola/nu-har-internationella-engelska-skolan-invigts-i-skelleftea/