About Us

Learn what makes Southbank an exceptional school – our history, values and internationalism.

About Us

Learn what makes Southbank an exceptional school – our history, values and internationalism.

About Southbank International School

Southbank is a school whose quality and identity rest on its commitment to the International Baccalaureate and promotion of internationalism. With over seventy nationalities on our roll, we live and breathe the spirit of internationalism, as reflected in our three programmes of learning as well as the many activities outside the classroom which enhance and enrich an individual’s education, and the life of the school as a whole.

We are an IB school that prides itself on the cultivation and nurturing of an ethos and spirit rooted in the school’s foundation and history, as well as the philosophy of the IB. We believe education should be seen as an end in itself as well as a means of enhancing career and life prospects; we believe in the pursuit of academic rigour; we believe that doubt is an intellectual strength not a weakness; we believe in the promotion of compassion, tolerance and diversity; we believe in developing independent, confident, curious, lifelong learners who commit themselves to helping others as well as themselves. We aim to do all we can to ensure our students fulfil their academic potential, not least so that those who leave us at eighteen have the opportunity to go on to a university of their choice.

History of Southbank

In 1979, Milton Toubkin, David Tucker, John Marberry, Susan Marberry and Stephen Bailey signed a document establishing the American International School (AIS) with three key principles:

  • The school would be democratic
  • The school would use London as the classroom
  • The curriculum would be individual

In 1981, the school moved into a Victorian primary school building on Cornwall Road and was renamed Southbank International School. Southbank was the first school in the UK to be authorised to offer all three International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes in 1997. The school has flourished from its humble beginnings on London’s South Bank with a few dozen students to a tri-campus institution in the heart of London serving more than 700 students ranging from ages 3-19 years old.

Southbank International School has led the way in providing internationally-relevant world class education for more than 30 years and continues to be at the forefront.

Governance of Southbank


Executive Principal

Principal – Hampstead

Principal – Kensington

Principal – Westminster

Siobhan McGrath

Shirley Harwood

Siobhan McGrath

Dr. Paul Wood


Group Chief Executive Officer, Cognita SchoolsChris Jansen


Assistant Director of EducationJames Carroll

Mission and Values

Southbank International School is committed to academic rigour, a liberal ethos, and the values of the International Baccalaureate.

Southbank aims to be an international school that:

  • has a broad curriculum with a global outlook, and a strong emphasis on inquiry
  • promotes academic rigour, and enthusiasm for learning
  • provides opportunities for students to study other languages, as well as their own, and to become good communicators
  • celebrates intellectual scepticism, and stresses the importance of remaining open-minded and reflective
  • supports individual needs and develops individual strengths, so that everyone can fulfil their potential
  • uses London as a classroom

And to be an open, inclusive community that:

  • offers a safe, caring, and supportive environment
    has high expectations in all areas
  • treats every individual with fairness and respect
  • celebrates diversity, and welcomes those new to the school community
  • encourages dialogue, and listens to and considers others’ point of view
  • has strong and effective leadership which makes clear decisions after appropriate consultation
  • develops a culture of responsibility, service and accountability
    encourages a culture in which creativity and imagination are celebrated.

Student Care and Wellbeing

We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of care, safety and wellbeing for all students. Our students and staff are encouraged to talk openly about any concerns or worries they have and know that they will be listened to.

At Southbank, this culture of care is uncompromising, is an integral part of our community and it guides the decisions and actions that we take in the day-to-day running of our school. It includes the comfort and security of our school environments, the pastoral care and emotional wellbeing of our students, the rigorous vetting of our staff, and robust policies, procedures and training in all areas relating to the care and safety of children.  Our staff members are expected to be accountable for the care and safety of our students. Our robust governance structure includes safeguarding and health and safety checks.

As part of the Cognita Group, our school is regularly monitored and assessed to ensure the safety and security of our teaching and learning environment. Cognita’s safeguarding policies, procedures and governance are based upon statutory UK requirements, which are further enhanced with best practice. This approach applies not only to Southbank but to all schools within the Cognita Group and as a leader in education, Cognita looks to go above and beyond what is required by regulators in all countries in which it operates schools.

Southbank expects all staff, volunteers and other third parties to share our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of child wellbeing and safety.

Please visit our School Policies page for details of Southbank’s policies and procedures relating to the care and wellbeing of students.


Hampstead Campus

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Stuart Bain

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Jason Horth

Designated Practitioner Early Childhood

Anna Blake

Kensington Campus

Designated Safeguarding Lead

David MacMorran

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Emma Netherton

Designated Practitioner Early Childhood

Paris Innes

Westminster Campus (Grade 6-10)

Designated Safeguarding Lead (overall Lead)

Salah Hajjaj

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Laken Randhawa


Westminster Campus (Grade 11-12)

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Patricia Radoi

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Amal Hirani


Nationalities & Languages

Southbank International School is one of a small number of international schools in London and we are one of the most diverse and inclusive.

Our student and staff body is made up of almost 70 different nationalities. Therefore at Diploma level, for example, in addition to English, we offer over 20 different languages. Students in the primary school learn English and Spanish as a part of the core curriculum and can opt to learn an additional language after school, subject to demand.  We are a non-denominational school and respect all cultures and organised religions.


We seek to create a harmonious community based on fairness, integrity and respect for others who may hold different opinions.

Our student population is drawn from London’s international community – including children of expatriates, business people, diplomats, and other professionals, so naturally Southbank offers a strong language programme.

The language of instruction at the school is English. While we do not take beginners in English in our secondary school, those students who need some support in English may receive dedicated EAL lessons. At the Primary Years campuses we do accept students under 9 years old (Grade 4) with little or no English, and support students to attain the standard of English needed to graduate to Grade 6.

Please view our Nationalities Infographic for detailed information.

Southbank Kensington
+44 (0)20 7229 8230
Southbank Hampstead
+44 (0)20 7431 1200
Southbank Westminster
+44 (0)20 7436 9699