Why is Southbank so special?

For 40 years, Southbank has stood at the forefront of providing a world-class education to children and young people from London’s international community and the UK.

At the heart of the school are the programmes of the International Baccalaureate. These are challenging curricula that have been carefully developed to encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Enter one of our classrooms and we’re sure you’ll be impressed by the enthusiasm, confidence and creativity of our students. Thanks to our exceptional teaching staff and the International Baccalaureate curriculum, we help children and young people to become inquisitive learners who love to broaden their minds, always think critically, and do not shy away from challenging assumptions.

The history of Southbank


From humble beginnings with just a few dozen students, Southbank has flourished into an exceptional, high-achieving school with more than 700 students.


Milton Toubkin, David Tucker, John Marberry, Susan Marberry and Stephen Bailey establish the American International School (the previous name of Southbank) with three key principles:

  • The school will be democratic.
  • The school will use London as a classroom.
  • The curriculum will be individual.


The American International School is renamed Southbank International School and moves into a Victorian primary school building on the Cornwall Road, near the South Bank of the River Thames.


Introduction of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.


Southbank opens its Kensington campus in Notting Hill.


Southbank Primary School opened.


Trading name changed to Southbank International School to reflect the IB and international make-up of the student body.


Southbank opens its purpose-built Hampstead campus.


Southbank becomes the first school in the UK to offer all three International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes.


Southbank opens its Portland Place campus, near Regent’s Park and Oxford Street.


Southbank opens its Conway Street campus in Fitzrovia.


The School’s 30th Anniversary.

All campuses received Outstanding grades in inspections by Independent Schools Inspectorate.


Southbank celebrates its best ever IB diploma results.

School Inspection Service (SIS) reports confirm the excellent education that Southbank provides.

71 nationalities now represented within the student body.


Southbank opens its newest campus on Cleveland Street, near Great Portland Street underground station.

IB Diploma results surpass those of 2013 with 100% pass rate and average score of 38, with 3 students scoring full marks.

Governance of Southbank


Executive Principal  –  Siobhan McGrath

Principal – Hampstead   Shirley Harwood

Principal – Kensington   Siobhan McGrath

Principal – Westminster   Keith Birch



Group Chief Executive Officer, Cognita Schools

Frank Maassen



Director of Education

James Carroll


41-42 Eastcastle Street,

Phone: +44 (0)20 7636 8444


Our mission and values

We are committed to challenging our students academically, a liberal ethos and the values of the International Baccalaureate.

Southbank aims to be an international school that:

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

Southbank is also 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 new students and parents to the school community
  • encourages dialogue, and listens to and considers others people’s points 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 our students. This involves us encouraging our students and staff to talk openly about any concerns or worries they have and letting them know they will always be listened to.

At Southbank, our culture of care is uncompromising and an integral part of our community, and it guides the decisions and actions we take in the day-to-day running of our school.

We place huge importance on the comfort and security of our school environments, the pastoral care and emotional wellbeing of our students, the rigorous vetting of our staff, and having robust policies, procedures and training in all areas relating to the care and safety of children.

We also expect our staff members to be accountable for the care and safety of our students. And our strong governance structure includes regular safeguarding and health and safety checks and reviews.

Safety as part of the Cognita Group

Southbank is regularly monitored and assessed by Cognita to ensure the safety and security of our teaching and learning environments. 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 aims to go above and beyond what regulators require in the countries it operates schools in.

Our policies

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

To find out more, please visit our school policies page to read Southbank’s policies and procedures relating to the care and wellbeing of students.


Hampstead campus (Early Childhood to Grade 5)

Designated Safeguarding Lead
Stuart Bain

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Jason Horth

Designated Practitioner Early Childhood
Anna Blake

Kensington campus (Early Childhood to Grade 5)

Designated Safeguarding Lead
David MacMorran

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Juliet Kantazi

Designated Practitioner Early Childhood
Paris Innes

Westminster campus

Designated Safeguarding Lead
Salah Hajjaj

Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Amy Moore, Carole Lewthwaite, Angela Liu

International mindedness


We pride ourselves on being a diverse and inclusive international school, where students and staff respect all cultures and religions.

Currently, our student and staff body is made up of over 70 nationalities from around the world (view our nationalities infographic). To support Southbank’s international mindedness, we offer a comprehensive languages programme to all our students.

At each of our campuses, English is the language of instruction. In addition, we offer over 20 other languages at Diploma level. Our Middle Years students can study French and Spanish, as well as maintain and develop their native language. And our primary school children learn Spanish as a part of their curriculum.


Non-English speakers

Although we do not enrol beginners in English in our MYP (secondary) school, we do offer English as an additional language (EAL) lessons to students who need some support to speak and write English.

At our Primary Years campuses, we do accept students aged under nine (Grade 4) who speak little or no English, as we can support them to attain the standard of English needed to graduate to Grade 6.

Primary school students who attend EAL lessons do not normally study Spanish too.

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