Member School Spotlight

UAI International School of Tokyo

Who is UIA?

Our school celebrates each person’s unique individuality, fostering an inquisitive spirit and embracing multicultural perspectives to ignite a passion for learning. Through amazing experiences in our community, we cultivate global awareness and a positive mindset, ensuring every student feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach their academic potential. (UIA MIssion Statement) UIA is situated in the heart of Tokyo and is a Cambridge Pathways school oering education from K1 to Grade 12.

How does your community recognize and celebrate diversity?

Our demographics as a school of 31 different student nationalities and 17 different staff nationalities, make it natural to celebrate multiple cultures. . As you can see from the school’s Mission Statement we intentionally celebrate ‘each person's unique individuality’. These words came from the whole school community as part of the development of our new mission statement in 2023.. This year UIA has also identified the need to ‘Foster multicultural perspectives to develop a global understanding for learning’ as part of our strategic plan. A Cultural Connections Committee will be specifically supporting the development and recognition of diversity in our school.

How do you prepare teachers for inclusion and diversity in the classroom?

The school incorporates professional development as a means to support teachers. Last year all staff undertook Accidental Counsellor training over the course of twelve months. During our in school conference ‘Inspired’ staff present sessions on diversity and differentiation to their peers as an example. The school also utilises expert consultancy. Presentations are given to the staff so they can understand how to support by the schools consultant Social and Emotional Counsellor and consultant Speech Pathologist. UIA offers ESL support from Grade 1 to Grade 9. In the Primary years it is a pullout model with the ESL support teacher using a dedicated ESL room. In Secondary the ESL support teacher collaborates with the subject teachers on the content and pushes into the respective classrooms.

How would you explain the importance of inclusion to other schools?

UIA believes that the school needs to reflect the impact of inclusion in society. To that extent we believe that all students need the opportunity to grow. As a school we cannot always accommodate students but we definitely start every conversation with ‘Why shouldn’t we take this student?’ as opposed to why should we...

What are you most proud of on your journey towards being more inclusive?

In the space of two years, UIA has formalised its approach to inclusion through its initial Learning Support Guidelines. This has resulted in better identification of learning needs and consistent support for students and resulted in the employing a counsellor and speech pathologist. The school has a clearer referral process to identify students who require support. Much of this happened at the same time as we joined SENIA.

What has surprised you about moving towards inclusive practices?

The biggest surprise is always the acceptance, flexibility and enthusiasm of our students to work with students who have learning needs. The same holds true for UIA staff. In summary, UIA is at the beginning of our inclusivity and diversity journey. Being a SENIA member school has been an important element for us, in the resources and support we have been able to access. Thank you SENIA.