Good partnerships matter

Sponsored: Dr Helen Wood, head of school partnerships at Password, details their upcoming events with BBSN

Every November, an outstanding networking event for international admissions staff and educational agents takes place run by the British Boarding Schools’ Network (BBSN). However, 2021 is slightly different.

While the workshop usually involves around 90 schools and 100 agents, this year we have a double dose in October and November, the difference being both events are virtual. While I miss meeting our partner schools’ representatives in person, this technological innovation does add value, not least in the increased number of meetings it facilitates and simultaneous decrease in environmental impact.

Password are proud to collaborate closely with BBSN because its members’ values chime with ours. We aim to be a world-leading educational service provider, with partnership at the heart of our activities and a global outlook. Working effectively with independent schools and the agents that deliver Password’s online English and maths tests is key to this. These events afford us an excellent opportunity to check in with existing partners, provide training for educational agents administering our assessments, and raise awareness of the need for tailored entrance exams for international applicants among all schools.

The latter is essential if the independent sector is to treat these learners fairly during their admissions processes and provide the quality of support they need to get the best from their educational experience in the UK.

As Password’s head of school partnerships, I have been sharing that message through our participation in BBSN’s events since November 2018. Over that time, we have: strengthened our relationship with dozens of long-standing user schools; formed 45 new school partnerships; run training sessions for innumerable agencies; held multiple consultations on enhancements of existing tests and the development of new ones; and gathered valuable feedback on our services from these diverse stakeholders.

BBSN has allowed us to build regularity of contact with our school partners and the agents they work with which leads to a genuine feeling of community. The role of its directors, Suzanne and Antony Rowse, in helping foster this has been immeasurable. Mutual respect, trust and genuine friendship underpin their events and this has a knock-on effect.

A lot of my work promoting Password Pupil tests is really done through partner school recommendation. Over the last two years that has continued, despite the pandemic, during our webinars hosted by BBSN, in the chat features of online sessions or follow-up email exchanges among participants. Password is even sometimes advocated for by BBSN member agents who deliver tests on behalf of member schools. The quality of BBSN vetting means that can only increase our prospective partner schools’ confidence in their security, integrity and ease of delivery.

Of course, finding out about Password Pupil tests is not dependent on attending a BBSN event. As well as participating in AMCIS, BAISIS and BSA calendars of activity, we organise workshops and conferences under our own auspices.

The first we have lined up this month is for EAL staff interested in English language testing in the transition between prep school and senior school. As this will be face to face, something we have not done in some time, we aim to make it a special occasion, which will culminate in afternoon tea and a glass of fizz.

British Boarding Schools Workshop – Virtual Event – 24–25 November 2021

If you are interested in finding out more about our assessments for international learners, or taking part in this free training, please get in touch at or take a look at our events page:

Dr Helen Wood was formerly head of the international section and head of EAL at d’Overbroeck’s, Oxford. She has extensive experience in schools’ marketing, admissions and entrance assessment

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