In 2017, Leipzig International School (LIS) celebrated 25 years. It was the first international school in central Germany, and is now the largest, with over 950 students from 70 countries led by teachers from 20 nations. Here, in brief, is the story of Leipzig International School so far:
The Early Years (1992 to 1994)
At the hands of an adventurous trio – Todd Becker, Elke Urban and Ursula Lehmann-Grube – LIS opened its doors as a kindergarten in 1992, with just three children, one teacher and much improvisation and goodwill. In 1993 grade one was added, and within a year 25 children from grades one to five were able to call the school their own. That year, LIS was approved by the State of Saxony and granted Ersatzschul status. On the heels of the peaceful revolution of 1989, it was a time of freedom and the perfect moment to found a school.
The Middle Years (1995 to 2000)
Following the reunification of Germany, international companies started moving to Leipzig, and their employees and families necessarily followed. In 1995, LIS began providing secondary education for the children of these families, thus contributing to the economic and cultural renaissance of the city and surrounding region.
Securing the financial viability of the school, however, meant increasing student intake further, and the agreed strategy was to include more local children. By 1997, the school had reached 70 students in grades one to eight. In 1998 the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) was introduced at grade nine level. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme followed in 2000, initially being taught to an intimate group of three students.
The Growing Years (2001-2006)
The aim during this period was to raise the profile of LIS, hitherto one of Leipzig’s best kept secrets. The school moved into its current premises at 47 Könneritzstraße with a well attended opening ceremony, and in 2001 there were 120 students. This year saw Michael Webster take up the headship of LIS: his ambitious and energetic stewardship was to be crucial during these years of growth. At the end of the year, four students were celebrated as the first to take IB examinations and graduate from LIS.
During the 2003-04 school year the primary school ran separate classes at each grade level for the first time. A rich extra-curricular programme was also inaugurated. In 2005-06 the school received a grant of almost €8 million for building renovations and the construction of a new sports facility on the Könneritzstraße grounds. Enrolment rose to 420 students that year.
2006 was a year of change and excitement as the school embarked on the massive building and renovation project. The Board of Governors, staff and parents busied themselves to relocate the school temporarily and rapidly: the next 15 months would be spent away from home.
Recent Years (2007-present)
After eight years of invaluable service, Michael Webster retired in July 2009, handing over to Roel Scheepens. In February 2010, the community began the self-study process for accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). 2010 saw landscaping of the grounds and the building of a versatile playground for younger children. The accreditation self-study was completed in June 2011 and in September 2011 the board hosted a planning session with staff, students and parents to turn it into the 'Coming of Age' Strategic Plan. The week-long team visit from CIS and NEASC, took place in November 2011, and accreditation was granted by both in January 2012.
From August 2014 to July 2021, the school was led by Englishman David Smith, after Roel Scheepens moved back to his home country for professional reasons.
Also in August 2014 LIS opened its second campus, the Leipzig International Kindergarten, in neighbouring Plagwitz. The Leipzig International Kindergarten is an internationally accredited early childhood setting. In an attractive, purpose-built facility including a spacious outside play area, we provide ideal surroundings for children to develop and grow.
Starting from Nursery, our children belong to age-alike groups. The two Nursery groups welcome children from one through to three years old. As groups are small, our youngest children receive a lot of individual attention and care, in positive and supportive relationships with their nursery specialists.
The Early Years 1 and 2 programmes are an exciting early education experience for young children. Our offering is based on the UK’s Early Years Foundations Stage and closely matched to the State of Saxony’s framework for this age group. Small groups are cared for and led by a collaborative bilingual team composed of qualified Early Years specialists.
In our Early Years 3 classes, a clear progression of experiences is provided, to build on the foundations laid in EY1 and EY2. Children are educated through programmes which foster knowledge, understanding, appreciation, plus respect for themselves and others.
Our programmes encourage children to learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors.
After seven years of successful work, David Smith retired in July 2021 and handed over the office to Brandie Smith.
Head of School
T: +49 341 39377 601
F: +49 341 39377 900 500