Rural excellence


The small town of Kilmore, 60km north of Melbourne, is home to a school as multicultural as they come. The Kilmore International School, open to children from Year 3 to Year 12, attracts students from around the world to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.

Principal Andrew Taylor believes the institution’s cultural diversity and multicultural education provides children with important learning opportunities and an increased sense of wellbeing.

“We have more than 150 boarders,” Mr Taylor says. “They are predominantly international students. The international community is quite diverse – we have a range of cultures and nationalities here.”

This is no understatement. About 50 per cent of the school’s population is from overseas. And this exciting blend of young people, from Melbourne, rural Victoria, Australia, Asia, Europe and Pacific island nations, creates a unique community, Mr Taylor says, where tolerance, leadership, good citizenship and diversity are valued.

“The local students learn a lot from international students,” Mr Taylor says. “They learn tolerance, they learn another language. It is required (by the IB curriculum) to learn a second language and most students are doing Chinese. So, Chinese students can be tutors, and local students can be peers or tutors of English for international students.”

German, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese are also taught.

In addition to international exposure, local students take pride in their own culture, and teach their peers with tact and responsibility.

“Public speaking and leadership aren’t necessarily qualities promoted in schools in foreign countries,” Mr Taylor says. “These can be quite transformative to international students. We celebrate the differences, whether it’s cuisine, the dress code, language, music or religion. I think that helps prepare our students for a diverse world, which is moving faster and closer every day.”

If multiculturalism is the backdrop for learning at Kilmore International School, the pastoral care program, which caters for the needs of every pupil, is the school’s well-structured script.

Students begin each day within a 15-minute homeroom teacher meeting. This homeroom teacher monitors student’s academic progress and emotional wellbeing, liaises with parents when necessary and provides a pastoral report once a semester.

“It is quite important to have that pastoral care coming through a dedicated teacher,” Mr Taylor says. “We also have a counsellor in school, as part of our welfare system, who can provide one-on-one pastoral support and counselling to students who need it.”

Issues such as cyber safety and building resilience are catered for with workshops led by specialist providers once a term. For example, in June the theatre company Brainstorm Productions presented a play on bullying called Cyberia to the middle school.

A schoolwide focus on “soft skills” helps students become confident citizens. “By soft skills, I mean the child’s ability to show leadership, to exercise critical thinking and solve problems, to employ social knowledge and wisdom when relating to others, to show tolerance, to speak well in public, and to be confident and reliable,” Mr Taylor says.


The Kilmore International School (TKIS) was established in 1989 as an independent, non–denominational and co-educational boarding and day school for […]

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