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The Federation of British International Schools in Asia

University of Sunderland


The ‘life changing’ University of Sunderland has 27,500 students based in Sunderland, London and 5,000 in Hong Kong meaning we are local, national and global. In addition, we have students studying via distance learning through Sunderland Online in over 60 countries as well as global partnerships with learning institutions in 17 countries. The University has five main faculties for its students: Arts and Creative Industries, Business, Law and Tourism, Education and Society, Technology, and Health Sciences and Wellbeing which includes the School of Medicine.

It is world-leading in several areas of research, including pharmacy, engineering, sports and exercise sciences, education and social work. The University is also ranked in the Times Higher education (THE) World University Rankings 2023. The University scored particularly well in the International Outlook category, scoring a ranking of 347 and slotting into the top 75% of global universities. We are proud of our long-established commitment to widening participation, our world-leading research, public and private sector collaborations and our track-record for providing quality student experiences resulting in graduates who are the ‘tomorrow-makers’ of our societies and economies.

Our graduates are sought-after, with 94.2% of our UK undergraduates and 95.8% of our UK postgraduates in employment or in further education within 6 months of graduating. We are a top 50 UK university (Guardian University Guide 2023)

We have over 100 years’ experience of training teachers and successfully gaining re-accreditation as an ITT provider; during 2022/23 we are training 971 teachers in the UK. Worldwide, we have 944 students in 60 countries. Within the FOBISIA group, we currently have students in several schools within Asia, including training teachers in China, Japan Malaysia, Myanmar, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam via the PGCE iQTS, PGCE Education and PGCE Early Years Teaching programmes as well as our MA Education and MA International Education programmes. A key feature of all programmes delivered via distance learning is ‘Distant not distant’ in the sense that we value communities of practice and provide many opportunities for trainees to engage with one another as well as academics, sharing knowledge and experience, conveying theoretical knowledge and encouraging active involvement from all parties. Our research-active International team are continuously developing innovative strategies to ensure the continuity and efficiency of distance learning. For each of our programmes, the role of the in-school mentor is paramount. A comprehensive programme of support and professional development, underpinned through tripartite working practices between trainees, mentors and University, are at the centre of all we do, making certain that all roles are complementary, respectful and student focused.

The Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society at University of Sunderland, Professor Lynne McKenna, was a key member of the Department for Education (DfE) Expert Working Group in developing iQTS, the new teaching qualification backed by the DfE and the UK government, meeting the same high standards as English QTS. Professor McKenna explains the intention of supporting schools outside the UK to ‘recruit, retain and develop local talent and increase the pool of quality teachers and support global mobility within the teaching profession’.

The University of Sunderland are one of only five pilot providers for iQTS and are the largest provider in the sector. Building upon 24 years of delivering teacher training internationally continue to develop programmes which meet the international sector needs, with many team members having personal experience of international school leadership, including within FOBISIA schools giving an insight and understanding as to the expectation of FOBISIA affiliates.

In 22-23, we are currently working with the following FOBISIA schools:

  • Kellett School Hong Kong (KSHK)
  • HELP International School, Kuala Lumpur (HIS)
  • Kinabalu International School (KIS)
  • The Alice Smith School, Kuala Lumpur (KLASS)
  • The British School Manila (BSM)
  • Dover Court International School (DCISS)
  • Dulwich College (Singapore) (DCSG)
  • Dulwich College Seoul (DCSL)
  • Denla British School (DBS)

Dionne Ross
Associate Head of School: International Initial Teacher Training


# distance not distant
PGCE Education  
PGCE Early Years Teaching  
Assessment Only Route to Qualified Teacher 
PgCert Special Educational Needs and Disabilities: Leading Provision and Practice   
PgCert National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination            
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