History of SIAL
SIAL began as a project in 2005, when a group of Italian citizens reached out to the large community of Italians living in London to gauge interest in setting up an Italian school.
Two key points emerged from the initial research:
1) The Italian community valued the idea of a school that could preserve its cultural heritage, but also looked for an educational programme that would provide a connection with the experience of living in London.
2) The Italian institutions, i.e. the Italian Embassy, Consulate and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were interested in supporting the project, provided the school was to be operated as a nonprofit organisation. The support would be primarily in the curriculum development and the recognition process, while financial help would be very difficult.
A decision was therefore made to create an Italian school that would be bilingual and operate as a non-profit organisation. The school was registered and achieved Registered British charitable status in July 2007 (Reg. Charity n.1119966).
Key points of development:
A committee (“Una Scuola per gli Italians”) was created within the organisation “Italians of London” with the aim of putting together into a clearer structure all the requests the organisation received concerning children’s education within the Italian community.
In the autumn the Committee organised a data gathering inquiry – Una Scuola per gli Italians 2005 – and two Focus Groups with Italian/mixed marriage parents with the aim of understanding whether there existed a real demand for an Italian school.
The Italian Consulate and the Italian Ministero degli Affari Esteri, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute, organised a conference called “Le Scuole Italiane e l’Italiano nelle Scuole” (Italian Schools and Italian in schools) calling “Una Scuola per gli Italians” to present the findings of the inquiry and of the focus groups. Over 150 people participated in the event to show their support for the initiative.
On that occasion, the Ambassador declared his personal and the Italian Government’s support for the opening of an Italian school but also pointed out that the funding would have to come from donations as the government stopped financing new schools abroad many years ago and equally would not support an enterprise which would only benefit a wealthy minority.
A workgroup was formed called “La Scuola Italiana a Londra” with the aim of opening an Italian school in London.
The group was composed of ten volunteers, all with professional experience in various fields, from teaching to finance, from law to public relations.
The group now holds regular meetings where all progress is discussed and it is sub-divided into three operational teams which specialise in: the curriculum, the business plan and the general logistics and financing.
We have obtained Charitable Status from the Charities Commission (Reg. Charity No 1119966).
On the 10th of March, the Italian Embassy hosted the official launch of the Charity with a fundraising dinner where the participants were superbly entertained by Maestro Antonio Pappano.
Having finally found suitable premises, on the 20th of May we held the first tour of the School with a presentation from the Trustees. Lots of people came to visit the school building and meet the Headmistress and the team of La Scuola Italiana a Londra. Interested families were able to put their name down on our registration list.
The School opened on the 8th of September with one Nursery class.
Our Primary School opens on 11th September 2012 with the Y1 class.
From then we are growing year after year with the aim of getting to the end of primary school in the academic year 2017-2018.
The school widens and acquires a new building, thanks to the support of Ambassador Pasquale Q. Terracciano.