History of the Anglican International School Jerusalem and its Campus
The school campus is steeped in the recent history of Jerusalem. Here on this site, on 12th December 1843, the first ‘Modern Hospital’ in the city was opened. At that time, it was surrounded by hills, fields and olive groves and quickly became identified as a place of healing, care and mercy.
Our mother organisation ( CMJ ) had at that time acquired two sites in the city , the current school site and also a piece of land inside Jaffa Gate . The second Bishop of Jerusalem, Bishop Samuel Gobat, from Switzerland, was an advocate of health and education and he, along with Miss Caroline Cooper from England, formed the first school inside the gates of the Old city – a school for girls. After the opening of Christ Church in January 1849 and under the leadership of Rev William Bailey, a second school was established, this time for boys and girls in 1857.
Both these school existed side by side inside the Old City walls for 100 years. By 1957 the girls section of the school had moved into the ‘Doctor’s House’ ( currently part of our Pre School ). Classes were held in parallel to the daily routine of the hospital which at that time had been given over to the state to become Hadassah Aleph Hospital. When the new Hadassah Hospital was completed and opened on Mount Scopus in June 1961, and after the final moving of patients from the site had taken place in March 1962, there was an official handing back ceremony and the Anglican school underwent a period of consolidation and transformation under the headship of Beryl Bradnack.
It was under Ms Bradnack’s leadership that the vision for the school was enlarged and the school metamorphosed into the school we recognise today as the Anglican International School Jerusalem. Ms Bradnack wrote, articulating her vision to the Bishop of Dover,
“ I think such a school has value to serve the following types of people…. Hebrew Christian families, families of … Christian workers, families of other workers coming here for short term placements…. Moslem and Christian Arabs … and Jewish families.”And so the Anglican International School Jerusalem was born.
Over its 60 year history the school has been witness to some major events in the city including the ‘Six Day War’ in 1967, after which children from the east of the city were able to attend the school; The ‘Yom Kippur War’, and two Intifadas. In addition the school witnessed the change of spiritual authority from the local Diocese to a special and independent commission from Canterbury. All of these circumstances brought pressures and difficulties to the door of the school. Yet in spite of all these things and many more besides, the school has held to Beryl Bradnack’s original vision and has worked hard to create an oasis of calm, understanding and tolerance within its walls.
Since the late 20th century, the school has undertaken major educational change, in that it became accredited as an ‘IB World School’ and ‘MSA School’ enabling the conferment of American High School Diplomas at graduation and the additional prospect of IB Diplomas to follow. This enabled our students to have the prospect of attending virtually any university in the world including Ivy League Universities in the USA and Top UK Universities. However, we remain a non selective school, admitting students of all faiths and none, employing Christian, Jewish and Muslim staff and seeking to work in harmony with peace and understanding between us all.
The school structure is now more developed and refined with the Senior Management Group consisting of The Director, and the Heads of Pre School, Elementary and Secondary Schools. This SMG is governed by an excellent appointed School Board.
On our most recent MSA Visitation, at which the school was re accredited for 7 years, the Chair , Dr Irene Epp, reported that … “ The Anglican International School Jerusalem does the impossible every day…” Given our history and our eclectic mix of students, parents and staff, we believe we do! Our hope and prayer is that we can make a positive impact on the lives and circumstances of the students and citizens of this city and keep on fulfilling that initial vision for the Anglican International School Jerusalem!