History & Leadership

SSIS was founded in 1996 with 27 students. The school initially offered the Singaporean curriculum, before becoming an IB World School in 2001. SSIS gained authorization from the International Baccalaureate Organisation for the Middle Years Programme in 2001, Diploma Programme in 2003 and the Primary Years Programme in 2008.

In 2005 the first students graduated from SSIS. The same year the school moved to a purpose built campus located on Zhong Nan Jie, featuring modern facilities for teaching, sport, performing and visual arts.

In 2008 SSIS gained joint accreditation with the European based Council of International Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US), and the National Centre for Curriculum and Textbooks (China).

In 2013, SSIS became one of the first schools in the world to successfully undertake a joint reaccreditation and evaluation process with the International Baccalaureate Organisation, the Council of International Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Centre for Curriculum and Textbooks simultaneously. At the end of this process, the school received 34 commendations and was described by the accreditation team as "a reflective institution committed to promoting internationalism and quality educational experiences, which has made impressive progress and meets the needs of its student body while building trust, communication and support with faculty and parents"

In 2016/17, SSIS is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

SSIS is divided into two sections: Elementary School (Pre-Nursery – Grade 5) and Secondary School (Grades 6-12). The school management team includes the Head of School, and Elementary and Secondary Principals and Assistant Principals.

Head of School, Nicholas Little

I started at SSIS in 2002, and have seen two of my three children graduate from this school. Before coming to Suzhou, I taught English and Humanities for several years in my native country, the United Kingdom.

Teaching wasn’t my original career intention: I graduated from Oxford University with a History degree before doing post-graduate qualifications in Law; but a ‘gap’ year teaching Western Culture at a college in the north of China changed my life path for good. I married a Chinese woman and turned from Law to Education. Nearly twenty years later, I have not regretted either!

Education is a constantly optimistic profession, especially in an International Baccalaureate school aiming to mold students from over 45 different nations into global citizens and lifelong learners. I have seen a lot of changes in my time at this school, but that inspiration is the same.

Email: nicholaslittle@mail.ssis-suzhou.net

Elementary School Principal, Catherine Nicol

Becoming a teacher was my ambition from my own primary school days and, as a third culture kid, it is not surprising that I have ended up spending most of my career in international schools.

After graduating from university in the UK with a BA (Honours) Degree and PGCE, I spent three years working in UK schools before beginning my international adventures in Japan, Thailand and China. I have worked as a classroom teacher, IB curriculum coordinator, Assistant Elementary Principal and more recently as an Elementary School Principal. I love all the work that I do. I went on to gain a Master's Degree in Education and have worked extensively for the IB as a workshop leader, school visitor and consultant.

My passion and commitment is helping students to realise their full potential and become meaningful contributors to a global community. As a parent of two beautiful girls, I understand the challenges that parents can face and their strong desire to ensure that their children are the best they can be. I look forward to working in partnership with parents at SSIS to achieve this.

Email: catherinenicol@mail.ssis-suzhou.net

Secondary School Principal, Richard Bruford

My interest in teaching and learning came through coaching young swimmers to national level in the United Kingdom. Always wanting to make a difference to the lives of young people, education was a natural choice as a career. I have been involved in education in schools since 1995, starting out as a Geography teacher in southwest London. A move to Australia beckoned in 1998 and I was fortunate to quickly find my feet on the other side of the world taking up various leadership positions in prestigious Australian IB schools including SCECGS Redlands, Sydney, and Prince Alfred College in Adelaide. During my time in Australia, I completed a Master’s in Education (Leadership and Management) at Flinders University, which continued my thirst for learning.

I believe it vital for teachers and school leaders to collaborate and share practice not only in their own schools but in the education world at large. Subsequently, I have been fortunate to have presented at numerous conferences and workshops in the Asia-Pacific region, notably on the themes of leadership in schools. To complement my role at SSIS, I am a consultant for IB candidate schools and a visiting team leader for IB authorisation visits

It is important to strike a balance between work, family and play. I enjoy spending time with my family learning new things together as we see different parts of China and the world, while I also have a healthy appetite for competing in endurance sports such a triathlon whenever I can.

Email: richardbruford@mail.ssis-suzhou.net

Elementary School Assistant Principal, Jocelyn Pollock

I am the Assistant Elementary Principal. I have been teaching since 1984 and I have taught in both New Zealand and England. My last position was as Deputy Principal in an Intermediate School in Wellington, New Zealand. SSIS is my first international school and I really look forward to working with the students, parents and staff of SSIS.

I moved to Suzhou with my husband. We have one daughter who is at university in New Zealand. We are excited about living in Suzhou and getting to know such a vibrant, friendly community.

Email: jocelynpollock@mail.ssis-suzhou.net

Secondary School Assistant Principal (Academic), Dan Williams

I have lived in China since 2010 and joined SSIS in 2016. I aim to support teachers in engendering our globally minded students with the skills to become lifelong learners, resilient to change and ensuring that they have the opportunity to discover and develop their passions.

I have a deep love of learning and I began my education at the University of Wales, Swansea where I was awarded my Bachelor of Science in Physics and completed my postgraduate teaching certification at the University of Wales, Cardiff. Additionally, I have a Master Degrees with distinction in Digital Technologies, Communications and Education from the University of Manchester and another from the prestigious UCL-Institute of Education in Applied Educational Leadership and Management, with leading the IB in an international context as a particular focus. In 2016 I began a Doctor of Education degree at the University of Bath. In my spare time I enjoy sampling the endless variety of food China has to offer, while learning more about the history, culture and language.

Email: danielwilliams@mail.ssis-suzhou.net

Secondary School Assistant Principal (Pastoral), Lucy Burden

I joined SSIS in August 2013 as a Learning Support Teacher and Head of Grade 8 and now hold the exciting role of Assistant Principal (Pastoral) for the Secondary School. I have a Bachelor of Educational Studies in Special Education from Melbourne University and a Master in School Leadership from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I began my teaching career in 1989 and have worked in a number of government and non-government schools in Australia. Prior to joining SSIS I was Head of the Junior School at Bentleigh Secondary School in Melbourne where I worked for 10 years as an English, Humanities, Drama and Special Education teacher. Coming to live in China and work at SSIS is my first foray into international teaching and I am sharing this incredible experience with my husband, son and daughter.

Email: lucyburden@mail.ssis-suzhou.net


SSIS is a not-for-profit organisation. SSIS is an affiliated company of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Group (CSSD). CSSD was founded as a partnership between the governments of Suzhou and Singapore.

China Singapore International Education Service (CSIES), also an affiliated company of CSSD, provides professional management services in education business and administrative support for SSIS. In addition to SSIS, CSIES provides services to Zhangjiagang Singapore International School, and SIP Landmark Skylight International Kindergarten.

The Management Committee of SSIS is made up of five directors drawn from the management of CSSD and CSIES and two independent directors from the Suzhou Education Bureau and the SIP Education Bureau.