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Learning at Glenlyon Norfolk School with IB programs and Round Square


Learning at Glenlyon Norfolk School with IB programs and Round Square


Glenlyon Norfolk School, GNS, is a private school for Kindergarten to Grade 12. It is located in Victoria, BC, and ranks at 21 out of 252 Primary and Secondary schools in BC and is a school that provides an IB curriculum. GNS is also a member school of Round Square. It also provides students with a wide range of extracurricular activities and dormitories. 

What is IB?

The IB course, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is a course from Kindergarten to university preparatory for students around the world, providing education for students aged 3-19 in terms of intelligence, emotion, personal development, social skills, as well as allowing students to gain the ability to study, work and live in the world.

The IB program treats the idea of exploration as the foundation and focuses on critical thinking, allowing students to develop both their academic and personal skills. The IB curriculum is designed to create internationally minded individuals who strive to be inquiring, knowledgeable, thinking, communicative, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-taking, balanced, reflective, and persistent.

How Does IB work at Glenlyon Norfolk School?

There are 243 IB schools in Canada, but only 8% are authorized to offer the whole IB curriculum, and GNS is one of them. Within the PYP and MYP, GNS teachers follow the British Columbia curriculum, using a teaching approach that engages students. DP is a certificate program, just like the BC graduate certificate program Dogwood, DP is an IB diploma program. The DP curriculum includes concepts and materials from the first year of college.

GNS is authorized to offer three IB programmes:

  • The Primary Years Programme (PYP) from Kindergarten to Grade 5
  • Middle School Program (MYP) for Grades 6 to 10
  • Grade 11 and 12 Diploma Programme (DP)

What is Round Square?

Round Square is a global network of innovative, like-minded schools in 50 countries on six continents, following a unique educational philosophy that supports students to become well-rounded adults. Their motto is “Discover the world, create a world as no other has ever created.”

As one of the member schools of Round Square, GNS implements the concept of “IDEALS,” the six educational pillars of Round Square. In addition to making students excel academically, it also makes a firm commitment to students’ personal development and responsibility.

“IDEALS” means specifically:

  • “I” = Internationalism
  • “D” = Democracy
  • “E” = Environmentalism
  • “A” = Adventure
  • “L” = Leadership
  • “S” = Service

As part of this values-based education, students are led in activities, community service, and exchange programs and conferences that take students around the world to new ideas and diverse lifestyles.

How does GNS incorporate IDEALS with its vision?

In their junior school, the focus of Round Square’s organizational philosophy is more school-oriented and provides leadership opportunities for senior students. For example, organizing assemblies on Friday Afternoon or presentations at school events. These events are entirely student-driven and teacher-assisted. Juniors are encouraged to learn how to organize and conduct such activities from their upper school seniors.

In Middle School, students’ eyes are broadened, and their minds are exercised by meeting weekly to discuss local and global current events and what actions they can take to address the situation. It also organizes students to participate in various social activities, such as cleaning up litter on nearby beaches or collecting food to send to local food banks and shelters. In addition, the Middle School can also apply for exchange student study opportunities.

In high school, students from Round Square committees lead their fellow students in their efforts to raise awareness and take action on local and global issues. Students can support Round Square committees by participating in any of their initiatives. For example, students can participate in the Round Square Exchange and travel the world or represent the school at Round Square conferences. Every year the school sends a delegation to the International Round Square Conference and the American Round Square Conference.

GNS Campus

GNS has two campuses: Beach Drive Campus and Pemberton Woods Campus. 

The Beach Drive Campus is next to the ocean, and the beach has become a playground for elementary school students from Kindergarten to fifth grade and sometimes their classrooms. The new building was built in 2020 and had 28,000-square-foot. It has large classrooms, a gym, an art room, learning commons, innovation labs and a central gathering area. Outdoors include multiple play areas, an all-weather lawn field and two outdoor arenas.

The Pemberton Woods Campus is for middle and high school students, with 6 acres of land. The buildings are connected by paths leading to small gardens, giving the campus a peaceful university-like feel. There are on-site facilities ranging from a 340-seat performing arts hall to Art, music and band rooms, lawn playground; gym; library; classrooms; and science and information technology labs.

GNS Dormitory

Their dormitory is called Gryphon House and is only a few-minute walk from both campuses and has become the home for International students. 

GNS extracurricular activities


The arts are integral to the GNS student experience, as they are essential to a well-rounded education. Students in Kindergarten through grade 12 have many opportunities to learn from outstanding performing and visual arts teachers. Our arts faculty is composed of experts in their fields, including many with professional experience in the industry, ensuring that our students experience a high level of training that prepares them for careers in the arts or serves as the foundation for a lifelong exploration of creativity. Students from Kindergarten participate in a comprehensive arts education program that includes music and visual arts. Students are introduced to choirs and performance societies after they pass the primary level. In middle and high school, students are encouraged to join clubs and participate in various off-campus performing and visual arts activities.


Besides Art, sports are another extracurricular activities that GNS pays great attention to. Therefore, GNS students have many opportunities to get involved in sports.

The Junior School sports programme is dedicated to imparting the values of good health and physical fitness and educating students about teamwork. In both middle school and high school, all students have the opportunity to participate in any sport they want to try. GNS has established three major varsity sports for men and women: women’s hockey, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s basketball, and men’s rugby. Across the six sports, the school makes every effort to ensure a complete support programme for all ages to be competitive at the provincial level.

Public Speaking and Debate

Excellent public speaking and Debate is a GNS tradition, originally designed to empower children who are afraid to talk to overcome their fears through speech and Debate. But, after years of development, GNS now has students who can enter the speech contest finals every year.

The Debate Club is one of GNS’s signature clubs with a long and successful history. The team is open to all students in grades 7-12, regardless of their speech and debate experience levels. In addition, the club hosts intramural debate competitions throughout the year and registers teams for off-campus competitions. These events occur monthly, from October to April, and can be held in Victoria, Vancouver or further afield. Debaters who excel in these competitions may qualify for out-of-province or international competitions.

Admission Requirements

  • All school-aged primary and secondary school students
  • Transcripts of previous coursework required
  • Written test + interview

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