International school

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GEMS World Academy (Singapore) Campus Exterior shot of GEMS World Academy (Singapore).jpg
GEMS World Academy (Singapore) Campus
Shanghai Japanese School Pudong Campus SJSPudong0.jpg
Shanghai Japanese School Pudong Campus
Jakarta Intercultural School Jakarta International School.jpg
Jakarta Intercultural School

An international school is a school that promotes international education, in an international environment, either by adopting a curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate, Edexcel, Cambridge Assessment International Education or the International Primary Curriculum, or by following a national curriculum different from that of the school's country of residence.



Chatsworth International School, Singapore Chatsworth International School.JPG
Chatsworth International School, Singapore
Ruamrudee International School, Min Buri District, Bangkok, Thailand - This includes the RIS Swiss Section, the German-Swiss school of Bangkok. Ruamrudee International School.jpeg
Ruamrudee International School, Min Buri District, Bangkok, Thailand - This includes the RIS Swiss Section, the German-Swiss school of Bangkok.

These schools cater mainly to students who are not nationals of the host country, such as the children of the staff of international businesses, international organizations, foreign embassies, missions, or missionary programs. Many local students attend these schools to learn the language of the international school and to obtain qualifications for employment or higher education in a foreign country. [1]


The first international schools were founded in the latter half of the 19th century in countries such as Japan, Switzerland and Turkey. Early international schools were set up for families who travelled, like children of personnel of international companies, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGO), and embassy staff. The schools were established with the people and organisations having large interests in the hosting nation: for instance, American diplomats and missionaries often set up schools to educate their children: children of American military personnel often attended Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS). French diplomats and business families founded similar schools based on the French curriculum.[ citation needed ]

In April 2007 there were 4,179 English-speaking international schools, which was expected to set to rise with globalisation. In New Delhi, worldwide entries for the University of Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) June 2009 examination session are up by almost 20% on the same session last year. The strong growth confirms the status of Cambridge IGCSE as the world's, and India's, most popular international curriculum for 14- to 16-year-olds. [2]


At a conference in Italy in 2009, the International Association of School Librarianship came up with a list of criteria for describing an international school, including: [3]


The most common international schools are based on education in the United Kingdom, education in the United States or are based on curricula specially designed for international schools such as the International General Certificate of Secondary Education or the IB Diploma Programme. These international curricula are committed to internationalism, developing the global citizen, providing an environment for optimal learning, and teaching in an international setting that fosters understanding, independence, interdependence, and cooperation.

Like other schools, international schools teach language arts, mathematics, the sciences, humanities, the arts, physical education, information technology, and design technology. More recent developments specifically for primary school include the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and International Primary Curriculum (IPC). Secondary education is provided through the relaunched IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). In 2013 there was 3063 schools offering the international baccalaureate curriculum in the world [4] and over 1000 schools offering the IPC around the world. [5]

For expatriate families, international schools allow some continuity in education and most prefer to stay in the same curriculum, especially for older children.

International school associations

British International Schools

COBIS is the Council of British International Schools. Members of COBIS are International Schools across the whole world offering a curriculum which is based on the British system. For older students, ages 14-16 years, this will be the IGCSEs. For 16 to 18 year-olds, this includes the A Level programmes. They will also usually be accredited by a British Based inspection organisation and the inspection reports will be listed on the UK Government website.

Regional International School Associations

International School of Helsinki seen from the top floor of Casa Malta housing cooperative in Ruoholahti, Helsinki, Finland International School of Helsinki from Casa Malta.JPG
International School of Helsinki seen from the top floor of Casa Malta housing cooperative in Ruoholahti, Helsinki, Finland

Across the world, in addition to global associations such as COBIS, there are also regional international associations such as FOBISIA. FOBISIA is the Federation of British International Schools in Asia. It provides opportunity for teacher training and also students to participate in FOBISIA competitions and workshops across the full range of subjects - Sports, Performing Arts, Model United Nations etc.

International school teachers

An international school teacher or educator is someone engaged in the education of pupils in schools other than their country of citizenship. The term generally refers to teachers who are teaching in private or independent schools. [6] While these schools are private there is an important distinction between private for-profit and private non-for profit schools. [6]

Faculty at international schools are usually from or certified by the standards of their country of origin. [6]

However, there are exceptions, the most common of which the international school requires a teacher trained specifically for an international syllabus or for teaching a foreign language rare to the international school's country of origin.[ citation needed ]

Hiring is frequently done at large international job fairs, such as the ones held by the Council of International Schools (CIS), where schools can interview and hire several teachers at once. [7] There are also a handful of agencies which specialize in recruiting international teachers. Over the years it has become more difficult to recruit young international teachers, partly because of security concerns and the trend towards less attractive compensation packages. In some countries such as South Korea, recent visa changes have also made it more difficult to obtain both qualified and unqualified teachers. [8]


Hannah Smith of The Guardian wrote in 2013 that many students of international schools move between countries and places constantly. Several reported that they feel they have no one place where they have roots or a background. [9]


ISCResearch have identified (2018 presentation) that in 2017 there were 9,173 international schools, 4.96 million students, 458,000 Staff with this expected to approximately double by 2027 to 16,400 international schools, 10.6 million students, 952,000 Staff.

See also

International schools
International school associations and services
International school teachers
Examinations and qualifications

Related Research Articles

British International School of Washington Private school in Washington, DC, United States

The British International School of Washington (BISW) is a private, nonsectarian, co-educational British school located in the Georgetown neighborhood near the border of the Georgetown and Glover Park neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. BISW educates pupils between the ages of 2 and 18. BISW was originally founded in September 1998 by Dr. Lesley Stagg. In 2013, BISW joined Nord Anglia Education, an international education provider owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. As of 2019, Nord Anglia operated 66 international schools in 30 countries with over 61,000 students. BISW leases property from Georgetown University, yet GU's Green Building was purchased in 2009 by the entity that is now HUB Properties Trust.

Yew Chung International School of Shanghai is a fully triple accredited, co-educational international school in Shanghai, with campuses in both the Puxi and Pudong districts of the city. In 1993, YCIS Shanghai became the first international school officially recognised by, and registered, with the Chinese government in Shanghai.

The International School of Havana (ISH) is an international school in Cuba, located in Miramar, Havana.

The Academia Británica Cuscatleca (ABC) is an established and highly regarded international bilingual school in El Salvador. It is a community of some 1300 students and is fully accredited by Council of International Schools (CIS), the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and the Values-Based Trust for Education (VBFT).

The British School New Delhi is an independent, multicultural, English Medium, co-educational international school. This not-for-profit school offers the National Curriculum of England adapted to an international context, the EYFS programme, the IGCSE and the IB Diploma Programme. With over 1,200 students from 66 nationalities, the school provides student-centred education in a safe, stimulating and multicultural environment.

Jerudong International School International school in Kampong Tungku, Brunei

Jerudong International School is a co-educational, boarding and day school in Brunei, Southeast Asia. It has over 1680 students - of which around 200 are boarding students. Less than 50% of its student body are Bruneians, with the remainder fulfilled by students from 55 countries. Jerudong International School first opened its doors for primary education in January 1997 and subsequently for secondary in October of the same year. JIS offers a British International education.

The British International School, Phuket (BISP) is an English-medium, co-educational, day and boarding school, established in 1996. The 44 acre campus includes eight boarding houses, primary and secondary schools, and sports facilities including swimming pools, tennis courts, football pitches, and golf centre. The student population consists of 850 day and boarding students, with 60 nationalities represented.

British International School of Charlotte Private, for profit school in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

The British International School of Charlotte (BISC), formerly known as the "British American School" is a private non-sectarian, co-educational college preparatory day school located in the Ballantyne neighborhood in south Charlotte, North Carolina. BISC offers education for ages 18 months to 18 years old. The school opened in September 2004 and was the fifth school opened in the United States by the British Schools of America. In 2013, BISC joined Nord Anglia Education, an international education provider with 66 international schools and over 50,000 students.

St Andrews International School Bangkok Private school, international school in Watthana District, Bangkok, Thailand

St Andrews International School Bangkok is a British International School founded in 1997 that provides a British-style education and curriculum to children ranging from Foundation Stage 1 to High School. St Andrews is a Nord Anglia Education operated school and part of a network of 68 schools that spans across 29 countries. St Andrews has over 2000 students representing an international community of 50+ nationalities. St Andrews is an inclusive school that welcomes students of all abilities to be ambitious and learn in a diverse and safe environment.

Rome International School (RIS) is a private international school in Rome, Italy. The school offers an international education to children aged 2 to 18 years, from Nursery through to Grade 13. The language of instruction is English. RIS is an International Baccalaureate School offering the Primary Years Programme in the Elementary School and the IB Diploma Programme in the last two years of High School. Students in Grade 10 and 11 sit the IGCSE International General Certificate of Secondary Education, as administered by Cambridge University.

Berlin British School School in Berlin, Germany

Berlin British School (BBS) is a private, international English-medium school for children aged 2 to 18, located in Charlottenburg, an affluent locality of Berlin, Germany.

British School of Beijing International school in Beijing, China

The British School of Beijing, Shunyi is an international school in Shunyi District, Beijing, China. Nord Anglia Education operates this school, situated in the residential area of Shunyi and taking pupils from 18 months through to 18 years of age, along with its sister school, The British School of Beijing, Sanlitun, based in the central Embassy district of Sanlitun and catering to students from the ages of 2 to 11.

International School Augsburg School in Germany

The International School Augsburg (ISA) is an English-speaking private all-day school in Gersthofen, a town near Augsburg. As an “IB World School” the ISA belongs to a worldwide network of international co-educative schools which offer the International Baccalaureate in English. Established in 2005, the ISA is the only international school within an area of around 60 kilometres around Augsburg. In school year 2011/2012, 320 students were taught by 50 teachers from more than 15 nations.

Park Lane International School is an independent international day school located in Prague, the Czech Republic. The Park Lane student community consists of 500+ students, representing more than 40 nationalities. The home to foreign student ratio is 54% to 46%.

Yew Chung International School of Chongqing is an accredited K3 - Year 13 international school for boys and girls located in the Chongqing International School Garden of the city’s New Northern Economic Development Zone. The school's international curriculum has been preparing students to become bilingually competent in English and Chinese and internationally minded since 2001.

British School Warsaw Private school, international school in Warsaw, Mokotów, Poland

The British School Warsaw is an international school in Warsaw, Poland. It was established in 1992 and currently has over 1000 students with 60 different nationalities. The British School, Warsaw is part of Nord Anglia Education Group. The teaching staff are primarily UK trained. The British School Warsaw offers education to students aged 2 ½ to 18 years. The school follows the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), adapted to the needs of the international student community, from Early Years through to Primary and follows the English National Curriculum in the Secondary Key Stages, the IGCSE examinations and a well established International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

Bishkek International School is an international school in Bishkek founded by a group of international and local parents as a non-profit community school and legally registered as a non-profit foundation in the Kyrgyz Republic on December 1, 2010.

The British International School Shanghai, Puxi Campus International school in Shanghai, China

The British International School Shanghai Puxi is an international school in Shanghai, China which opened in 2004.

British International School Bratislava Private school, international school in Dúbravka, Bratislava, Slovakia

The British International School Bratislava (BISB), established in 1997, is one of the oldest international schools in Slovakia. The school educates over 770 students between the ages of 3 and 18 years from over 45 countries. BISB educates children at pre-school, primary and secondary level and it is located in Dubravka. The school follows a curriculum based on the National Curriculum of England, International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP).

International School of Brno Private, international school in Brno-Vinohrady, Czech Republic

The International School of Brno is a private, English-speaking, non-profit, international school in Brno, Czech Republic. It was established in 2008 and is the only international school in Brno, the second largest city in Czech Republic. ISB provides kindergarten, primary, secondary and high school education.


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  2. Teachers International Consultancy (2008-07-17). "The Quiet Crisis in Recruitment". Unihousing. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  3. "How to Define an International School". International Association of School Librarianship (IASL). Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  4. "IB World School statistics". International Baccalaureate Organization. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
  5. "International Primary Curriculum". Fieldwork Education. Retrieved 2019-07-24.
  6. 1 2 3 Savva, M. (2013). "International schools as gateways to the intercultural development of North-American teachers". Journal of Research in International Education. 12 (3): 214–227. doi:10.1177/1475240913512589.
  7. "Recruitment Fairs". Council of International Schools.
  8. "'We have been treated like criminals': South Korea abruptly closes B.C. offshore school | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  9. Smith, Hannah. "International school students: rootless and without a home?" (Archive). The Guardian . October 29, 2013. Retrieved on October 20, 2015.