information for global expats

International Schools for Expats in Australia

Submitted: July 2013

There are various levels of international school in Australia, ranging from kindergarten to college level. Many of these schools are mostly composed of students of international background with a minority of Australian students. Of these, international schools are particularly geared towards preparing students to proceed to both local and overseas universities, usually ones in their sponsoring countries. Because of this, the high school curricula and school leaving exams from these countries are mainly offered. This means that the main medium of instruction may be other than English, with French, Spanish, German and Japanese being most common. These schools usually promote the learning of a second language. The standard of teaching at these schools is often up to global standards, which allows for easy transition between schools anywhere in the world.

In assessing the quality of education, you may want to consider whether the prospective international school is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS). You may also want to cosult the Association of Australasian International Baccalaureate Schools (AAIBS) or the US Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) about accreditation status for further reference if you select a school of British or American origin.

In addition to checking the above bodies' official accreditations, you should also visit the school yourself. Various pertinent questions to ask include:

  • What is the teacher to student ratio? – this is to ascertain whether your child will get enough attention from teachers.

  • What are the entry requirements for teaching staff? – this is to establish if your child is being taught by a qualified teacher.

  • Teacher turnover rate

  • Average annual investment in facilities

  • Anti-bullying policy – it is important to know the frequency of such incidents and how the school deals with them.

  • Medical staff on premises (or staff with first aid training)

  • Grievance procedure – is there a school board that hears complaints?

Furthermore, you can ask your High Commission or Embassy in Australia for contact information on other expats in Australia, if possible, and Solicit their views on international schools. The key to selecting the right international school is research. As international schools do not teach the national curriculum unless they choose to, there is less information about them available online and especially from the Australian Department of Education. This means it is important to get as much information as you can from other parents.

Tuition fees for international schools vary widely, depending on factors such as level of study and boarding. They may be as much as A$35,600 (US$33,000 / £21,600) per year. Typically, you will also need to factor in other costs such as extra-curricular activities, school dinners and possibly extra tuition. Admission into international schools is highly competitive and you are strongly advised to start applying as early as possible.

There is a comprehensive list of international schools for expats in Australia on the Expat Quotes website. Additionally, the UK’s Daily Telegraph has a very useful expat website; it lists the international schools in Australia as well providing a short description of each one.




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