LOGIN or JOIN
information for global expats



International Schools for Expats in China

Submitted: August 2013

If you want a more ‘global’ education for your children, you will be pleased to know that there is a wide range of excellent international schools in China which cater to students ranging from kindergarten to high school level. Currently, China boasts over 340 international schools with most located within cities with a high expat population such as Beijing and Shanghai. Most of these schools are geared towards sending their students to universities within their sponsoring countries; as such curricula include the International Baccalaureate (IB), the English National Curriculum (leading to the GCE exams), American-based curricula, German-based and other curricula. Teachers are generally well qualified and utilise their students’ mother tongue as the main medium of instruction. Generally the standard of teaching at these schools is often in-line with those in the home (sponsoring) country, which allows for easy transition between schools irrespective of their location.

In assessing the quality of education being offered, you may want to consider whether the prospective international school is accredited by any international or local bodies. Some accreditation bodies include the Council of International Schools (CIS - https://www.cois.org/), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (https://www.acswasc.org/), among many others. A list of member schools is usually provided on their websites.

You could also check to see if the school is a member of any school partnership organisation or association such as the East Asia Regional Council of School (https://www.earcos.org/), The Association of China and Mongolia International School (https://www.acamis.org/), The Independent Schools Association of the Central States (https://www.isacs.org/), among others. Schools which are members usually will have established a good reputation as an international school, and benefit from various activities such as interschool competition.

Additionally, international schools are inspected by various inspectorates and government bodies. You should check for inspection reports for schools of other sponsoring countries (if available).

Aside from the official accreditations of the above bodies, you should also visit the school yourself. Various pertinent questions to ask include:

  • What is the teacher to student ratio? – this is to ensure that your child obtains as much teacher attention as possible.
  • What are the entry requirements for teaching staff? – this is know whether 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 how the frequency of such incidences and how the school deals with them.
  • Medical staff on premises (or staff with first aid training)
  • Grievances procedure- is there a school board which hears and adjudicates over complaints?

Further, enquire with your High Commission/Embassy in China and request contact information for other expats in the China (if possible). Solicit their views on international schools. As international schools do not teach the national curriculum (unless they opt to), there is less information available online apart from what they provide so it is important to get as much information as you from other parents.

Tuition fees for international schools are relatively high when compared with other schools. In China, elite international schools in prominent cities may cost as much as US $33, 000 for senior year tuition. Fees generally vary based on several factors such as grade level, boarding, and extra-curricular activities, with cheaper schools still averaging in the price range of US $10,000 - $15,000 yearly. As a rule of thumb, there is usually a small increase in fees each year.

Despite these fees, international schools are in high demand and available spaces usually fill up quickly. To ensure the best chance of getting your children enrolled, you should apply well in advance of the new school year. Enrolment procedures differ, but you should be prepared to submit your child’s passport and visa information, health records, previous school records and recommendation letters. In some cases, your child may be required to show up for an interview and an entrance exam. You should note that local Chinese students in international schools are in the minority if any at all, as they are only allowed to be enrolled in foreign international schools if their parents hold foreign passports.

For a comprehensive list of the more popular international schools in China, do see:

https://international-schools.mychinastart.com/

 

Contribute

We value input from our readers. If you spot an error on this page or have any suggestions, please let us know.

 

Moving to China

If you are considering moving to China or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Chinese section including; details of immigration and visas, Chinese forums, Chinese event listings and service providers in China.

picture1 Read More

Living in China

From your safety to shoppingliving in China can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in China with relevant news and up-to-date information.

picture1 Read More

Working in China

Working in China can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in China, and general Chinese culture of the labour market.

picture1 Read More


 
 
 
 

Information

About | Useful Links | Global Media Partners | Media | Advertising And Sales | Banners And Widgets | Glossary | RSS | Privacy & Cookies | Terms And Conditions | Editorial Policy | Refer To A Friend | Newsletters | Contact | Site Map

Important Notice: Wolters Kluwer TAA Limited has taken reasonable care in sourcing and presenting the information contained on this site, but accepts no responsibility for any financial or other loss or damage that may result from its use. In particular, users of the site are advised to take appropriate professional advice before committing themselves to involvement in offshore jurisdictions, offshore trusts or offshore investments. © Wolters Kluwer TAA Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

The Expat Briefing brand is owned and operated by Wolters Kluwer TAA Limited.