information for global expats

International Schools for Expats in the United Kingdom

Submitted: July 2013

The number of international schools has grown over the years to provide education for expats residing in the UK. There is a particular concentration of international schools in the London area . International schools offer tuition to prepare students for a range of educational qualifications including British GCE/GCSE exams and the French International Baccalaureate. A number of international schools will provide tuition in a language other than English. Many also offer English Language classes. This is particularly advantageous to younger children who may not have the language fluency to easily adapt to a private school where tuition is in English.

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). The list of member schools can be found on their website, https://www.cois.org/.

If the international school is based on the British curriculum, the Independent Schools Inspectorate will inspect it. Its reports can be found on its website - https://www.isi.net/.

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 student obtains as much teacher attention as possible.

  • What are the entry requirements for teaching staff? – this is to find out 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)

  • Grievance procedure- is there a school board which hears complaints?

Further, enquire with your High Commission/Embassy in the UK and request contact information for other expats in the UK (if possible). Solicit their views on international schools. The three keys to selecting the right international school are research, research and research.

As international schools do not teach the national curriculum (unless they opt to), there is less information available online and especially from the UK Department of Education so it is important to get as much information as you from other parents.

Tuition fees are dear with some schools charging up to £10,000 per term. You will also need to factor in other costs such as extra-curricular activities, school lunches and extra tuition (if necessary). Admission into international schools is highly competitive and you are strongly advised to initiate the admission process as early as possible. Do note that most international schools will require prospective students to come in to be interviewed and assessed to determine which class would be most appropriate for them.

For a comprehensive list of international schools for expats in the United Kingdom, do see:


Additionally, the Daily Telegraph’s Expat website is a valuable resource in listing the international schools in the UK as well providing a short description of each one.




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