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How to choose an International School in London

As the old saying goes: school days are the happiest time of your life. Make sure your children get to experience these magical years to the fullest when you relocate to London by selecting a school that’s right for them.

With so many additional variables to consider during an overseas move, however, this might seem easier said than done: Will they be ahead of or behind their classmates? Will there be a language barrier? Will their integration be more challenging in a new country? What happens if you want to move back home?

Many families choose to answer important questions like this by sending their children to an international school in London.

1. What is an international school?

The International Association of School Librarianship created the following criteria to define international schools:

  • Students’ education is transferable across international schools
  • The student population is more mobile than state schools
  • There is a multinational and multilingual student body
  • Pupils’ typically follow an international curriculum
  • They are internationally accredited, for example by the Council of International Schools
  • They are non-selective
  • English is the main or bilingual language

2. What curriculums do they teach?

These typically fee-paying institutions deliver a different curriculum to standard UK schools, the structure of which varies from school to school:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB): Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and the Career-related Programme – designed for students aged 3-19, the IB pathway encourages both personal and academic achievement.
  • International Primary Curriculum (IPC): designed for children aged 5 – 11, the IPC provides a comprehensive, thematic, creative curriculum, with a clear process of learning and specific goals for all subjects.
  • Middle Years Curriculum (MYC) – designed for children aged 11 – 14, the MYC provides a challenging, internationally-minded and concept-focused curriculum.
  • National curriculum of another country – in London this is most commonly American or French.

If the high level of fees makes you nervous, you can always consider applying for a bursary – take a look at our article here.

3. Benefits of attending an international school

The benefits of sending your kids to an international school in London are compelling – here are just a few:

  1. International environment – students and teachers from across the globe combine to create an enriching, diverse environment that will enable your kids to understand the world from multiple perspectives.
  2. Academic excellence – a combination of passionate teachers and rigorous curriculums ensure your kid receive the best education possible.
  3. First-class facilities – big budgets and high-standards mean international school campuses are designed to be effective and conducive learning environments.
  4. Holistic development – a desire to produce well-rounded individuals that possess fundamental life skills, means an international school education extends beyond the confines of the classroom. In addition to academic excellence, they aim to cultivate exceptional social, emotional and physical development in their students.

4. The best International schools in London

American School in London

Here’s a snapshot of some of the leading international schools in London:

  1. The American School in London (in St. John’s Wood) – independent, co-educational international school for day students aged 4-18, offering the American high school diploma.
  2. Lycee International Winston Churchill (Wembley) – independent, co-educational international school for day students aged 3-18, following the French programme as defined by French Ministry of Education and the International Baccalaureate programme
  3. Dwight School London (Barnet) – independent, co-educational international school for day students aged 3-18, offering the International Baccalaureate programme./
  4. International School of London (Chiswick) – independent, co-educational international school for children aged 3-18, offering the International Baccalaureate programme.
  5. International Community School (Marylebone and Paddington) – independent, co-educational international school for children aged 3-18, offering the International Baccalaureate programme.

5. Get help from the experts

Relocation specialists Simply London can help you find the right international school for your family – and help you apply. We offer two options, depending on your requirements:

Download the free guide to schools in London!

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