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How To Find The Right International School For Your Child In Sofia

Bulgaria (and the city of Sofia in particular) accommodates the influx of expat families from Western Europe and the US by providing a variety international schools. Curriculums on offer are from the United States, Britain and France. Bulgaria has seven International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools, all of which are authorised to teach the IB Diploma; six out of seven of these institutions teach in English. There are also two French lycées (high schools) overseen by the Agency for French Education Abroad. Other accrediting bodies include the Council of International Schools (CoIS), the New England Association of Schools and Coll eges (NEASC), and the Council of British International Schools.The Council of International Schools (CoIS) is a non-profit association of international schools and post-secondary institutions which provides educational accreditation, teacher and leadership recruitment services, links to higher education, governance assistance and help with founding new schools. The New England Association of School and Colleges (NEASC) is an accrediting association which establishes standards for all levels of education, from pre-Kindergarten to Masters degrees, while the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) verifies schools in Europe.

It is compulsory for children between the ages of seven and 16 to attend school in Bulgaria. Basic education in Bulgaria is made up of primary school (grades 1-4) and pre-secondary school (grades 5-8). State schools are free and follow the 12-year Bulgarian national curriculum. Technical, vocational and specialist schools have suitable alternatives on offer which young people can choose to attend after completing their basic education. Bulgaria has more than 30 universities and most of the population is highly educated.

Admission and enrolment procedures differ depending on which school you choose. Spaces are often limited, and preference may be given to students according to their nationality. Tuition tends to be expensive by local standards, but in exchange you get high standards of learning, smaller class sizes, first-rate facilities and better extracurricular activities. Most schools only provide day classes, but there are some with boarding facilities.

Listed below are the most popular international and bilingual schools for expats in Sofia as well as the fees they charge.

British School of Sofia
BSS Kindergarten
Lozenets, 18 Radi Radev Street
+359 2 979 19 49; 978 64 55
fax: +359 2 979 00 60

BSS School & BSS College
Lozenets, 1 Ekaterina Nencheva Street
+359 2 979 19 49; 978 64 55
fax: +359 2 979 00 60;
Email: office@bssofia.bg

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The British School of Sofia was established in 2010 as a response to the need for quality international education. The academic curriculum is complemented by extracurricular programs and activities which contribute to the personal, physical and moral development of students.

Tuition fees:
Kindergarten fees: €6,100-6,500 per year
School fees: €7,900-8,800 per year
College fees: €8,600-10,200 per year

American College of Sofia
Address: Floyd Black Lane, MLADOST-2
Sofia 1799, Bulgaria
Tel: (359-2) 434 10 08, 434 10 10, 434 10 11

Tuition fees: €5,700-14,500 per year
Independent secondary school the American College of Sofia was founded in 1860. This is a highly selective and sought-after school. English is the primary language of education, but the school also caters to Bulgarian native speakers. The curriculum is based on the American system. It is accredited by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, MSA and IBO.

Anglo-American School of Sofia (AAS-Sofia)
Address: Siyanie Street 1
Pancharevo, Sofia 1137, Bulgaria
Tel: 359 2 9238810 11

Tuition fees: €5,835-21,345 per year
The Anglo-American School of Sofia was set up in 1967. Students range in age from four to 18 and are taught in English. The curriculum combines the best from US and UK educational practices. The school is accredited by the CoIS and NEASC. AAS is also an authorised International Baccalaureate World School.

Zlatarski International School
Address: 49 Kliment Ohridski Blvd.
Sofia, Bulgaria 1756
Tel: 359 2 974 36 66

Tuition fees: €3,500-8,000 per year
The curriculum at this international school centres mainly on languages (Bulgarian, English, German and Spanish), economics, biology and maths. The equivalent to AAA in the British A levels results, Zlatarski School is ranked among the best international schools in the world. The school offers the IB, IGCSE and A Levels. The school also serves as a Cambridge University international examination test centre.

Lycée Victor-Hugo de Sofia
Address: 110 Simeonovsko chaussée
Quartier Vitosha
Sofia 1700 Bulgaria
Tel: (00359-2) 963 29 64, 963 21 19

Tuition fees: Kindergarten fees: €9410 per year
School fees: €8890 per year
College fees: €10,140 per year

The school belongs to the network of AEFE. Education is in French and based on the French educational system. The school is open to international and Bulgarian students.

2 Kukush street
Tel: (00359-2) 931 14 67
Email: info@wedaschule.com

1 Ivan Markvichka street
Tel: (00359-2) 931 14 67
Email: info@wedaschule.com

WEDA is a private school and kindergarten with German language teaching. The school was founded in 1998. WEDA offers bilingual education in German and Bulgarian in the following subjects: history and civilisation, chemistry and environmental protection, physics and astronomy, area studies and music. German and English language teaching are focused at obtaining internationally recognised diplomas and certificates including Sprachdiplom 2, Test DaF and Cambridge Certificates. The school is recognised by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and is a member of the CoIS and the ECIS. Some classes are conducted in English and the school offers the IB program.

Tuition fees:
Kindergarten fees: €3000-3800 per year
School fees: €4600 per year
College fees: €3200-3300 per year

Have you sent your child to school in Bulgaria? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

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