The UK education system is divided into several parts: early years (pre-primary), primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education.
Children begin going to a pre-primary or nursery school at the age of three and continue to do so until the age of five, which is when they move to the next part or phase.Primary education has been further divided into Key Stages 1 (for children aged 5 to 7) and 2 (for kids aged 7 to 11), while secondary schooling consists of Key Stages 3 (for students aged 11 to 14) and 4 (for those between 14 and 16). The academic progress of all pupils is gauged at the end of each stage. However, the most important assessment occurs at the age of 16, when students pursue their General Certificate for Secondary Education (GCSE) exams. After completing these key stages, students are free to pursue further education and then higher education.
International schools offering the GCSE curriculum in other countries usually follow a similar setup. GCSE is a popular, internationally-recognized academic qualification, awarded in a particular subject, usually taken in a number of subjects by the pupils of secondary education. The course takes two years to complete, and students sit for the final exams when they are 16.
The British education system is often regarded as among the best in the world. Research shows that there is a growing demand for international schools using the UK-based academic curriculum in several countries across Europe and Asia. This demand for such education isn’t limited to British expats; many Europeans and Asians prefer sending their children to international schools that offer curricula designed according to the GCSE board if they can afford it. Apart from the fact that students receive a high quality of education, many parents are motivated by the thought that being trained in the British curriculum supports applications to a university in the UK.
The British Council recently conducted a study of branch campuses on the global expansion of UK boarding schools, and the study revealed that some of the most renowned British schools are setting up branches in foreign countries in order to tap the pool of middle-class families who are looking for good quality education. Also, 40% of the international schools across the globe have incorporated the UK curriculum.
If you want your children to be a part of a similar academic system while leading the expat life, read on to find out more about the top five countries that offer a UK-style education.
The standard of education in this European nation is very high. The system has been built to support students from diverse backgrounds and with different abilities. Residents have a variety of academic institutes to choose from, which include public schools, private schools, and international schools.
A majority of the local students opt for public education, which is free, but of good quality. However, the main language of teaching in these schools is German. This could pose a problem for foreigners, and some of them therefore opt for private education or international schools. It is much easier to find schools with an international curriculum in the bigger cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin & Munich.
Below is a list of academic institutes through which students can prepare for the GCSE (locally called IGCSE) exams in Germany:
The International School Augsburg
Wernher-von-Braun-Str, 1a 86368 Gersthofen
Tel: +49 (0) 821 4555 600
Fax: +49 (0) 821 4555 6010
The International School of Bremen
Badgasteiner Strasse 11, 28359 Bremen
Tel: +49 (0) 421 5157 790
Fax: +49 (0) 421 5157 7955
Cologne International Institute (The Internationale Friedensschule Koln)
Gemeinnützige GmbH, Neue Sandkaul 29, 50859 Köln
Tel: +49 (0) 221 3106 340
Fax: +49 (0) 221 3106 3410
ISF Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main
Verwaltungs-GmbH, Strasse zur Internationalen Schule 33, 65931 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 (0) 69 9543 197 10
Metropolitan School, Frankfurt
Eschborner Landstrasse 134 – 142, 60489 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 (0) 69 9686 4050
Fax: +49 (0) 69 9686 405 20
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (for admissions)
Leipzig International School
Early Childhood Center:
ECC Karl-Heine-Straße 95, 04229 Leipzig
Tel: +49 (0) 341 337 558 200
Primary & Secondary School:
Könneritzstraße 47, 04229 Leipzig
Tel: +49 (0) 341 337 5580
Metropolitan International School (MIS)
Heidelberg: Mozartstraße 4, 69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 (0) 151 1727 5530
Mannheim: SoHo TURLEY, Turley-Straße 12, 68167 Mannheim
Tel: +49 (0) 151 1727 5530
Viernheim: Walter-Gropius-Allee 3, 68519 Viernheim
Tel: +49 (0) 620 4708 7796
Most of the schools listed above have a variety of global affiliations, and give their students a choice of taking up the GCSE or the International Baccalaureate (IB), as well as other international courses. Moreover, these are just some of the more popular institutions that offer the IGCSE course; there may be another closer to your new home.
The local German education system is a bit different from the UK one, and there is therefore a high demand for international schools among the expat population there. Although these schools are very expensive, they have an abundance of students. The average annual fee for studying in an international school is €16000 (US $17,475; £12,050) or more, depending upon the facilities and extracurricular activities.
Since the end of the Soviet Union, the system of education has been a major point of contention among the Russian population. The old regime was full of underfunded and overcrowded schools that could not accommodate the growing number of students within the country. While reforms have been made to the national education system since then, most of the public schools in Russia still have a long way to go in order to be on par with global standards. Private schools are only a little better, and the local language remains their main medium of education.
It is therefore hardly surprising that most expats living in this country prefer to have their children educated in international schools. The bigger cities have a good mix of British, American, French, German, and Japanese institutions. These establishments employ a mix of Russian and foreign teachers, including many native English speakers. Most of the schools offer students a choice between IB and their home curriculum.
A majority of the international schools in Russia are located in the country’s capital, Moscow, as that is where most of the expats are based. The most popular institutions that offer the British national curriculum include:
British International School
Tel: +7 495 987 4486 and +7 495 426 0311
Fax: + +7 495 426 3811
English International School
Tel: +7 495 301 2104 (East)
+7 499 140 1025 (West)
+7 495 984 5992 (South West)
Cambridge International School (Also called Atlantic International School, Moscow)
Tel: +7 903 726 2811 and 8 800 775 4270
143085, Moscovskaya oblast, Zarech’e, Berezovaya Street, 2
Tel: +7 495 255 2249
25565, Moscow, Festivalnaya str., 7A
Tel: +7 499 745 6260
Lakhta, St. Petersburg
197229, Saint Petersburg, Lakhtinskiy pr., 40/2
Tel: +7 812 244 5044
International School of Moscow
Krylatskoe Campus: Krylatskaya Steet 12, Krylatskoe, Moscow, 121552
Tel: +7 499 922 4400 and +7 916 922 0454
Rosinka Campus: Building 41, IRC Rosinka, Krasnogorsky Region, Moscow Rural, 143442
Tel: +7 499 922 4405 and +7 916 922 0454
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Popular schools that offer the British or other international curricula have a long waiting list of students in spite of being very expensive. Some institutions even close off certain levels for new applicants. At times, priority is given to children of diplomats or families of particular nationalities.
The education system in Spain is fairly advanced, with a wide variety of public, private, and international schools. Public and private schools are fine for children up to the primary stage. However, most expats prefer to have their children be a part of the British system for GCSEs and A Levels, and the demand for international schools is high across the country, not just with foreigners but also among the Spanish population.
The National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS), founded in 1978, represents around 40 schools located all over the country. The objective of this association is to protect the interests of parents and students attending its member schools. It also ensures that all its members employ well-qualified staff and adopt up-to-date training methods. Anyone can get in touch with this organization by calling +34 963 90 2128 or taking a look at www.nabss.org.
Below is a list of some of the most popular schools offering British style education in Spain:
The International School of Madrid
Rosa Jardon, 3, 28016 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 59 07 22
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Calle Salvia 30, La Moraleja, 28109 Alcobendas, Madrid
Tel: +34 916 508 302
The English Montessori School
C/ de la Salle S/N, Aravaca, 28023 Madrid
Tel: +34 91 357 26 67
Paseo de los Andes, 35, Soto de Viñuelas, 28761 Madrid
Tel: +34 918 034 800
Pso de la Habana, 204, 8036 Madrid
Tel: +34 91 359 06 21
C/ Parma 16, 28043 Madrid
Tel: +34 91 300 24 31
Avenida de Bularas N2, 28224 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid
Tel: +34 91 715 46 99
British School of Barcelona
CalleGinesta, 26, 08860 Castelldefels, Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 665 15 84
The International School of Catalunya
Passeig 9, La Garriga, 08530 Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 841 4077
Oak House School
C/ Sant Pere Claver, 12-18, 08017 Barcelona
Tel: +34 932 52 4020
The Europa International School
Av. PladelVinyet, 110, 08172 SantCugat del Valles, Barcelona
Tel: +34 935 898 420
While these are some of the popular schools in Madrid and Barcelona, it is possible to find many other international schools with a British curriculum across the country.
In the past, the education system across Hong Kong was very similar to the UK’s, primarily because it had been set up by the British when they administered the country from 1841 to 1997. However, since China’s takeover, the local teaching setup has undergone a series of changes, mainly in terms of language of instruction and curriculum. Today, education in Hong Kong’s public schools is more along the lines of China and even the US to some extent.
On the other hand, there is no dearth of international schools in Hong Kong, offering American, British, and IB curricula. According to the International Schools Consultancy (ISC) there are around 175 such schools in Hong Kong. However, while the GCSE board was highly popular among the international schools at one time, more people are now opting for the IB course.
Schools in Hong Kong offering a British education include:
French International School
165 Blue Pool Road – Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Tel: +854 2577 6217
Kellet School (British International School in Hong Kong)
Pok Fu Lam Preparatory
2 Wah Lok Path, Wah Fu, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
Tel: +854 3120 0700
Fax: +854 2875 0262
Kowloon Bay Prep and Senior
7 Lam Hing Street, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +854 3120 0700
Fax: +854 2305 2292
King George V School
2 Tin Kwong Road, Homantin, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: +854 2711 3029
Fax: +854 2760 7116
Yew Chung International School
3 Somerset Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2338 0264
Fax: +852 2337 8616
2 Kent Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2336 7292
Fax: +852 2338 7869
3 To Fuk Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2336 3443
Fax: +852 2337 5370
The Republic of China boasts the largest education system in the world, with about 9.42 million students appearing for the National Higher Education Entrance Exam each year. The number of foreign students enrolling in the country’s international schools and universities is also on the rise. There are numerous international schools offering various curricula, located all across the country. However, in China, the demand for IB is actually higher than British courses.
There are numerous international schools all around the country. To access a list of these establishments, go to http://international-schools.mychinastart.com/
Do your children attend a British or International school abroad? Share your experience in the comments!