International Schools the world over have a reputation; great exam results, excellent extra-curricular facilities, a cosmopolitan student body, and of course, high fees. This list comprises the ten international schools that offer the best balance of the above, though there are many other excellent schools that only just missed out. As no official league tables or exam results tables are published on international schools, this list takes into consideration their most recent exam results compared against the relative cost of attendance (of which there is a surprisingly large margin) and to a lesser extent extra-curricular, sporting, musical and theatrical facilities. That is not to say these aren’t important, just that there is relatively little to separate the following on those counts!
1. Tanglin Trust School: Singapore
GCSE: 53% A*-A, 80% A*-B, 99% 5+ A*-C
A-Level: 55% A*-A, 21% A*, 98% got into first choice university
£1357 enrolment fee and £12 800 – £17 400 per year depending on grade
The Tanglin Trust School is a private fee-paying school with an open admissions policy and for 86 years it has provided the UK national curriculum to Expats based in Singapore. The Tanglin Trust school tops the list not only for it’s excellent new facilities and fantastic academic track record (this year 98% of pupils got into their first choice university).
2. Garden International School: Kuala Lumpur
GCSE: 35% A*, 62% A*-A, 82% A*-B, 94% A*-C
A-Level: 46% A, 77% A-B, 87% A-C, 100% pass
£260 application fee, £2000 (nursery and reception) or £4000 (years 1-13) registration fee and £7000 – £10 800 per year dependent on grade
Garden International School is the largest private, co-educational, international school in Malaysia. Established in 1951, GIS provides a British-style education to the expatriate and local community in Kuala Lumpur.
The school hosts over 2000 students from over fifty countries. Facilities include purpose-built Drama, Music, Art, DT and Languages suites, a 25m, 8-lane Swimming pool, synthetic turf field, tennis courts, basketball courts, indoor sports facilities and specialist teaching rooms that support a high level of IT integration, all with the lowest tuition fees on the list.
3. Dulwich College: Beijing
IB: Average Points 36, 22% level 7 papers, 23% 40+ points, 68% 35+ points
£15 000 – 19 000 per year depending on grade, a £200 application fee and a £1700 refundable deposit
Dulwich College Beijing is part of the umbrella Dulwich college group, which run schools across the world from London to Seoul to Beijing. Based on the original Dulwich college London the Beijing School has four houses which students are assigned to, to create an atmosphere of friendly competition and a sense of identity. As it is based on a traditional English public school there are similar adherences to uniforms, house systems and head boys/girls. This also means that the school mainly follows the British national curriculum, though the IB is taken at sixth form rather than A-Levels. In terms of academic performance Dulwich college is the highest out of any in the list with a very impressive average IB points of 36, well above the global average of 29. However due to the relative cost, it only ranks third.
4. St Christopher’s: Bahrain
GCSE: 23.5% A*, 54.5% A or A*, 95% A*-C, 99.3% 5 or more A*-C
A-Level: 99.7% Pass, 16% A*, 42% A* or A, 66% A* A or B
IB: 89% pass, Average points 33, 14% level 7, 38% level 6 or 7
£4000 – £11 265 per year depending on grade entered.
Another British style school, St Christophers in Bahrain achieved a very strong set of exam results despite the heat conditions! Like Dulwich college St Christopher’s has a house system and is largely based on the English public school system. Though the exam results are not quite as impressive as some places below it in the list, the relatively low fee cost nets it fourth place.
5. British School of Paris
GCSE: 32% A*, 95% A*-C
A-Level: 55% A*-A, 100% pass
€1000 (£900) registration fee, €6000 (£5400) development fund contribution and €12 000- €23 000 per year (£10 800 – £20 767) dependent on grade entered
Based in the heart of Paris, the British School Of Paris boasts possibly the most enviable location for any international school. The close availability and depth of local history, art and culture mean that students enjoy as rich an education outside the classroom as inside. A-Level results are very impressive and it would place higher if it were not for the fact that the fee system works out as the second most expensive of any on the list. But, the students will always have Paris…
6. Sir James Henderson School: Milan
GCSE: 89% pass, 29% A*, 20% A, 22% B
A-Level: 100% pass, 34% A, 32% B
Registration fee of €4200 (£3777) (reduced for subsequent children), enrolment fee of €1800 (£1600) and €10 150 (£9000) – €13 900 (£12 500) per year depending on grade
Like the British School of Paris, Sir James Henderson School is another school strongly based on the British national curriculum set in the heart of a bustling European city. A very close fifth, but even the relatively affordable fees were not enough to push it above the stronger academic performance of the other schools.
7. Dulwich College: Shanghai
IB: 98% pass, Average points 34
Same as Dulwich College Beijing
Based on the same model as Dulwich college Beijing, Dulwich College Shanghai places lower due it’s (slightly) poorer academic record but similarly high fees. However, both schools boast excellent extra-curricular facilities as well as very thorough and well balanced approaches to teaching music, sport and drama.
8. International School of Brussels
IB: 97% pass, Average points 35
€25 300 (£22 700) – €30 500 (£27 400) per year depending on grade and a €1000 (£899) application fee
The most expensive school on the list, the International School of Brussels has stiff competition from the legion of international, American, British and European schools in Brussels. Boasting the best academic record of its local competitors, on the international stage the astronomical fees force it in the lower end of the list.
9. Munich International School
IB: 94% pass, Average points 32
€13 050 (£11 700) - €16 210 (£14 500) per year depending on grade, plus an €80 (£71) application fee
The Munich International School like all the others has a strong academic record but has fees on the middle end of the scale. With excellent sport facilities, it also has a highly thorough approach to teaching students local and other languages that British based schools can sometimes overlook. Though its fees are slightly higher than the Berlin British School, the 94% pass rate at IB versus the 81% pass rate ensure it avoids bottom place.
10. Berlin British School
IB: 81% pass rate, Average points 31
Admission fee of €2600 (£2300) or €515 (£463) for subsequent siblings, €12 039 (£10 700) – €14 083 (£12 600) per year depending on grade
Compared to the other schools academic results the Berlin British School’s are relatively weak. Until you compare them to the global average. It should be noted that although the Berlin British School places bottom of the list it is certainly one of the better lists to appear on the bottom of! Like all the above it boasts excellent facilities, small class sizes and an eye-opening international location. Envy the children whose parents might be looking at this list with a view of researching possible schools…
By Aneil Fatania