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Questions to ask International School

(6 Posts)
Bambambini Mon 28-Mar-16 20:58:50

Got an appointment, know some more obvious questions i want to ask but worried i might be missing some, feel free to give me some of your own.

fatowl Tue 29-Mar-16 01:16:29

I am a governor at an international school in Asia

If I were looking for an international school I'd ask.

- breakdown of nationalities (Truly international? or a strong majority of one nationality?)
- Number of students with EAL
- Last year's staff turnover (less than 25%-30% is fine)
- Ask if they are fully staffed for next Sept? (most reputable/desirable schools will be nearly there by now) - you could have a sneaky look at International recruitment on TES website to see if they are still hiring
- Depending on the age of your DC, what exam board do they use (Most international schools used CIE, Edxcel or AQA or a combination)

WHere are you going/age of your DC and I could give you more specific questions

Bambambini Tue 29-Mar-16 07:46:29

Thanks fatowl. It's Spain and a British school (think about 70-80% british background. Children will be just turned 14 and 11 yrs old come sept. School Years 10 and 7.

mmgirish Tue 29-Mar-16 11:03:13

I'm a teacher at an International School.

I would find out:
- Is it a profit or non-profit school?

- Do all the teachers hold QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) in the UK or the country the were educated in?

- How much teaching experience do the teachers have before being in employed at the school?

- If there is a high percentage of English Language Learners then how do they meet their needs in the classroom setting?

- Class sizes across the school. Is there a fixed ceiling on the number of students per class. In my experience, this can range from 10 - 24 students class in International schools.

- Does the school employ teaching/learning assistants to support learning across the school?

- How inclusive is the school? Does it have an Additional Educational Needs department to support students with learning/physical/emotional/social needs?

- As it is a British School - how does the school take into account host country culture and customs?

- How is the school governed? Is there a board where all stakeholders are represented?

- Is there an active PTA?

- What extracurricular activities and sport does the school offer?

- What trips or excursions do the children go on to support their learning?

If I were you, then I would check if the school has been reviewed by staff on

Good luck!

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Wed 30-Mar-16 15:06:09

We have had mixed experiences with international schools over the years. Some fantastic. Some fairly Noddy.

1.How many of the students in my childrens classes will be native English speakers? How many will be at an early stage of learning English? What support is there for speakers of English as an additional language? ( you do not want to be paying for your DCs to be sitting in a class full of Non native speakers who are there to learn English).

2. Staffing levels. Staff qualifications and experience. Pupil teacher ratio. Staff retention levels. Staff turnover rates. Some international schools fail to attract and retain good teachers. Tax regimes can also mean that teachers automatically move on after three years. Not good if that is the middle of your DCs GCSE course.

3. Results: If your DC are of secondary age, look carefully at the IGCSE and IB/A level results. Look at who got the top marks and in which subjects. Some international schools get great results in maths with children going off to Oxbridge and Ivy League destinations. Dig down a bit and you will find these are all Korean Or Chinese boys - if they are not Korean or Chinese and male your DC are unlikely to be among them.

4. If your DC have SEN what provision is there for them?

5. Extra curricular provision. If the school is charging the same as UK boarding school are they providing the same opportunities.

6. Fees: If your employer is paying, they may mot be a problem. If you are paying yourself, you may find you can negotiate a VERY substantial discount if your DC are bright native speakers.

7. Peer Group/Demographic: Some international schools are full of the DC of extremely rich locals whose emphasis is on learning English and little more. They will not always be that interested in good academic results/sport/co-curricular.

Bambambini Wed 30-Mar-16 16:34:18

Thanks folks, went to see the school and it was quite positive.

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