International schools: finding one that's in tune with your expat child

Photo: The British School in Tokyo gives students the opportunity to get involved with the local music scene CREDIT: BST

International schools have seen phenomenal growth in recent years. An increasingly globalised workforce has led to huge demand for school places, and the indications are that, rather than slowing down, this trend is only likely to accelerate.


As a result, the number of students at international schools has more than doubled in the last 10 years, and is forecast to double again over the next 10. 
A UK-based curriculum is the most widely-available, offered by four in 10 international schools. Meanwhile, English-language international schools cater for a wealth of different nationalities. Just over 60 are represented among the 915 students at the British School in Tokyo (BST), said principal Brian Christian.
Around half have a British passport, although the fastest growing group is students who have dual nationality where one parent is Japanese, he added.

As well as academic standards, parents should look at what else the school has to offer. “Of course academics are important, but education is holistic and you should look beyond the academics, to sport, music and drama,” said Mr Christian.  This includes opportunities to explore the host country, he added. At BST, for example, all students aged six and upwards go on residential trips, with the entire secondary school going on a week-long residential twice a year. “We try to cover as much of Japan as we can,” said Mr Christian.

The school also takes advantage of the opportunities offered by Tokyo’s thriving cultural scene. BST students have been able to meet a range of visiting musicians, including Nicola Benedetti and Vladimir Ashkenazy, with Simon Rattle due to visit this month. “All the big names come through,” Mr Christian said.

Academic standards should come high on any parents’ checklist, but as well as examination results it is a good idea to ask about where students go when they leave the school, particularly if it has a sixth form. “You certainly want to ask what universities students are going to,” said Elaine Stallard, who runs Winter’s International School Finder (wintersschoolfinder.com), a matchmaking site dedicated to pairing up students and English-speaking schools.

“That can give you tremendous comfort in the quality of education. If you do have any worries about an education overseas, that should really put it to bed because you can’t hide when it comes to university destinations.”

Our Telegraph International Schools Directory lists establishments catering to expats around the world: expatdirectory.telegraph.co.uk/internationalschools

Source: Telegraph
By:  Nick Morrison 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/education-and-family/international-schools-finding-one-thats-in-tune-with-your-expat

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