UK Education System: International Schools

Following on from state and private schools, this last post in our education series focuses on international schools and nationality schools:

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3. International schools (fee paying)

There are a wide range of International schooling options now available to expatriate families in the UK. These range from International schools offering the International Baccalaureate to specific nationality schools.

Often the American Schools will accept other nationalities and may have an International Baccalaureate program to suit.

Most schools are run under the auspices of their respective Governments and are state subsidised, and as such they normally give priority to their own foreign nationals.

Nationality Schools are sometimes the most obvious answer for expatriate families as texts are imported from their Home Country for core subjects. A curriculum similar to that found in their Home Country is offered, leading to a relevant qualification in preparation for higher education. If families are planning on returning back to their home country for high school or further education, the transition is much simpler; qualifications and year groups do not have to be corresponded and translated into the other curriculum.

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French Education

With an estimated 400,000 French people living in London, the French Schools are heavily oversubscribed, especially the Lycée Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington.

This ever increasing demand for places has meant that they recently opened a new campus in Wembley, the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill. Please note it is not possible to specify which campus your children will attend; they could end up split, with one attending school in South Kensington and the other in Wembley.

Therefore, French families are having to look elsewhere for schools providing a French Education; options include the College Français Bilingue de Londres, Ecole Française de Londres Jacques Prévert and L’Ecole de Battersea.

French families should look out for schools registered with AEFE and CNED. AEFE is a national public agency under the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France that assures the quality of schools teaching the French national curriculum outside of France. CNED is a French public institution under the oversight of the department of education dedicated to providing distance learning material.

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American Education

The ACS Schools, as well as TASIS and The American School in London, teach the American curriculum and the International Baccalaureate. Whilst these initially started as American schools, they are now well attended by students of all nationalities and are much more international than you might first think.

International Baccalaureate

International Schools such as Southbank, International School of London, and Dwight School London teach the International Baccalaureate. The International School of London teaches the International Baccalaureate and also offers mother tongue programmes for International students.

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International schools in the UK are a great option for expat families; they often have a higher turnover of students and are therefore able to offer greater flexibility regarding admissions and have places available throughout the year.

Some schools will not require entrance exams and interviews.

However, more popular nationality schools will be heavily oversubscribed and an interview and exam will be required.

Applications should be made directly to the school and an application fee paid of around £200 which is non-refundable. Again we would highly recommend visiting the schools and applying to several, not just the one.

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The London International Schools Association

The Good Schools Guide

Please find links below to international and nationality schools which may be of interest:

The American School in London

ACS International Schools


Southbank International School

International Community School

Dwight School London

Halcyon London International School

International School London

Schola Europaea

Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle

Lycée Winston Churchill

Ecole Française de Londres Jacques Prévert


L’Ecole des Petits Fulham and L’Ecole de Battersea

Hampton Court House School

Deutsche Schule London

The Norwegian School

The Swedish School

The Japanese School


If you have any questions on any of our posts on the UK schooling system, then please do not hesitate to contact us. You can read more about state schools here and private schools here.

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