International Schools


International Primary School Curricula

Some international schools follow a National Curriculum for primary school aged children but adapt the curriculum to the location of the school. For example, a British school located in Singapore will follow the UK curriculum but make the subject relevant to their Asian surroundings. The subjects are taught in English, but children also learn the local language. 

The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is an international and national curriculum with a thematic, holistic approach, aiming to provide primary school children with a solid foundation for future learning.

The IPC Early Years Programme is for three to five-year-olds and founded on four areas, defined as learning strands; Independence and Interdependence, Communicating, Exploring and Healthy Living.

Building on this, the IPC Main Programme targets children aged six to twelve, providing learning targets and a specialist programme incorporating physical education, ICT, art and music.

The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum for 3 to 12-year-olds, which incorporates the best of national curricula across the world but adapts the content to an international environment.

The curriculum framework has five elements to it: concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes and action.

The PYP is available in English, Spanish and French but schools may offer the programme in other languages too, after consultation with the IB. However, only schools authorised by the IB can teach the programme.

International Secondary School Curricula

Some international secondary schools offer a programme in line with a National Curriculum, such as the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum or the American High School Diploma. The curricula may be adapted for an international education, but the principle aim is to provide children with recognised qualifications so they can gain entry to the university of their choice, either back in their base country, or overseas. 

The Cambridge International Certificate of General Education (IGCSE) is a very popular international qualification that universities across the world also recognise; it is equivalent to the GCSE in the United Kingdom. The curriculum covers the core subjects of English, humanities, languages, mathematics, science, social sciences, arts and technology.

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme is designed for 11 to 16-year-olds and is a curriculum based on eight subject groups: the mother tongue and one foreign language, arts, technology, humanities, mathematics, sciences and physical education.

The IB’s aim is to connect traditional subjects to the everyday world of students living abroad, the goal being to increase the international-mindedness of pupils while encouraging them to learn their own language and about their own culture.

While international schools can teach the IB MYP without any adaptation. Schools can also use the programme as a framework for other national curricula.

Teachers trained specifically in the IB assess students throughout the duration of the programme and the IB itself also carries out official certification for schools that require it.

These are the most important things you need learn about international school programs to make an informed decision when it comes to your child’s education while you are living abroad. Consider all options and look beyond your current situation to secure your child’s future.

International School curricula

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a two-year programme resulting in a diploma, which leading universities across the world accept as part of their entry requirements. The IB targets 16 to 19-year-olds and students follow the curriculum in English, French or Spanish. The programme’s goal is to prepare students for all aspects of life at university. 

The international baccalaureate programme is the most commonly used programme for international schools abroad. It is now also known as the most prestigious school programme in the world and is regarded as the “passport to the best universities in the world.

The IB programme was initially made specifically for international students, but now even schools that do not consider themselves to be international are offering this programme.

So what exactly makes the IB programme so special? It offers international education to your children, meaning it is a combination of the best programmes in the world. The IB programme also pushes international schools to integrate both local and global methods of education, as well as local and international cultural education for children. 


Aside from academic acclaim, the IB programme is also the most widely recognised programme in the world. What does this mean for you? If you are not quite sure if you will be moving to a different country, or back to your home country, this programme can ensure that your kid’s education is recognised anywhere. The IB diploma is recognised anywhere in the world as an equivalent to a secondary or high school education. On many occasion, it can even be considered as a golden ticket to the most prestigious universities in the world.

Great Opportunities

Speaking of golden tickets, there are several universities that consider an IB diploma as a golden ticket. The IB programme is known worldwide as a programme that strives for excellence. The curriculum comprises six subjects: two languages, individuals and societies, mathematics and computer science, the arts and experimental sciences. Students study at least three subjects at a higher level and the others at a standard level. 

Assessment is using a final examination at the end of the second year, and students are required to write a 4,000-word essay, preparing students for the kind of research project that universities require.

It also promotes unique thinking, and this is something that universities are very interested in. The progressive system and good results of this programme, as well as international exposure paves the way for its graduate to get into almost any university they want anywhere in the world.

Read all about the International Baccalaureate Programme and how it can work for your child’s future.

British Schools

There’s a large number of British Schools around the world, and that is mostly because the British curriculum is one of the best and most renowned in the world. But while the British National Curriculum is followed by most of these schools, there might be quite a few difference with regards to quality and even the structure of education since government monitoring is no longer in place outside the UK. However, the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), a member of the International Schools Council in the United Kingdom, ensures that all of its members maintain a certain standard and structure of education to make sure that the quality of education in these schools are in top shape. So if you choose to put your child at a British International School, make sure that the school is a member of these organisations.

Learn more about British Schools abroad through the official website of COBIS.

American Schools

Some institutions do not really acknowledge schools following the American curriculum as international schools, for several reasons, first is because the American curriculum does not transition very well in other forms of education, it is very specifically American, and therefore, it is a lot harder to make it acceptable internationally, unlike with the British curriculum which is already very similar to several countries in Europe, as well as in Australia.

However, American international schools claim that despite following the American curriculum, their programmes are still very international by making sure that the integration of the American method of learning is incorporated to international standards. The office that oversees the maintenance and guidelines of American schools abroad is called “Office of Overseas Schools”, where they also have an overseas school council that enlists and regulates American schools abroad.

The council as well as the official American schools are eager to promote the American system of education and promote the interests of the U.S. Government among its citizens abroad. Therefore, this type of international school is best for U.S. expat children. If you plan to move to the US for a long period of time or if you will be a returning U.S. citizen after your assignment abroad, then this could be a good choice for your children.

If you would like to learn more about American schools overseas, visit the website for the Office of Overseas Schools.


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