China offers a number of public, private and international schooling options for expat families. The decision of which school to choose will depend on a number of factors including the age of the child, cost and the family’s location within China.
The majority of expats in China opt to send their children to an international school. There are plenty to choose from, especially in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. These institutions are often the obvious choice for parents looking for a smooth transition for their children.
Expats will find international schools that follow a range of different curricula including British, American and the International Baccalaureate (IB). While most classes will be conducted in English or the primary language of the school’s home country, many international schools also offer classes on local culture as well as Mandarin or Cantonese language lessons.
The most popular international schools tend to be oversubscribed and many have long waiting lists in place so it is best to apply as early as possible. Admission processes can be rather arduous, involving lots of forms, interviews, placement tests and application fees. Tuition fees at international schools are high, so expats may want to negotiate an education allowance.