International and specialist schools

What alternative options are there for expat families?

International and specialist schools

The Philippines is home to many international schools offering a wider range of languages and subjects than public schools as well as following a curriculum your child may be more used to.

There are many alternatives to mainstream public or private education. An option that many expat families go for is an international school. The standard of education is perceived to be higher and often they offer more extra-curricular activities.

Choosing an International school

Ethnic groups such as Americans, British, Chinese and Koreans run their own schools based on the curriculum in their native countries. These international schools offer tuition usually in English with some mixed such as English/Filipino, English/French classes. All offer classes in second and sometimes third languages. Chinese schools in particular run classes in Mandarin and Chinese culture alongside the core curriculum.

Some of the top international schools are:

  • The German European International School, Manila - This school is comprised of 3 sections, the French, German, and the International Baccalaureate section. They run classes in French, German and English and offer many extra-curricular activities. Caters for all ages, from toddler to 18 years old.
  • Cebu International School - A school based on the American education system with classes in English. Catering from nursery to grade 12.
  • International British Academy - A school which strictly follows the curriculum of England and Wales. Based in Cavite, south of Manila, it caters for students aged between 3 and 16.

Always be sure to choose an international school that has an international affiliation because some schools use the word ‘International’ in their name but aren’t true international schools.

Admission requirements

For admission to an international school foreign students will need to produce:

  • A birth certificate
  • All certificates and records of work from previous schools, along with full contact details for the schools.
  • Registration/processing fee (usually non-refundable)
  • Application forms
  • A copy of their passport with the correct visa
  • A record of the students’ health

Most international schools accept applications throughout the year, but as admission is dependent on space being available (among other criteria) it is best to apply as early as possible before the school year starts. Different schools start their terms at different times depending on whether they are following a British, European or American system.

Further reading

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