The term 'International Schools' originally applied to schools that solely catered for expatriate communities in certain countries. These schools tended to be staffed by nationals from the expatriate country of origin and to teach a curriculum that was based on the one found in the home country. So, a school founded to educate children of UK expats living in Singapore would typically have an English school curriculum and English or English-speaking teachers and staff.
In more recent years though, the International Schools label has expanded to cover schools that set out to foster a global or international outlook in the minds of their students. In addition to expat students, these schools can have a significant local student population as parents in the host country, eager to broaden the horizons and experiences of their children, enroll them as pupils. These schools teach an international curriculum, typically English or American, will have English as their primary teaching language and will prepare pupils for a relatively seamless transition to higher education institutions beyond their country of residence.
Some of the other typical criteria that define International Schools are:
- Smaller class sizes and engaged students.
- Multinational and multilingual student body.
- International accreditation (e.g. Council of International Schools, International Baccalaureate, North Eastern Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges).
- A rotating and multinational teacher population.
Read down for details on some of the globes' Leading International Schools.