Frequently Asked Questions

+ Are international schools part of one central 'corporate style' organisation (like Volkswagen or the Deutsche Bank)?

There are some organisations that set up international schools in different locations as a business venture, but more typically schools are independent and grew out of an initiative within an overseas community of expatriate families and international companies.

+ How do the international schools cooperate with one another?

International schools belong to various regional or international professional organisations which promote educational standards by organising workshops and conferences for teachers and administrators. They also facilitate curriculum development, conduct evaluation programmes etc. Most AGIS schools are members the 'European Council of International Schools' (ECIS) and are involved in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

+ Do international schools use the same curriculum?

International schools are free to choose their curriculum model. However there is a great deal of cooperation between schools in order to facilitate the transfer of students. This has led to the development of common curriculum and assessment schemes specifically for the international context, eg the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP), or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).

+ Are the international schools run by governmental agencies (Defence Department, Dept. of Education)?

Some governments (eg France, Germany, Japan) set up their own schools overseas as though they were in the home country. The European Union sets up European Schools in cities where EU institutions employ a large number of EU families. The armed forces of Britain and the USA set up schools for their military dependents overseas. Some countries establish an international section within a local state school. However, these and other models generally differ fundamentally from international schools in philosophy and curriculum.

+ Who is able to go to international schools?

Are they open to local nationals?
International schools serve the children of families employed by the international business and diplomatic community. They are also usually open to local nationals, where local public education regulations and the mission statement of the school permit this.

+ Who 'owns' an international school?

This depends on the legal structure of the school. A large number of schools are registered as non-profit associations and the parents of children in the school are the owners. They in turn elect a Board of Trustees or Directors to oversee the business of the school. Others are registered as limited companies and the shareholders are the owners. Others are owned directly by individual or corporate investors.

+ How are international schools structured legally and financially?

The status and legal standing of an international school reflects the regulations governing public and private education of the host country. This determines questions of recognition, freedom in curricular matters, admission of local nationals, public funding etc. International schools are generally financed largely or entirely through the tuition fees paid by parents of students. These may be covered by the companies for whom they work. Depending on the local political climate, the legal status and degree of official recognition, a school may also receive some public funding.

+ Are int. schools subject to any control or supervision?

How are standards set and maintained? (Especially with reference to the IB.) Some international schools may be subject to a degree of official inspection and approval under regulations of the host country. This will also depend on the extent to which they are granted recognised status for the purposes of public funding. More importantly, many international schools seek accreditation from national and international organisations who undertake a regular and thorough audit of facilities, curriculum, professional staff etc. Schools who adopt curriculum leading to recognised awards such as the IB or the IGCSE are also subject to scrutiny by the awarding bodies and their results can be compared with international norms.

+ Are int. schools some sort of language school?

Do they offer adult education?
International schools provide general education to children across the normal school age range. Schools may offer extra-curricular courses to individuals outside of the school, including adults, in the evenings, at weekends or during holiday periods.

+ What qualification (Abschluss) do children have when they leave an international school?

Generally the aim is to prepare students for transfer to other international schools, to return to their home system or to go on to further education. To this end, international schools offer one or more of a number of widely accepted national or international diploma programs, eg IB, IGCSE, 'A' Levels, Advanced Placement, etc.

+ Can children transfer from one int. school to another without difficulty? Are the same programmes available?

Every effort is made to facilitate the transfer of students between schools. The international schools themselves understand the difficulty of this for students and incorporate various strategies for the orientation and integration of new students as well as the remediation of learning difficulties. In most cases, the same or equivalent programs are available and the transition is smooth. But parents are encouraged to contact a new school early in the process to ensure that their child's needs can be fully met.

+ Where do teachers in int. schools come from? what qualifications do they have? Are they sent from one school to another?