6 Tips to help you find a good international school

Published on 12th September, 2017 by Andrew Wigford. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Are you thinking of moving overseas to teach next year? Two years at an international school is a big commitment so it’s important to find a school that is reputable, suits your own teaching plans and most importantly, that you can be happy in.

We’ve put together six tips to help you to find the best school for you:

1. Research the school thoroughly

Review the school’s website in detail. International schools vary enormously in ethos, learning and teaching approach, curricula and examinations, teacher and student demographics, CPD and staff support, school size, location and more, so it’s important to match the right school with your experience, needs and preferences. What curricula does the school follow? Does the school’s philosophy align with yours? Is it a large or small school? Does it have good facilities? Does it sound right for you?

2. Find out whether the school is accredited

Most good and outstanding international schools are accredited by one of a few reputable accreditation bodies. These are the Council of International Schools (CIS), Centre for British Teachers (CfBT), AdvancED and the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). If a school is accredited, it will usually tell you on the home page of their website.

3. Look to see if the school is a member of an international association

There are several global international school associations and also some regional international school associations. See an extensive list of international school associations here. Most of these bodies have a set of standards for membership and several have their own accreditation. If a school is a member of one of these associations, it will be able to feature the logo on it’s website. Most schools will display this logo on their home page. Be careful of schools that only say they are ‘applying for membership’, particularly if that application has been ongoing for more than one year. You can always contact the association to verify the membership of a school.

4. Check whether the school has had an inspection

Most international schools are inspected by their local inspection authority, though they may not be obliged to have a full Ofsted style inspection, and the reports may not be easy to understand or compare. Some schools, however, choose to go through an internationally-recognised process too to ensure their standards are maintained and understood. Inspections are, in the most part, carried out by the Independent School Inspectorate, Cambridge Education, Penta, Ofsted or the CfBT Education Trust. International schools in Dubai are all inspected through the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) which works in partnership with CfBT to conduct the inspections.

5. Talk to teachers working at the school

It’s fairly easy to find teachers who are working at a school through social media. Don’t forget every teacher will see the school through their own eyes, but it is possible to get personal feedback and consensus from a number of current and past employees. TIC keeps in touch with all the teachers it places so can also put you in touch with any teacher who may have worked at the school you are considering.

6. Is the school recommended by a reputable recruitment agency?

A reputable recruitment agency should give you unbiased advice and will be able to guide you to the right sort of school for you. TIC will only work with international schools that we have visited and vetted. This process includes interviewing existing teachers and staff, developing a close relationship with school leadership, touring the location, and assessing resources and facilities first hand.

You might also be interested in these informative articles:
You've made your move, now what?
School holiday countdown and dreading going back
eaching in Europe - Life here after one year

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Andrew Wigford

Andrew is Managing Director of TIC. He has been involved in international education both as a teacher and Headteacher for over 25 years and has worked in Germany, Colombia and Austria. He set up TIC recruitment in 2005 to help teachers find great jobs in great international schools.