Ten interesting facts about international schools…that you might not know

Published on 10th March, 2015 by Andrew Wigford. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Would you like to find out more about international schools? Here are some fun facts for you...

We asked our team of international education experts what were their favourite interesting facts about international schools. Here's our top ten:

1. There are now over 7,600 English-medium international schools around the world

With international schools in almost every country, the world really is your oyster when it comes to opportunities for teaching overseas!

2. The number of international schools has trebled since 2000

The popularity of international schools is constantly growing. The number of international schools is expected to double again by 2025 – so even more opportunities for teaching overseas!

3. Asia has more international schools than every other continent combined

Asia leads the world in the number of international schools. The Middle East, China and South East Asia (including Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam) all boast an extensive number of international schools; many that offer exceptional standards of learning and teaching.

4. The country with the most international schools is the United Arab Emirates

Despite being 92nd in the world’s population rankings, the United Arab Emirates has the highest number of English-medium international schools – over 500! Second is China with 480 international schools.

5. There are nearly 4 million students enrolled in international schools

This is 400% more students than in the year 2000 – that’s a big jump! This is partly down to our fact number 6.

6. 80% of international school students are locals

Many people assume that international school students are mostly expatriates but this is no longer true. Today, the vast majority are children of local families.

7. The National Curriculum of England is the most popular curriculum choice for international schools

This is usually adapted to make it relevant for the location of the school and its student population. Other popular curricula are a US-oriented curriculum and leading international options such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

8. Reputable international schools are members of a range of international school associations

International schools are not assessed or standardised by one single body, but there are a range of highly respected international school associations that represent specific groups of schools, for example COBIS (the Council of British International Schools), EARCOS (the East Asia Regional Council of Schools) and BSME (British Schools of the Middle East, amongst others.

9. An increasing number of national schools in several countries are converting to international schools

This is in order to meet the demands of both local and expatriate families. Many of these schools offer bilingual education where English-medium teachers work alongside local language teachers, or there may be two streams within one school; one for local language learning and one for English-medium, international learning.

10. More teachers now use recruitment agencies than recruitment fairs to find a job in an international school

International schools traditionally hired teachers through recruitment fairs. However, fairs can be very expensive to attend and a job offer may need to be accepted on the spot, oftentimes with little knowledge of a school. Today, specialist recruitment agencies that focus specifically on international school recruitment are the preferred choice by more teachers and by many of the most leading schools. Reputable recruitment agencies do not charge teachers for the support they provide.  Make sure a recruitment agency communicates with you, provides the advice and guidance you need, supports you through the process, and works with only reputable international schools. Service-focused recruitment agencies like TIC will provide you with all this support, match you to the right school for your needs, and can negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf – all at no cost to you. 

Look out in next week’s blog about what to expect from a good recruitment agency.

The data about the international schools market is provided by the International School Consultancy (http://www.iscresearch.com)

If you would like to find out more about teaching in an international school, head over to our Teaching Advice section. Or start your adventure today and take a look at our latest vacancies

You may also be interested in these informative blogs:
Five things to consider before moving overseas
Five great reasons to teach abroad in an international school
Get Real: the good and the bad of 10 popular expat destinations

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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.