Of all the questions related to education asked by expat parents, one always comes up; “what is the best international school in Shanghai?” In Shanghai, we really are spoilt for choice! From schools that follow the American system, to vast campuses that boast facilities that would make an Olympic athlete jealous, there are so many factors that influence parent’s final decisions.
A good indicator, although not a yardstick by any means, is the length of the school’s waiting list. If the list is long, there is probably a very good reason for this, and you should expect an exceptionally high faculty standards and top-notch facilities. However, location plays a key part in many parent’s decisions, and so expect schools in, or near, to expat areas to be oversubscribed. So perhaps instead of asking what is the best international school in Shanghai, maybe a more pertinent question would how have other parents made their own decisions?
Is what is the best international school in Shanghai really the right question?
Value for money is a big factor for people whose companies do not cover education fees, or families with more than one child. Some schools expect students to own their own laptops, in addition to text books and other supporting equipment, while other actually provide each child with their own laptop, on loan. Also, have you thought about class size, would your child benefit from a closer relationship with the teaching faculty, would they feel out of their comfort zone if they were just a little fish in a huge pond? In addition, look into the alumini, where are they now? What have graduates gone on to do? How does the school prepare its students for life after education? Is it purely focused on entranced into higher education institutes, or does it also offer pathways for students who may want to follow an alternative path?
While ultimately, the final decision is in your hands, when trying to find out what is the best international school in Shanghai – if your child is old enough, I would encourage you to involve them in the decision making process. After all, they will be spending the majority of their time in Shanghai at school.