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International Institute for Educational Planning

International schools: growth and influence

The booklet
Recent years have seen an unprecedented growth in the number of international schools worldwide. Although these schools were initially set up to educate the children of globally-mobile expatriate professionals, ‘host country’ families now increasingly consider international school education as an alternative to the national system in which they lack confidence, and/or as a means of providing a competitive edge for their children in education and labour market terms. In an increasingly globalized world,
‘international-mindedness’, concern for world peace, and the need for intercultural understanding has led to the inclusion of an ‘ideological’ dimension in the mission statements of many such schools.

M. Hayden and J. Thompson

This booklet provides an insight to the origins and characteristics of international schools, curriculum and assessment, students and teaching staff, and the management, leadership and governance of these schools. The booklet also discusses how international schools (usually private and feepaying) might develop in the future against a backdrop of growing forces of globalization and other international influences. In all cases, attention is drawn to the implications of the issues discussed for both policy-makers and planners in national and international contexts.

The authors
Mary Hayden is Director of the Centre for the
Study of Education in an International Context
(CEIC) at the University of Bath, where she teaches and supervises Masters and doctoral students with interests in international schools and international education. She is also Editor in Chief of the Journal of
Research in International Education.

ISBN: 978-92-803-1320-8



Jeff Thompson is Emeritus Professor of Education at the
University of Bath and has published many articles and books in the field of international schools and international education. He has been involved with the International
Baccalaureate (IB) organization as Academic Director and as
Head of the IB Research Unit. He is also Chair of the
International Primary Curriculum (IPC) Advisory Board.



Fundamentals of Educational Planning

International schools: growth and influence

M ary Hayd en
Jeff Thompson
for Educational

Fundamentals of Educational Planning – 92

Included in the series:*
2. The relation of educational plans to economic and social planning, R. Poignant
4. Planning and the educational administrator, C.E. Beeby
5. The social context of educational planning, C.A. Anderson
6. The costing of educational plans, J. Vaizey, J.D. Chesswas
7. The problems of rural education, V.L. Griffiths
8. Educational planning; the adviser’s role, A. Curle
10. The analysis of educational costs and expenditure, J. Hallak
11. The professional identity of the educational planner, A. Curle
12. The conditions for success in educational planning, G.C. Ruscoe
18. Planning educational assistance for the second development decade, H.M. Philips
20. Realistic educational planning, K.R. McKinnon
21. Planning education in relation to rural development, G.M. Coverdale
22. Alternatives and decisions in educational planning, J.D. Montgomery
23. Planning the school curriculum, A. Lewy
24. Cost factors in planning educational technological systems, D.T. Jamison
25. The planner and lifelong education, P. Furter
26. Education and employment: a critical appraisal, M. Carnoy
27. Planning teacher demand and supply, P. Williams
28. Planning early childhood care and education in developing countries, A. Heron
29. Communication media in education for low-income countries, E.G. McAnany, J.K. Mayo
30. The planning of non-formal education, D.R. Evans
31. Education, training and the traditional sector, J. Hallak, F. Caillods
32. Higher education and employment: the IIEP experience in five less-developed countries,
G. Psacharopoulos, B.C. Sanyal
33. Educational planning as a social process, T. Malan
34. Higher education and social stratification: an international comparative study, T. Husén
35. A conceptual framework for the development of lifelong education in the USSR, A. Vladislavlev
36. Education in austerity: options for planners, K. Lewin
37. Educational planning in Asia, R. Roy-Singh
38. Education projects: elaboration, financing and management, A. Magnen
39. Increasing teacher effectiveness, L.W. Anderson
40. National and school-based curriculum development, A. Lewy
42. Redefining basic education for Latin America: lessons to be learned from the Colombian Escuela Nueva,
E. Schiefelbein
43. The management of distance learning systems, G. Rumble
44. Educational strategies for small island states, D. Atchoarena
45. Judging educational research based on experiments and surveys, R.M. Wolf
46. Law and educational planning, I. Birch
47. Utilizing education and human resource sector analyses, F. Kemmerer
48. Cost analysis of educational inclusion of marginalized populations, M.C. Tsang
49. An efficiency-based management information system, W.W. McMahon.
50. National examinations: design, procedures and reporting, J.P. Keeves.
51. Education policy-planning process: an applied framework, W.D. Haddad, with the assistance of T. Demsky
52. Searching for relevance: the development of work orientation in basic education, W. Hoppers
53. Planning for innovation in education, D.E. Inbar
54. Functional analysis (management audits) of the organization of ministries of education, R. Sack, M. Saïdi
55. Reducing repetition: issues and strategies, T.O. Eisemon
56. Increasing girls’ and women’s participation in basic education, N.P. Stromquist
57. Physical facilities for education: what planners need to know, J. Beynon
58. Planning learner-centred adult literacy programmes, S.E. Malone, R.F. Arnove
59. Training teachers to work in schools considered difficult, J.-L. Auduc
60. Evaluating higher education, J.L. Rontopoulou
61. The shadow education system: private tutoring and its implication for planners, M. Bray
62. School-based management, I. Abu-Duhou
63. Globalization and educational reform: what planners need to know, M. Carnoy
64. Decentralization of education: why, when, what and how?, N. McGinn, T. Welsh
65. Early childhood education: need and opportunity, D. Weikart
66. Planning for education in the context of HIV/AIDS, M.J. Kelly
67. Legal aspects of educational planning and administration, C. Durand-Prinborgne
68. Improving school effectiveness, J. Scheerens
69. Reviewing quantitative research to inform policy processes, S.J. Hite
70. National strategies for e-learning in post-secondary education and training, T. Bates
71. Using assessment to improve the quality of education, T. Kellaghan, V. Greaney
72. Demographic aspects of educational planning, T.N. Châu
73. Planning education in and after emergencies, M. Sinclair
74. Educational privatization: causes, consequences and planning implications, C.R. Belfield, H.M. Levin
75. Planning human resources: methods, experiences and practices, O. Bertrand
76. Multigrade schools: improving access in rural Africa?, E. Brunswick, J. Valérien
77. ICT in education around the world: trends, problems and prospects, W.J. Pelgrum, N. Law
78. Social inequality at school and educational policies, M. Duru-Bellat
79 Increasing teacher effectiveness, L.W. Anderson (2nd edition)
80. Cost-benefit analysis in educational planning, M. Woodhall (4th edition)
81. Monitoring educational achievement, T.N. Postlethwaite
82. Education reforms and teachers’ unions: avenues for action, D. Vaillant
83. Unequal chances to participate in adult learning: international perspectives, R. Desjardins, K. Rubenson,
M. Milana
84. Global perspectives on teacher learning: improving policy and practice, J. Schwille; M. Dembélé, in collaboration with J. Schubert
85. External quality assurance in higher education: making choices, M. Martin, A. Stella
86 School clusters and teacher resource centres, E.A. Giordano
87 Planning for cultural diversity, C. Inglis
88 Education and employment in OECD countries, S. McIntosh
89 Literacy for all: Making a difference, A. Lind
90. Double-shift schooling: design and operation for cost-effectiveness (3rd edition), M. Bray
91. Effective literacy programmes: options for policy-makers, J. Oxenham
* Also published in French. Other titles to appear.

International schools: growth and influence
Mary Hayden and Jeff Thompson

Paris 2008
UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning

The views and opinions expressed in this booklet are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of UNESCO or
IIEP. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this review do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO or IIEP concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning its frontiers or boundaries.
The publication costs of this study have been covered through a grant-in-aid offered by UNESCO and by voluntary contributions made by several Member States of UNESCO, the list of which will be found at the end of the volume.

Published in 2008 by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
7 place de Fontenoy, F75352, Paris 07 SP
Cover design: Pierre Finot
Typesetting: Linéale Production
Printed in IIEP’s printshop
ISBN: 978-92-803-1320-8
© UNESCO 2008

Fundamentals of educational planning
The booklets in this series are written primarily for two types of clientele: those engaged in educational planning and administration, in developing as well as developed countries; and others, less specialized, such as senior government officials and policy-makers who seek a more general understanding of educational planning and of how it is related to overall national development. They are intended to be of use either for private study or in formal training programmes. Since this series was launched in 1967, practices and concepts of educational planning have undergone substantial change. Many of the assumptions which underlay earlier attempts to rationalize the process of educational development have been criticized or abandoned. Yet even if rigid mandatory centralized planning has now clearly proven to be inappropriate, this does not mean that all forms of planning have been dispensed with. On the contrary, the need for collecting data, evaluating the efficiency of existing programmes, undertaking a wide range of studies, exploring the future and fostering broad debate on these bases to guide educational policy and decision-making has become even more acute than before. One cannot make sensible policy choices without assessing the present situation, specifying the goals to be reached, marshalling the means to attain them, and monitoring what has been accomplished. Hence planning is also a way to organize learning: by mapping, targeting, acting and correcting. The scope of educational planning has been broadened. In addition to the formal system of education, it is now applied to all other important educational efforts in non-formal settings. Attention to the growth and expansion of education systems is being complemented and sometimes even replaced by a growing concern for the quality of the entire educational process and for the control of its results. Finally, planners and administrators have become more aware of the importance of implementation strategies and the role of regulatory mechanisms, including the choice of financing methods and examination and certification procedures. The concern of planners is twofold: to reach a better understanding of the


Fundamentals of educational planning

validity of education in its own empirically-observed dimensions, and to help in defining appropriate strategies for change.
The purpose of these booklets includes monitoring the evolution and change in educational policies and their effect upon educational planning requirements; highlighting current issues of educational planning and analyzing them in the context of their historical and societal setting; and disseminating methodologies of planning which can be applied in the context of both the developed and the developing countries. For policy-making and planning, vicarious experience is a potent source of learning: the problems others face, the objectives they seek, the routes they try, the outcomes they achieve, and the unintended results they produce all deserve analysis.
In order to help the Institute identify up-to-date issues in educational planning and policy-making in different parts of the world, an Editorial Board has been appointed comprising professionals of high repute in their fields. The series has been carefully designed, but no attempt has been made to avoid differences or even contradictions in the views expressed by the authors. The Institute itself does not wish to impose any official doctrine. Thus, while the views are the responsibility of the authors and may not always be shared by
UNESCO or IIEP, they warrant attention in the international forum of ideas. Indeed, one purpose of this series is to reflect a diversity of experience and opinions by giving different authors from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines the opportunity to express their views on changing theories and practices in educational planning.
At a time when international schools are expanding the world over as professionals are expatriated from one country to another, this booklet deals with the importance for policy-makers and planners to be better informed about the international schools in their midst than many are at present. The authors present the reasons for this expansion, as well as problem issues arising that should be dealt with, before giving advice on how to respond to it and be better placed to formulate policy relating to the education of all their young adults of tomorrow.
Mark Bray
Director, IIEP


Composition of the Editorial Board


Mark Bray
Director, IIEP

General Editor:

Françoise Caillods

Associate Editors: François Orivel
IREDU, University of Bourgogne
Eric Hanushek
Stanford University
Fernando Reimers
Harvard University
N.V. Varghese
Marc Demeuse
Mons-Hainaut University
Yusuf Sayed
International consultant
United Kingdom


The history of the international schools movement is long, but only in recent decades has the sector flourished with such vigour. In the past, international schools reflected the processes of international migration, with expatriates and diplomats wishing their children to be educated in systems compatible with those of their home countries. Such schools still exist, and will continue to exist, but their enrolment is not growing very rapidly. Other international schools, whose importance is growing, reflect a new phenomenon: a certain dissatisfaction with the quality of the national education offer; the desire by sponsors and families to foster a global outlook that is not tied to a particular culture or education system; and the expressed need to prepare students to live and work in a globalized world. This explains the success of English-medium schools, or of schools preparing for the International Baccalaureate in many countries. As Mary Hayden and Jeff Thompson explain in this booklet, international schools are a well kept secret: they are few in number, constituting a barely significant proportion of schools.
Many people do not know about them, and little research has been conducted in their regard. Yet they often train the elite of a country, and as such cannot leave planners and policy-makers indifferent.
Different countries adopt different policies vis-à-vis such schools: some adopt a laissez faire attitude and allow them to develop as any other independent private school. Their numbers are so few, their fees often so high, and the pupils’ families so influential that it is not really worth spending a lot of time regulating them when many other schools require more attention. Other countries adopt a more regulatory attitude, restrict the number of such schools, and fix norms that schools have to comply with before being approved. In either case, very little is known on such international schools: what precisely is an international school? How many are there? Where are they located? Who runs them? Whom do they enrol? What impact does graduating form such schools have on access to universities and jobs?



As the forces of globalization gather strength and speed, the international schools sector is likely to become more significant.
Migratory patterns increase the demand from mobile families, the growing realization of the benefits to be gained from international outlooks, the dominance of English in the labour markets and international communications will continue to strengthen demand from families who wish to offer their children a different type of education from that delivered by national systems, at the same time as giving them opportunities to enlarge their social network.
What should planners and decision-makers do when faced with such trends? The answer is not easy; it is very much a political decision. No country can remain indifferent regarding the way its future elite is being educated, and there is a need for further studies on the consequences that international education may have on inequalities, on the national system and its curriculum, on students’ access to university, their future professional mobility, and eventually on the country’s development. The authors of the present booklet do not take any firm position one way or another, but they rightly argue that this phenomenon should not be kept secret, that studies should be conducted in this area, and that the issue should be openly discussed to enable the development of international schools.
IIEP is delighted to publish this work by two foremost leaders in the expanding field of international schooling. Their book will be of considerable value not only to planners in the diverse models for international schooling around the world, but also for the national systems of education which must interface with the international schools that operate in their country.
Françoise Caillods
General Editor




List of abbreviations





Origins and overview
Some groupings of international schools
Characteristics of international schools
Implications for planners and policy-makers



Curricula offered in international schools
Curricula in international schools: issues arising
Implications for planners and policy-makers



Categories of international school students
The role of the international school
Implications for planners and policy-makers



Teachers and administrators
Implications for planners and policy-makers



Management, leadership and governance
Management and leadership
Quality assurance
Implications for planners and policy-makers




The future for international schools?
A basis for the future
Globalization of education
Higher education
Towards a system of international schools
Implications for planners and policy-makers



List of abbreviations

Alliance for International Education


Advanced Placement


Cambridge International Examinations


Conference of Internationally Minded Schools


Cambridge International Primary Programme


Council of International Schools


Department of Defense Schools


European Council of International Schools


Global Education Management Systems


General Certificate of Secondary Education


International Baccalaureate


International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme


International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme


International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme


International General Certificate of Secondary


International Leadership and Management Program


International Primary Curriculum


International Schools Association


International Schools Services


Maseru English Medium Preparatory School


National Association of British Schools in Spain


Principals Training Center


Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

List of abbreviations


Third Culture Kid


Times Educational Supplement


The International Educator


United Kingdom


United States of America


United World Colleges


Yew Chung Education Foundation


The concept of international education is currently the object of much debate and is often clouded by inconsistencies in terminology.
This is because related concepts – including comparative education, development education, global citizenship education, world studies and education for international understanding – are discussed without acknowledgement of the overlaps between them. The relationships between such terms are themselves also the focus of ongoing debate among some educationists – the “big terminology debate”, as Marshall (2007) refers to it. Yet, it is not the intention of this booklet to discuss the complex range of issues which would need to be addressed should its focus be on international education.
Rather, the booklet will focus on the context in which one form of international education is offered: that of the international schools worldwide, which are an increasingly important force in education in the twenty-first century. On the basis of their experience and achievements to date, they have much to offer to private schools, to national or ‘state’ schools, and to education systems more widely.
In some respects, international schools are a well-kept secret. Unheard of until relatively recently by many educators, policy-makers and planners around the world, the rapid growth in their numbers in recent years is leading to an increased need for even greater awareness by all who have an interest in education beyond purely national boundaries. The origins of international schools lie in the perceived need in some contexts for a form of schooling not available through national systems. Many such schools had their origins in the expatriate communities of, for instance, employees of multinational organizations whose wish to be accompanied by their children in their globally-mobile careers, and the perceived lack of suitability of local schools (often because of language or university preparation incompatibilities), led to the establishment of schools designed for the relatively transient student not catered for locally. At the same time as the number of schools has increased to cater for such pragmatic needs, concerns about the need to foster ‘internationalmindedness’ in young people, including a desire for world peace and the breaking down of barriers arising from prejudice and ignorance,


has led to an ‘ideological’ impetus behind the development of some forms of international school. Growing concerns in the latter part of the twentieth century about the need for global environmental awareness and social responsibility have similarly influenced the development of the form of education offered in such schools.
Although international schools grew relatively steadily in number throughout the twentieth century, they were little known beyond the communities of multinational organizations, diplomats and others directly involved with or influenced by the educational experience they provided. In recent years their numbers have increased more markedly. The effects of globalization, as more multinational organizations require their employees to move around the world for short-term placements in different locations, have led to an increased need for such schools, partly for pragmatic reasons and partly as a response to the increasing perception of education as an international commodity. At the same time, the growing dominance of English as the main ‘international language’ has led globally-mobile families of non-first language English origin to value English medium education for their children. Not all governments will allow those who will be referred to here as ‘host country nationals’ (non-expatriates) to attend the international schools within their borders. In some countries that do, a relatively recent phenomenon has been the growth in numbers of socio-economically advantaged families choosing to send their children to an English medium international school as a means of gaining a ‘competitive edge’ through, for instance, access to higher education in English medium universities in North America or the United Kingdom. Thus, while in principle the umbrella term
‘international school’ may refer to a school offering education through any language, and indeed such schools exist which offer, inter alia, French, German and Japanese education outside the home country through the medium of instruction of that home country, the increasing number of globally-mobile professional families from English-speaking countries (including the United Kingdom,
Ireland, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand) has contributed to by far the largest recent growth in international schools being amongst those that have English as their medium of instruction. The growing influence of English as the main international language, and the associated desire of many non-native


English-speaking parents for their children to speak English as well as their own mother tongue, has been the other major contributory factor in this growth.
The growing number of international schools and their increasing impact in some national systems, together with their likely influence as the forces of globalization impact more and more broadly, make it important for educational planners and policy-makers to be aware of their place in the provision of education internationally. They exist, for the most part, as private schools outside national systems of education, and there is no overarching international body that can grant or withhold approval of a school describing itself as an international school or, indeed, determine what characteristics such a school should have in order to be able to use such a title. There is, therefore, enormous diversity within the international school sector worldwide, not least in their titles, which may or may not include the term ‘international school’ itself. For these reasons it is impossible to say with any certainty how many such schools exist, although current estimates (which vary according to how the concept of an international school is defined) range between approximately
2,000 and 4,000, with numbers projected to increase rapidly. Such diversity also raises significant issues concerning the standards achieved in such schools and the quality control procedures that will give assurance to the parents who choose them. This in turn has important implications for management and leadership in the schools as well as for policy planning and implementation.
In discussing the phenomenon of international schools, this booklet will include an overview of their origins (Chapter I), before proceeding to focus on a number of different aspects of the education provided by them. Notwithstanding the enormous variation in types of such school, certain characteristics can be identified as being of particular relevance across the sector; it is these which will form the structure of Chapters II to V. The tension between what will be referred to as the ‘pragmatic’ and the ‘ideological’ influences on international schools (Hayden, 2006) will also form a recurrent theme throughout the chapters.
Each chapter of the booklet will end with an indication of the implications of the points raised for both policy-makers and


planners. The final chapter will bring together the major issues raised in the preceding chapters, and on this basis will speculate on how the international school sector might develop in coming years; again, possible implications for planners and policy-makers in both national and international contexts will be raised and discussed.
What this booklet does not include is an analysis of those state schools that have, in recent times, embraced the notion of internationalism within their educational aims and in their practice.
Developments within the international schools which are the subject of this booklet have certainly contributed to this movement within national systems, and bear witness to the potential influence that international schools may have beyond their own context.



Origins and overview

Given the wide diversity to be found in international schools and the fact that not all such schools use the term in their title, it is not only difficult to count them precisely; it is also difficult (if not impossible) to say precisely when they originated. A number of precursors can be identified to the modern day context of international schools, which, in the broad and inclusive interpretation to be used throughout this booklet, could be considered to have been amongst the earliest such schools. The still existing Maseru English Medium Preparatory School
(MEMPS) in Lesotho, for instance, was founded with one teacher in 1890 for the children of English-speaking missionaries, traders and officials of the British administration of the then Basutoland.
Sylvester (2002), meanwhile, argues that the International College at Spring Grove, London, could well have been the first international school, existing between 1866 and 1889. The college grew out of the interest of a group of individuals (including the novelist Charles
Dickens) who proposed that a number of international schools in
Europe could cater for pupils from different countries in such a way that “the pupils, in passing from one language and nation to another, would find no notable change in the course of study to retard the progress of their education” (Dickens, 1864 in Sylvester, 2002).
Indeed, Sylvester points out that prior to the opening of Spring Grove
School, an essay competition at the 1862 London International
Exhibition focused on the establishment of international schools
(Sylvester, 2002), while Bibby (1959) and Brickman (1950) point to an essay contest at the Paris 1855 Exhibition based on the theme
“[T]he advantages of educating together children of different nationalities”. More typical, perhaps, of the origins of many of today’s international schools was the 1924 establishment of the bilingual
(French/English) International School of Geneva, with three teachers and eight children, to cater for the children of expatriate employees of the recently formed International Labour Office and League of Nations. The year 1924 also saw the founding of
Yokohama International School with six children and one teacher, to cater for the children of the city’s ‘foreign’ community, while in

International schools: growth and influence

1946 The Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur was established by the eponymous Alice Smith, who was herself the only teacher to two expatriate children, one of whom was her own daughter. In fact, the initiative taken in many cases by expatriate parents to provide appropriate education for their children no doubt sowed the seeds for the heavy parental influence on the boards of many international schools today (see Chapter V).
It has already been noted that, because of the lack of a clear agreed definition and the fact that a title is not necessarily helpful
(viz The Alice Smith School itself), it is impossible to say for certain exactly how many international schools exist at any one time. What is clear, however, is that the number of such schools has grown throughout the twentieth century and early parts of the twenty-first century, with some recent estimates placing the number as high as
4,000 (Brummitt, 2007). Such growth has clearly not been linear, with notable increases in the second half of the twentieth century and an apparent acceleration in more recent years. Reasons for the increase in numbers of international schools such as Geneva,
Yokohama and The Alice Smith School since the mid-twentieth century are not difficult to infer. Missionaries and diplomats have continued to travel away from their home national context, while a decrease in the attractiveness of placing children in a boarding or residential school during parental absence overseas (as was once the expectation in some national contexts at least) has contributed to the growing demand for international day schools. Similarly, children of those employed in military service may follow their parents around the world, moving from one international school to another, while growing numbers of multinational organizations with offices in numerous locations internationally expect their employees to take short-term or long-term postings in those locations. Indeed, it is common for the contract of such an employee to include provision not only for the usual relocation expenses associated with moving one’s family between postings, but also for the school fees of any school-age offspring in an international school in the vicinity. For those employees of large multinational organizations with offices or sites in large centres of population, there may be a choice locally of international schools; for others, there may be only one such school within reasonable travelling distance or, if no such school exists

Origins and overview

locally, it may be that an international school with boarding facilities allows the child to spend weekends and/or holidays with his or her family. These schools, then, catering largely, if not exclusively, for the children of expatriate, globally-mobile professional parents, might be described as the ‘traditional’ type of international school: providing a service to a community for whom appropriate education would not otherwise be available, and catering for an essentially transient group of students whose length of stay at the school is determined by the duration of their parent’s contract locally. Usually fee-paying and operating outside the national education system of the host country, such schools have largely grown in an individual and, to some extent, idiosyncratic way, responding to the needs of a particular set of circumstances. Leach (1969) was the first to attempt to categorize such schools, proposing a categorization including those
“serving or being composed of students from several nationalities”; those ‘overseas’ schools such as British International, French
International, American International etc; a relatively small group of schools “founded by joint action of two or more governments or national groupings … [such as the] so-called binational schools of
Latin America”; and those schools “which belong to the International
Schools Association (ISA)” (Leach (1969: 10). Leach acknowledged the limitations of his categorization, and, in 1981, Sanderson argued that there were seven types of international school, before Pönisch
(1987) went on to suggest that in fact 11 types of such school were in existence. An alternative approach to making sense of the growing list of international schools came from Terwilliger (1972), who cited four main prerequisites for a school to be classified as an international school: enrolment of a significant number of students who are not citizens of the country in which the school is located; a Board of Directors ideally made up of foreigners and nationals in roughly the same proportions as the student body; a staffing policy, whereby teachers are appointed who have themselves experienced a period of cultural adaptation, and will thus be better able to counsel students for whom such experiences are new; and a curriculum which should be “a distillation of the best content and the most effective instructional practices of each of the national systems” (Terwilliger,
1972: 361).

International schools: growth and influence

Given the increasing numbers of such schools, together with their enormous diversity, such attempts to categorize them or to identify prerequisites have arguably had limited effect. Indeed,
Matthews (1989) argued that attempting to generalize is of little value, and proposed instead a dichotomy between what he termed
‘market-driven’ international schools (which have arisen from the needs of expatriate communities) and ‘ideology-driven’ international schools (founded for the express purpose of furthering international understanding and co-operation). Such a notion of an ideological dimension to the education provided by international schools can clearly be linked to the concept of what has been described as international-mindedness; indeed, in 1951, the Conference of
Internationally Minded Schools (CIMS) was founded, which was later subsumed by the International Schools Association (ISA).
Since Matthews’ 1989 proposed dichotomy, the growing size and complexity of the international school sector has led to increasing difficulty in attempting to identify any particular international school with either one or other category, and it is now arguably more appropriate to think in terms of a spectrum with ideological and market forces at opposite ends, on which different international schools can be located in differing positions.
The discussion above of suggested prerequisites and categories has been located within the context of those traditional international schools catering principally for globally-mobile expatriates and, until relatively recently, such was the nature of international schools in general. Notable, however, in their growth since the last decade or so of the twentieth century have been those English medium international schools established in a number of countries where host country nationals are allowed to attend international schools, and where the form of education offered is seen by members of the socio-economic elite of that country as a means of giving their child a competitive edge (Lowe, 2000) by helping to prepare him or her for university level study in, for instance, the United States of America or the United Kingdom. Demand has thus led to the opening of international schools catering largely for host country nationals but offering an English medium education through a curriculum other than that of the host country. One example of such a situation is
Thailand, which, since relaxing restrictions on its nationals attending

Origins and overview

international schools in their home country, has experienced a steady increase in the number of such schools to over 100 today. Some international schools cater almost exclusively for Thai nationals, while the more well-established traditional international schools in the country cater principally for expatriates while accepting some
Thai students.

Some groupings of international schools
Though a distinction has been made above between two broad types of international school – the traditional type, aimed principally at expatriate children, and the more recently emerging type to be found in some countries, which attracts largely affluent host country nationals – schools to be found in either type do not necessarily share very much in common with others of their type. For the most part, it remains the case that very many international schools are individual institutions which do not share a common philosophy with any other international school, though their interests may overlap in some respects. That said, there have emerged in recent years a number of groupings of international schools that in each case explicitly avow a shared mission and, in some cases, a shared administrative structure.
A number of these groupings – all considered here as international schools in the sense that they offer a curriculum not of the host country – are identified briefly below.
United World Colleges
Some would argue that United World Colleges (UWC) are not really international schools at all, since they are not designed to provide a service to expatriate families. Rather, their raison d’être is to bring together young people from many different countries of the world, usually between the ages of 16 and 18 only, for two years of residential English medium education aimed at breaking down the barriers of prejudice that can arise from ignorance. Overtly at the ideological end of the spectrum referred to above, therefore, in promoting peace through education, the 13 colleges established since the first (Atlantic College in south Wales) was founded in
1962 are based on the philosophy of Kurt Hahn (Peterson, 1987) and are funded largely through scholarships raised by national committees worldwide (see UWC website:, accessed

International schools: growth and influence

on 24 March 2008). The most recent college to be opened, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, illustrates the ideological mission of the UWC in its express purpose of bringing together in post-conflict Mostar young people from Serb, Bosnian and Croat communities who would otherwise be educated in separate ethnic groups. Their ideological underpinning notwithstanding, a pragmatic dimension arises for the
UWC in the challenge of continuing to raise sufficient funding for scholarships as the number of colleges continues to grow.
European Schools
Again arguably not international schools in the sense often understood by that term, the European Schools are notable in espousing an ideology aimed at developing young people who are European in outlook, and able to study and communicate in several European languages. First founded in 1953, the 12 European
Schools primarily educate children of employees of European Union organizations, while also accepting fee-paying children from the local community when places are available. Again founded on an underpinning ideology, the schools also face pragmatic challenges arising from their commitment to enabling each student to study through the medium of his or her first language. Such an initial commitment when four major languages were involved is more challenging in a context where as many as 22 language groups may need to be supported in the enlarged European Union of 2010
(Gray, 2003).
Shell schools
Though only few in number (14 established to date), this group of international schools caters principally for the children of employees of the Shell group of companies. They are thus to be found in locations where Shell has interests, and cater for children aged 4 to 12. As a result of their Dutch origins, they tend to be organized in two streams: one taught in Dutch and the other in English, with some mixing between streams.
Dutch international schools
Separate from a number of private international schools in the
Netherlands are a group of Dutch international secondary and primary schools, which are state-subsidized and are effectively international

Origins and overview

streams of mainstream Dutch ‘parent’ schools. Catering for Dutch children returning to the Netherlands after spells overseas, as well as for expatriate children of other nationalities, these schools are unusual in the nature of their funding and their link to a national system of education.
Yew Chung international schools
The schools in this group are of well-established origins in that the first school was opened in Hong Kong in 1932. Having since expanded into a network also in mainland China (plus one in California), the schools implement the Yew Chung philosophy of bicultural education by operating a co-teaching dual language system with one Chinese and one Western teacher in the classroom, while all schools are run by two co-principals: again one Chinese and one Western (see YCEF website:, accessed on
24 March 2008).
National groupings of schools
Amongst the list of schools that could be considered international schools in the rather loose, inclusive interpretation of the term used in this booklet are a number of groups of schools that were essentially founded to cater for their own nationals while abroad, generally offering the home curriculum, through that country’s mother tongue, with a view to easing transition back into the home education system at a later date. Examples of such groupings include the French lycées, the German gymnasien and the Japanese schools. In the case of the latter, in addition to the relatively small number of such schools offering full-time education, there are also numerous examples of part-time schools based on a model similar to the Japanese Saturday schools located in the UK, for instance, where children work on preserving their cultural and linguistic identity in their free time while attending a local school during the week.
Larger in number are the many international schools with national affiliations, such as American international schools, British international schools, and Canadian international schools. A major difference between these schools and many other national groupings is that their medium of instruction (English) has come to be seen as the international lingua franca, thus making the education offered

International schools: growth and influence

more widely attractive to those from many national and linguistic backgrounds than would be the education offered in, for instance, a
Japanese medium school. It needs also to be noted that such schools are not necessarily part of a group as such. While some American international or ‘overseas’ schools, for instance, are run and funded through the Department of Defense schools (the so-called ‘DODS’ schools), and a small number of British schools overseas are run by the Service Children’s Education Organization for the children of military personnel overseas, other British international schools (as one example) receive no central UK Government funding and are, therefore, individual private schools operating in the same way as many other international schools which do not form part of a group as described above.
Commercial groupings of schools
Noteworthy in recent years has been the growth in number worldwide of what might be described as commercial groupings of international schools. More obviously located towards the pragmatic end of the spectrum described above, such schools tend to cater for expatriates and, in countries where law permits, host country nationals. Groups of schools that could be considered to fall under this heading include those operated by the Nord Anglia Group and by Global Educational Management Systems (GEMS). What qualifies these schools as belonging to the galaxy of international schools considered in this booklet are the curricula they offer, which are not of the host country.
One interesting type of school that has very recently emerged, but may possibly be the precursor of a larger trend, is that where a prestigious and well-established school from one national context opens up what might be thought of as a satellite school in another location. Among those to have taken this path to date are a number of prestigious independent schools in England, including Dulwich
College, Harrow School, Shrewsbury School and Repton School, which have established ‘franchises’ in, inter alia, China, Thailand and Dubai. Catering largely for host country nationals who value the prestige attached to studying in such a well-connected context, the model not only offers expansion opportunities for schools with

Origins and overview

a marketable ‘brand’, but also raises challenges in terms of quality assurance and the need to protect that brand: one of the first forays in this area, for instance, by Dulwich College in Phuket, Thailand, had a very short life span before the name was withdrawn and the school reinvented under different auspices.

Characteristics of international schools
International schools, then, are diverse and growing rapidly in response to both pragmatic demands (of globally-mobile expatriate families and upwardly-mobile host national families) and ideological motivators concerned with offering education focused on encouraging young people to become ‘global citizens’ with a concern for world peace, environmental responsibility and sustainable development.
Although in principle, international schools may offer education through any language of instruction, in practice the largest growth has been – and seems likely to continue to be – in those schools offering English medium education to children of English-speaking expatriates and others who believe that allowing their children to become fluent in English will provide them with an advantage in later life. Some international schools fall largely at one end or other of the pragmatic/ideological spectrum referred to earlier, while many fall somewhere in between, essentially responding to a pragmatic need but, in doing so, offering a form of education that aims to prepare young people for adult life as responsible and capable international citizens of an increasingly globalized world. Though some groupings do exist, as noted, and certain ‘types’ of international school may be identified, it is still the case that large numbers of such schools are individual and, to some extent, idiosyncratic in their responses to local pragmatic needs. As with any large number of schools in any context, some are excellent in the educational experience offered, while others at present fall short of the high ideals to which many international schools aspire, as most mission statements and school philosophies readily attest. In such circumstances, one challenge for a newcomer to the context, such as a family relocated overseas for the first time, can be knowing how to identify one from the other. As time has gone on, various forms of quality assurance have been developed in relation to different aspects of the provision of international schools; these will be discussed in Chapter V.

International schools: growth and influence

Though the diversity in international schools makes it difficult to generalize about their characteristics, there are, nevertheless, a number of areas in which they clearly are distinctive when compared to national schools. These include the following:

Curriculum: they invariably offer a curriculum that is other than that of the host country in which the school is located.
Students: their students are frequently non-nationals of the host country (though more recently, increasing numbers of such schools in some countries are catering largely for children of affluent host country families).
Teachers and administrators: they tend, in many cases, to be staffed by relatively large numbers of expatriate teachers and administrators. Management, leadership and governance: their status within the local context, the curriculum offered and the nature of their student and teacher populations raise particular issues for management, leadership and governance.

These four areas will form the headings for the next four chapters of this booklet. Although it will not be claimed that all international schools have much in common in relation to these main areas, the issues to be discussed will be common to many of them. Following discussion under these headings, a final chapter will summarize the major issues arising from that discussion, and will speculate on ways in which international schools might possibly develop in future. That chapter will end with a reflection on the implications for policy-makers and planners in the twenty-first century.

Implications for planners and policy-makers
Growing numbers of globally-mobile children are being educated in international schools which fall outside national systems of education and, in some countries, rapidly growing numbers of socio-economically advantaged families are choosing an international school education for their children as a means of establishing social and human capital and providing a competitive edge in university and employment contexts. To date, the growth, which has increased markedly in recent years, has been relatively ad hoc, unplanned and unstructured. What might be the implications for national systems of

Origins and overview

education and for policy-makers in international organizations? Will continued rapid growth raise questions about the desirability and appropriateness of educational provision in national systems? These are clearly questions that need to be addressed by policy-makers and planners alike.




As already noted, one of the areas in which international schools are generally distinct from schools in national education systems is the curriculum – a term used in the context of this booklet to include not only that which is taught and learned, formally or informally, within schools, but also the means by which it is assessed or examined.
Whatever ‘type’ of international school they might be, and whether or not they belong to a particular ‘group’, it will invariably be true that the curriculum offered is different from that of the country in which the school is located. In many, though not all cases, that curriculum will be delivered through the medium of English. This chapter will begin by providing an overview of some of the curricula offered in different international schools worldwide, as well as their associated assessment systems. Discussion will follow of ways in which such programmes have more recently come to be offered in some national contexts. A number of issues arising in the development of international curricula will also be raised and discussed, before the chapter concludes with consideration of some implications for planners and policy-makers.

Curricula offered in international schools
As with every other aspect of consideration relating to international schools, it is not possible to generalize about the nature of the curriculum offered in them, other than to say it will not be the curriculum of the host country. Increasing numbers of international schools now offer one of the growing number of international curriculum programmes available, while some offer the programme of a national system. Thompson (1998) proposed a four-way categorization of attempts to generate curricula for use in international schools, including exportation (the marketing abroad of existing national curricula and examinations); adaptation
(where existing national curricula and examinations are adapted to the international context); integration (where best practices from a range of successful curricula are brought together into one new curriculum); and creation (where a new programme is developed

International schools: growth and influence

from first principles). A number of the curricula to be found in international schools around the world can be seen to relate to these categories, as follows.
National programmes
For some, though not necessarily all, international schools with a national affiliation, it may be that a curriculum familiar to that of the home country will be offered. Depending on how prescriptive and structured that home curriculum is, this may be almost identical to what would be offered at home (‘exported’, in Thompson’s terms) or a variation on it (‘adapted’, in Thompson’s categorization). A
British-type international school might choose, for instance, to offer the English national curriculum but not to offer the myriad tests at
Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (ages 7, 11 and 14 respectively) that a child in a state school in England would be required by law to take. Many different nationally-affiliated curricula and examinations will be found in different international schools worldwide, depending on the school’s overall mission, the nature of the student population, and the niche in the market occupied by the school in question.
Such schools do not, however, have to follow the same approach all the way through the age range, and some may choose to offer a nationally-affiliated programme to one age range while offering to another age group one of the international programmes on offer, possibly from one of these considered below.
International General Certificate of Secondary Education
An example of Thompson’s adaptation category, the English medium and externally-examined IGCSE, is a variation of the
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) taken by the majority of 16-year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
First developed by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and widely offered by CIE in international schools worldwide, another version of the IGCSE has more recently been developed by another
English awarding body, Edexcel.
Advanced Placement (AP) International Diploma
An adaptation of the original AP programme established by the US College Board in 1955, the AP International Diploma was


introduced in 1995 as an English medium programme for students outside the USA and for US resident students applying to universities outside the USA (Di Yanni, 2007).
French baccalauréat Option internationale
Another example of an adapted programme, the Option internationale, is only offered in international schools recognized by the French Ministry of Education. It has two English-language versions (British and American), as well as several versions in a number of other languages.
European Baccalaureate
Arguably fitting Thompson’s ‘integration’ category, the externally-examined European Baccalaureate is offered only in the final two years of secondary education of the 12 European Schools.
European Baccalaureate syllabuses are harmonized (Gray, 2003) to meet the requirements of all European Union member countries.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)
In a sense an ‘integrated’ programme in that it was developed in the 1960s as a pre-university programme for 16 to 18-year-olds, with input from experts from many parts of the world, the IBDP is the most well-established of the international programmes offered in international schools other than the small group of European
Schools. Increasingly widely-offered in international schools worldwide, and with curriculum content developed deliberately to be international rather than having any particular national affiliation, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma curriculum and its formal external examinations are available in the three working languages: English, French and Spanish. Examinations can be taken in November by southern-hemisphere schools as an alternative to the
May examinations taken by students in most international schools that follow a northern hemisphere timetable (see IB website: www., accessed on 24 March 2008).
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme
More recent than its sister IB Diploma Programme, and not so widely offered, the IBMYP came into existence in 1992 and is

International schools: growth and influence

designed for the 11 to 16 age range. Very different in assessment philosophy from the IBDP, the IBMYP has a heavy emphasis on teacher assessment with the possibility of external moderation for those schools/students that require external certification. Curriculum materials, again designed to be international in focus, are available in Chinese as well as in English, French and Spanish, with the possibility of the programme being taught in yet other languages
(see IB website: This programme would fit into
Thompson’s ‘creation’ category.
International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Even newer as an IB programme than the IBMYP, the IBPYP came into existence in 1997 and again would fit into Thompson’s
‘creation’ category. Designed for the 3 to 12 age range, the curriculum is essentially teacher-assessed and centres around five
‘essential elements’; curriculum materials are, as for the IBDP and
IBMYP, designed to have an international focus rather than a national affiliation, and are available in English, French and Spanish. The
IBPYP may also be taught in other languages than those in which curriculum materials are available from the IB (see IB website: International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
This internationally-focused and internally-assessed programme covers the age range 4 to 12. Developed by Fieldwork Education, the IPC is more explicitly structured than the IBPYP and provides detailed documentation for use by teachers. Largely offered through the medium of English, a small number of schools offer the IPC in
Dutch, and there are plans for translation of materials into Spanish,
Mandarin and Arabic (IPC, 2008).
Cambridge International Primary Programme (CIPP)
The newest of the international programmes offered in international schools at this age range, the internally-assessed CIPP provides a framework for the development of mathematics, English and science knowledge and skills in children of the 4 to 11 age range
(see CIE website:, accessed on 24 March 2008).



Curricula in international schools: issues arising
As international schools have grown in number and diversity, different programmes, and in some cases examination/assessment systems, have been developed to meet their needs. Those international schools with national affiliations may have no desire to offer a curriculum that is anything other than the curriculum of the home country. For those international schools, however, that are not affiliated to one particular national context and that promote an international ethos which does not look towards one national context any more than to another, an international programme such as those described above may seem more appropriate. As such programmes have become more widely recognized and accepted, a number of interesting issues have emerged. Of relevance to those working and studying within the international school context itself, these issues are also likely to be of interest to policy-makers and planners more widely and are summarized below.
Interest from national contexts
Initially developed in all cases to satisfy a need in many international schools for curriculum provision of more direct relevance to the student population than one of many different national programmes, an interesting phenomenon associated with a number of the international programmes described above is the attractiveness they have turned out to have within some national systems. The IB Diploma Programme, for instance, is now completed worldwide each year by students in more national schools than international schools, while the IPC has similarly, in the few years since its establishment, attracted interest from so many state primary schools that in England alone it is now offered by over 300 state schools, and the total number of schools (national and international) worldwide in which it is offered, is over 500 (IPC, 2008). Other international programmes are also offered in some national schools, state or private, but it is the IBDP and IPC which seem to have become most attractive in national contexts. Recently, too, the IGCSE has found increasing favour within private (or independent) schools in
England which have decided to offer it either in individual subject areas, or across all subjects, instead of the national GCSE.


International schools: growth and influence

The reasons for ‘national’ schools showing an interest in international programmes are clearly complex and to some extent localized. Little systematic research has been undertaken which could be used to point to definitive conclusions as to these reasons, but some patterns are clearly discernible. The IB Diploma Programme, for instance, is offered in a large number of US high schools where academic rigour provides the prestige that has led to it being offered as a ‘magnet programme’ or to ‘gifted and talented’ students; the international nature of the curriculum, meanwhile, has led to it being offered in a number of US high schools which are attracting increasing numbers of students from immigrant and ethnic minority communities (Spahn, 2001). Not that the programme is universally welcomed in the USA; its emphasis on critical thinking and international-mindedness have led to accusations in some quarters that it is ‘un-American’ and inappropriate for study by American youth (Quist, 2008). In the UK, meanwhile, the IB Diploma has become popular in a number of independent boarding schools that cater for relatively high numbers of overseas students; in other schools, both independent and state, it has become increasingly attractive as dissatisfaction has grown with the well-established and specialized A Level system. While those completing A Levels at the age of 18 may have studied, unusually for Europe, only a very narrow range of subjects in one curriculum area, the broad IB Diploma requires successful students to have completed studies across the arts and sciences. It is noteworthy that in Scotland, which has a separate education system from England and offers a broader pre-university programme, fewer schools have introduced the IBDP.
Another pragmatic reason for national interest in an international programme arises in the context of the growing number of independent schools in England that are opting, as noted above, to offer the IGCSE. Unlike the GCSE and the IB Diploma, the IGCSE is not recognized by the London-based Qualifications and Curriculum
Authority (QCA) for offering in state sector schools. A reason cited by many independent schools for introducing the IGCSE has been dissatisfaction with the GCSE’s emphasis on coursework, and the perceived increased rigour of IGCSE examinations which, in many cases, include no coursework element and are based entirely on traditional external written examinations.


The international dimension of some such programmes also clearly has its attractions, both in the UK and elsewhere, in the context of growing awareness in national systems of the need for young people to develop broader perspectives than those limited by national boundaries. From a pragmatic point of view, many national systems are recognizing that their adults of tomorrow will be disadvantaged in an increasingly globalized world if they have little ability or desire to cope in the world beyond their national boundaries; from an ideological perspective it is increasingly recognized that those educated in national contexts can no longer turn a blind eye to their global responsibilities for environmental preservation, peace-making and sustainable development. It is clear that such concerns underlie, at least in part, the interest that English state primary schools have shown in the IPC. While required by law also to conform to the constraints (in teaching and assessment terms) of the national curriculum, such schools are able to use the IPC structure and materials to support their promotion of an international theme in the education of young children.
Undoubtedly there are other national contexts where international programmes are offered, perhaps for reasons other than those raised here, although the relatively high costs associated with the implementation of such programmes can preclude their being offered outside the private sector in many countries. Whatever the reasons, the fact that not only international schools worldwide, but also both privately- and publicly-funded national schools, are finding such programmes increasingly attractive must surely be of interest to policy-makers and planners in national and international contexts in relation to the impact on, and potential for the devaluing of, national education systems of the twenty-first century.
Languages and the medium of instruction
It has already been noted that the medium of instruction in the vast majority of international schools worldwide (other than, for instance, French lycées, German gymnasien and European Schools) is English. Over recent years the place of English as the predominant world language has become more embedded, and a number of recent studies have indicated that the prospect of an English medium education is one of the major factors influencing parents (both native

International schools: growth and influence

English speakers and speakers of other languages) to choose an international school education for their child. An international school with no national constraints, if it wished to avoid potential charges of linguistic imperialism, could theoretically offer its curriculum in any number of languages. Pragmatic reasons, however, would prevent such a school from offering its curriculum in all the first languages of its multicultural student population, thus necessitating the narrowing of the choice to a manageable number. Which languages should such a school choose to offer as media of instruction, if it aspires to be truly international in its philosophy and operation?
This question might be answered, to some extent, for those schools that choose to offer one or more of the international programmes described above, by the working languages in which those programmes, and any associated examinations, are offered.
Those that are essentially teacher-assessed (such as the IBPYP or the IPC) are constrained by the languages in which the curriculum materials are provided, but could theoretically be taught in any of the languages spoken by the teachers in question. Those with formal external examinations (such as the IGCSE and IB Diploma) have had to decide on the ‘working languages’ in which not only to generate materials, but also to provide examinations. IGCSE has English as its only working language. The IBDP, meanwhile, was created in the
1960s with English and French as its two working languages, while
Spanish was added when the November examination session was developed for a number of newly-admitted Latin American schools in the early 1980s. Chinese has been added to English, French and
Spanish as the fourth working language of the IBMYP, and the question of working languages is one that continues to tax the IB organization. Accusations of Eurocentricity are not uncommon, but these are not easy issues to resolve: pragmatic concerns might argue for an English-only approach (French- and Spanish-medium IBDP examination entries each year, for instance, are very few compared with those in English) and a programme such as the IGCSE, adapted from a national English programme, may have no impetus to offer other than that one language. Ideologically, however, aiming to be truly international and non-nationally or -regionally affiliated brings challenges to programmes such as the IB, to which there are no easy answers. 38


Languages as ‘subjects’ for study
Related to the question of which language should be used as the medium of instruction in international schools is that concerning which languages should be made available for study and, where appropriate, external examination. In a context where as many as
40 national groups may be found in the student body, which is not uncommon for many international schools, the question of whether or not a student is able to study his or her first language (if that is not English, the usual medium of instruction in many such schools), and which other languages are to be made available and at what level, are all complex issues. Again, if a school has opted to offer an externally examined programme such as the IGCSE or IB Diploma, decisions about which languages are to be offered for study are influenced to some extent by the languages made available by that organization. The IB Diploma, for instance, offers a large number of different languages at different levels (including for students with no previous experience of the language, for those with some previous experience, and for those with a high level of competence or ‘first language’), bearing in mind that many students attending international schools will be bilingual or multilingual to differing degrees. Such curriculum-providing organizations themselves face challenges as to just how many different languages they can reasonably be expected to make available (when many might be required by only a very small number of schools and students and thus not be economically viable); schools face similar challenges in striking a balance between pragmatism and, in many cases, an ideology that promotes equal value and entitlement to respect for all cultures and languages.
Nature of curriculum
In a rapidly changing world, it is difficult in national contexts to determine what structure and content should be included in the curriculum intended to prepare the children of today for life as the adults of tomorrow. The changing nature of society in some national contexts, such as the increasingly multicultural nature of society in the countries of Western Europe, has brought with it an additional set of challenges. For international schools catering for children from many different national, cultural and linguistic

International schools: growth and influence

backgrounds, and particularly for those schools espousing an ideology of internationalism rather than affiliation to one national context, enormous issues arise in terms of what content and skills should be taught. Structurally, big differences are evident between, for instance, the specialism advocated pre-university within the
English education system and reflected in the advanced (‘A’) level examinations completed by many students at the age of 18, and the breadth of study required to the same age in countries of ‘continental’
Europe through programmes including the French Baccalauréat,
German Abitur and Swiss Maturité. Those international schools affiliated to particular national contexts may follow the home country curriculum, with any parent who chooses to send their child to the international school effectively buying in to that curriculum. Others that develop their own curriculum will need to decide how exactly to offer a programme of relevance to the multicultural student population, while increasing numbers are adopting programmes such as those of the IB and IPC, which have been developed to be international in focus.
Such programmes, of course, are equally faced with major questions such as ‘whose history?’ and ‘what skills will be needed in 20 years’ time?’, while the schools themselves, whichever programme they have chosen to adopt, are also faced with questions such as ‘which is the most appropriate form of pedagogy when teaching children of an enormous range of backgrounds and previous educational experiences?’ De facto, as many international school teachers are western-trained (see Chapter IV), the form of pedagogy to be found in international schools often tends to emanate from a child-centred, western liberal philosophy which, again, raises interesting questions about the meaning of ‘internationalism’ and whether it is, in this context at least, a synonym for ‘western liberalism’. In translating such notions into practice, Thompson has offered a form of curriculum model for schools from both national and international contexts that places student learning at the centre of institutional organization and management incorporating curriculum balance, cultural diversity and administrative styles as crucial to the planning process (Thompson, 1998).



The very words used in the title of this section highlight the complications that can arise when discussing issues related to how judgements are made about student achievement within the context of the international school curriculum. Even within the
English-speaking world, terminology is inconsistent, with those from the British tradition tending to make a distinction between assessment (essentially making judgements about students’ work) and evaluation (generally referring to judgements about, for instance, the effectiveness of a policy or a curriculum), whereas those from an American tradition are more likely to refer to evaluation in both contexts. In other languages it may well be that only one word exists to embrace the two concepts. Acknowledging these differences, the word ‘assessment’ is used throughout this booklet.
Within international schools, some classic differences in approach can be observed between, for instance, internal assessment by teachers and external assessment by outside examiners, as exemplified in the contrast between the essentially teacher-assessed
IBMYP (though using criteria established centrally by the IB organization) and the externally-assessed IGCSE or IB Diploma.
Though different in philosophy (the MYP assessment structure is again likely to be more familiar to those from continental European countries, and external examinations are more likely to resonate with their British counterparts), both share an essentially western liberal provenance. Interesting and challenging issues arise both in international schools and in programmes such as these with respect to how best to make assessment, and the associated curriculum, reflective of different value systems and cultural values and valid in terms of language and meaning (for external examinations in particular) in the context of the many different backgrounds represented by international school students. The fact that, while a programme such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma, for instance, requires that students be examined in English, French or
Spanish, a school can choose to use another language of instruction for IB Diploma courses also raises interesting issues about validity and equality of experience in the context of assessment.


International schools: growth and influence

To what extent there is room for much flexibility in assessment is an interesting question, particularly at the top end of the age range when the ‘users’ of the qualifications awarded (employers and universities especially) may well be situated within the western context to which many students of international schools aspire for employment and university-level study. Nevertheless, the curricula and their assessment structures continue to evolve. Most recently, for instance, dissatisfaction within the UWC movement with the
IB Diploma assessment arrangements to access and reward the full range of educational achievements of their students has led to early work on the development of an award of ‘UWC Diploma’ within the
UWC network.

Implications for planners and policy-makers
This chapter has described just some of the curricula developed for use in international schools and highlighted some of the issues arising within these curricula. Of relevance not only to planners and policy-makers within the international school context, the growing interest in such programmes within national systems – state and private schools – suggests that the issues raised are also worthy of wider consideration.


III. Students
It has already been noted that many international schools had their origins in an educational need perceived by globally-mobile professional parents situated temporarily in a location away from their home context. It is not surprising, therefore, that the student population continues in many such schools to consist largely of expatriates who may attend the school for only relatively short periods of time before moving on to another temporary location.
The mix of expatriate nationalities will vary from school to school.
In an international school that provides the only such form of education locally, for instance, the student body may consist of 40 or more nationalities. Where a larger city hosting many multinational organizations has several international schools with different national affiliations, a French overseas lycée may cater largely for
French expatriates, and an American international school may have a mostly American student population, while an international school with no particular national affiliation may cater for a wider mix.
One interesting dimension of such student populations is the very high proportion – much higher than would be expected in a national school system – with aspirations to progress to university-level study, perhaps not surprising given the well-educated professional families of which they are a part.
In the rapidly growing numbers of international schools of the twenty-first century, however, children of mobile expatriates are no longer the only students catered for and there are arguably three categories of students to be found in different (though not all) international schools: the global nomad, the returnee and the host country national.

Categories of international school students
Global nomads/Third Culture Kids
Awareness of the phenomenon of globally-mobile children following the careers of their professional parents was raised as a result of research conducted by two Michigan State University


International schools: growth and influence

sociologists, Ruth Hill Useem and John Useem, whose work with
American and other expatriate families living temporarily in India led to the coining of the term Third Culture Kid (TCK). This term was used to describe children who do not feel a real association or belonging to what might be considered their ‘first culture’ (of their passport country) nor to their ‘second culture’ (of the country in which they are temporarily living), but rather feel most at home in what was described as the ‘third culture’; “created, shared and carried by persons who are relating societies, or sections thereof, to each other” (Useem, 1976: 3). More recently, a TCK has been described as someone who has “spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parental culture ... [building] relationships to all the cultures while not having full ownership in any” (Pollock and Van Reken, 1999: 19).
The expression global nomad was coined more recently by
McCaig (1992) to describe “individuals of any age or nationality who have spent a significant part of their developmental years living in one or more countries outside their passport country because of a parent’s occupation” (Schaetti, 1993: 4). Now tending to be used interchangeably, the terms ‘global nomad’ and ‘Third Culture
Kid’ derive from times when global mobility was not as common as it is today. In the early twenty-first century, such mobility is also manifested in the form of economic migrants, asylum seekers and political refugees. It is not uncommon for those whose work and home are nationally-based geographically to have employment which brings them into regular contact (electronic and/or physical) with fellow employees, clients or vendors in other countries and requires them to make short business trips to such countries.
Arguably, therefore, the global nomad/TCK phenomenon is not so rare as it may have been considered 50 or 60 years ago when travel and communications were less sophisticated and accessible than they are today. There is, nevertheless, still something distinctive about the lifestyle of such children which relates, at least in part, to its transient nature. Other forms of migrant tend to move from one country to another with a view to bettering their circumstances in some way and taking up long-term, if not permanent, residence in the new country, with assimilation or adaptation being their goal in order to function effectively in the new context. The globally mobile


child of an employee of a multi-national organization, who lives, say, for two years in one location, three years in another, moving from country to country and school to school without expectation of any degree of permanence in the new location, is arguably far less
‘rooted’ than other forms of migrant. An economic migrant may cling nostalgically to the notion of home as the country in which they were born and spent their formative years before relocating, even though their new location is more obviously now their home in any pragmatic sense. Being torn between two ‘homes’, however, is arguably not so confusing in terms of identity as it is for the global nomad who moves from country to country at frequent intervals, who has parents of two different nationalities and first languages, who has a passport of a country in which he/she has never lived, and whose extended family is scattered and seen only occasionally. Some issues arising from the nature of this lifestyle, and how they affect the international school, will be discussed later in this chapter.
The returnee
The global nomads/TCKs described above live away from what might be considered their home country, attending international schools in different countries on what is often a fairly temporary basis. Another group of children, also globally nomadic, are those who attend an international school within their own country after returning from living elsewhere. Different from those other ‘host country nationals’ who have not previously lived abroad (to be discussed below), the reason for these returnees being in an international school is principally that, having been educated outside their home country’s national education system, they would find it difficult to fit back into it. Returnees have tended to be found more obviously in some countries’ international schools than in others; usually in countries where English is not the native tongue for instance (so that those who have been studying in English medium international schools may no longer be sufficiently fluent in their mother tongue to cope with the home country’s education system). It can also be the case that, where the curriculum of the home country is very different in content and style from that found in international schools, this represents a huge hurdle for the returnee. In such a situation, returning to an international rather than a national school in the home country may be a more attractive or pragmatic option.

International schools: growth and influence

Examples of returnees attending international schools can be found in a number of contexts. Japan is an interesting case, where children who accompanied their parents on overseas work assignments
(kaigaishijo) and who subsequently returned to Japan (kikokushijo) were traditionally considered to have been disadvantaged by time spent away from Japanese education, which led them, upon their return, to be different from their peers in behaviour, attitudes and linguistic skills. Concern about such perceived disadvantages led the Japanese Ministry of Education to increase the number of full-time Japanese schools and part-time Saturday schools outside
Japan, as well as providing a distance learning scheme for those who could not access the schools, with a view to easing subsequent re-entry to Japan. Interestingly, the growing Japanese commitment to globalization from the late 1970s has arguably led to a shift in perceptions of kaigaishijo and kikokushijo, who now, rather than being considered as disadvantaged, are viewed as “valuable assets for Japan” (Ministry of Education Japan, 1987, in Fry, 2007) due to their international perspectives, their mastery of foreign languages
(usually English) and their cross-cultural experience. Indeed, at least some international schools in Japan offer ‘Saturday school’ for
Japanese returnees, who attend a Japanese school during the week but on Saturdays focus on ‘keeping up’ the English language skills learned abroad.
Host country nationals
The returnees described above are host country nationals in one sense, but the group which will be discussed in this section are another subset who have not generally lived and studied away from their home context prior to attending an international school. This group of host country nationals will not be found in every country since, as noted earlier, in some countries host country students are forbidden by law from attending an international school (unless, for instance, they have a foreign passport as well as their host country passport) for fear that such participation would have a negative effect on the host culture. Such restrictions do not apply in all countries by any means; in Europe and North America, for instance, sending one’s child to an international school in the host country is a parental choice in the same way as it would be to enrol him or her for any other form of private education. Schwindt (2003) reports


the case of an international school in Germany that is attended by a relatively large number of host country students whose parents are dissatisfied with the local alternative. Lack of confidence in the national system is undoubtedly also one factor behind the growing number of aspirational middle-class families in those developing countries that do permit international school attendance by their own citizens, who choose to send their child to an international school for an English medium education leading to a qualification (such as the
International Baccalaureate Diploma). Such a qualification may be more widely recognized for university entrance in, for example, the
USA than would be their own national school leaving qualification.
Such parents see the international school experience as providing a competitive edge which sets their children apart from, and at an advantage to, their peers in the national system. The case of Thailand has already been noted, where large numbers of students attending international schools now are Thai nationals who aspire to university attendance in the USA or the UK. Indeed, Thailand was one of the first countries identified by a number of British independent schools as the location for an overseas ‘franchise’ where the British school ‘brand’ (of, for instance, Harrow School, Dulwich College and Shrewsbury School) has been marketed to Thai families who aspire to a form of education perceived to be superior to the local alternative. Given the differing constraints operating on international schools in different countries, and other factors such as local competition from other international schools, it is clear that generalizations cannot be made with respect to the nature of the student populations to be found in them. Where traditionally most international schools were attended largely by globally-mobile expatriates, in some parts of the world the affluent aspirational host country professional classes are increasingly dominating the international school intake.
Even as the international school student demographic is changing, however, there are a number of factors that arise in relation to their student populations.

Issues relating to transition apply less to the host country national, who may attend the same international school for the duration of his

International schools: growth and influence

or her schooling, than they do to the globally mobile expatriate or returnee who may make numerous moves during his or her school life. Not that the child who remains in the same international school is necessarily unaffected: if his or her globally-mobile peers are regularly moving on, this can have an unsettling effect on the one left behind.
The greater impact, however, is likely to be on the children who make regular moves, possibly as many as seven or eight times during their formal school education. Clearly such children tend to be materially privileged in that they generally belong to professional families, have lifestyles involving frequent travel and exposure to new places, people, cultures and languages, and be – superficially at least – relatively mature in terms of the social and communications skills honed as a result of their lifestyle. Though there is as yet a dearth of systematic research in this area, other positive attributes often identified in them by those working in this context include adaptability, an international perspective, linguistic ability, and ease with forming new friendships. Pollock describes such students as
‘cultural chameleons’ who “after spending a little time observing what is going on ... can easily switch language, style of relating, appearance, and cultural practices to take on the characteristics needed to blend better into the current scene” (Pollock in Pollock and Van Reken, 1999: 92).
Despite their privilege and advantages, however, there are undoubtedly also some potentially less positive effects of such a lifestyle. The relative instability of their upbringing may lead to
“confused loyalties, a sense of rootlessness and restlessness, a lack of true identity, and unresolved grief” (Rader and Sittig, 2003: 3), which can result from the many separations experienced, as well as a reluctance to form close emotional bonds. The experience of culture shock, too, can be a negative one, which for some does not seem any easier to bear, even with frequent exposure to it.
It is difficult to generalize about the reasons why some students appear to adapt more easily to a globally nomadic existence than do others: so many factors affect the individual that it is impossible to identify specific causal relationships (in the absence, at least, of large-scale research, which has not yet been undertaken). Anecdotal


evidence suggests that the mother of a globally mobile family is a major determinant of the stability of the children: many such families are based on a traditional model of father employed by a multinational organization and mother who is a ‘trailing spouse’, taking responsibility for ensuring the family settles in the new location while the father is occupied with his new post. In such a situation it is likely that the attitude of the mother to the new location will be crucial in influencing the attitude of the children.

The role of the international school
In such a situation, the international school to be attended by the children can take on a much higher profile than would be the case in most other contexts. It may be, for instance, one of the few places where the family can meet people with whom they can converse (if the language of the new country is one they do not speak on arrival).
Because of this high profile, many international schools play a larger role in supporting all members of the family than might be expected elsewhere. It is not uncommon, for instance, for international schools to have a parents’ room, where parents can meet informally during the day, or for them to provide families with practical local information, particularly when they first arrive. So far as the students themselves are concerned, many international schools have developed programmes for supporting the globally-mobile expatriate child by, for instance, offering classroom activities to facilitate arrival (which may happen at any time of the year, depending on the parent’s employer); providing an orientation programme; offering counselling by teachers with particular understanding of transition, culture shock and the global nomad/TCK phenomenon; and organizing for the new student to be paired with an appropriate
‘buddy’ who will ensure they find their way round, meet people and become familiarized with their new context.
Some international schools set up ‘transition teams’ to ensure transition support is well co-ordinated across the school, as well as providing training for all teachers, not only in issues relating to stages of language development so that they can provide support in diagnosing areas of weakness in non-native speakers of English, but also in cultural awareness and transition awareness. Since all teachers need to be sensitized to the experiences that may be

International schools: growth and influence

affecting students in their classes, and know how to support them when required, training in cultural awareness is crucial. If teachers are unfamiliar with different cultural backgrounds than their own, they may misinterpret characteristics such as downcast eyes, for instance, as indications of insolence rather than the respect which may be intended in the culture of the student.
One other major aspect of transition for international school students is the departure stage. Too often, sadly, such children leave school with relatively little notice, sometimes in the middle of term, because a parent’s employer has decided that the parent, and thus family, should relocate without delay. Many experienced international schools are now convinced of the importance of providing a programme of support for departing students, which enables them to move on to the next location and school ready to make a fresh start, having said their goodbyes and, in a sense, achieved ‘closure’ before moving on. Not all international schools offer such a programme and, indeed, not all parents are convinced of the value of such a process; there are many stories in such schools of students who ‘disappeared’ when the parents heard they were to relocate and withdrew their children from school immediately in order to avoid them becoming upset by having to say goodbye to teachers and classmates. This point highlights the fact that, as noted earlier, it is not only the child moving on who is affected by the frequent relocation of the globally-mobile expatriate family; the less mobile child whose best friend suddenly departs, and for whom this happens time after time, will also need support in adjusting to the transient nature of friendships in such an environment.

Implications for planners and policy-makers
The concept of a globally-mobile student who is uncertain about his/her identity in terms of national or geographical roots, and whose lifestyle generates a tendency to certain characteristics related to transience is still relatively recent. International schools are becoming more experienced in catering for the needs of such students, and clearly it is increasingly important that, at the school board level, strategic and long-term planning include consideration not only of their needs, but also of the support that teachers and senior managers will need in responding to those needs. More


widely, it is clear too that what used to be a small-scale phenomenon in a few large cities of the world is now, with the growing impact of globalization, ease of transportation and improved communications, not as unusual as it once was. Increasingly large numbers of well-educated young people worldwide are growing up without any strong affiliation to a particular country or cultural background and, in many cases, reproducing their nomadic upbringing by choosing careers which will build on their skills of adaptability, linguistic competence and international awareness. Indeed, there are now second and third generation TCKs, who not only have a globally-mobile upbringing without firm geographical home roots, but whose parents experienced a similar upbringing and themselves are unclear about their rootedness to any geographical concept of home. Whether this growing phenomenon is one to be celebrated or one that should cause concern is, as yet, unclear. What is evident is that as their numbers continue to increase, which seems likely given the forces of globalization, this phenomenon cannot be ignored since the individuals in question, due to their education, adaptability, international awareness and linguistic skills, are likely to be among the most influential professionals in multinational organizations
(commercial and political) worldwide.


IV. Teachers and administrators
The context of international schools is one in which, as with other international organizations, terminology is not always consistently used. Even though largely English medium, differences abound in titles and descriptions, and this is no less true when considering those with responsibility for running the schools than in any other area.
Whereas in a UK school, for instance, the person with responsibility for supervising and leading daily operations would usually be described in generic terms as a manager or leader, with a specific title of head or head teacher (terms that have largely replaced headmaster and headmistress), in international schools (other than those with a particularly British ethos), such a person would usually be described as an administrator. A myriad of titles are in use to describe this role, including, inter alia, head or head teacher, director, chief executive officer, superintendent, director-general (usually in the case of a large multi-campus school) and principal, though while this latter title is sometimes used to refer to the head, in other situations it is used to describe those responsible for running particular parts of the school (such as high school principal and elementary school principal), who report to the overall head. A particular school’s origins and affiliations are often reflected in the terminology adopted, but it is probably true to say that the influence from the USA has spread more widely in the international school context than within
US international schools only, and terms such as administrator as described above are now commonly used. It is in this sense that the term is used in this chapter, which will consider a range of different issues relating to both teachers and administrators.

The diversity of the student populations in international schools has already been noted, as has the wide range of schools that describe themselves as ‘international schools’. It is to be expected, therefore, that diversity will also be found in their teaching populations. Factors including the curriculum offered, the school’s national affiliation
(if any), national and local government requirements, school

International schools: growth and influence

employment policies and work permit restrictions will all influence the level of diversity within the teaching staff. In one school, for instance, it may be that national requirements allow only the two most senior administrators (head and deputy head) to be expatriate appointments, while all other staff must be host country nationals; in yet another, there may be no such restrictions and all staff are expatriates apart from one local teacher who is employed to teach the host country language.
Given the English medium nature of most international schools, it is not surprising that many of the expatriate teaching staff in such schools are from English-speaking countries; until relatively recently, mostly the UK and the USA. Few international school teachers are from countries where teachers are civil servants, as
Sutcliffe (1991) points out, other than in those international schools which are effectively national schools abroad (such as French overseas lycées). The lack of clear career and retirement pension structures in international schools no doubt constitutes a deterring factor to such a move. Accurate and comprehensive data about the teaching populations of international schools as a whole is almost impossible to find. Experience suggests, however, that while there are, indeed, many British and American teachers to be found in such schools, they have been joined more recently by increasing numbers of Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders.
What, then, prompts a teacher to apply for a post in an international school? For a host country teacher, especially in the developing world, the answer may simply be that the salary and conditions of employment in an international school are likely to be better than those in a state school (which can itself cause problems if there is only one international school in the country and the teacher is then effectively ‘stuck’ there, since returning to the state sector is not an attractive economic option). For those who travel away from their country to take up such a post, there may be a number of different stimuli. Undoubtedly there are young teachers who, after some experience in their national system, view an international school post as a way of seeing the world and broadening their horizons, probably for just a few years before they return home to settle down. And some do just that. There are many others, however, who, despite having originally intended to leave home for only a

Teachers and administrators

short period, stay in a particular location indefinitely, perhaps because they marry a local person or because the location and lifestyle are particularly attractive; international schools in locations such as Vienna, Geneva and Singapore, for instance, tend to have a lower turnover of expatriate staff than is typically the case in some other parts of the world. There are also many who, having intended initially only to stay away from home for a short period of time, decide to stay on the international school ‘circuit’ by applying for a second post elsewhere, and go on to build a career as an international school teacher. Their decision to do so might be based on reasons that are pragmatic (such as better standard of living or better climate than might be expected in their home country) or may be linked to professional satisfaction, such as in a case where a teacher has become experienced in, and committed to, the International
Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, for instance, but knows there are few, if any, schools in his/her home country where the programme is offered. It would also appear to be the case – though no data are presently available to allow this assertion to be checked
– that increasing numbers of teachers in international schools are themselves alumni of international schools; TCKs who have chosen to recreate as adults the globally nomadic lifestyle of their childhood.
And there are the trailing spouses; often the wives of husbands employed by multinational organizations or as diplomats, for whom teaching in international schools provides a relatively portable career. Hardman’s research suggests three categories of expatriate teachers applying for posts in international schools: childless career professionals; mavericks (“free and independent spirits”) and career professionals with families; and those he describes as ‘Penelopes’
(“faithful to the country they had adopted”), based on Ulysses’ wife in Homer’s Odyssey who remained faithful to her husband during his long absence (Hardman, 2001: 132-133). Those with experience of international schools may well recognize in these categorizations colleagues and ex-colleagues for whom such descriptions ring true.
In some parts of the world, such as Europe, there may be little, if any, difference in salary and contracts between teachers, whether they are host country nationals or expatriates. In other countries however, usually in the developing world, it is common to find different salaries and benefits paid not simply according to

International schools: growth and influence

experience and qualifications, but according to expatriate or local status. The argument for the existence of such a system arises largely from market forces: teaching salaries in the country are considerably lower than they would be in, say, Europe or North America, and host country teachers may well be better paid in the international school than they would be in the local state system. But expatriate parents expect the school to have at least some expatriate teachers (indeed, demand from parents for native English-speaking, western-trained teachers is not uncommon), and if the school offers a programme such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma, it will need to appoint at least some teachers with experience of that programme, probably from another country. And expatriate teachers will often not move to the school for a local salary (especially if, for instance, they are still paying the mortgage on a house in their home country). The result can be, as Cambridge points out, a tripartite organizational structure “consisting of a long-term administrative core ..., a fringe of relatively highly paid professional expatriates ... on shorter-term contracts, and local staff hired at lower rates of remuneration who are likely to be longer term” (Cambridge, 2002: 159).
In some cases, the expatriates are divided into two sub-groups: the overseas hire teachers, who apply for an advertised post from outside the country, and the local hire teachers, including trailing spouses and others already located in the country, whose salary/ conditions of service will not be as good as those of their overseas hire colleagues. Such divisions may seem inequitable, but are not uncommon and are usually rationalized in purely pragmatic terms: the school has to pay ‘developed world’ salaries to attract at least some experienced expatriate staff, but cannot afford to pay such salaries to all. While relatively common in international schools, such divisions can lead to tensions between colleagues, especially in situations where, for instance, a host country head of department earns less than an overseas hire junior teacher in the same department.
They can also sit uneasily in an international school with a mission statement referring, as many do, to the promotion of respect and international understanding, when an apparent implication of the salary structure is that host country teachers may be valued less highly than are their expatriate colleagues.


Teachers and administrators

One interesting issue in this context is how one recruits teaching staff to an international school, with an important first question being where are teachers to be recruited from? A British-style international school may aim to recruit mostly British-trained teachers with recent experience of teaching in the UK, while an international school with a non-national affiliation and wishing to promote internationally-minded values by having as role models teachers from many different national, cultural and linguistic backgrounds may wish to recruit from a broad spectrum of differing contexts. Most international schools will expect even young, newly-trained teachers to have had some experience of teaching in a national context before taking on an international school post, and many will expect those appointed to more senior positions to have had prior experience in an international school context. Deciding where to advertise is clearly crucial in determining the characteristics of new recruits. A number of newspapers are widely read in many international schools, including the UK-based Times Educational Supplement (TES), and
The International Educator (TIE), which is more American. As technology has improved, schools’ own websites are increasingly important in helping to ensure that potential applicants are well informed; the movement of staff between international schools on two- or three-year contracts is such that a strong network exists and word of mouth is thus an effective means of spreading news about advertised posts.
In some countries, an international school may be constrained in whom it may appoint by, for example, restrictions on work permits or length of time non-nationals can remain in the country; there may also be aspects of the law which prevent particular individuals being appointed (for example, only female staff to a girls’ school in some Muslim countries, or only heterosexual staff in a country where homosexuality is illegal). There may also be constraints, in a situation where the school owns and provides accommodation for teaching staff, when, for instance, only single staff accommodation is available and an applicant has a spouse and children. In fact, the question of how international school teachers’ own children are educated is an interesting one; if there is only one international school in the city or country, and local schools are considered

International schools: growth and influence

inappropriate, then an international school teacher’s children may well attend the same school as either one or both parents. Even if there are alternative international schools locally, when attending another school would entail paying full fees, while attending the same school as the parent involves heavily subsidized or no fees, the parent may in effect have little choice. And indeed, it may be their preference that the whole family is at the same school; opinions are divided as to the advantages and disadvantages of such an arrangement. Many international schools, in addition to newspapers and their own websites, make use of recruitment agencies that assist with the process of filtering applications to a reduced number of potential appointees for the school to consider. Agencies well-known and widely used in international schools include the Council of
International Schools (CIS), Search Associates, and International
Schools Services (ISS). CIS is one agency which, as part of its recruitment services, organizes a number of recruitment fairs annually in different parts of the world. At such fairs, large numbers of school heads and teacher applicants come together for several days of interviewing, following preliminary short-listing and other preparatory work. A characteristic of such fairs, which may seem strange to those new to the context, is that interviews are usually held in the interviewer’s hotel bedroom, since the large numbers involved preclude the availability of any other form of private space, and that interviews are most often between the interviewee and one interviewer only – often the school head. Understandable perhaps, given the financial implications of flying large numbers of senior staff members around the world, when compared with the panels who may be involved in interviewing in other national contexts, such an approach can seem to place a very high responsibility on one interviewer. When interviewers may be meeting several applicants for the same post one after the other, who will also be having interviews for posts at other schools during the same fair, the interviewing and contract-offering process can indeed be stressful for all concerned, as interviewees have to decide (without usually having visited either school) whether to accept, for instance, a job offer in Bangkok or
Brussels. Interviewers, meanwhile, have to judge whether to offer a job to the first good applicant they meet or to wait until they have

Teachers and administrators

interviewed all applicants, with the consequent risk that an early interviewee might subsequently be offered a job by another head recruiting at the same fair.
Arguably, the process of recruitment is not fully completed until the teacher arrives and settles into the new post. The next section will consider issues arising within the school context at that stage.
Induction, professional development and appraisal
While these three areas will be familiar to many teachers in schools worldwide, particular challenges arise in the context of international schools. Induction, for instance, if it is to be successful in supporting new recruits and ensuring they become settled and achieve their potential professionally, may well need to incorporate elements related not only to the new school’s and new department’s ways of doing things, which may be expected in any national school context, but also to the cultural mix of students to be taught, the curriculum offered, the country in which the school is located and the local language. All these may be different from anything previously experienced. International schools which do not take such extended responsibility may find that new recruits fail to settle or to achieve their potential. Stories of new teachers breaking contract and leaving within the first week or two of a new posting are not unknown: an expensive and unsettling business for all concerned.
One of the distinctive characteristics of induction in the international school context is that it is likely to be needed by experienced and inexperienced staff alike. In fact, as Stirzaker points out, a common cause of stress to experienced but relocated teachers is “feeling unexpectedly ‘de-skilled’ in a new school because an unfamiliar set of pupils react to them differently” (Stirzaker, 2004: 32). Teachers moving to a different cultural context may find that “lessons that worked before no longer seem effective; letters sent home to parents appear to be ignored, and seemingly simple requests to local administration staff are met with a smile but no action” (Deveney,
2005: 155).
It is interesting to speculate, given the challenges faced in such cross-cultural encounters, together with the relative lack of preparation for them in many cases and the frequency of changes
(many international school teachers moving school and country

International schools: growth and influence

every two or three years), on how it is that so many moves are apparently successful. Perhaps the ‘maverick’ streak referred to by
Hardman leads to many international school teachers being prepared to take risks, face new challenges, be flexible and be optimistic. Or perhaps not enough is known about the feelings and experiences of those who do not settle but who do not go so far as to break their contract. An important part of the support needed by teachers after the early stages of induction, if they are to achieve their professional potential, is ongoing professional development. Professional development is a wide-ranging term and is used here to encompass in-house, in-service training, where more experienced colleagues provide support for those with less experience, as well as the range of workshop and training opportunities offered by curriculum providers such as the
International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International Examinations and the International Primary Curriculum. It is also used to include the university-offered programmes that can lead to qualifications such as masters and doctoral degrees. Such qualifications tend to be more valued in the international school sector than in some national systems; a teacher aspiring to a leadership role, for instance, may well need to have a masters degree and, as increasing numbers hold masters degrees, there is a noticeable increase in demand for professional doctorates by those who aspire to headship. A range of other new programmes are also appearing, which provide support for those aspiring to leadership roles, including the International
Leadership and Management Program (ILMP) offered by Fieldwork
Education, and courses offered by the Principals Training Center
Some form of appraisal or performance management system is common in many national education systems, and many international schools will also have a system of some sort in place. An international school with a particular national affiliation may well adopt the appraisal model used in that national context, or a variation on it, while others may choose to develop their own model without any such constraints. A point worth noting here is that, as Dimmock and
Walker (2005) point out, much that has been written internationally about appraisal has emanated from the English-speaking western world, with little note being taken of societal culture. For those from

Teachers and administrators

non-western education backgrounds, teaching in an international school for the first time, the notion of appraisal may be alien and may need sensitive handling with consideration of issues such as
“whether the scheme focuses on individuals or groups of teachers; who should be the appraisers; the relationships necessary for appraisal to be successful; the skills required by appraisers; or the need for open communication” (Dimmock and Walker, 2005: 145).
Many of the issues raised in this section about teachers will apply equally to those more senior in the administration. The next section will focus on a number of issues relating specifically to those who, in this context, are referred to as ‘administrators’.

Some categories proposed by Hardman earlier in relation to teachers no doubt also apply to administrators: career professionals with or without children, mavericks and so on. One interesting point of note, however, relates to whether a head or principal has had experience of international schools prior to taking up his or her post. In some schools with a national affiliation, it can be seen as an advantage for the new head to arrive at his or her new international school post ‘straight from home’, having had recent experience of teaching in, or leading, a school in that system. In other schools, perhaps more likely to be those with no national affiliation, it may be considered more appropriate for a new leader to have had prior experience of teaching internationally, thus being better prepared for the context of globally-mobile multicultural student populations, international curricula and multicultural teaching staff than might otherwise be the case.
Other differences in the role of the head in an international school and that expected in a national context may also arise.
Many international schools, for instance, will appoint as a senior administrator (possibly a business manager or finance manager) a host country national who can prove to be invaluable in terms of linking with the host country context. The relationship between this person and the head is clearly crucial to the effective running of the school, particularly if difficult situations arise locally and this person is effectively the school’s representative in that context. In

International schools: growth and influence

some countries it is a legal requirement that international schools should have a host country administrator in a senior position. All international schools in Thailand, for instance, must have a Thai licensee. Clearly it is essential for the smooth running of the school that the relationship between licensee and head be as effective as possible and that the boundaries of their decision-making responsibilities be well understood.
Another crucial relationship for the head of an international school is that shared with the board (variously referred to as
‘governors’ or ‘trustees’), where one exists. In some privately-owned international schools, for instance, there may not be a board; the head will negotiate directly with the owner, or perhaps with the owner’s family, and if the relationship is open and responsibilities are understood, it may be that the head is successful in running the school. If relative responsibilities are not clearly understood, however, it may be that the head is vulnerable and has no recourse to any other body if things go wrong. Even when a board exists, problems can arise and these will be discussed further in Chapter V. Suffice to say at this stage that one notable characteristic of international school administrators, and heads in particular, is the frequently short duration of their tenure. Hawley, for instance, in a study of
25 international schools accredited by US accrediting agencies, concluded that the average length of time a head spent in post was
2.8 years. While there are many examples of international schools where heads have stayed considerably longer than this, there are also many examples where they have stayed for only a short time and, indeed, where contracts have been ended abruptly mid-year. Clearly, there may be many reasons for such situations arising, some of which will be discussed in Chapter V. One consequence of a relatively high turnover of international school heads, however, is the challenge it presents for strategic planning or long-term planning, particularly in a situation where turnover of board members is also relatively high.
Though, arguably, it is in such situations that having a long-term plan in place is even more important than in more stable contexts, the high turnover of personnel may be a contributing factor to the number of international schools that do not actually have one. Such issues have been discussed elsewhere by Leggate and Thompson

Teachers and administrators

Implications for planners and policy-makers
The relatively recent and rapid growth in numbers of international schools has led to increasing numbers of posts needing to be filled and increasing challenges to heads in finding suitably qualified and experienced teachers to fill them. It is speculated that if such growth in international schools continues, there could be severe shortages of teachers in the not-too-distant future (Wigford,
2007). As the demand for such teachers grows, the question must be asked as to where those teachers are coming from in order to satisfy such a high level of demand. While they may provide professional development to those in post, international schools do not train their own teachers: they rely on potential teachers having been trained in national systems. Arguably, therefore, large numbers of teachers joining international schools could prove to be a drain on national systems; particularly, perhaps, in areas such as mathematics where shortages are common. Also of note is the fact that the training experienced in national systems does not generally provide much, if any, preparation for international experience, as it is often focused on achieving goals relating to that specific national education context.
The relatively high turnover of teaching staff in an international school may not give too much cause for concern, though in some cases a lower turnover would provide greater stability. Where high turnover relates to the head, however, this can be altogether more problematic in terms of the negative impact on stability and long-term planning that can result. Support for heads and boards aimed at reducing this high turnover would seem likely to benefit the international school sector as a whole.



Management, leadership and governance

Management and leadership
Much has been written internationally in recent years about the role of the head in determining the effectiveness of a school.
In school effectiveness/school improvement research, consistent messages have emerged about the key role of the head in providing professional leadership (see, for instance, Sammons, Hillman and Mortimore, 1997). Though such research has largely been undertaken within national contexts rather than in international schools, it would seem reasonable to assume that the same might also be true within this context. Heads are generally expected to provide leadership, as Sammons et al. note, but are also expected to be managers; the former term has grown to be more widely used in recent years, with reference in many schools changing from senior management teams to senior leadership teams, and sometimes a lack of clarity as to the distinction being made. Louis and Miles (1990) offer a helpful distinction in arguing that “Leaders set the course for the organisation; managers make sure the course is followed.
Leaders make strategic plans; managers design operational systems for carrying out the plans. Leaders stimulate and inspire; managers use their interpersonal influence and authority to translate that energy into productive work” (Louis and Miles, 1990: 19-20). Thus the head of a school may need to be both a leader and a manager, just as those in what might be termed ‘middle management’ roles in the school (such as heads of department) will also need to demonstrate leadership traits in differing aspects of their work.

In many national school contexts there would be a clear understanding as to the other key role played by the head; while on the one hand providing leadership for students, teachers and other staff in the school, on the other the head provides the key linkage to the school’s governing body. Variously referred to by terms such as the Board of Governors, Board of Trustees, School Board or Board of Directors, it is the school’s governing body that determines the

International schools: growth and influence

policy, which the head ensures is implemented. In practice, of course, the dividing line between governance and management/leadership is not quite so clear cut as it may appear in theory; while it may be the board’s job to govern and the head’s job to lead/manage, it would be an unwise head who took no interest in policy-making and an unusual board that took no interest in the implementation of that policy. In practice, the line between the two is not absolutely clear cut, though with understanding of the intended roles and goodwill on both sides, the relationship can be made to work well.
In the national school context there are likely to be in place common systems relating to governance and leadership/management; centrally-devised guidelines and criteria may well be in place which a head moving from one school to another, or a board member taking board membership at more than one school, would recognize.
Assumptions could safely be made in any transition about what would be found in the new location. In the context of international schools, however, no such assumptions can safely be made and, when they are, this can lead to surprises for all concerned.
Governance in international schools
The first point of relevance to note, perhaps, is that the majority of international schools are private schools. Though there are examples of some that receive state funding (such as the Dutch international secondary schools in the Netherlands, where an international school stream is linked with a state ‘parent’ school), in general it would be true to say that international schools are private institutions funded largely through student tuition fee income. As noted in Chapter I, some international schools are part of a group or larger organization; indeed, as already observed, the number of such groups would appear to be growing. The majority, however, are still individual institutions which, though they will have to conform to the law of the land in the host country, are run in their own particular way.
How they are run will depend in large part on their origins; why they were established in the first place and who was instrumental in establishing them. There is no blueprint for setting up an international school, but a number of different models of ownership/governance can be identified amongst those in existence. One common model is often found in international schools whose origins lie in the

Management, leadership and governance

identification by expatriate parents of a need for schooling for their children. The now large and thriving Alice Smith School in
Kuala Lumpur, for instance, was born in 1946 in the sitting room of an expatriate mother (Alice Smith). Such origins are not uncommon in many international schools, and it is not surprising therefore that the boards of governors of such schools tend still to be composed either entirely or largely of parents.
Another common model is the school owned and run either by a single individual or by one family. Such schools may be run as profit-making organizations or on a not-for-profit basis depending on the nature of the ownership, and there may not be a board of governors in the more usually-recognized sense. Indeed the role of school head may be deployed by the owner himself/herself or his/her family members. Blandford and Shaw report a comment from one international school head that “I am the Chair, and the rest of the
Board consists of my daughter and my son-in-law” (Blandford and
Shaw, 2001: 23). Where the single/family owner decides to appoint a separate head, this can lead to challenges for all concerned. Though there are examples of such relationships working well, there are also examples of difficult situations arising where the head expects to have more influence in the running of the school than is expected by the owner. Clearly, this is an area where the boundary between governance and leadership/management can become very blurred, and tales of what might be described as ‘micro-management’, where the owner of the school becomes involved in the day-to-day running of the school, abound. The enthusiasm of newly-appointed teachers, who are more used to the restricted budgets of a state school, for posts in a single-owner international school where they have no budget and only have to ask for what they need is understandable, for as long as what they ask for is provided. And is a head who returns after a long vacation to find that the owner has built a new sports hall to be delighted at the improvement in school facilities, or dismayed at the lack of consultation? Such situations are not uncommon in the international school context.
It has already been noted in Chapter IV that the turnover of heads in international schools is higher than would be considered usual in many national systems of education. Though there are certainly many examples of long-standing and successful heads, there are also many

International schools: growth and influence

examples to be found of situations where the relationship between head and owner or head and board breaks down and, inevitably, it is the head who departs. The reasons for this phenomenon are no doubt many and complex; all the issues discussed in Chapter IV in relation to the recruitment of teachers (culture shock, the need for appropriate induction and professional development, the need for spouse and children also to be happy and settled) apply equally to the head. In addition, the head has to work closely with the board in whatever form that takes and may possibly have made assumptions about the nature of the board/head relationship that turn out not to be shared by the board. He/she may also have made other assumptions, as in the case of the newly arrived English-speaking head of an English medium international school who arrived at his first board meeting to find that it was to be conducted in the host country language, which he had not yet learned to speak.
Cultural as well as linguistic variation may also explain some differences in expectations between the head and the board: issues of student behaviour and school discipline may be viewed differently by those from different cultural backgrounds, both within the board and between the board and the head. Hawley (1994), following his research into the high turnover of international school heads, suggested that heads tend on average to stay longer in international schools where board members do not have children enrolled in the school, implying that those without children in the school will have a longer-term interest, more commitment and greater objectivity than those whose interests are driven by the needs of their own children.
Given how many international school boards are, as already noted, heavily parent-influenced, this is no doubt a salient point in this context. As the numbers of international schools have increased and experience has been gained, more support systems have been developed. The CIS, for instance, provides among its services to international schools support for boards and heads, and board members’ induction, while board retreats and joint training for the head and the board chair are becoming more common among international schools than was previously the case.


Management, leadership and governance

Quality assurance
Schools situated within national systems of education will be subject to a range of what might be described as quality assurance processes, including, inter alia, legal requirements vis-à-vis the curriculum to be followed, the appointment of staff, the facilities to be offered and the means of assessment, supported and monitored in varying ways through, for instance, local, regional or national advisory and inspection systems. Nationally-affiliated international schools (such as, for instance, Japanese overseas schools) may also be subject to such processes. Privately-funded international schools with such national affiliations, meanwhile, while they may be required to conform to particular legal requirements nationally
(such as employment law), in many other respects operate outside what would be more usually recognized as a national system of education. Amongst the diverse group of schools described as international schools, there are undoubtedly some that operate without much, if any, external input or monitoring; since there is no control internationally over which schools can describe themselves as international schools, it follows that the title of the school tells the prospective parent, student or teacher nothing at all about the quality of the education being experienced by students within its walls. This need not be a problem; the fact that a school is not subject to any form of external monitoring does not, of itself, imply that the educational experience of its students is not of a high quality. In that sense, so long as the parents, students and teachers are happy with the experience offered by the school, there may be no problem at all. It can be a problem, however, if the quality of the educational provision is not high and prospective parents, students and teachers are unaware of this fact before becoming involved. Indeed, one potential area of concern in the fast-growing world of international schools is that while those with previous experience may well be aware of the need to be cautious in assumptions made about an international school on the basis of its title, those with less experience may assume that having had a positive experience with one international school, whether as teachers or parents, another international school will necessarily be very similar. They may be fortunate and find that a previous good experience is reproduced, or even improved, in the second school;

International schools: growth and influence

on the other hand, they may find that the second experience is a major disappointment since the assumptions they had made about transferability of characteristics across the international school sector prove to be unfounded.
Against such a backdrop, those international schools that have made efforts to ensure that they are offering a high quality education have looked for some means – albeit voluntary rather than compulsory, as it might be within a national education system – of demonstrating the quality of that educational experience and having it recognized by the outside world. Some international schools with national affiliations may choose to subject themselves to inspection by one or more inspectors with recent experience in that home system, who will reproduce, with some customization for the international context, the inspection format likely to be recognized by the clientele of the school in question and thus help to demonstrate its credibility and the quality of the education provided. The National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS), for instance, operates one such system for its member schools. In addition to the inspections that may be organized by some international schools, other forms of quality assurance are to be widely found, including the following.
Over the years, a number of different accreditation agencies have been established which offer their services to international schools worldwide. Several such agencies are based in the USA: the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the Western
Association of Schools and Colleges, the Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges all began in the 1970s and 1980s to offer accreditation services to overseas schools (Murphy, 1998). Many international schools continue to avail themselves of the services offered by these organizations. An alternative and well-respected accreditation agency is that originally developed in the 1970s by the European
Council of International Schools (ECIS) and now operated by its sister organization, the CIS. Initially also an American-influenced organization, and thus offering an accreditation instrument based on American practice but with variations to cater for the overseas context (Murphy 1998), the current CIS Guide to School Evaluation

Management, leadership and governance

and Accreditation (in its seventh edition) is less nationally-focused and includes standards relating, for instance, to the provision of international/intercultural experiences for students (CIS, 2003).
Consideration for CIS accreditation is based on two main benchmarks: the CIS Standards for Accreditation “developed and endorsed by educational peers ... [and] designed to reflect the characteristics of a high quality educational experience” (CIS, 2003: 6), and the extent to which the school is meeting its own stated philosophy and objectives.
The five-stage accreditation process includes a preliminary visit, a self-study lasting between 12 and 24 months which involves the whole school community, and a visit of about a week by a team of teachers and administrators from other schools, which makes a recommendation leading to a decision by CIS as to whether or not a school should be given accreditation. A follow-up visit after one year constitutes the fifth stage, which monitors the action taken by the school in response to any recommendations arising from the visiting team’s report. The process must be repeated on a ten-year cycle if continued accreditation is sought.
Successful accreditation by a reputable agency is considered important by many high-quality international schools as a means of demonstrating external approbation of that quality. It is, no doubt, a time-consuming process, and until relatively recently those schools aspiring to accreditation by more than one agency (which might be considered desirable in terms of recognition by different groups of stakeholders) have had to pursue the process separately for each set of requirements. More recently, CIS and other accrediting agencies have agreed to undertake collaborative accreditations involving one team visit and one self-study report, though decisions are taken independently by the respective organizations. Interestingly, as CIS points out (2003), schools often agree that, in addition to the benefits of external approbation, the self-study component is the most valuable aspect of the accreditation process, with its requirement for staff to collaborate, often across different parts of the school, in discussing relevant issues and identifying possible improvements.
Accreditation, then, is one way by which international schools can demonstrate the quality of their educational provision through recognition by a reputable agency. Another major means


International schools: growth and influence

of demonstrating quality by external recognition in this context is through what is usually described as authorization.
Those international schools which choose to do so may offer their own curriculum and assess student achievement themselves, with no formal input or monitoring from outside. Many – probably most – international schools, however, will choose to offer a curriculum in at least part of the school that is developed by an external agency and may also be assessed by that agency. In Chapter II, the curriculum of international schools was discussed, including, inter alia, the three programmes of the International Baccalaureate (IB). In order to offer such programmes, in many cases an international school would need to be formally authorized to do so. In the case of the IB, for instance, three stages have to be successfully completed before a school can be authorized for any of its programmes: a feasibility study (where teachers and administrators undertake IB-approved professional development); a trial implementation period of at least
12 months, during which the school will be visited and supported by an IB representative; and an authorization visit, where a judgement is made about the extent to which the school is suitably prepared to offer the programme (see IB website:
International audit
A related process, growing in attraction to international schools, is that of international institutional audit. Under such a scheme, a school will invite an individual of experience, or a consortium of such individuals, to examine the claims made by the school (in the mission statement and strategic plan for example) about the quality of the education it offers in certain aspects of the school experience.
The agenda for the audit process is set by the school; the claims are substantiated (or otherwise) by the independent auditors examining the evidence available from documentation and observations made during a visit to the school, with the school board receiving a report from the auditors. This relatively less formal – though no less rigorous – process can provide important information for planners and policy-makers on the school board in determining strategies that can lead to an improvement in the overall quality of the education offered at the school.

Management, leadership and governance

Such processes (accreditation, authorization, audit), in providing an indication of external approbation for a school, can all be considered forms of quality assurance in the international school context. Such indicators may be important in convincing a potential teacher, or a parent of a potential student, that the school in question is one with which they would wish to be involved. Also of possible importance as an indicator of quality (though not necessarily of the same level of rigour) can be membership of an international school in a particular international school grouping (such as the NABSS, referred to earlier). Membership in such groups can not only provide opportunities for shared professional development for teachers and inter-school activities for students; the membership itself may be interpreted by prospective parents and teachers as a measure of external recognition of the school by others.

Implications for planners and policy-makers
This chapter has addressed some issues relating to management, leadership and governance within international schools, and quality assurance as a related dimension. An interesting issue here, as ever when considering international schools, is the relative lack of any overall control, monitoring or consistent set of expectations. Given the multicultural, globally-mobile context in which such schools operate, in many respects it could be argued that there is a need for more, rather than less, such control or monitoring. Undoubtedly, the absence of control could be considered likely to relate at least in part to such issues as high turnover of international school heads, with a lack of training and preparation for both heads and board members behind at least some of the difficulties that are not uncommon in this situation. Also of interest to policy-makers and planners may be the absence in the international school context of any requirement for quality assurance. While those who choose to do so may avail themselves of authorization, accreditation, audit or membership opportunities, those who choose not to go down such routes may not be subject to any formal monitoring of the education offered.
This does not itself mean that the education offered will be of poor quality. It does, however, mean that there may be an increased risk of this happening. In a context where parents pay fees, if the product is of poor quality, market forces will, in time, probably lead to the

International schools: growth and influence

school either closing down or having to improve. While those market forces are having their effect, however, some students (and possibly some teachers) may suffer as a result. It is difficult to envisage how a system of compulsory accreditation or other form of recognition might operate across national boundaries. Nevertheless, this is an area where there would seem to be some room for development in the international school sector.


VI. The future for international schools?
A basis for the future
This booklet has provided a relatively brief overview and analysis of the network of international schools as they are in the early days of the twenty-first century. Not only of interest to those increasing numbers of parents sending their children to such schools and to the teachers employed by them, the issues raised are of much wider relevance to those concerned with planning and policy-making internationally. From education being perceived as a nationally-offered and nationally-focused commodity, such schools are changing that perception in different ways. For international schools with strong national affiliations, the education offered may still be essentially nationally-based and nationally-focused, but situated outside the national boundaries in question: a Dutch school abroad offering a Dutch curriculum to students away from the
Netherlands, for instance, would fit this description. For others with no particular national affiliation, offering an international curriculum to a multicultural group of students who aspire to university-level studies in many different countries, the education provided is clearly an international commodity for which national boundaries have little direct relevance.
Chapter I provided an overview of the origins of the international school network and the situation as it is today, where many international schools are individual institutions with no formal link to other such schools and have grown up in a rather ad hoc and idiosyncratic fashion, while more recently a number of groupings of international schools have emerged with shared philosophies and shared administrative infrastructures. It was clear from this discussion that in this diverse field with no overall requirement for control or monitoring, the concept of an international school is difficult to define; the one characteristic apparently common to all schools that might be considered as international schools being that they offer a curriculum other than that of the country in which they are located.


International schools: growth and influence

That curriculum, as shown in Chapter II, can take various forms. From simply being an imported curriculum from the home country in the case of a nationally-affiliated international school, perhaps with some customization to accommodate the local context, to one of the growing number of programmes designed specifically to be internationally- rather than nationally-oriented, there is again a large diversity to be found among the schools under consideration.
Challenges faced in such contexts include questions about the most appropriate form for a curriculum aimed at providing an international, rather than national, experience in terms of content, medium of instruction and assessment. Such questions raise the fundamental question of what it means for education to be international, and whether such a concept can actually exist other than in a context where ‘international’ is essentially a euphemism for ‘western’ or, indeed, ‘western liberal’.
Diversity is a term that can be used to describe the student population of international schools, as described in Chapter III.
Typically consisting largely of nomadic expatriates following or returning from their professional parents’ pursuit of globally-mobile careers, such students have more recently been joined (where this is permitted by law) by increasing numbers of economically-advantaged host country nationals whose parents perceive an English medium international school education as a means of ensuring a competitive edge when seeking entry to university (for example in North
America) and/or in the global marketplace. The very high proportion of international school students, expatriate or otherwise, who go on to study at university makes them atypical of students in national school systems worldwide. The effects of the frequent transition experienced by the global nomads among them, including the absence of any clear geographically-linked sense of belonging or identity, also make them atypical of their peers in national systems worldwide. The skills and attributes that apparently follow from such a lifestyle and such an education may well lead to these students becoming particularly valuable and influential employees and leaders in their adult lives.
Many of those who teach such students and lead their schools tend, for the most part and as discussed in Chapter IV, to have been educated and trained as teachers in the English-speaking developed

The future for international schools?

world, with a small number recruited in the school’s host country and an apparently growing number who themselves experienced a globally-mobile childhood and an international school education similar to that of the students they teach. The initial training that prepares international school teachers for their often peripatetic careers is an issue for consideration here, given the national focus it generally has and thus its only partial appropriateness as preparation for work in multicultural and multilingual schools. Prior training and preparation for the particular characteristics of international schools are of no less importance and no more evident in the context of those who provide their leadership and governance, as noted in Chapter V.
Indeed, as ever in the international school context, it is impossible to generalize about issues relating to leadership and governance given the various models to be found, including, inter alia, single- or family-ownership of schools and parent-dominated boards. The high turnover of international school heads and apparently frequent incidences of tension between heads and owners or heads and boards suggests that all might benefit from more effective preparation and ongoing support for the respective roles to be deployed in such multilingual, multicultural contexts. Support of this nature is becoming more commonly provided by a number of organizations established to support such schools, including the CIS, which is also one provider of the accreditation services viewed by many international schools as a means of demonstrating the quality of their educational provision and of receiving external recognition and approbation of it. Accreditation, authorization by curriculum providers such as the IB, independent audit and membership of international school groupings are among the means employed by international schools to demonstrate such external approbation and can thus be considered as forms of quality assurance in this context. Such quality assurance procedures notwithstanding, a central issue of note when considering international schools remains the lack of control and monitoring of the network overall. Certainly many international schools volunteer for such monitoring through processes including those noted above, but they are not required to do so. It is not suggested that the absence of such monitoring necessarily implies that the education provided is of poor quality;

International schools: growth and influence

rather the cause for concern, if there is one, is that in cases where no external form of monitoring is sought by a school, there is no evidence on which judgements about quality can be based, and the potential exists for students, teachers and others to suffer as a result.
As the international school sector continues to expand, it may be time for the ad hoc nature of its earlier years of growth to be superseded by a more systematic, centralized form of compulsory monitoring.
Quite how such a system would be developed or enforced in an international context is, however, difficult to envisage.

Globalization of education
So what of the future for international schools? While the first such schools came into being before the concept of globalization as we now know it was recognized, it is clearly impossible to consider the network of international schools worldwide today without viewing them against the backdrop of the forces and effects of globalization which have undoubtedly contributed to their development to date and seem likely to continue to do so in the future. There is a growing dominance of English as the international language, and increasing normality of an international dimension to even nationally-based business and commerce, not to mention the enormous influence of multinational commercial and political organizations. These all suggest that the form of education sought by the transient professional classes and provided by English medium international schools offering internationally recognized curricula will continue to be in demand. While there has been growth in expatriate demand to date, this may be overshadowed by the increasing demand for international schools in developing countries, whose aspirational middle classes seek an internationally recognized education for their children that will permit entry to prestigious universities in the developed world. Such a situation can already be seen in India, for instance, and, as noted earlier, Thailand. Key to the potential enormity of such demand for international schools more widely is whether other countries will decide to prevent or allow their citizens to attend such schools. Should China, for instance, decide in the future to relax the current restriction on its citizens attending international schools in mainland China, the explosion that could


The future for international schools?

result in the opening of such schools to cater for the demand thus created is difficult to imagine?
What is not difficult to imagine is the possible growth in both expatriate-type and national, elite-type international schools of commercial organizations which spot a business opportunity for the establishment of such schools in response to the demands of the global market. From consisting largely of individual schools responding to a particular local need, therefore, it may well be that the international school network of the future will consist of larger numbers of groupings, run on a business basis and with schools in many parts of the world, quite possibly offering their own forms of professional development, induction and appraisal. It is not difficult either to imagine, ultimately, such organizations developing their own forms of international curricula; whether it is from this source or from other educational providers worldwide, the success of those international curricula now in place suggests that alternatives will emerge in coming years. Perhaps such business groupings of international schools might even move towards providing their own form of initial teacher training for those aspiring to teach in their schools. Whether they do or not, given the shortage already noted of teachers applying for international school posts, a major issue in the future is likely to be the identification, training and retention of teachers with appropriate skills for the international school context, together with the associated effect on national systems of trained teachers withdrawing from that context.

Higher education
The trend for increasing numbers of universities from the developed world (including Australia, USA and UK) to open
‘off-shore’ campuses in the developing world, is well documented. It is not, therefore, impossible to imagine that both international schools and what might be described as international universities, though not currently connected in any sense, could become linked through providers identifying an opportunity for international education of this sort not only to be offered to 4 to 18-year-olds, as is currently the case, but also to be extended into the higher education sector. In this way, in addition to the continuation of high academic standards achieved in many international schools, the wider range of qualities

International schools: growth and influence

and characteristics that students from such schools tend to possess
(such as enhanced international awareness, good organizational and inter-personal skills) may also be part of that continuity in the formal educational process.

One of the consequences of a substantial increase in the number of international schools is likely to come from the competition that such increased choice for parents will generate. This could result in a greater emphasis being given by those responsible for the determination of the organizational style of such schools to the pragmatic aspects of planning, management and leadership, possibly at the expense of continuing to plan effectively for fulfilment of the ideological objectives which have been, to date, a significant feature of many such institutions. In such circumstances, competition
(especially within highly populated urban environments) could drive the need for each individual school to establish and publicize widely its own ‘credentials’ in order to capture a viable share of the local market for international education. It is at this point that the so-called
‘league table effect’ (prominent in many national contexts already) could become a reality for the international school network. This, in turn, may influence planners and policy-makers constituting the board in arriving at the balance between pragmatic and ideological factors defining the potentially unique characteristics of the school.
As a result, a different form of categorization of international schools (see Chapter I) could emerge, this time based on such output indicators as, for instance:


performance of students in recognized leaving examinations, such as the IB Diploma and high quality national qualifications offered globally; acceptance rates of students by prestigious higher education institutions, including universities, throughout the world; explicit recognition by a cadre of elite accreditation and authorization bodies; approbation by national authorities within the geographical region in which an international school is located; employment profiles of alumni; student drop-out statistics;

The future for international schools?

quality of arrival and departure support for the mobile student population; ability to cater for a more diverse school population, including students with learning difficulties and other special educational needs; qualifications and experience of the staff employed by the school. In such a scenario, external and internal measures of school performance may well become more prominent in the choices that parents make than is evident in the relatively thinly-dispersed international school network that currently exists. Thus it may well be that schools will be perceived as being ‘more pragmatic’ or ‘more ideological’, according to the strategic positions that policy-makers and planners take up along the pragmatic-ideological spectrum. This may well result in a worldwide distribution of international schools according to the predominant value-position adopted by their boards, which could also lead to a reduction in the diversity of provision that has characterized the family of international schools to date.

Towards a system of international schools
A further consequence of the explosion in the number of schools, linked to the worldwide drive towards ‘institutional credentialism’, could well be the establishment at a global level of a more formal system of international schools than presently exists. Although accreditation agencies and authorization bodies currently offer their services on a worldwide basis, each of them seeks to recognize and acknowledge the fulfilment of a specific set of criteria which have not, to date, been completely shared across the various agencies involved, although examples of co-accreditation exercises are increasingly common. The Alliance for International Education (AIE, see www. is a forum in which stakeholders with interests in international education may come together and form partnerships for furthering their missions. However, it remains the case that no body yet in existence has taken responsibility for establishing a set of criteria that could be deployed in the construction of a ‘league table’ for highly-performing international schools. It may well be that the political will to do so is lacking at a global level, and that many experienced educationists would discourage any movement

International schools: growth and influence

to do so. Should such a possibility be considered for realization in practice, however, a debate relating to the balance between pragmatic and ideological criteria will be at the core of the issues to be resolved. Those schools that already exist in a ‘mini-system’ form, based on more ideological aims, such as the UWCs, would be in danger of being left outside what may be anticipated to be the larger grouping of the globalized school system. Such schools could either be marginalized because of their smaller numbers and be considered unimportant in world influence terms, or they may be accorded a ‘super status’ relating to the scarcity of their explicit provision for a value-laden education.

Implications for planners and policy-makers
So why should planners and policy-makers internationally, who are not currently concerned with international schools, be interested in such developments? One response to this question lies in the demand among schools in some national systems for international curricula such as the IB and the IPC, both of which are already offered by growing numbers of state schools worldwide.
Education authorities in some countries are already showing interest in how international dimensions of such programmes can inform the development of national curricula. Where young people need to be prepared for adult life in an increasingly globalized world, whichever form of education they experience, collaboration between national and international school systems with respect to curricula may well be of mutual benefit.
A second response lies in the fact that the growth in numbers of international schools already seen and projected for the future means that while they may have been relatively invisible to date, they are likely to become increasingly visible in future years.
They will become more evident as, perhaps, increasing numbers of teachers trained in national systems choose not to teach in those systems, and their influence will be increasingly seen in the students who graduate from them and whose linguistic and intercultural skills, international awareness and internationally-recognized qualifications make them eminently suitable for senior positions in commercial and political international organizations. International schools can provide an extremely positive experience for such young

The future for international schools?

people, preparing them in both pragmatic and ideological terms for life in a rapidly-changing world, even though, as their critics would argue, they tend on the whole to cater for the materially relatively privileged, whether globally-mobile professionals or host country middle and upper classes.
Many within the network of international schools are already addressing issues of particularly topical concern, including: the need for forms of accreditation that provide support in the identification of those international schools that are offering high quality education and those that are not; the increasing challenges of recruitment of suitable teachers; the challenges of the rapidly changing international context of increasing globalization; concerns about security of travel and the effects of travel on the environment; increasingly sophisticated technology. Indeed, an increasing number of international school conferences are addressing such issues currently.
Options open to policy-makers and planners in national systems may, meanwhile, depend on the degree of control exerted over private schools in those systems, since it is into this category that international schools would generally fall. For those countries that do not currently allow host nationals to attend international schools, policy-makers will need to decide whether to continue to support such a policy, which essentially allows the children of expatriate families who live in the country to attend such schools while protecting the national education system from the potential loss of children of local middle-class families. In growing economies, it may be that pressure from aspiring middle-class professionals will make such a policy increasingly difficult to sustain. For those countries that do currently, or plan to, permit host country nationals to attend international schools, it may be appropriate to introduce some form of monitoring of the number of such schools being established and the number of students enrolled. In Thailand, for instance, the huge growth in the number of international schools since the 1990s, arising from middle-class parental demand, may suggest perceived limitations in the national system of education.
In such a situation, policy-makers and planners could feel that modifications to the national system of education are needed. But if parents in such countries are choosing to send their child to an international school because of the competitive edge they perceive

International schools: growth and influence

will be gained through an English medium education, leading to an internationally-recognized pre-university qualification and potentially a western university education, then it may be that no modifications to the education system could satisfy their demand, since the attractiveness of an international school education lies in its very difference from that experienced by the majority.
On the other hand, if English medium education and international qualifications are of secondary concern, and parents’ reasons for choosing an international school for their child arise more from dissatisfaction with other aspects of the national system (such as, for instance, perceived weaknesses in teaching, discipline or the curriculum), then it may be that improvements in the quality of education offered in the national system could encourage influential and middle-class families to return to national schools. In a context where such families choose to favour international schools, it would seem wise, therefore, for policy-makers and planners to monitor the numbers of such schools opening within their national borders and the numbers of children attending them. Analysis of the characteristics of the schools (in terms of the type of curriculum and teaching offered, for instance), and the reasons why local parents choose to send their children to them, could suggest what action might be needed in response.
If it appears that the main motivators for parents with social and economic capital selecting such schools are English medium education and international qualifications (rather than, say, perceived weaknesses in teaching or discipline in the national system), then this raises difficult questions to which there are no straightforward answers. The values of a democratic society committed to freedom of choice and a market economy might suggest that those citizens who can afford to do so should be allowed to send their children to private international schools leading, possibly, to a western form of higher education, which may lead to a career as a member of the
‘transnational capitalist class’ described by Sklair (2001). It has to be recognized, however, that such a permissive approach may also lead to widening gaps between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in that society, with inequalities of opportunity being exacerbated by the different forms of education available to those who can and those who cannot afford to pay, and middle-class professional families

The future for international schools?

largely patronizing private international schools to the detriment of the national school system. These are not new issues, of course, and have echoes of many of the well-rehearsed concerns relating to private education more generally; the nature of the international school as a sub-set of private schools, however, may exaggerate and accelerate the growth in the gap between private and state forms of education by providing an additional incentive (English medium, western education) in a world where globalization is increasingly influencing what is valued in society.
Responding to such concerns by preventing the growth in numbers of such schools – or even by preventing local families from sending their children to them – may help protect children’s cultural and linguistic heritage and prevent the widening of gaps within society with respect to educational experience. Yet, it also raises the uncomfortable spectre of state control preventing citizens from making free choices. In many societies, this is a tension that is not easy to resolve. There are thus no ready solutions for policy-makers and planners in national systems with respect to how they should respond to the international schools in their midst. In many respects this issue can be viewed as one aspect of a much larger concern which also has no ready solutions: the arguably growing power and influence of large multinational organizations with relatively little control by national governments.
National policy-makers and planners would nevertheless, with respect to international schools in particular, be well advised to:

monitor their numbers, and the numbers of pupils attending them from both expatriate and local families; monitor the quality of the education provided by them, either through nationally-based accreditation systems or by monitoring which schools have been accredited by one of the well-respected international organizations offering services in this area; withhold approval from those schools that are not able to demonstrate that high quality education is being offered; investigate the reasons why local families choose to send their children to an international school rather than a state school or a national private school;


International schools: growth and influence

consider whether improving the quality of education in the national system might not only have wider benefits for society as a whole, but also encourage middle-class families to return to the state sector; consider whether establishing collaborative relationships, or partnerships, between national and international schools might be of benefit to both education sectors.

If such action were to be taken, policy-makers and planners would be better informed about the international schools in their midst than many are at present, and would thus be better placed to formulate policy relating to the education of all their young adults of tomorrow.


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IIEP publications and documents

More than 1,200 titles on all aspects of educational planning have been published by the International Institute for Educational
Planning. A comprehensive catalogue is available in the following subject categories:
Educational planning and global issues
General studies – global/developmental issues
Administration and management of education
Decentralization – participation – distance education – school mapping
– teachers
Economics of education
Costs and financing – employment – international co-operation
Quality of education
Evaluation – innovation – supervision
Different levels of formal education
Primary to higher education
Alternative strategies for education
Lifelong education – non-formal education – disadvantaged groups – gender education

Copies of the Catalogue may be obtained on request from:
IIEP, Communications and Publications Unit Titles of new publications and abstracts may be consulted at the following website: The International Institute for Educational Planning

The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) is an international centre for advanced training and research in the field of educational planning. It was established by UNESCO in 1963 and is financed by UNESCO and by voluntary contributions from Member States. In recent years the following Member States have provided voluntary contributions to the Institute: Australia, Denmark,
Finland, Iceland, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The Institute’s aim is to contribute to the development of education throughout the world, by expanding both knowledge and the supply of competent professionals in the field of educational planning. In this endeavour the Institute co-operates with training and research organizations in
Member States. The IIEP Governing Board, which approves the Institute’s programme and budget, consists of a maximum of eight elected members and four members designated by the United
Nations Organization and certain of its specialized agencies and institutes.
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Senior Adviser on UNESCO issues, United Nations Foundation, Washington DC, USA.
Designated Members:
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Director, Human Resources for Health, Cluster of Evidence and Information for Policy,
World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland.
Carlos Lopes
Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), United Nations, New York, USA.
Jamil Salmi
Education Sector Manager, the World Bank Institute, Washington DC, USA.
Diéry Seck
Director, African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, Dakar, Senegal.
Elected Members:
Aziza Bennani (Morocco)
Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Morocco to UNESCO.
Nina Yefimovna Borevskaya (Russia)
Chief Researcher and Project Head, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Moscow.
Birger Fredriksen (Norway)
Consultant on Education Development for the World Bank.
Ricardo Henriques (Brazil)
Special Adviser of the President, National Economic and Social Development Bank.
Takyiwaa Manuh (Ghana)
Director, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.
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Vice-Minister of Education, China.
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...Educating Special Needs Students Cathy Furman Grand Canyon University: SPE 226 August, 26 2013 Educating Special Needs Students There are many types of disabilities that a teacher has to know about, This paper will define some of them and also the curricula that are used to each one of these disabilities. This paper will also explore the policies procedures, and programs for the education of students with intellectual disables autism, and or severe and multiple disabilities, Does the curriculum of the school district address or ignore the needs of students with disabilities? Intellectual disabilities means a person has significant sub average intellectual functions on the general level. They also show deficits in the area of adaptive behavior. The combination of the two affects the education of the student (NICHCY 2012) There are many causes of intellectual; disabilities. Intellectual disabilities can be caused by genetic conditions. This occurs when the child inherits abnormal genes for their parents. Down syndrome. Fragile x syndrome, and phenylketonuria are all examples of genetic conditions. They can also be caused by a mother having trouble during pregnancy. This means the baby does not develop properly this can be caused by several things like if the babies calls do not divide properly, if the mother uses alcohol or contracts an infection like rubella. The other cause could be problems at birth; This can happen if a baby is deprived of oxygen during...

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