A Guide to the best international schools around the world


A Guide to the best international schools around the world

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School reviews are unsolicited – they’re selected and paid for by the Guide and not the school, and there are no ads. It’s the international version of The Good Schools Guide, and like that 22 year UK best-seller, the GSGI is forthright, occasionally irreverent, and pulls no punches. So how do GSGI editors know what they know about schools? From countless interviews with other parents and finally her own visit to the school and interviews with as many people as possible there (teachers, principal, college councilors, students, etc). The editor looks at test scores, where students go when they leave (university, or other local schools), how well they make the transition to schools back home or other foreign postings; the state of the physical plant, playing fields, toilets, computer labs, art studios etc; interprets attitudes and approaches to problems, bullying, drugs etc. The reviews are straightforward and written in a conversational way. In fact, exactly as one would chat in person. That less-than-grave approach can be startling to schools, but all schools are given time and opportunity to comment on their reviews. What makes a good school? Since ‘good’ can mean many things to parents with all kinds of children, when the GSGI says ‘good,’ it means any school that parents would move to be close to, or change their lives in some way to get their children into it. Reviews are written as if one parent who liked the school were recommending it, warts and all, to another parent…and in such a way that parents can read between the lines to determine whether it is right for their child. It might be an intensely competitive academic school – perfect for the highly motivated overachiever, or it might be a school that somehow finds a place for every type of student – even the class clown who’s a bit bolshie on sports or shows a distinct lack of zeal for his homework. The thing is that the parents and students there really love it. School Rankings (Not) Schools are not ranked, nor compared to each other in the write-ups. They are put in context through the Educational Overview of each city or country, where various influences on local schools- political, cultural, transportation, security, etc – are discussed…anything that newcomers should take into account as they choose schools or even postings for their families. Schools are never rubbished but, again, described so that parents can read between the lines to determine the best one for their child. If there are tremors under the surface, we offer possible pointed questions, give information as to how other parents have coped, or suggest tutoring required to make up for inferior class work or teachers. The important thing is that parents be able to plan for their children’s education as well as possible, even if that means there are no good local options in that country and the parent must turn to home schooling or boarding school. The Good Schools Guide International is a book for Western parents, about schools all over the world in a jumble of cultures. We point out differences in these new places and prepare parents for some of the culture shock. Editors write full reviews on schools with broad acclaim (and the occasional caveat) from parents. If a school is simply listed with a short summary, but not covered with a full review, it may be that we just haven’t found enough parents to give it the thumbs –up yet: we welcome all comments and opinions. 

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