Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ 2018-19 guide to Europe’s newest international schools (updated)

It’s a fundamental reality of being an expat: One of the biggest challenges for English-speaking expat families – even for well-paid corporate nomads – is finding satisfactory, English-language international schools.

Such schools cater to expat students, with curricula tied to the host nation in question, or an international education organization such as Edexcel, Cambridge International Examinations, and International Baccalaureate; if you’re curious about the International Baccalaureate program, Dispatches Europe has a primer for your convenience.

Wherever you’re headed, do not wait to get there before starting the application process with your preferred international school, which can be lengthy. Also, with international business growing exponentially, many schools have waiting lists. That situation is unlikely to improve as so many financial giants are planning to move staff to Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam or Luxembourg City post-Brexit.

With our boilerplate intro out of the way, we’d like to bring your attention to Europe’s newest international schools for consideration for the 2018-19 academic year. The schools in this guide have either opened their doors for the 2017-18 academic year, or will soon open for the upcoming year. From your littlest ones to your future high school grads, there’s a new school in town that’s right for them.

If you know of a new international school in Europe, please contact cameron@dispatcheseurope.com, terry@dispatcheseurope.com, or leave us a message on our Facebook page.

The criteria for a new school to be included in this and future guides are as follows:

  1. English must be the primary language of education, if not an equal to another language
  2. The school must have an up-to-date presence on the internet; social media does not count


Amstelveen – Florencius International School: Amstelveen, Netherlands’ newest school on the block is Florencius International School, which opened its doors in September 2017 to primary students 5 through 12 years of age.

The Amstelveen school is the second for Florencius, which also has a primary school in Laren, Netherlands that opened in January 2018. Like Laren, Florencius Amstelveen “offers high-quality private education and creates ideal conditions so that pupils can get the best out of themselves, this being in terms of knowledge, creativity, athleticism and emotional skills.”

Class sizes are small—eight students to one teacher—allowing for “more effective learning and personal attention to each pupil child” under the Dutch-created International Primary Curriculum.

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €2,000 one-time non-refundable registration fee; €20,550 annual tuition fee, €1,000 discount for second child enrolled; full schedule of fees here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with required documentation;
    sign and submit acceptance form with registration fee in a timely manner to confirm admission
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: info@florencius.nl
  • Website: www.florencius.nl/amstelveen-en

Amsterdam – Amity International School Amsterdam: India-based Amity Education Group opened the doors to its newest school, Amity International School Amsterdam, in September 2017 to 100 students enrolled in the primary programme.

This upcoming year, IB Middle Years 1 and 2 will be added for older students as AISA progresses towards its goal of 500 students enrolled at all grade levels by the 2021-22 academic year. The school’s mission is to provide “an engaging and challenging learning environment where students are empowered to succeed academically, socially and emotionally.”

  • Fees (2018-19 academic year): €1,500 refundable deposit; €250 one-time application fee; €2,000 annual capital fee; €200 annual administration fee; €12,250 – €16,200 annual tuition fee, depending on grade level (Middle Years 1 and 2 available starting 2018-19 academic year);
    €3,000 bursary provided to the first 100 students enrolled each year
  • Requirements: Complete and submit online application
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: enquiries@amity.amsterdam
  • Website: www.amityschool.nl


Haarlem – International School Haarlem: International School Haarlem in Haarlem, Netherlands opened its doors to primary school students in September 2017, and is set to welcome its first class of secondary school students in September 2018 for the 2018-19 academic year.

ISH follows a British/International Primary Curriculum programme for its primary school, and aims for its secondary department to be fully accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Both departments encourage their students “to realise their full potential and aim high “via a “challenging and diverse programme,” one where parents are also encouraged to play a major part in the learning process.

  • Fees (2018-19 academic year): €500 refundable deposit; €200 non-refundable registration/application fee; €4,500 annual tuition fee (primary school), €6,000/€7,000 annual tuition fee (secondary school; final rate to be decided April 2018); full schedule of fees here
  • Requirements: Complete and email pre-application form; complete and submit application with required documentation and registration/application fee; complete interview with school
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: admissions@internationalschoolhaarlem.nl
  • Website: www.internationalschoolhaarlem.nl

Hoofddorp – Optimist International School: In the Amsterdam suburb of Hoofddorp is Optimist International School, a primary school which just started its first class of students this January.

The school derives its name from “Optimist,” a small monohull sailing dinghy meant for children up to 15 years of age, designed in 1947 by American boatbuilder and designer Clark Mills for the Clearwater Florida Optimist Club. Optimist’s curriculum is a fusion of the Dutch-created International Primary Curriculum and the British National Curriculum, augmented by the school’s ties to the mother Dutch department. Classes are set at a maximum of 20 students per teacher, and parents are encouraged to be a part of the education process.

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €500 refundable deposit; €200 non-refundable administration fee per child enrolled; €4,500 annual tuition fee per child enrolled
  • Requirements: Complete and email interest form; undergo intake meeting; complete and submit application with required documentation
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: info@optimistinternationalschool.nl
  • Website: www.optimist-international-school.nl

Paris – Kingsworth International School: For the littlest ones in your family, the Kingsworth International School’s Primary School in Paris will open its doors to its first bilingual pre-school class in September of 2018.

Children from as young as 3 years of age “will evolve in a multicultural environment which privileges bilingual education,” learning both in English and French so that they may “approach their first linguistic and mathematical school experiences with ease.”

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €500 one-time non-refundable registration fee; €10,750 annual tuition fee for the pre-school level
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with required documentation;
    sign and submit acceptance form with registration fee in a timely manner to confirm admission
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: info@kingsworth.fr
  • Website: www.kingsworth.fr

Paris – Open Sky International: Paris’ Open Sky International opened its bilingual college in September of 2017 for the 2017-18 academic year. Students attending the college undergo “a rigorous bilingual program” in order to pass the English GCSE/A-Levels and French Brevet puis Baccalauréat programmes.

Open Sky’s college and upcoming high school programmes work in partnership “with one of the 3 best private English schools”, with course hours split 50/50 in English and French. The first cycle of English education began in 2017, meant to build a solid foundation of the language. The second cycle starts in September 2018, which will provide strength to the foundation. The third and last cycle, opening September 2020, will provide three paths to either passing the French Baccalauréat or English A-Levels, or tackling both.

  • Fees (2018-19 academic year): N/A; contact school for information
  • Requirements: Complete and submit information request for registration; contact school for more information on the process
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: contact@open-sky-intl.com
  • Website: www.open-sky-international.fr


Paris – RISE International School of Paris: RISE International School of Paris opened its doors in 2017 to students between 11 and 15 years of age. The bilingual private school in Mareil-Marly is an innovation-based middle school designed to ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary education.

Co-founded by Michele Silvestri and Janine Springall, RISE was created in response to a high demand from French and Anglophone parents in Paris and the western suburbs for such a school, especially one which serves children who would otherwise not find success in conventional international schools, such as those with dyslexia or autism. (Our own Terry Boyd interviewed the co-founders in April 2017, which you can read here.)

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €150 non-refundable application fee; €650 deposit to paid within two weeks of acceptance; €15,800 annual tuition fee
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with required documentation and application fee
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: info@riseinternationalparis.org
  • Website: www.riseinternationalparis.org


Sintra – Sintra International Christian Academy: Located in the Greater Lisbon area in Sintra, Portugal, Sintra International Christian Academy opened up its doors in September 2017 to its first group of K4 through 12th grade students. SICA uses a rigorous, Christ-centred curriculum based on the United States education system, with seniors enrolled in college prep classes “to excel in their SATs and attend American or international universities.”

Operated by Comunidade Cristã and a member of the Association of Christian Schools International, SICA’s mission is to inspire “a sustaining Christian faith, a respect for a diverse world, and a call to service” among its students, and to do so “in a supportive, Christian environment.”

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €200 non-refundable registration fee for first child enrolled, €100 for each additional child; €5,000 – €6,000 annual tuition and uniform fee, depending on grade level and proficiency in the English language (fees will be higher for those needing English-language lessons)
  • Requirements: Download, complete and submit application form with required documentation and registration fee
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: sintrachristianacademy@gmail.com
  • Website: www.sintrainternationalchristianacademy.org

More in international schools:

Dispatches Europe has lists of schools for every major expat center from Amsterdam to Zurich. You can see our full archive here.

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