Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ guide to international schools in Frankfurt

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, by the by, 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.

Frankfurt am Main – Frankfurt for short – is an Alpha world city in the heart of the European Union; the geographic center of the union is about 40 kilometres east of Frankfurt’s central business district. Dispatches also ranks it No. 2 on our list of the top destinations for expats.

The city is home to more than 730,000 in its city limits, 2.3 million in its urban area, and part of the 5.8 million residing within the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. The population is culturally and ethnically diverse, with over half of its population having roots from other lands; a quarter of the population consists of foreign nationals and expats.

Frankfurt is also one of the largest economic engines in all of the EU.

Frankfurt Airport is one of the world’s busiest – more than 61 million passengers and 2.1 million metric tonnes of freight moved in 2015 alone  –and is the hub for German airline Lufthansa.

Several banking institutions already call Frankfurt home (with more on the way thanks to Brexit), including the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and Deutsche Bank. Hyundai/Kia, Honda, BASF, Opel, McCann-Erickson, BNP Paribas Real Estate, KMPG, Moody’s, and Nestlé are among the multinational corporations who have set up shop in Frankfurt.

Other things to know about Frankfurt: It’s home to the world’s largest internet exchange point (DE-CIX); the world’s largest auto show (Frankfurt Motor Show); and the world’s largest book fair (Frankfurt Book Fair).

Frankfurt is also the richest city in all of the European Union by GDP per capita; has more lawyers than you can shake a stick at; and is the only German city to be considered an alpha world city (cities which link major economic regions into the global economic maelstrom).

There’s so much to learn about Frankfurt, we would need another guide just cover it all. If all you want to know is where to send your little ones to school, though, then this is the only guide you need.

European School Frankfurt: European School Frankfurt is one of the youngest of the European Schools, established in 2002 in the northwestern corner of the German financial capital.

ESF shares its mission with the other 12 European Schools throughout the continent: to create Europeans who still hold “love and pride” for their homelands, and will “consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe.” The school caters mainly to students whose parents are part of a European organization, while those who work for multi-nationals can have their tuition paid by their employer (via special agreement). Others can enroll, but will have to pay out-of-pocket.

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €3,730.09 – €6,993.99 annual tuition fee, depending on school level, 20 percent of tuition for second child, 40 percent for third and each subsequent child; full schedule of fees here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with all required documentation
  • Application Deadline: Applications accepted from early December through late February for the upcoming academic year
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.esffm.org

Frankfurt International School: Frankfurt International School is one of the oldest International Baccalaureate schools in the world, helping create the programme in the late 1960s. FIS has two campuses, one in Oberursel and a separate campus in Wiesbaden for students age 3 to Grade 8.

FIS is also the only primary through secondary school “that is a non-profit association governed by a Board of Trustees elected from the school’s parent population.”

Students from more than 50 nationalities attend the school, whose mission “is to be the leading, culturally diverse and family-oriented international school with English as the principal language of instruction.”

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €19,160 – €22,120 annual tuition fee, depending on grade level; €500 new student registration fee; €2,000 new student deposit; €5,500 capital assessment fee for first- and second-year students; €300 re-enrollment fee with €2,000 deposit; full schedule of fees here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with all required documentation
  • Application Deadline: Open enrollment
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.fis.edu

ISF International School Frankfurt Rhein–Main: Over 850 students from more than 50 nations (including Germany, the United States, South Korea and India) attend International School Frankfurt Rhein-Main every year.

Founded in 1995, ISF is part of the global SABIS School Network, and is an IBO World School, as well. The school’s mission is to “help all students achieve their full potential, prepare for success in college, equip them with the ability and desire for lifelong learning, and strengthen their civic, ethical, and moral values.”

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €12,270 – €19,485 annual tuition,
    depending on grade level; €600 new enrollment fee; €200 re-enrollment fee; €900 late enrollment fee (for students starting in the second and third terms of the academic year); €6,000 school place reservation fee (paid in three installments over three years) or €10,225 share purchase (in lieu of school place reservation fee); full schedule of fees here; reservation info here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with all required documentation; submit to placement testing (grades 3 through 12)
  • Application Deadline: Open enrollment
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.isf.sabis.net

Metropolitan School Frankfurt: Metropolitan School Frankfurt was founded in 2007 with the vision “of an international school with happy, self-confident children, who feel valued with a sense of belonging… guided by excellent teachers who allow students to find the best in themselves and succeed in what they do.”

MSF lives up to its mission as both an IBO World School and a Cambridge International Examinations member. The school offers more learning space per student than any other school in Frankfurt at over 7000 m², complemented by spaces for IT, food technology, visual arts, and science.

About 400 students call MSF their learning home.

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €2,256 – €15,636 annual tuition,
    depending on grade level, economic status, and residency; €100 one-time application fee; €900 one-time registration fee; €4,100 one-time facilities development/building fee; full schedule of fees here; full schedule of fees for U.S. Consulate Families and MSF Corporate Partners here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with all required documentation; meet requirements specific to grade level (full info here)
  • Application Deadline: 30 June for U.S. Consulate Families and MSF Corporate Partners; contact school for information (everyone else)
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.m-school.de

Strothoff International School: The youngest on our list of Frankfurt schools, Strothoff International School was established in 2009 with 109 students, 11 of whom would be the first to graduate in 2013.

SIS is also (as of 2014) the only school in Frankfurt to offer the full IB suite of programmes, and is accredited by CIS and NEASC.

The school is committed to providing students a balance of “rigorous education with a family feel and a firm rooting in traditional values.”

  • Fees (2017-18 academic year): €15,540 – €19,740 annual tuition fee, depending on grade level; €600 one-time registration fee; €2,500 one-time registration fee;
    €300 annual re-enrollment fee; full schedule of fees here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with all required documentation
  • Application Deadline: Open enrollment
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.strothoff-international-school.com
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Lifestyle journalist. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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