Selecting the right Singapore international high school for your children is a crucial decision, particularly for expatriate families. It not only determines where they receive their academic education but also influences their overall development, exposure to diversity, and future prospects.

In Singapore, a highly developed and culturally diverse country, international schools provide a range of educational options, including an American curriculum, IB programmes, Australian curriculum, British curriculum (IGCSE), Indian GCSE curriculum, and more. This diverse offering creates a unique and multifaceted learning environment, catering to the needs of expatriate families settling in Singapore. Enrolling children in international schools is often the first step for these families in securing a quality education for their children in their new home.

But what factors should you consider next? This guide aims to navigate the maze of international schools in Singapore, helping you understand their academic offerings, sense of community, and suitability for your child’s needs.

Understanding the Significance of International Schools in Singapore

International schools in Singapore cater to families seeking globally recognized education. Some follow country-specific curricula, while others, such as International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, offer a more comprehensive and internationally oriented curriculum.

These schools serve as cultural melting pots, attracting students from various backgrounds and nationalities. This diversity enriches the learning experience and prepares students for a globally interconnected world.

Understanding the Academic Excellence and Curriculum

When evaluating international schools in Singapore, one of the most critical factors to consider is the curriculum. The curriculum not only shapes your child’s academic experience but also impacts their learning style, engagement, and future opportunities. Here are some of the most commonly offered curricula and their key features:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme:
    The IB programme is renowned for its rigorous and well-rounded approach, promoting critical thinking, intercultural understanding, and a global perspective. It’s divided into three main programs: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP).
  • American Curriculum:
    The American curriculum is flexible and broad, designed to accommodate a wide range of interests and aptitudes. It often includes Advanced Placement (AP) courses that provide college-level curriculum and examinations to high school students.
  • Australian Curriculum:
    The Australian curriculum provides a comprehensive and balanced education, with a strong emphasis on literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking. The curriculum is structured around key learning areas such as English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, and the Arts.
  • British Curriculum (IGCSE/A-Levels):
    The British curriculum is divided into two stages: the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the Advanced Level (A-Level). The IGCSE is taken at age 16, and A-Levels at 18, with the latter being crucial for university admission.
  • Cambridge IGCSE:
    The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a globally recognized curriculum offered to students aged 14 to 16. It provides a broad and balanced study across various subjects, allowing students to choose a mix of core and elective courses.
  • Indian Curriculum (CBSE/ICSE):
    The Indian curriculum includes the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). Both are well-structured and rigorous, with a strong emphasis on core academic subjects.

Understanding the Admission Process and Requirements

Navigating the admission process for Singapore’s international schools can initially seem daunting. However, understanding the process and requirements can streamline the application process. Typically, it involves initial inquiries, application submissions, and interviews or examinations.

Admission requirements vary between schools, with some prioritizing academic performance while others consider a holistic approach, including extracurricular activities and personal attributes. Timely application submissions are crucial, especially during peak admission periods, to secure a spot for your child.

Cultural Adaptation and Community

For children transitioning to a new school in a foreign country, cultural adaptation is a significant aspect. It involves not only adjusting to a different education system but also building relationships and embracing a new cultural environment.

International schools with multicultural environments facilitate smoother cultural adjustment. They celebrate diversity through international days, language programs, and cultural festivals, fostering respect for peers’ backgrounds and a sense of belonging.

Parental involvement plays a vital role in student academic success. Many international schools in Singapore encourage active participation from parents through volunteer services, parent-teacher associations, and community events. Engaged parents contribute to a supportive school community and facilitate a smooth transition for families.


Choosing the right international school for your child in Singapore is a significant decision that influences their academic journey, personal development, and integration into the global community. Understanding the local educational landscape and considering your child’s future needs are essential factors in this process. By thoroughly researching and evaluating the curriculum and schools, you can ensure that your child receives a well-rounded and enriching education that sets them up for success in their new environment and beyond.