Beijing, China Report of what it's like to live there - 03/12/19
Personal Experiences from Beijing, China
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
My children attended the school from 2015 to 2019
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
One of the nice things about Beijing is that there are schools downtown and in the suburbs. For city people like us, this was a big plus.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
The admissions team was beyond helpful and friendly. Everything you need to know is on the school website and they are happy to give you more information via email, phone or in person.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
The school assigns each new student a ‘buddy’ to help each new child integrate and feel like part of the community. There is zero tolerance for bullying. That said, this is a British school and they rarely involve parents unless there is a serious issue.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Daily emails, regular opportunities to meet and discuss student progress, loads of community events.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
Uniforms are required and separate from school fees. Students must have their own instruments if they participate in private music lessons.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
This is a primary school - pre Nursery to Year 6; strong academic support.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
There is a mandatory twice a week after-school activity for grades Year 1 through Year 6.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes. Decent size and selection for a primary school. Weekly library visits and books can be checked out.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
School has initiatives with MIT and Juilliard. Technology very much a part of the curriculum.
5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
iPads and MacBooks all integrated into student life.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
P. E. Twice a week. Big competitions use the suburban sister campus facilities which are quite larger. For swimming, the school has a contract with a nearby compound and transports the students there for swim class.
7. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
The schools motto is ‘Be Ambitious’ and it is evident in all aspects of student life.
8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
The partnership with Juilliard makes the arts an important part of student life.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
All teachers are hired from the U.K. Teaching assistants and support staff are mostly Chinese.
11. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The nice thing about the British curriculum is that it is very child centered. They are not teaching to a standardized test. They take a whole child approach - challenging them where they are strong and supporting them academically as needed.
12. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The non-native speakers at the school quickly become quite fluent in the ESL program at the school. It is really impressive.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
This school really is an international community. All the children know each other and are friendly with other children outside their year group. Even four years in, we are impressed by the sense of belonging and community shared by all the kids.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
It is a pity this school only goes to Year 6. I would love to see them graduate from here!