Beijing, China Real School Experiences

Personal Experiences from Beijing, China

Beijing, China 03/12/19

British School of Beijing Sanlitun

School Website

https://www.nordangliaeducation.com/our-schools/beijing/sanlitun


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

Parent

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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

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

US Government

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes

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9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

The partnership with Juilliard makes the arts an important part of student life.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Overall Impressions:

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?

A

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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!

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Beijing, China 04/25/18

International School of Beijing

School Website

http://www.isb.bj.edu.cn


Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

A parent of two high schoolers.

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

10th and 12th

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3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?

government

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4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

Yes, we choose this school for the AP classes it offered.

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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?

Yes.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

Good, admissions and counselors are great and helpful.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

Good, I have always been able to contact teachers and counselors on any issues easily.

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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?

Field trips range from a few hundred to a thousand. Some are free.

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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?

Yes.

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2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?

Yes, very nice and accessible.

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3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?

Mac laptops provided.

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4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?

Yes, excellent facilities and new ones to come.

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5. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

Yes.

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6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?

it seems to be anywhere from 5 to 20 for a high school class.

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7. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?

Very few AP courses and some limited options online. Not every student has to do the full IB.

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8. 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?

Yes, academically it is sound.

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9. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?

Yes.

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10. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?

Yes but not a large amount of students in the arts.

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11. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Yes.

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12. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

The teachers and counsellors use all options to help students in what they need.

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13. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?

Many sports. Less drama and music. no musical productions.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?

No. This school does not feel international. Most students are duel Chinese passport holders and have spent much of their schooling here. It feels like an expensive private school for the rich. Not many new students coming in that are expats.

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2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.

The students that have spent most of their schooling there are pretty tight. Even the PTA is all Chinese and conducts their business in Chinese. The backgrounds of most of the students are quite wealthy, privileged and exclusive. No bullying just a sense of not belonging or having common ground.

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Overall Impressions:

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?

B only because of the lack of an international aspect.

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2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!

I would think very carefully before choosing this school. Socially it is difficult even for the most easy-going kids. It is not an international school.

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