Submit CV
Apply

International Schools in Beijing – All You Need to Know

When it comes to international education, few cities can compete with Beijing. Considered the most expensive schooling city globally, Beijing prides itself on delivering a world-class level of education to any child whose family can afford the eye-watering yearly fees.

Beijing has some of the best international schools globally, and they pay among the highest teaching salaries. Alongside an array of exceptional perks, this is the primary reason qualified and experienced foreign teachers consider international school jobs the bees’ knees of China’s teaching opportunities.

If you have previously taught in an international school, however, you might be surprised at just how different the teaching experience in Beijing will be.

Quick overview of International Schools in Beijing

‘International’ is a term used a little willy-nilly in China. Given that this type of education is in high demand, you can imagine the plethora of schools that have ‘adopted’ the term to entice eager parents.

Consequently, the array of international school types is quite extensive here. Aside from the kind of traditional institutions you’re probably used to (foreign-owned schools running foreign curriculums and enrolling international students), you’ll also find:

  • co-operative schools running international curriculums in partnership with foreign schools
  • privately-owned bilingual schools that run internationally recognized curriculums in two languages
  • public schools that teach the local Chinese curriculum in English

All these institutions are international schools in Beijing, although only the traditional, foreign-owned schools offer those impressive teaching salaries we mentioned earlier.

Don’t be mistaken: all international school jobs pay well in China. Yet the salary range can be quite varied depending on the school type AND the location.

What’s so special about Beijing International Schools?

The unique aspect of international schools in Beijing (and China, in general) is that they emphasize local culture. Moreover, the choice of material is extensive.

In Beijing, you can teach the IB, British, Canadian, Australian, German, US, French, and Swiss curricula. You can also teach the local Chinese curriculum in English.

What are the best international schools in Beijing?

Currently, there are 39 international schools in Beijing. These are the most prominent:

yew chung international school of shanghai

YCIS is one of the most established international schools in Beijing. It is revered by parents (and teachers) because it nurtures a truly bilingual and bicultural environment. YCIA offers the English curriculum with a definite eastern slant, the Secondary School IB Program, and takes in kids aged 2-18. Teachers report an excellent working environment, although the workload is extensive, and you need to be on top of your teaching game to fit in.  

If you’re familiar with Singapore’s ISS school, you might already know about its sister school in Beijing: BISS! This co-ed day school offers expat students an international curriculum that runs from pre-kindie to Grade 12. Conveniently central to the most popular expat suburbs (and the Olympic Village), the sprawling BISS campus…

Dulwich College International

World-renowned Dulwich runs several branches in China, with Beijing’s being perhaps the most popular. Kids follow a bilingual curriculum from ages 2 to 6 and then switch to the British national curriculum. Students choose several advanced subjects to tackle the IGCSE in the last two years. The formula is a winning one, given this Beijing international school carries over 400 years of British academic excellence on its shoulders!

BCIS is a non-profit day school that aims to develop students’ global outlook while delivering a top-notch education. Between yearly cultural discovery trips around China and a bustling social and sporting calendar that gels the whole school community involved, this institution boasts one of the best reputations. When you find a school that students, parents, and teachers love, you’ve stumbled onto a winner!

nord anglia

Nord Anglia enjoys an excellent reputation in China. In Beijing, the school is known for its high-tech facilities and bilingual curriculum from kindergarten to Grade 12. A bevy of international teaching resources and methods complements the local Chinese curriculum.

Operated by Nord Anglia, the BSB takes in students from just 18 months to 18 years. Up until ten years ago, this school had two campuses in Beijing and was, at the time, the most prominent international school in the city. In 2012, the Shunhuy and Sanlitum campuses were established independently and created into two different schools. You now have twice as many chances of scoring a teaching job with a well-reputed school!

Representing a British educational heritage that’s over 400 years old, Harrow is famous for its academic excellence and holistic teaching approach. In China, Harrows runs an international day and boarding school for students aged 18 months to 18 years, a bilingual school (same age bracket), and an early-years bilingual program for kids aged two to six.

hurtwood house school

Located just northeast of the city center, Hurtwood boasts arguably one of the most beautiful campuses. Set amidst gorgeous green parklands, the school caters to around 600 students aged 3-11 and offers a hybrid Western-Chinese curriculum. HD focuses on students’ emotional and social growth while upholding impressive academic achievements. Undoubtedly one of the best bilingual international schools in Beijing. 

What started as an unassuming international kindergarten back in the 90s has evolved into one of Beijing’s most beloved ‘global’ schools. Beanstalk beats to its own drum and offers a respected international curriculum that is, in their words, “fused with Chinese culture and values.” Both expat and local kids (aged two to 18) attend this IB school (various curricula apply depending on grade) and have five distinct campuses to enjoy.

A Beijing international school that goes from strength to strength with every passing year, WAB is one of the city’s big players. It offers the full IB program from PreK3 to Grade 12 and terrific employment packages for teachers. Expectations and stress may run at peak levels here, and the extra-curricular commitments can be outstanding but the rewards are sensational, nonetheless.

A private co-ed school with abundant clout and prestige, ISB is a 40yo Beijing institution offering both Chinese and English programs from PreK3 to Grade 12. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone (teacher, student, or parent) who could find a single negative about this school. Awesome work environment, monster salaries, and outstanding packages attract the best foreign teachers in the city.

What’s it like to teach in one of Beijing’s International Schools?

As with every teaching job anywhere globally, international school jobs in Beijing offer plenty of pros and cons. Here’s a quick overview:

The pros: Where to start?! As a prominent international school teacher, you’ll have the expat world at your feet. Salaries here are among the highest in the country, and the array of perks alone is worth the considerable workload. You’ll be working in a state-of-the-art facility with all the mod-cons any teacher would dream of most of the time.

Your salary package will be impressive. Teachers in these positions in China take home between USD 2,500 and USD 5,500 a month – jobs in Beijing will invariably all be on the higher end of that salary range. If you’ve perfected the art of negotiation, you will also score a housing stipend and, in some cases, even a return flight home to visit family once a year. Plus, you’ll be in the enviable position of being highly regarded in your local community, and this, in Beijing, is another big deal.

The cons: Teaching in a prominent international school is never a walk in the park. In Beijing, even less so. When you consider that school fees here are akin to college fees in the US, the pressure placed on teachers makes sense. Parents want to know their children are getting a top-notch education for their yuan. Teachers often bear the brunt of students’ shortcomings. Yes, even if the student is a dimwit who refuses to do any work. Politics plays a huge role in international school teaching in China. This is one of those ‘compromises’ teachers accept to work in one.

Your role as a teacher in an international school in Beijing will involve more than just teaching. Curriculums are chock-full of extra activities, and you’ll have to supervise or partake somehow. There’s bound to be a weekend commitment now and then, long (primarily useless) meetings, and late nights. You can bet on also having to attend the odd recruiting function. As a foreign teacher, your presence is enticing to potential parents, so trust that your employer will require you to show your face at various events throughout the year.

Do the pros outweigh the cons? According to most foreign teachers working in international schools in Beijing, ABSOBLOODYLUTELY! The financial and professional gains far outweigh the drawbacks.

So, now that you know more about teaching in international schools in Beijing, you’ll be better placed to decide if it’s for you. One thing is sure: if you manage to get a posting at a prominent school in China, your CV will inarguably receive the most potent boost of all.

 

 

Browse Jobs Browse Jobs

Teach English in China

Looking to teach in China?

Submit your CV and we will be in touch with the latest job offers.