Schools for Expats in China

Learn about expats schools in China and what can be expected working there

Schools for Expats

What Is an Expat school?

An expat school isa school for children of foreign workers. These schools are mainly for the children of expatriate workers or for children whose parents hold an international passport. The Chinese Government issued regulations in 1995 ensuring that expat school do not take children of Chinese citizens. Bilingual schools are different from Expat schools, which mainly offer places to children of Chinese citizens, and are regulated by the Chinese Government (See more information about Bilingual Schools in China ).

History of Expat Schools in China

As more countries developed diplomatic ties with China in the 1980’s, the number of foreign diplomats in China increased. In 1980, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK all opened embassies in China. The International School of Beijing Shunyi (ISB) was opened for diplomat’s children. This was China’s first foreign managed school offering an international curriculum. In 2002, the ISB began accepting children of foreign workers who did not work at the embassies.

After the early beginnings, the majority of expat schools opened in Shanghai and Beijing in the early 2000’s, catering for the large numbers of foreign expats attracted by China’s financial boom and the increase in foreign trade resulting from globalization. British schools including Dulwich and Harrow were some of the first schools to set up. According to government statistics, there are now more than 1000 international schools in China. As of 2012, there were 116 expat schools. Details of these schools can be found on TopTutorJob (TTJ) website.

Expats in China

How Many Expats Are in China?

The first generation of expats came to China in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, drawn by high salaries and good expat packages. The number continued to increase throughout the 2000’s as foreign workers sought better career prospects and opportunities for promotion in the growing economy.

Despite the recent slowdown of the Chinese economy, China’s expat population has continued to grow, although not as quickly as in the early 2000’s. According to China’s 2010 National Census, there were 600,000 expats living in the country. By 2017, the number of expats in China was estimated to be around 800,000. This number includes expats on short term visas who are unlikely to send their children to expat schools. The number of expats on long term working visas is likely to be lower.

Nationality of Expats

As of 2018 a large number of these expats are from America (23%) and from European countries including the UK (10%) and Germany (7%). There are also large numbers of expat workers from Asian countries including South Korea and Japan. Many expats arrive in China with their families.

Where Do Most Expats in China Live?

Foreign expats are typically attracted to the East coast of China, with many working in the major cities of Shanghai and Beijing. Shanghai is home to the largest number of foreign expatriate workers in China, and there are over 200,000 expats in Shanghai alone, with large numbers also living in other cities including Guangzhou and Shenzhen. You can have a general idea of living in China through our topic article here.

Expat Children and their Education

Foreign expat workers in China have specific demands for education. As the number of expat workers increased throughout the 2000’s, so did the number of expat schools. There is a now a large number of educational options for expat children. There are now expat schools from countries including America, Britain and France. These schools offer pre-school, primary and secondary education for children as young as two to aged eighteen. Most schools offer English as the medium of instruction, but some are also bilingual.

Many expat schools offer internationally recognised curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), International GCSE (IGCSE), the UK national curriculum, and the US-style model. The international qualifications available at these schools allow their students to transition smoothly back to universities in their own countries after finishing school in China.

Expat Schools in China

Expat School Jobs

General Requirements for Working at an Expat School

Based on TopTutorJob's understanding, to work at an expat school, candidates should:

  • have a minimum of a relevant Bachelor’s degree
  • be qualified teachers in their home countries
  • have a PGCE or Teaching License (Refer to TTJ's Glossary).
  • have up to two years of post-qualification experience (with at least some international experience preferred).  

The Benefits of Working at an Expat School

Education in China is highly valued and teachers are generally well respected. International teachers working at expat schools have high benefits. According to TTJ's research, expat school salaries can normally be quite high in comparison to those in a teacher’s home country, often reaching up to 30-40,000 RMB.  

Packages for expats are generally competitive, with teachers provided with good medical insurance coverage, and generous housing and flight allowances. Income tax in China is comparatively low at 10-25%. School fees for dependents of school teachers are also often provided by the school. Expat schools also often offer an excellent working experience with opportunities for professional development and career progression.

Expats School List

Please be sure to check the latest update time of this list.

Tips: Copy the name of the school and use School Search to find more information about more about the school.

NameCityFound Year
Concordia International School, Ningbo ☆Ningbo2020
EtonHouse International School Nanjing ☆Nanjing2016
Georgia School Ningbo ☆Ningbo2019
Quality Schools International of Shenzhen ☆Shenzhen2001
Teda Global Academy, Tianjin ☆Tianjin1995
The International School of Rhodes ☆Suzhou2019
Xi’an Liangjiatan International School ☆Xi'an2004
3e International SchoolBeijing2005
Access International Academy Ningbo (AIAN)Ningbo2003
American International School of GuangzhouGuangzhou1981
Basis International School GuangzhouGuangzhou2017
Basis International School HangzhouHangzhou2018
Basis International School NanjingNanjing2019
Basis International School Park Line HarbourHuizhou2018
Boston International SchoolWuxi2018
Britannia International SchoolGuangzhou2017
Britannica International School, ShanghaiShanghai2013
Cambridge International Curriculum Centre of Beijing Normal UniversityBeijing2003
Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB)Beijing2005
Canadian International School of Guangzhou (CIS)Guangzhou2012
Changchun American International School (CAIS)Changchun2006
Concordia International School ShanghaiShanghai1998
Dalian American International SchoolDalian2006
Dalian Etonhouse International SchoolDalian2018
Dongguan Etonhouse Internationl SchoolDongguan2006
Dulwich College, BeijingBeijing2005
Dulwich College, Shanghai PudongShanghai2003
Dulwich College, Shanghai PuxiShanghai2016
Dulwich College, SuzhouSuzhou2007
Dulwich International High School, ZhuhaiZhuhai2010
French International School of GuangzhouGuangzhou1997
Guangzhou Grace AcademyGuangzhou1996
Guangzhou Japanese SchoolGuangzhou2018
Guangzhou Nanfang International School (GNIS)Guangzhou2003
Hailiang Education International Students College ShaoxingShaoxing2011
Hangzhou International SchoolHangzhou2002
Harrow International School BeijingBeijing2005
Harrow International School HaikouHaikou2020
Harrow International School Hong KongHongKong2012
Harrow International School ShanghaiShanghai2016
Harrow International School Shenzhen QianhaiShenzhen2020
Hong Qiao International SchoolShanghai1997
HuZ International SchoolShenyang2018
International School of BeijingBeijing1980
International School of DongguanDongguan2012
International School of Nanshan ShenzhenShenzhen2002
International School of QingdaoQingdao1996
ISA International School of GuangzhouGuangzhou2014
ISA Science City International SchoolGuangzhou2020
KL International School of Chongqing BashuChongqing2015
Korean International School in TianjinTianjin2017
Korean School in YantaiYantai2002
Kunming International AcademyKunming1994
LEH International School FoshanFoshan2020
Léman International SchoolChengdu2009
Livermore International School — Beijing BranchBeijing2011
Lycée Français de Shanghai (Qingpu Campus)Shanghai1996
Lycée Français de Shanghai (Yangpu Campus)Shanghai1996
Malvern College QingdaoQingdao2012
Maple Leaf International Academy—ShenzhenShenzhen2018
Maple Leaf International School—ZhejiangJinhua2015
Merchiston International School, ShenzhenShenzhen2018
Nanjing International SchoolNanjing1992
Nantong Stalford International SchoolNantong2015
Ningbo Huamao International SchoolNingbo2015
Ningbo International SchoolNingbo2006
Nord Anglia International School | Shanghai, PudongShanghai2002
Peking University Experimental School ( Suqian )Suqian2017
Qingdao No.1 International School Of Shandong ProvinceQingdao2007
Quality Schools International of ChengduChengdu2002
Quality Schools International of DongguanDongguan2001
Quality Schools International of ShenyangShenyang2012
Quality Schools International of ZhuhaiZhuhai1999
Shaanxi Normal University Jin Yuan International SchoolXi'an2004
Shanghai American SchoolShanghai1912
Shanghai Community International School Hongqiao ECE CampusShanghai1996
Shanghai Community International School Hongqiao Main CampusShanghai1997
Shanghai Community International School, Pudong CampusShanghai2009
Shanghai EtonHouse International SchoolShanghai2013
Shanghai Livingston American SchoolShanghai2003
Shanghai Singapore International SchoolShanghai1996
Shekou International SchoolShenzhen1988
Shenyang Korean International SchoolShenyang2006
Shenyang Transformation International School(STIS)Shenyang2013
Shenzhen American International SchoolShenzhen2005
SPGS Sheng Bo International School, ChengduChengdu2020
Suzhou Singapore International SchoolSuzhou1996
The British International School Shanghai, PuxiShanghai2004
The British School of Beijing (Shunyi)Beijing2003
The British School of Beijing, ShunyiBeijing2003
The British School of GuangzhouGuangzhou2005
The British School of NanjingNanjing2007
The Foshan EtonHouse International SchoolFoshan2016
The International Montessori School of BeijingBeijing1990
The Western International School of ShanghaiShanghai2006
Tianjin International SchoolTianjin1985
Utahloy International School Guangzhou (UISG)Guangzhou1997
Utahloy International School ZengchengGuangzhou2003
Wahaha International School HangzhouHangzhou2015
Wellington College ChinaShanghai2014
Wellington College International HangzhouHangzhou2018
Wellington College International ShanghaiShanghai2014
Wellington College International TianjinTianjin2011
Western Academy of BeijingBeijing1994
Whittle School & StudiosShenzhen2019
Wuxi – EtonHouse International SchoolWuxi2007
WUXI International SchoolWuxi2003
Wuxi Korean SchoolWuxi2006
Xi'an Hanova International SchoolXi'an2012
Xi'an Hi-Tech international schoolXi'an2003
Xiamen International SchoolXiamen1990
Yew Chung International School of BeijingBeijing1995
Yew Chung International School of ChongqingChongqing2001
Yew Chung International School of Hong KongHongKong1932
Yew Chung International School of QingdaoQingdao2006
Yew Chung International School of ShanghaiShanghai1993
Yew Wah International Education School TongxiangJiaxing2017
Zhuhai International SchoolZhuhai2007
Table1: Expats School List (Updated 11th Nov. 2020)