10 Best International Schools In Zurich: A Guide For Expats

best international schools zurich

Globally mobile families and ex-pats living in Zurich have access to the best educational opportunities in Europe and possibly the world for their children. Like other international schools, the curricula are globally recognized with many offering the highly-coveted International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma or American or British curriculums. An IB curriculum makes it easier to transfer from school to school internationally. The IB programs are divided into four categories by age group.

Although public education is free in Switzerland, permanent Swiss residents also often choose international and bilingual schools. Since Switzerland is a land of four languages, many parents feel that these schools will better prepare their children for life in a cosmopolitan city like Zurich.

Zurich is Switzerland’s financial hub and home to one of the largest stock exchanges on the planet. It has an excellent infrastructure and offers international students the opportunity to enjoy lots of great extracurricular activities like skiing in the nearby alps, hiking, and easily visiting other places in Europe.

International schools in Zurich are very expensive but grants and loans are available from individual cantons. Make a superior education possible for your child at one of the following best international schools in Zurich.

Zurich International School

ZIS

Zurich International School (ZIS) is a large school with three campuses around Zurich and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). It’s also approved by the Department of Education of the Canton of Zurich. The IB diploma is offered.

ZIS has more than 12,000 students representing over 55 nationalities speaking 40 languages throughout the school community. The Lower School (ages 3-11) offers a holistic program to help children develop their academic, social, physical, and emotional skills. The Middle School (ages 11-14) focuses on inspiring and challenging students without overwhelming them while the Upper School for students over 14 uses an inquiry-based approach to help students prepare for the future.

A Bilingual Pathway program is available for students aged 3-8.

ZIS is a nonprofit organization with all income going towards the best ways to engage students and grow as a community.

Tandem International Multilingual School

Tandem International Multilingual School

Tandem IMS is a dynamic multilingual day school offering education for the Early Years, Pre-School, Kindergarten, and Primary programs in English, German, and French. Teachers of multiple languages are present in the classrooms at the same time—a concept known as translanguaging.

Tandem IMS has an inquiry-based curriculum based on the Primary Years Program of the IB curriculum. The core of the curriculum is both the canton of Zurich’s and the UK National Curriculum.

Tandem IMS has an environment that is warm and welcoming to local Swiss and international families. Primary students get a high-quality education that leads to excellent secondary-level offers in Zurich and abroad.

SIS Swiss International School

SIS Swiss International School

The Swiss International School is an independent, privately owned day school. Education at all levels is offered from kindergarten to secondary school and college. It provides bilingual education in English and German mainly for German-speaking students. The school’s motto is “More room for bilingual education, more room for the future.”

SIS has four locations in the canton of Zurich. All of them are designed to help the children of Swiss and international students fulfill their educational goals. The curriculum is based on a unified school concept. Students are given the option to advance to the 3-year bilingual secondary program or the 6-year college to earn either the International Baccalaureate Diploma or the Swiss bilingual Matura.

Lakeside School Kusnacht

Lakeside School Kusnacht

A private, bilingual day school, Lakeside School Kusnacht is located on scenic Lake Zurich. Certified teachers and caregivers lovingly guide 3-12-year-old children on their educational path with lessons that challenge all of the senses. A bilingual program for Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6 is immersive and taught by native German and/or English speakers.

Lakeside School has a unique history that sets it apart from other international schools. Students, parents, and teachers of different languages and cultural backgrounds are made to feel comfortable and challenged at the same time.

Lakeside’s curriculum is recognized by the Zurich cantonal school authorities. The bilingual program is unique and incorporates the local Syllabus 21 with that of other international schools. The school collaborates with Freies Gymnasium Zurich, a bilingual middle school, to prepare students for their next step in education.

Inter-Community School Zurich

Inter-Community School Zurich

Inter-Community School-Zurich (ICS) is a fully-accredited English-language international school with a bilingual diploma option.

ICS is the only school in Zurich at this time that offers the International Baccalaureate Programme for Primary, Middle, and Diploma Studies. Studies are personalized for students aged 3-18 with a rigorous curriculum to prepare students for a quickly-changing society.

The Preschool/Kindergarten program builds the foundation for an inquiry-based curriculum in grades 1-5. The Middle School program for grades 6-10 focuses on self-directed learning and a deeper understanding. The Diploma Studies (grades 11-12) prepares students for admission to top universities.

ICS offers also offers activities, clubs, and sports beyond the school day for students to learn teamwork and gain confidence.

This institution is favored by international families for its ease of transferring to other private schools. An online meeting can be arranged by calling the school. You can also book a tour of the school. It’s located in Zumikon, a 15-minute drive from downtown Zurich

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Hull’s School Zurich

Hull's School Zurich

The first English school for teenagers in Zurich, Hull’s School offers the four-year English Year 10 program for Swiss and international students. Most students complete Year 9 in the Swiss educational system before enrolling.

The program is based on the British curriculum (IGCSE, A levels) with exams fully recognized by Swiss universities including the cutting-edge Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences as well as universities worldwide.

About 85 percent of Hull’s students are native German speakers and 90 percent are Swiss nationals. The other 15 percent are proficient in English and German or speak another language.

The college campus is near the Zurich Opera House and is housed in four buildings.

Hull’s school is the first college in Switzerland to offer an English Year 10 program for both Swiss and international adolescents. It is called Year 10 because the majority of the students complete Year 9 in the Swiss educational system before joining.

D’Insle Montessori School Zurich

D'Insle Montessori School Zurich

Located between the districts of Hottingen and Seefeld, D’Insle Montessori School Zurich is a day school serving trilingual students (German, French, English) aged approximately. 3 months to 12 years.

The school is private and small with well-kept facilities. The curriculum is comprehensive and based on the popular Montessori principles of pedagogy introduced by Italian physician Maria Montessori in the early 20th century. The method focuses on children’s interests with individualized activities rather than formal teaching methods. Emphasis is placed on social, educational, and intellectual skills.

All of the teachers at D’Insle School are licensed in the Montessori concept. The school is open from 7 am to 7 pm with 9 weeks of vacation care available.

LIPSCHULE Zurich

LIPSCHULE Zurich

LIPSCHULE Zurich is a private, officially recognized school that follows the Montessori teaching and learning principles for kindergarten and primary school students as well as middle and secondary school curriculums. It provides an environment for students to develop to their fullest potential at all levels.

The small classes and diverse teaching methods are excellent for students needing mentoring and special education support. Gifted students are also supported with educational methodology and programs in art, music, and sports. Classes are divided into Basic Level 1, Basic Level 2, Intermediate, and Secondary.

LIPSCHULE has a relaxed and motivating atmosphere with an emphasis on personal development.

International School Zurich North

International School Zurich North

International School Zurich North is an IB World School that educates children from ages 3-17 from nursery to grade 12. As an International A-Level specialist, the school offers students an international education in English. Students have the advantage of learning in a multicultural environment.

The privately-owned school was founded in 1999 by a husband and wife team brought in by the educational group Cognita which operates schools on three continents. The curriculum is part English and part International Baccalaureate.

Classes are kept small to ensure that each child’s individual needs are met.

Located in the suburbs of Zurich, provides before-school care for children up to 11 years and after-school care for children up to the age of 13.

Institut Montana Zugerberg

Institut Montana Zugerberg

The Institut Montana Zugerberg is a Swiss boarding school in operation since 1926. The school has around 380 students enrolled from more than 56 countries. Their founding values are Internationalism, Individualism, and Integration.

The school keeps class sizes small (8-10 students) to ensure students reach their fullest potential. It’s located in a beautiful setting on Zugerberg Mountain.

Instruction is conducted in English and German by native-speaking teachers. Other languages are also taught. The school also provides Extracurricular activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is International School in Zurich?

A typical international school in Zurich costs between 25,000 and 30,000 Swiss Francs per year including registration. This can vary depending on the school, but this is a guide to what you will have to pay.

Are there English speaking schools in Switzerland?

The majority of English-speaking schools in Switzerland are international or boarding schools. Some more alternative local schools may be dual-language or have English on the curriculum, but it is rarely the first language.

How many international schools are there in Zurich?

There are around 23 international schools in Zurich and the nearby areas. It depends on how you count them, but this is a good estimate as of 2023.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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