Halcyon London International School
Source: Halcyon London International School

When looking for a school that will prepare your child with the skills and knowledge they will need for college, focus on international schools.

The best institutions in this category are renowned for offering a curriculum that focuses on more than just academics. Here, students are nurtured academically and emotionally by allowing them to explore and expound on their interests — whatever they may be. This, combined with a safe, diverse and nurturing environment, creates a space where students can excel and develop the confidence to face future challenges. 

These four international schools in the UK best exemplify these traits:

Halcyon London International School

The unique IB programmes at Halcyon London International School
provide an outstanding and exceptional learning experience. Source: Halcyon London International School

Halcyon London International School

Located in Marylebone, London, Halcyon London International School is a leading International Baccalaureate school for students aged 11 to 18. Here, every pupil gains an exceptional education that focuses on drawing out their unique potential, as they grow into a graduate who is academically, socially and emotionally-prepared for the complex digital world of today.

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma Programme (DP) are rigorously academic and centre around a unique, research-driven approach to learning. The school’s  goal is to ensure that these programmes, allied to their innovative well-being systems, allow each student to feel valued, confident and secure, ensuring outstanding academic and personal outcomes.

The MYP provides intellectual challenge and sparks connections between traditional subject-based studies and the real world. The DP aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable, inquiring, caring and compassionate, and to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness and the attitudes necessary to respect and evaluate a range of viewpoints. For all classes, the school embeds cutting-edge technology into learning.

“I think that the MYP at Halcyon really brings out the best in everybody,” shares Leo, a  grade nine student. “Teachers provide us with great resources, and they’ll do their best to challenge you – and if you need support, they’ll find out how to help you too. My fellow students are really great to work with too.”

Such an approach naturally leads to students doing well. In 2022 IB Diploma examinations, students achieved a 100% pass rate, with 25% of them scoring 40 points and higher, and one student with a perfect 45 points This qualification provides a passport to the very best universities around the world, as Halcyon’s placement record attests. To embark on an academic journey of a lifetime, click here

Concord College

Students of Concord are offered a broad curriculum where they learn from a wide range of cultures and nationalities. Source: Concord College

Concord College

Located in the picturesque and tranquil countryside of Shropshire is an independent, co-educational boarding and day school where intellectual possibilities are endless. At Concord College, the focus is placed on educating the whole student through the arts, athletics, and engagement in the world.

Here, the curriculum is designed to be demanding and challenging to mimic that of a college education to prepare students with the skills and qualifications required once they graduate. 

In year nine, students will follow a broad curriculum to encourage students to explore a range of interests before narrowing it down in year 10 and sixth form. 

“Concord had and still does have a fantastic reputation for its academics,” shares graduate Filip Skierski. “Alongside the incredible cultural variety, I believed it was the best place for me to develop academically and as a young adult. Concord sets your challenges far beyond those of other schools. More importantly, they challenge you to be independent, which for me, really made the step into university much smoother.”

In the classroom, students follow a rigorous and challenging curriculum that is carefully designed. This innovative programme helps students develop multidisciplinary thinking and lays a strong foundation for students to use critical thinking to solve complex problems. 

A close relationship between teachers and students is maintained to monitor each student’s progress and determine if additional support is needed to succeed. All these factors have resulted in Concord’s students excelling in their A Levels exams — 93.7% of students achieved an A* or A grade, while at GCSE, 94% scored between 7 and 9 (A* or A grades) for the 2021 examinations. 

When this is combined preparation for entrance exams such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and Oxford/Cambridge Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), students are equipped with all the skills and qualifications needed to succeed. To learn more about Concord’s curriculum, click here.

Fettes College

At Fettes College, students are encouraged to challenge themselves and work towards achieving their goals. Source: Fettes College Facebook

Fettes College

Nestled in Edinburgh, Scotland, Fettes College (FC) is in a prime location with the best of city and rural life. Students here get to learn about what architectural experts agree is undeniably one of Scotland’s greatest buildings too. 

More than just a building with a grandiose design, FC is where pupils get to grow up in a community that treats each other like family. That does not mean diversity and individuality are not welcome — both are embraced with open arms.

New pupils can expect exceptional teaching, and a quality of education that goes above and beyond accomplishing impressive academic results at GCSE, A Levels and IB. 

Head of FC Helen Harrison says, “We offer each of our students the opportunity to make the most of their talents and gain a wealth of new experiences in a happy, encouraging environment. We maximise their potential by affording them all the opportunities that a boarding education can offer whilst ensuring the highest levels of care.”

Like most boarding schools in the UK, FC has implemented a strict Health and Safety policy in response to the pandemic. Parents can be assured that the pastoral care and overall safeguarding of each and every student are taken very seriously here. FC is a signatory of the BSA Covid-Safe Charter, as well as another charter to adhere to guidance from the Scottish government. To enquire more about their admissions and schedule a visit, contact them here.

Westbourne School 

A broad and balanced curriculum is designed to challenge and inspire the students of Westbourne. Source: Westbourne School

Westbourne School

With an enviable reputation as the #1 school in all UK League Tables – a record they proudly hold since 2015 – and named IB School of the Year 2019, Westbourne School offers a top-rate education in one of the UK’s most supportive learning environments. The beautiful coastal town of Penarth, Wales, is an added bonus for students since it is a top10 place to stay in the UK.

With an eight-to-one student-to-teacher ratio, tutorial style approach, open-door policy and easy access to support such as one-to-one classes and private follow-ups, Westbourne’s students enjoy an unparalleled learning experience. Those needing more English language support can attend ESL lessons during Autumn Term weekends.

On top of this, their co-educational Boarding House provides a safe living environment complemented by Houseparents with experience in looking after international boarders. Home-cooked meals, homework clubs, after-hours support on top of after-homework games, mixed activities and excursions – all of this contribute to Westbourne’s tight-knit family-like atmosphere.

Besides the IB Diploma Programme, students here can opt for the One Year Pre-IB Programme. All in all, Westbourne School – with its outstanding pastoral care, boarding support and excellent academics within a smaller school setting – offers a distinct experience for their students.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International