Little girl enjoying tea time in PreK


Admissions Criteria & Priorities

ISB was founded in 1980 as Beijing's first international school for students holding foreign passports. Originally established to educate the children of Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand, and United States Embassy employees, ISB now provides an English-medium education for students coming from different educational systems around the world.

ISB is an inclusive school that seeks to enroll students who are in need of and likely to find success in the school's international, PreK 3 to grade 12 program. Admissibility shall be determined by the school through a variety of means, which will include a review of official school transcripts, records, and other evaluating procedures. All such procedures will be transparent and fully explained to the parents of prospective students.

To be considered for admission to ISB, students and their parents must be able to document that they fall into one of the four prioritized categories illustrated below. When space availability is limited in a grade, admissible applicants with a higher-priority status will be admitted before those with lower priority status.

Priority 1
Foreign passport-holding students of founding embassy employees (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States).

Priority 2
Foreign passport-holding families with a parent holding a Chinese-issued work visa and a student holding a corresponding dependency (S1) visa.

Priority 3

  • China-HK, China-Macau, China-Taiwan permanent residency families holding travel permits (通行证).
  • Foreign and Chinese passport-holding families holding Q1 visa(s)/ Chinese residency permit(s).

Priority 4
Chinese passport-holding families with foreign permanent residency permits and proof of having lived there for more than one year.


Within priority categories, special consideration may be given to:

  • applicants of faculty members
  • returning students
  • applicants who have enrolled siblings
  • applicants with a high level of English proficiency

A Message to our High School Applicants:

For HS students with a transcript: If enrolled at the onset of the second semester, we take into consideration the number of credits reflected on your official transcripts. However, we may not be able to align the same courses you have taken at your previous school.

Our High School program models a U.S. high school program, which means that students in grades 9 through 12 shall work toward earning a specific number of "graduation credits" each year. When applying to ISB, we will take into consideration credits achieved at your current school in planning your credits-to-graduation. Note:

  • A passing grade in a year-long course earns one credit.
  • A passing grade in a semester-long course earns a half credit.

Please view the High School Course Guide for information about the number of credits needed for graduation.

An enrollment start date at the beginning of the school year in August or at the beginning of the second semester in January is recommended. We realize families move unexpectedly throughout the year, however; and regardless of your transition time to Beijing, your arrival is anticipated with pleasure.

Please make sure to bring several original sealed transcripts from your school when you arrive. You will need at least one original sealed transcript to finalize your course schedule.

admissions Policies

ISB has a range of policies that support student learning and ensure the well-being of all in our school community. Our policies are read and reviewed regularly. As an international school with a culturally diverse student body, our policies aim to nurture each student's linguistic and learning abilities in line with our L21 curriculum.

Learning Support Policy

Learning Support Policy

In support of the mission, purpose, and philosophy of the School, as existing space and resources allow, students with mild to moderate learning differences will be admitted. For example, this might include students with learning disabilities, ADHD and some high-functioning students on the autistic spectrum. However, learning support services are not determined by diagnoses. Services are determined by the level of support needed to be successful. At this time, the school does not have an educational program for students who requires a self-contained learning environment or a completely separate curriculum. 

Description of Services

At ISB, we use a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) model. Most services are provided through a push-in, inclusion approach, with the exception of first and second grades in which a pull-out model is utilized some of the time. Presently, we have 11 learning support teachers, one speech and language pathologist and a director of student support services who also covers the school psychologist position. We also employ some instructional assistants (IA) who work under the direction of a learning support teacher. We primarily use a response to intervention (Rtl) process to identify student needs. Decisions regarding admission and services for a student will be made on a case-by-case basis within the policy parameters. 

Language Support Policy

Language Support Policy

ISB provides an EAL (English as an Additional Language) program for students whose English speaking, listening, reading or writing skills limit their access to the regular grade level curriculum. At ISB, EAL services follow a sheltered immersion model. Through that model, identified students are provided with full and equal access to the mainstream curriculum together with their native English-speaking peers while learning English, the language of instruction at ISB. 

The EAL specialists and classroom teachers work together to create a language-rich environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and where individual needs are accommodated. Students are continually assessed by both teachers, move through levels and are exited from the program as their skills develop. 

Language Policy @ ISB

The purpose of EAL is to allow students to: 

  • Learn second-language acquisition skills and strategies
  • Develop basic interpersonal communication skills (social language)
  • Acquire English through the study of subject-specific content and skills in mainstream classes (academic English)

The EAL program provides: 

  • A team approach, involving joint planning with classroom teachers
  • A flexible and responsive program to suit individual needs in the context of the mainstream curriculum
  • Academic and social language support in the mainstream classrooms in grades 1 through 8
  • Additional pullout classes in grades 1 through 8 for more focused language instruction for students who require that level support
  • High School EAL support that is generally provided as a separate class in addition to EAL specialist consultation with subject area teachers