Whether you’re looking for an international school, private school, English school or Montessori school in Belgium, here is a list of Belgium’s international education options.
If you’re moving to Belgium with children, you’ll find a wide choice of well-developed international schools and childcare in Belgium catering to its transient and international population. There is a wide range of international schooling systems offered in Belgium, particularly in Brussels, where international families can choose from British, American or International curriculum and certification taught in English, alongside a range of other foreign curriculum taught in the native language or bilingual systems, such as Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finish and Danish.
International schools in Belgium attract a range of families, typically expats but also locals and families who want their children to grow up with an international-focused education and bilingual or multilingual skills.
This guide covers your important FAQs about international education in Belgium:
- Types of international schools in Belgium
- What certificate will my child achieve? International curricula and diplomas taught in Belgium
- How to choose a school in Belgium: state, private, bilingual or international education?
- International childcare in Belgium
- Schools offering international and EU curricula in Belgium: IPC, IB, EU diploma
- American schools in Belgium
- British schools in Belgium
- Foreign-language and Jewish schools and curricula
- Method schools in Belgium
International schools in Belgium
Many international schools in Belgium offer English-language education with other languages taught separately from a young age, such as in British or American international schools, while there are also bilingual private schools that teach topics consistently in two languages or schools that make multilingualism a focus of the curriculum, such as schools that teach international primary and secondary curriculum and in European schools.
When enrolling your children into the school system in Belgium, you will find many school options ranging from:
- free state education
- subsidised or free private schools, typically run on religious streams
- fee-paying private education, such as international schools offering a global range of curriculum
- creative educational schools, such as Montessori and Steiner-Waldorf schools
- European schools and international education diplomas.
There are international schools in Belgium that can take your children through the full education system, from nursery age until graduation. Read more about the education system in Belgium.
International education and certificates
Several international schools in Belgium teach a UK or US curriculum in English resulting in the obtainment of a GCSE or GCE A level or the American High School Diploma/SAT/PSAT, while other schools teach the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and International Baccalaureate (IB), an internationally recognised qualification that allows a wide entry into European and other international colleges. Lessons are usually in English and sometimes with French or Dutch bilingual streams or alongside separate foreign language lessons. Some schools typically offer bilingual or multilingual education, such as method schools like Montessori, and European schools.
This guide covers International and European education in Belgium (IPC, IB and EU curriculum), American schools in Belgium, British schools in Belgium, other foreign curriculum in Belgium, and method schools in Belgium.
How to choose a school in Belgium: Local, bilingual or international education?
The education system in Belgium takes children from six to 18 years old, although many children enter earlier into some form of pre-education or kindergarten. You can find how to apply to a school in Belgium, what is taught at different age levels and Belgium’s different types of state and private education in our guide to education in Belgium.
Many children have no problems integrating into Belgian state schools and the local languages but there are also several reasons to opt for bilingual or international education. Transient families may prefer to keep their children on curriculum to which they will continue elsewhere or back home, or if you want them to socialise with other international children like themselves with whom they can identify. Language barrier is another factor to consider, as older students undergoing difficult topics might be negatively affected if switched to an unfamiliar schooling system or language. International education can also reduce pressure on parents, who can communicate easier in their own language with teachers, other parents and at their child’s school’s associations.
The choice of whether to choose a local, free, private, bilingual or international school in Belgium depends on a long list of factors, including:
- your child’s general scholastic aptitude – some schools may require a test before entry, particularly if a new language is involved, or you may consider what teaching method best suits your child’s learning style, as Belgium has a wide range of method schools.
- the length of your stay in Belgium – those planning to live long-term in Belgium might consider a local Belgian school for helping their child’s integration into a new culture and creating friendships with local families in their area. Those considering stays of only a few years might consider international schools in Belgium to keep continuity in their child’s education, as well as have more access to after-school and extracurricular activities and better school facilities.
- your location – from this list of international schools in Belgium, you can see many are located in Belgian cities with large expat populations, particularly Brussels and Antwerp, with other large cities offering a smaller selection of international childcare and schools.
- your budget – many employers include education as part of their relocation packages or may have an associated institution where employees are offered discounted childcare or education, so check with your employer if any offers exist.
- your child’s future – you may consider enrolling your child into an education system based on where they might go to college or university, whether a British or American curriculum to help your child enter into a UK or US university, or even the international primary curriculum (IPC) leading to the International Baccalaureat (IB), a certification widely recognised as an university admission qualification around the world.
International schools in Belgium: IPC, IB and European curriculums
Certain international schools in Belgium teach the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB), an internationally recognised qualification that allows entry into a wide range of international colleges and universities. In some of these international schools, you can also find options to prepare for American or British secondary examination instead.
At European schools you will find the European Baccalaureate offered, which is a diploma that is acknowledged by all EU member states and some universities worldwide and guarantees a pupils’ right of access to any European university.
European School of Brussels I, II, III and IV
- European School of Brussels I: Avenue du Vert Chasseur 46, 1180 Brussels | +32 (0)2 373 86 11
- European School of Brussels II: Avenue Oscar Jespers, 75, 1200 Brussels | +32 (0)2 774 22 24
- European School of Brussels III: Boulevard du Triomphe 135, 1050 Brussels | +32 (0)2 629 47 00
- European School of Brussels IV: Drève Sainte-Anne, 86, 1020 Brussels | +32 (0)2 340 1394
Brussels has four European schools located in Uccle, Woluwé, Ixelles and Laeken. They are official educational establishments controlled jointly by European Union (EU) member countries and are regarded as public institutions. Each European school system consists of two years of early education (nursery/preschool), five years of primary and seven years of secondary education. The curriculum is similar in all four schools and controlled by an EU board. Secondary education is validated by the European Baccalaureate examinations at the end of year 7. The certificate awarded is fully recognised in all EU countries, as well as in a number of other countries.
The European School of Brussels I in Uccle has around 3,100 students, while the European Schools in Woluwé (Brussels II) and Ixelles (Brussels III) have around 3,000 pupils and the newer school in Laeken (Brussels IV) has 1,500 students.
European School of Bruxelles-Argenteuil
The European School of Bruxelles-Argenteuil is an international, multilingual school offering the European Schools’ curriculum. It provides students with a world class education from nursery to university entrance, whilst offering the opportunity to stay connected to their own language and culture.
The school opened in September 2016 with an English primary section and is located on the grounds of the Château d’Argenteuil which offer all that is needed for a first class education: a green park, a small forest, modern class rooms and laboratories, an inside sport hall, and outside sport courts and play grounds. The Château itself hosts the school restaurant, music rooms, a small theater and the boarding house for students age 15 and up.
The highly sought-after official European School curriculum is taught through several modern European languages with a strong emphasis on both scientific discovery and cultural understanding. Children reach their potential through high expectations and a nurturing, inspiring environment and the focus is on developing the whole child and their natural aptitudes through strong individual support and thoughtfully differentiated classroom learning.
European School of Bruxelles-Argenteuil: Square d’Argenteuil 5, 1410 Waterloo | +32 2 357 06 70 | www.europeanschool.be
European School of Mol
The European School in Mol provides a multilingual and international education to 800 pupils. Catering for ages 3–18, the school offers nursery, primary and secondary systems to more than 50 nationalities. From three years, children receive tuition in the language of their section (English, Dutch, French or German) and from the age of six children can learn a second language. Up to the end of their secondary studies, pupils have the opportunity to study up to five languages, mainly taught by native speakers.
The curriculum is assured by the Ministries of Education of the 28 EU member states. General subjects covered include mathematics, science, history, geography, ethics/religion and physical education, and in later years students have more options such as music and economics and a number of subjects are studied in the pupil’s first foreign language (English/French or German).
Pupils successfully completing the European Baccalaureate at the end of the seventh year of secondary education receive this certificate, which more than 97% of all pupils pass. The European Baccalaureate is acknowledged by all EU member states and most universities worldwide, guaranteeing pupils’ right of access to any European university or higher education institution.
Europawijk 100, 2400 Mol | school: +32 (0)1 456 31 11 | nursery and primary: +32 (0)1 456 31 80 | secondary: +32 (0)1 456 31 03 | www.esmol.net
French International School of Brussels
The French International School of Brussels offers students, from kindergarten to high school, a high quality bilingual education in French and English.
The Odyssey school network, supported by French institutions, has a philosophy based on excellence in French education, multilingualism, openness to the international community and personal development.
In 2021 and 2024, the higher sections of Collège and Lycée will open their doors to teach the National Brevet and Baccalaureate curriculum. Sharing the desire to offer their students both an international and bilingual education, EFI Brussels has entered a partnership with the Bogaerts International School.
Engeland Street 555, 1180 Uccle | school: +32 479038267 | www.efibruxelles.org
International School of Brussels
Founded in 1951, the International School of Brussels (ISB) is a day school enrolling students from nursery to grade 13. There are approximately 1,500 students from 70 countries, where around 75% of students are from Europe and the US. Bus service is available to students living in the greater Brussels area.
ISB has developed the Common Ground Curriculum which is an education framework to prepare students for taking the IB diploma. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and by the Council of International Schools (CIS). Advanced Placement courses are offered, preparing students for college and university admission worldwide. ISB also has a Special Education Program for students with cognitive disabilities.
The student teacher ratio is 8:1, the average class size is 20, and English is the language of instruction. French is taught in all grades beginning in kindergarten, while English as an additional language is available to non-native speakers. Numerous extra-curricular activities are available, including drama, band, journalism, speech and debate. Many sports facilities are on campus, including an American football field and a theatre. There is an active Family Association and ISB also runs a summer school each July.
Kattenberg 19, 1170 Brussels | +32 (0)2 661 42 11 | www.isb.be
ISF International Schools (Waterloo and Tervuren)
This school takes ages two-and-a-half to 18. It is located just south of Brussels and offers a range of facilities including a multi-purpose sports hall and extensive wooded grounds. The school currently has 190 students from 42 different nationalities who enjoy small class sizes. The IPC is offered in preschool and primary years while the Middle School and High School curriculum prepares pupils for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and later, the Cambridge International Examinations.
ISF Waterloo is the first Google for Education School in Belgium with all teachers becoming Google Certified in 2015. Students access learning resources through the school’s Google platform using Chromebooks, Tablets, and also the Interactive Whiteboard, which is installed in every classroom. ISF Waterloo also offers the International A-levels for 17–18-year-old students. French is taught at all levels, scholarships are available and a network of school buses connects to most areas of greater Brussels.
SF Tervuren is an international school, situated in the Tervuren commune, near Brussels – conveniently located just south of Brussels. The school year starts in September and classes are divided as follows:
Foundation: children aged two-and-a-half – 4 years
Primary Years: four – 11 years
The Antwerp International School
Founded in 1967, the Antwerp International School (AIS) has a long tradition of excellence and offers a world-class international education in English to children from 2.5–18 years old. AIS is proud to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) and the IB Primary Years Program (PYP). With 40 nationalities represented, AIS provides a holistic and personalised approach to teaching with a wide variety of extracurricular activities such as sports, the arts, and fieldtrips.
AIS is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and by the Council of International Schools. AIS has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) laptop program.
Veltwijcklaan 180, 2180 Ekeren, Antwerp | +32 (0)3 543 93 00 | www.ais-antwerp.be
Montgomery International School (Ecole Internationale Montgomery)
Montgomery International School (or Ecole Internationale Montgomery) is a private bilingual school offering the IB program. The school is the only one in Belgium to offer an immersion program with 50% of courses taught in French and the other 50% taught in English. They also offer a program with full French instruction for students who wish to obtain the CESS (Belgian Diploma).The curriculum is designed to help students who have not yet mastered the English language to rapidly improve their English language skills and prepares students for IB exams, as well as for the Jury Central examinations by the Communaute Francaise.
The school has a maximum of 200 students, providing a sense of family for students and teachers. Each class has a maximum of 12 students to allow a personal education. Montgomery International School will open a primary school with a bilingual program in September 2016.
Rue du Duc 133, 1200 Brussels, Belgium | +32 (0)2 733 63 23 | www.ecole-montgomery.be
St. John’s International School
Serving Brussels for more than 50 years with its welcoming, supportive community, St John’s International School is accredited by the Middle States Association and the European Council of International Schools. The school offers the IB diploma, along with the related Primary Years programs (PYP). The American High School Diploma and Advanced Placement Examinations are also available.
Founded in 1964 today the school welcomes students from more than 60 nations and from all faiths. The school has an excellent academic record, with more than 95% of graduates going to university. Additionally, St. John’s offers a wide array of support Services cares for children with special learning needs.
French is taught every day from age three, and German and Spanish are offered from age 13. The school offers many sports and extra-curricular activities, performing arts and computer-based learning. St. John’s holistic approach to education also has an emphasis on drama, dance, music and the visual arts.
Located 15 minutes south of Brussels and five minutes from the battle ground of Napoleon, the school is housed in modern buildings in a calm, residential area. Bus service is available in the greater Brussels’ area.
For middle and high school students that requiring boarding, the school provides has now added a boarding house.
Boarding life encourages collaboration, communication, compromise and camaraderie 24 hours a day. Students gain essential skills for future success through this transformational experience, as they learn to be independent, set priorities, take initiative and develop interpersonal skills. To support the holistic development, students have access to educational, cultural and sporting activities seven days a week.
The St. John’s boarding facility has a capacity of 30 beds with shared bathrooms for two or four students. The residence has gender divided areas and the house parents are based in the same building. It includes a social area with living room and entertainment and is a safe, guarded building located on campus.
Drève Richelle 146, 1410 Waterloo | +32 (0)2 352 06 10 | www.stjohns.be
International School Ghent
The school is the only international school providing English education in east and west Flanders. The ISG is set to open a new school building in September 2016.
International School Ghent (ISG) opened in 2012 and provides international education in English mostly for children of expatriates, foreign employees in Belgium and Belgians who prefer international education for their children. Quality education is the main goal and primary teaching is according to the IPC. The school welcomes children aged two-and-a-half to 12 years old, and a middle school and high school program will be added at a later date. It has class sizes of 15 pupils each, and the student body represents 30 different nationalities.
The school works with local school De Kleine Icarus to share premises and services, including all facilities you would expect from a high-quality learning environment. ISG is in the heart of the city, only a few steps from the Citadel Park. The building is part of the Ledeganck campus of University College Ghent, which also houses a teacher training department.
Gaspar de Craeyerstraat 2, 9000 Ghent | +32 (0)9 221 23 00 | www.isg-ghent.org
International School of Leuven
Located in the multi-cultural city of Leuven (ISL), a quick 20 km drive (or public transportation ride) from Brussels, the International School of Leuven offers pre-primary and primary education for children from two-and-a-half to 11 years old.
ISL opened in 2017 and provides IPC-curriculum-based education, which combines international and academic learning with an emphasis on personal growth, creativity and the respect of diversity. All the lessons are taught in English but children also receive lessons in Dutch, and French is added to the curriculum in Upper-Primary.
ISL focuses not only on the great quality of international education, but also on providing a warm, friendly environment for children to adjust to their new country while making sure that their individual cultures of origin are honoured.
Geldenaaksebaan 335, B-3001 Heverlee | +32 (0)16 375 790 | www.isleuven.org
International American schools in Belgium
Brussels American School
Brussels American School (BAS) is a unit school offering kindergarten through grade 12 with 270 students from 15 nationalities. The school is located in the green belt surrounding Brussels in the town of Sterrebeek.
BAS also offers a preschool for children with disabilities, as well as a special education program throughout education. They provide speech and occupational therapy services, Advanced Placement courses and various after school activities such as sports and clubs. The Army Air Force Exchange Service provides hot lunches daily in the school cafeteria.
SHAPE International School
This schools provides education for the dependants of military personnel and civilian employees at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), a NATO military institution. SHAPE follows the typical American curricular and extracurricular program with Advanced Placement courses, English as a Second Language and Honours classes. The school has a separate Middle School and High School. American English is the primary language of instruction and the student body is composed of 18 nationalities.
Avenue de Sofia 717, 7010 SHAPE | +32 (0)6 544 57 26 | www.shape.nato.int
British international schools in Belgium
There are several British schools in Belgium to choose from, mainly located in the main Belgian cities, that offer the full range of UK education from nursery to secondary school:
- Pre-Kindergarten/toddlers: 18 months to two-and-a-half years
- Kindergarten Nursery: Three to five years
- Reception: Four to five years
- Primary: Five to 11 years
- Secondary Middle School and Secondary High School
Da Vinci International School
The Da Vinci International School in Antwerp is an examination centre for Cambridge International Examinations, offering education for two-and-a-half to 18 year olds using the British curriculum. There is a strong personalised approach with a maximum of 16 pupils per class. Extra-curricular activities include arts, music, horseback riding, swimming, ballet, social and cultural projects. Dutch is taught from grade 1 and French from grade 3. Pupils are prepared for Key Stage 1,2 and 3, IGCSE and A-Level examinations that qualify for entry to universities worldwide. Fees range from €11,550 to €20,213.
Verbondstraat 67, 2000 Antwerp | +32 (0)3 216 12 32 | www.da-vinci.be
DY Patil International School
This school was founded in 1979 and is part of a group of more than 178 schools, universities and institutes globally. It offers an internationally recognised curriculum for ages two-and-a-half to 18, including a unique approach to the IB Diploma Program. Education is delivered predominantly in English, although Dutch and French are also offered. It has an increasingly diverse student body with more than 15 nationalities, and runs an innovative global learning and exchange program.
The school also provides career coaching, learning support, extension program and co-curricular activities. It is conveniently located between Brussels and Antwerp with daily bus services from various locations, and has after school care and competitive school fees. Accreditation by the Council of International Schools ensures it meets rigorous governance, financial and educational standards.
Kontichsesteenweg 40, 2630 Aartselaar | +32 (0)3 271 09 43 | www.dypisbelgium.be
BEPS International Schools
BEPS accepts children two-and-a-half to 14 years, has 220 children from 40 countries and an international curriculum with French taught at all levels. Some children prepare for the UK Common Entrance exams.
Year-round swimming, computer facilities and woodwork classes are also available for older children, plus there are after-school care and clubs. The school is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and Council of English-speaking Schools in the Benelux (CESSIB).
Door-to-door school bussing is available. Annual school fees range from €15,900 (preschool) up to €24,300.
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 23, 1050 Brussels | +32 (0)2 648 43 11 | www.beps.com
British Junior Academy of Brussels
The British Junior Academy of Brussels is an independent primary school, which teaches children aged three – 11 years old and currently has approximately 350 pupils. Primary teaching is based on the British National Curriculum and offers a broad based educational program.
Capitalising on small class sizes, allowing a high degree of individual attention, children are encouraged to advance their learning and to succeed in an atmosphere where they feel cared for and valued. There are strong French language and music programs, excellent Information Technology facilities, Special Needs provision and a wide range of extracurricular activities. Annual fees range from €15,438 to €19,211.
Boulevard Saint-Michel 83, 1040 Brussels | +32 (0)2 732 53 76 | www.bjab.org
British School of Brussels
The British School of Brussels (BSB) is an all-through international school with 1,350 students from 70 nationalities. They are the only school in Belgium to offer three pre-university routes: A Levels, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and BTEC vocational courses in Business, Hospitality and Sport.
Opened in 1970, the campus consists is a 10-hectare site surrounded by woodlands and lakes, with the Royal Museum for Central Africa nearby. It’s a 20-minute drive from the cities of Brussels and Leuven. A bilingual French-English program is available starting in primary school while secondary school students have the opportunity to study a wider range of languages, from German to Russian.
BSB has a dedicated English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department that provides EAL support for non-native English speakers and English language immersion courses for children who speak little to no English.
BSB offers a British-based curriculum to students from three – 16 years of age and has a range of high-tech facilities for creative and technical learning and extra activities.
Pater Dupierreuxlaan 1, 3080 Tervuren | +32 (0)2 766 04 30 | www.britishschool.be
British International School of Brussels
BISB offers a high quality, British National Curriculum education to English-speaking children ages two-and-a-half to 11 years old. The school is centrally located near both NATO and Schuman in a magnificent two-story building which includes six large classrooms, a computer suite and a large outside playground.
The school is growing steadily and currently has 120 students representing 30 nationalities. All of the full-time staff are British or British-trained. French is part of the curriculum at all levels and there is an extensive range of extra-curricular activities.
- Infant department: 163 Avenue Emile Max, 1030 Brussels | +32 (0)2 736 89 81
- Junior department: 59 Avenue de l’Emeraude, 1030 Brussels | +32 (0)2 303 46 81
- School office: +32 (0)2 736 89 81 | www.bisb.org
Bilingual and other private schools in Belgium
Parents can also opt to enrol their child in bilingual education or in a school that teaches the curriculum and language of another country. You can find international school systems in Belgium resembling education in France, Germany, Japan and Scandinavian countries, as well as other education systems such as method schools and Jewish schools in Belgium.
Agnes School is an independent day school offering an all-round bilingual (French/English – French Dutch) education within a Catholic framework to girls and boys aged between two – 11 years. The Catholic ethos influences all aspects of school life and is underpinned by the Charter of Educational Principles which emphasises the important role that parents play as the primary educators of their children. Agnes School is located in the heart of Brussels. The school has large, airy classrooms. There is a large playground, two play apparatus areas (one for the school and one for the nursery). The school makes use of municipal grounds for Primary lessons.
Rue Louis Hap 143, B-1040 Brussels | +32 (0)2 736 13 86 | www.agnesschool.be
Brussels International Catholic School
This school is an independent school located in the heart of Brussels teaching a bi-lingual English / French curriculum. They teach from nursery / pre-primary (two-and-a-half to six years, primary (six to 12 years) to secondary school aged children.
Chaussée de Wavre, 457, B-1040 Brussels | +32 (0)2 640 35 36 | www.bicschool.be
Internationale Deutsche Schule Brüssel
This school in Brussels offers German kindergarten for three and four-year-olds and preschool for five-year-olds. Their primary and secondary schools follow the full German curricula and lead to recognised German school leaving certificates: Haupt-und Realschulabschluss (GCSES) and Abitur (university entrance). The school has approximately 700 pupils and a bus service is available. Annual fees range from €9,100 to €12,780.
Lange Eikstraat 71, 1970 Wezembeek-Oppem | +32 (0)2 785 01 30 | www.idsb.eu
Scandinavian School of Brussels
Founded in 1973, this school provides a Nordic education with an international profile. SSB is recognised by the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish governments and is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).
Scandinavian curricula are offered in Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Icelandic as well as the International Baccalaureate. Bilingual education is offered at all levels. The school has new and well equipped facilities: sports hall, science laboratories, Mediatec and computer room.
SSB provides education from kindergarten at two-and-a-half years up to 19 years. French is taught from three years, and English from six. Secondary and IB students can board on the school campus at Château d’Argenteuil. The school and castle are situated in a beautiful green and quiet environment close to Waterloo.
Square d’Argenteuil 5, 1410 Waterloo | +32 (0)2 357 06 70 | www.ssb.be
Method schools in Belgium
There is a number of schools offering alternate education streams, where the focus is on creative thinking and child development. One of the common methods taught can be found in a number of Montessori schools in Belgium.