English schools in China
ISB, a world leader in international education, is celebrating its 27th year. We welcome more than 1850 students from over 50 countries around the globe. ISB students are empowered and inspired—by our committed faculty, our dedicated administration, and our world-class facilities. ISB students strive for academic excellence within a context of global awareness and responsibility.
The History of International School Of Beijing:
Early Beginning: ISB has its roots as a U.S. Embassy School. It began in the early 1970's under the auspices of the U.S. Liaison Office that opened in Beijing following the historic visits to China of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.S. President Richard Nixon.
That first school, located in the elevator hallway between two apartments on the fifth floor of the San Li Tun Diplomatic Apartments, had eight students and two certified teachers. An article about it in the Newsweek magazine in 1974 dubbed it The Little Red Schoolhouse.
By 1980, following the growth of other diplomatic communities, the US Embassy, up-graded from U.S. Liaison office school, merged it’s school with British and Australian Embassy schools, and together with the Canadian and New Zealand Embassies founded the ISB. The school was located on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy, organized to provide education for the children of the five founding embassies and eventually other embassies, as space allowed.
Bound by the strict requirements imposed on it as a diplomatic school, the founding embassies struggled to meet the needs of the wider foreign community. As the business environment developed and the population of expatriates swelled, ISB embarked on several years of phenomenal growth (enrollment doubled in its second year, and annual growth for many years exceeded 25 percent)
A Dragon Rises: In 1988, ISB was officially registered as a school for diplomatic children under the auspices of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, under newly promulgated regulations, relocated to the Lido Complex of offices and housing units. At this time, the school was permitted to accept applications from all expatriate residents. However, severe space limitations meant that preference was given to the diplomatic community and citizens of the original founding embassies.
A New Home: In January 2002, ISB was restructured as an independent school for foreign children under the auspices of the Beijing Municipal Education Bureau and moved from the Lido Complex to a new multi-million dollar facility located in Shunyi District, near residential complexes in northeast Beijing
A board of directors elected from the school’s community of parents now oversees the school. By law of The People’s Republic of China, only children with foreign passports can be admitted to ISB.
In some 25 years, the school has grown from a small elementary school to a full-range elementary, middle, and high school of 1830 students from 54 nations. What began as The Little Red Schoolhouse in the 1970’s has grown into a 33-acre, state-of-the-art campus as ISB heads into the 21st century.
Location of International School of Beijing: A modern, 50,000 square meter school building, nestled in the middle of a 133,500 square meter campus in the countryside setting of the Shunyi District of Beijing, became ISB's new home when it opened in January 2002. The school's new location in the northeast section of the city, 15 minutes from Beijing's international airport, puts it near many expatriate housing compounds (four of the largest are just 5 minutes away). ISB is also near the airport expressway.