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Parent's Review of Seoul Foreign School in Seoul, Korea

What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)

Seoul Foreign School

In what town or city is this school located?

Seoul

How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)

American (elementary, middle, high school) and British (pre-school to Year 9)

What grade levels are represented at this school?

pre-school to IB

How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)

Mainly by bus unless you live close to the school.

How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?

After school activities are limited in choice. There are mainly sporting activities, music and drama. There is no chess, languages etc

What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?

This school represents the only real choice for expat families, particularly those with older children. The other international schools (eg Yongsan International School) have significantly high numbers of children who are non-native English speakers. For younger children, there are several choices in addition to SFS pre-school and elementary; such as ECLC, the British International Kindergarten, and the Franciscan school.

How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?

There are some social events organized for new parents at the beginning of the school year. There are coffee mornings with the Head teacher (British school) and town meetings with the SFS Headmaster. There is a father-daughter dinner dance, but there is no mother-son equivalent.

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?

SFS has a virtual monopoly on the expat education market in Seoul. The Yongsan International school was initially built by the Korean government to provide expat families with a viable alternative. Since opening its doors in 2006, Yongsan International school has not proved attractive to many expat families: 60% of students at this school are Korean and the other 40% are both native and non-native English speakers. There are many reasons for this, not least is the fact that it is run by a fundamentalist chistian group.

SFS, while it does strive to provide quality education, is extremely expensive. We do not always get the feeling that SFS provides good value for money. The fees charged are equivalent to that of a top English public school (public schools are actually private schools in England); such as Kings College or Latymer. The curriculum of the British Division of SFS is more comparable to that a very good state school in the UK rather than to that of a top public school in London.

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