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Vienna is a cultured and cosmopolitan city, as you would expect from its heritage, and the international and bilingual schools do not let that image down. It may not hold as many balls, or produce so many musical maestros, as it did two centuries ago but it is still a wonderfully civilised place to go to school. 

Best schools in Vienna

Education in Vienna 

Besides the more obvious international schools, bilingual schools are an option for international and local students alike. There are 10 German/English VBS (Vienna Bilingual Schooling programme) schools in the city, four of them on the east side of the Danube and six in the older western area of the city. The schools start with primaries and continue until the end of upper secondary. All teach the first two years of language and literacy in their native language and then switch to their second language for the following two years. The remainder of the curriculum is taught either in German or bilingually, with each class having a German-speaking teacher and a native English-speaking one. Before acceptance, there is an assessment of each child, as to its language skills and ability to cope in a second language, socially as well as academically. 

There is also the other less immersive option of the Global Education Primary Schools (GEPS), which are normal German-speaking primaries, with one hour of the daily curriculum taught in English by a native speaker. These are also located in districts on both sides of the river. 

Public schooling is separated into four years of primary (Volksschule) and eight years of secondary (Gymnasium). Students have the option of either academic or vocational training courses for the final four years. To make life easier for families, there is no catchment area for each school, so you can send your child to any school that has a place and will accept them. 

Choosing a school in Vienna 

Your decision as to whether to choose the public school system will almost certainly depend on the age of your child and how long you intend to stay. It is always easier for younger children to assimilate a different language and culture, but you do have to consider the potential problems of transitioning at a later stage. 

Older children (unless they have a German parent or the language is spoken at home) will face a more complicated set of problems moving into a school where not only the language - but also the curriculum - is unknown to them. In addition, Austrian schools tend to have a more regimented approach than international or bilingual ones. 

Most of the international schools offer the IB Diploma as a graduating qualification, with others providing the alternative of the US High School Diploma – or a French curriculum. 

Best schools in Vienna 

These schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them. 

Amadeus International School

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 250 students

Housed in classical (early 20th century) buildings, in a picturesque residential district, a tram-ride away from the centre of Vienna. An International Baccalaureate World School, catering for international students from nursery to diploma level. Opening its doors in 2012, it provides the opportunity for the musically gifted to study at the Amadeus Academy of Music, an integral part of the school.

American International School of Vienna (AIS)  

American curriculum/ High School Diploma/ IB Diploma; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 800 students

On a ten acre campus bought by the US government, close to the famous Vienna Woods. Founded jointly, by the Embassies of the United States and Canada in 1959 and assisted by the US State Department. Accredited by both the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA). Strong North American influences but teaches students from over 60 countries and offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Danube International School Vienna

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-19; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 540 students

Founded in 1992 in the centre of Vienna and now based close to Prater Park. One of only  three schools in Vienna to offer the International Baccalaureate programme at all three levels (although not teaching the IB Careers Programme). A private school, teaching in English and although not a boarding school, will arrange places (with supervision) in one of three different boarding institutes.

International Christian School of Vienna

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP/ IB Diploma; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 320 students

Started by missionary families in 1985, in the 10th district of the city, and becoming a member of the Free Churches in Austria consortium of schools in 2014.  

Lycée Francais de Vienne

French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac; ages 3-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 1,850 students

A member of the Agency for French Schools Abroad (AEFE) network and open to both French (now hovering at about a third of the student cohort) and Austrians, since its inauguration at the end of the Second World War. A large school, by foreign lycée standards, and also rare in offering a boarding option. They share the boarding house with a school founded by Empress Maria Theresa in 1746.

Vienna Elementary and European School

Adapted bilingual curriculum/ Austrian Matura; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned

A bilingual German/English school founded in 2001 and catering mainly for students holding Austrian passports. The elementary school teaches in English but provides a German language programme as well. For the first four years of senior school (known as Vienna European School), almost all subjects are taught in English and continue to be so, whilst leading up to the Austrian Matura.

Vienna International School (VIS) 

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,400 students

Home to students from a staggering 100 plus nationalities, speaking over 80 different languages. This International Baccalaureate World School has one of the most global profiles of any international school. Located close to UN headquarters, they are completely non-selective but still consistently score above the world average for their IB Diploma results.  

For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international search.


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