You’ll almost certainly find fewer schools to choose from in Delhi than in your home country – and even less now than in the recent past. But while compromises often have to be made, the small selection of international schools all have something a little different to offer.
- Education in Delhi
- Choosing a school in Delhi
- Pre-schools, kindergarten and nurseries in Delhi
- Best schools in Delhi
It is rare for expats on short contracts to send their children to Indian schools, but a few NRIs and long-term Europeans, who have married into Indian families, choose this system. Among those worthy of note include Sanskriti School and the Delhi Public School chain, particularly the one in RK Puram. Classes are universally large, about 40 and above, and the style of teaching is didactic and very disciplined. The successful schools turn out engineers and electronic whiz kids by the score, but they are hothouses and very high pressure with little or no extracurricular activity. There are lines around the blocks on enrolment and admission days and grades have to be very high for children to be accepted.
For the most part, expats choose one of the international schools and top up the learning with tutors. There are tons of tutors in Delhi, who offer extra lessons for schoolwork (as well as just about every extracurricular subject you can think of) to children of all ages. At The American School, assistant teachers offer extra lessons to back up classroom work or assist with English after school. The British School offers extra lessons and prefers to use in-house teachers rather than external tutors. Extra lessons for senior school children can also be arranged with a reputable private tutor who will come to your home for all subjects. Be warned that as tutoring prices are reasonable, it is highly contagious and you can soon find your child – and you – have no downtime.
Location, fees, curriculum, staff, facilities, clientele and community all factor into the equation with varying degrees of importance.
Due to the increase in expats moving to Delhi, it has become extremely difficult to secure a place in the two leading international schools - both tend to have long waiting lists. But there are few other viable international school options. Some a bus service – handy if you have to go further afield than you’d like. Otherwise the ride to school is done by the drivers, either with or without parents, with some car-pooling.
For 2 to 4 year-olds, expats have several options. Magic Years in Vasant Vihar is a Montessori school with a good sports programme in the afternoons. Little Senators (a Montessori pre-school) in Vasant Vihar and ‘Your kids’r’our kids’ in Jorbagh are also popular. As each of their styles are different, parents should visit first. All staff are Indian and children often end up with a good smattering of Hindi and an adorable Indian accent.
Since most diplomats and corporate staff don’t get help with fees at this stage, these local schools offer a good alternative to the oversubscribed embassy-run nurseries (Apple - American Embassy and Busy Bees - British High Commission). Both take from outside the diplomatic enclave too, but priority is given to embassy employees, followed by selection by nationality and finally the Joe Ordinaries.
American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,115 students
Specifically started, under an agreement between the Indian and US governments, to provide an American education for the children of US citizens and third country nationals (non-Indian, non-US) living temporarily in Delhi; strict rules apply to Indian applicants and 40 per cent of students are US nationals. Large campus in the heart of diplomatic Delhi and accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA).
Click here to read our full review of the American Embassy School (AES)
Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,220 students
Started over 50 years ago, by a group of British parents but now teaching a mix of British and Indian international education courses. This programme has resulted in the school winning a top accolade from British International School Awards (BISA) in 2018. A new building for the expanded school, on the same site in diplomatic New Delhi, was opened in 2016. Historically, popular with expats and accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS).
Click here to read our full review of the British School New Delhi
French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 350 students
Part of the network of schools under the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE). Emphasis is placed on languages and the certificates at primary level are bilingual French/ English so consequently there are quite a few non-French students, in fact they come from over 40 nationalities. Established in 1962 on a small campus in a secluded residential area of New Delhi and managed by the Parents’ Association since 2002.
Click here to read our full review of the Lycée Francais de Delhi
Metro Delhi International School (MDIS) (pending)
American curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 140 students
Strongly Christian school operating an American curriculum and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). The proportion of Indians to expats is roughly the same amongst students and teachers. The only anomaly amongst the expats is the large percentage of South Korean students who outnumber Americans
These schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.
The German School, Delhi
German State Curriculum/ German International Abitur (DIAP); ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 120 students
Located in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri in New Delhi. Amongst the 140 overseas schools authorised to award German school leaving certificates as well as the Abitur. A small school with a high teacher to pupil ratio and an early introduction of English in the classroom, although admission depends on a good command of the German language. Most children have a German-speaking parent or are moving to Germany as fluency in the German language will be necessary.
PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma: ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,670 students
The idea for the Pathways schools was conceived in 1999 by a new Indian educational enterprise, Sarla Holdings. This is their first day school opened in 2010 on a 10 acre site. Brand new infrastructure has earned a ‘Green’ award and ranked #1 school in North India in the Education World Rankings for International Day Schools. Lots of affiliations and accredited by the Council of International School (CIS).
PYP/ adapted/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 2,400 students
A relatively new kid on the block, aiming to provide an international education, mainly for the Indian professional classes. Based on a brand new purpose-built five acre campus in Guargaon, 30 kilometres south west of New Delhi. In a nod to their name, every pupil belongs to a clan with a dedicated Clan Elder to look after them and the bagpipes are played twice a day.
For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international search.