Milan is beautiful but not necessarily most people’s vision of an Italian, sun-soaked dolce vita bursting with ripe tomatoes and red wine. It’s more hard work and fog, but there is the draw of a small number of international schools.
Considering the number of international people who work in Milan, it is perhaps surprising that there are so few international schools. However, a large number of foreigners only flit in and out, like the fashion butterflies that they are, and are seldom encumbered with offspring. So, even if they settle for longer than it takes for the season’s new clothes to escape the chrysalis, they rarely need to trouble with schooling.
For those that are bedding in for the long run, Italian schools are free and (on the whole) excellent. However the teaching is all in Italian, which may be a game-changer for English-speaking children unless they are very young. If that’s the case, there are lots of bilingual nurseries or even local ones that will help with integration and if you are lucky and your child absorbs the language quickly, the public system becomes an attractive option, particularly if your stay looks like a long one.
In terms of the school run, the metro system is extensive and the more endearing tram network is one of the world’s largest. But unfortunately with some schools and neighbourhoods, never the twain shall meet, whilst other combinations mean that taking public transport is as fast and a lot less nerve-wracking than the drive.
The four established international schools all produce good end results and have their supporters but we don’t know enough yet, or have sufficient reports back from parents, about the two newcomers to be able to give you any feedback.
The curricula tend to be a mélange of English, American, International Baccalaureate and Italian but all the schools that teach up to 18 offer the IB Diploma with the American School allowing the choice between that and the American High School Diploma.
Remember that due to their scarcity, the schools are hard to get into and the fees pretty high.
The following schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.
American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 900 students
Recently (2018) expanded and renovated with modern facilities. More changes to come for the elementary school, as well as the opening of an external theatre. Offering an American and international programme to students from over 50 different countries (over 50 per cent expats). Majority leave to attend UK universities (including Russell Group) but a large number to the US (including Ivies) or to EU options.
National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 730 students
Opened in 1969 and named after Scottish businessman, Sir James Henderson. Enrolling students from over 40 different nationalities and describing themselves as an international gateway to top global universities.
Adapted Ontario curriculum/ Italian Ministry Elementary/ International Primary curriculum/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 160 pupils
Recently authorised to teach the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme as well as the IB Diploma. Classes taught in English but French studied from age five and Italian lessons for international students. Two Italian programmes for native Italian speakers preparing for the Italian state exams.
EYFS/ International Primary Curriculum/ Italian curriculum; ages 6 months-12; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 600 students
A member of the international Globeducate group of schools since 2017, when KC Infant and Primary schools were merged with Ludum Design School. Expanding rapidly, with the secondary school opened in 2018 and now operating on three campuses.
PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 1,000 students
The oldest international school in Milan, founded in 1958 and with housing for 50 boarders. A member of the Inspired group of over 30 international schools. The campus in Baranzate (opened in 2013) teaches pupils from over 30 different nationalities. Also teaching an Italian programme for entry into Italian state schools.
National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 1,200 students
Successful results at IGCSE and particularly for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, regularly near the top of the European rankings. A bilingual school with pupils from over 50 nationalities and also an Italian authorised primary school. On three campuses, one in central Milan and two in the suburbs. Boarding available from ages 14-18 in a new boarding house.
For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international search.