The short list of schools considered by expats in Islamabad has grown even shorter, since both the French and British schools closed in 2007 due to political unrest - not clear whether these closures are permanent or temporary. Many private schools do teach British curriculum, in one form or another. However, some of these are not much more than a large converted house, teachers variable, generally not so good on early years.
The International School of Islamabad (ISOI) offers the American curriculum (including Advanced Placement (AP) courses) and currently is the only truly international school (by which we mean it has a large percentage of international students from other countries, not just an international or foreign curriculum), and a very good one at that.
The advice on moving from UK schools to the American system is very much based on age. ISOI has a very inclusive feel and parents report that children are very happy there; much is made of getting children to stand up and talk in class and present to parents etc. All of this fosters self-esteem above all. Learning strategies are more about problem solving than UK schools. If the child is older and academically inclined then there is likely to be a gap in the curricula when returning, especially say with science and languages.
Local Private Schools
The local schools tend to be much more academic, usually running the British system with large class sizes ( some up to 30) and less play space, not much sport or art or specialized SEN provision. The classes can be quite formal, and the student body is made up of mostly Pakistani students. Froebels (Froebels, very academic private school doing international O and A levels and often achieving top marks), Beaconhouse, Headstart, and Sheik Zayed are the better known schools. Many local families also engage tutors outside school, the educational scene is quite intense.
Because the security situation remains dodgy, and many postings just now do not include families, our Islamabad editor was reposted and we do not expect to replace her until things calm down. Therefore, although we don't have someone on the ground, we continue to procure information through our network, and can probably answer specific questions if you contact us.
As we do obtain new facts, we will publish them in this space.
International Schools in Islamabad Considered by Expats
Ecole Francaise Alfred Foucher- CLOSED
Houses 77-80, Street 5, Diplomatic Enclave 1, Islamabad, Pakistan
Co-ed, ages 3-18; offers the French National Curriculum.When this school closed, some families chose to send younger children to the Junior part of Froebels. Reports are that they settled well.
International School of Islamabad
PO Box 1124, Sector H-9/1, Islamabad, Pakistan 44000
American curriculum; Co-ed, ages 4-18 (K-12); offers the Advanced Placement (AP) Programme. Currently, student numbers are down due to the restriction of many international companies and diplomatic services on spouses and dependents. ISOI has a long history of taking in children from many different nationalities, language levels, abilities and schooling experience. The general philosophy is very much on the child and on getting each child settled; staff include an Elementary counselor and a High school counselor. The facilities at ISOI are excellent and non-academic areas are well endowed. Many of the ex-pat staff have stayed in spite of the current climate. The Elementary Vice Principal Mrs. Liz Abbassi is a Scottish lady, trained in UK who has lived in Pakistan for many years, as has Mrs. Rose Puffer, the very effective American Superintendent.
The Oaks British School (formerly - now CLOSED)
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad, Pakistan
Co-ed, ages 4-7; offered English National Curriculum. Since it was such a new school, there were only 20 students when it closed in 2007, and they had expected to eventually cater to higher ages. As of this writing, all diplomatic staff (for whom school intended) are single postings now. They have kept building and name if and in case it becomes possible in future to open it again (hence a website that doesn't really go anywhere). We are keeping the name on this list in order to let people know its status, which we'll continue to monitor.