The shiny onion domes send out a clear message - Moscow is definitely top dog when it comes to Russian cities. Unsurprisingly, the international schools have grown in size (as well as numbers) and now often operate on multiple campuses. There are also numerous kindergartens, catering to expats.
- Education in Moscow
- Choosing a school in Moscow
- Special education needs in Moscow
- Pre-schools, kindergarten and nurseries in Moscow
- Best schools in Moscow
The political power of the Kremlin and its inhabitants is obvious but Moscow is also the commercial heart of the country and where most expats are sent for business, as well as diplomatic, reasons. It is also, probably, the only city in the world where the public transport system is sighed over by all who have seen it and even those who have only looked at the pictures – ahhh the Metro!
On the downside, it is bitterly cold in the winter, as invaders have discovered to their cost, and even snow loses its glamour after weeks of below freezing temperatures. All in all, the school run can be a bundled-up endurance test, often more or less in the dark.
Increasingly, your choice of school will depend on where you live as children are spending more and more time commuting and the traffic situation has become a major problem. School buses are provided by all schools but they come at an extra cost.
In order to keep the travel misery to a minimum, you should consider finding housing and schooling in the same neighbourhood. In fact, you are strongly advised to choose your school before selecting where you live. It is also wise to do dummy school runs during weekdays, at pick-up and drop-off times, to test how long it takes. You don’t want your child coming home after two hours in the car, still having to face homework.
There are three well-established schools to suit the needs of the native English-speaking community in Moscow, plus some newer ones. In addition, there are some nation-specific schools such as the Swedish, Korean, German, American and French. Note that some schools that teach an English curriculum have an almost entirely Russian audience.
When hunting for suitable schools, take sport and extracurricular activities into account. A child who has been used to living in a house with a garden may end up living in a high-rise apartment block. In this case, sport and extracurricular can become crucial as boredom distractors.
Unfortunately Russia overall hasn’t catered well for special education needs as in other countries, lagging well behind the UK or US. Language is also a problem and, as the international schools are reasonably small, they were only set up to cater for SEN at a limited level.
This situation is improving and, in recent years, international schools have developed special education services for children with mild to moderate needs. The Anglo-American School employs an educational psychologist and schools, such as the Nord Anglia run International School of Moscow now assess all new children and also has a SENDCo (Student Support Service) teacher on site.
If you’re looking for a pre-school, kindergarten or nursery, be sure to check safety and upkeep and general cleanliness. If school is above ground level, are there bars on windows to stop younger children falling out? What is security like? Very important, given the Beslan tragedy and deteriorated relationships between Russia and the US.
Also ask about teaching qualifications of staff - don’t simply accept a degree and TEFL and they should have a teaching diploma as well. Be aware that Russian teachers favour discipline and will put pressure on a child to participate as part of a group, which some parents find occurs at the expense of individuality and creativity. Ask about the teacher student ratio and the target size of classes. A
Does the school have an annual plan or curriculum that you can look at? What sort of extracurricular outings take place? Is there any sport? A dress code? Opt-out clauses matter – what if your child decides they don’t like the place after a few weeks: do you get your money back or at least some of it?
Drive to all the schools you are interested in at pick up and drop off times to check traffic situation. Very different on a weekday compared with a weekend day.
Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned
On two campuses in the west and south-west of Moscow. The west campus educates children from 3 to 11 and the south-west from 3 to 18. The schools are owned and run by the Orbital Education group of ten schools. On leaving, roughly 35 per cent go to university in the UK with the remainder almost all heading to US or European universities.
Click here to read our full review of the English International School
Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A-Level; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,150 students
A member of the Nord Anglia Education group, now incorporating a performing arts programme in collaboration with Julliard, New York and a STEM programme designed with input from MIT. Classes taught in English to students from over 60 different nationalities.
Click here to read our full review of the International School of Moscow
The schools below have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them
PYP/ American High School Diploma/ IB Diploma; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,250 students
EYFS/ Cambridge 1, 2/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-19; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 600 students
EYFS/ adapted National Curriculum for England; ages 2-7; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 80 students
Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level/ IB Diploma; age 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,000 students
PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 850 students
German curriculum/ Abitur; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit
Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE; ages 3-16; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit;
Adapted curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 210 students
French National Curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac; ages 6-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,130 students
PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 535 students (Odintsovo) 550 students (Presnya)
Russian curriculum/ adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level/ Attestat; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned
For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international search.