Skip to main content

Schools in the USAInternational schools in Manhattan that are particularly well suited for expat children.

In a city where schools (and the difficulty of getting in) are arguably the most discussed, reported, written about and blogged in the world (outside of London), this list attempts to narrow down schools especially considered by English-speaking expatriates…parents looking for schools that will allow for transitions into and out of other systems and other countries. Whether students stay for a year, or remain their entire school careers, these schools are likely to handle and support transitions well (for those leaving or arriving, as well as for those staying on), with an international, outward looking approach.

British International School

20 Waterside Plaza New York, NY 10010

Tel: + 1212 481-2700



National Curriculum of England with IB features; ages 3-11; co-ed; private day school.

Small, nurturing prep school that is finding its feet nicely since opening in 2006. Combines the English National Curriculum with IB approaches and methods. Teaches about 250 children from nursery through to Year 8 (ages 3-14). Children are assessed before admission, but the procedure is fairly relaxed. Family-owned (connected to the Abercorn School in London), the school has attracted many bright, energetic teachers, and there is solid leadership from the newish British headmaster.

Somewhat sterile and awkward premises, scattered over three parts of the Waterside Plaza apartment complex, but access to the plaza’s swimming pool is a plus. Sport is limited, but improving. Older students work in darker classrooms – ask to see when touring. Smart uniforms and a house system replicate the traditional British prep school experience. Charges the full whack (ie, $35k plus), but as a for-profit school, does not ask for donations on top.

Parents very international, including lots of British expats (a home from home for many of them). Some children arrive speaking no English. Those nervous about the school’s newness should note in 2011 the school was turning away applicants for some lower years, due to rising demand.

United Nations International School

24-50 Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive

New York, NY 10010

Tel: +1 212 684 7400

Fax +1 212 684 1382



International Baccalaureate PYP, MYP, Dip ; ages 5-17; co-ed; private day school.

It’s big, it’s bold and it is often the first port of call for foreign diplomats and assorted expats casting about for a school in which to offload their cost centres. Housed in a large, purpose-built structure overlooking the East River, UNIS boasts excellent facilities (huge sports hall and libraries, wonderful theatre) and many expert, long-serving staff (40 years plus is not unusual).

Highly international, teaching the IB programme from grades K-12. Brace yourself for its size; each grade is split into 5 classes, with 15-20 children per class. Prides itself on rigorous academics and a dazzling foreign-language programme. No uniform (the UNIS “look” tends to get scruffier the further up the school you get), with a resolutely non-elitist feel.

Competitive entry; children must sit the ERB and are assessed before admission. Lower-than-average fees (for New York), so increasingly popular with local families. A fair amount of turnover means spots often come up throughout the year; avoid the impenetrable website and pick up the phone. Families from all over the world; about 40-50% are UN (who get a portion of their fees paid). A significant number of local New Yorkers, as well as alumni keen on a second helping of UNIS. Perfect for the outgoing, self-assured child; wallflowers may feel overwhelmed. Parents seeking wood-panelled elegance should look elsewhere.

World Class Learning Academy

44 East 2nd Street

New York NY 10003

Tel: +1 212 600 2010



National Curriculum of England, International Primary Curriculum; ages 3-11; co-ed; private day school.

WCLA opened in September 2011 in a refurbished school in the East Village, with about 40 pupils. It is part of a chain of international private schools that includes the British Schools of Houston and Boston. The school offers the English curriculum combined with the International Primary Curriculum. At the helm is veteran headmaster John Taylor (previously head of Dulwich College Shanghai). The attractive, spacious facilities include an impressive gym, mostly bright classrooms and a rooftop playground.


Related articles

  • Special Needs introduction

    Signs of special needs in school age children; how to get help; which type of school to choose; Education, Health and Care Plans ... Read more ... Need help? Perhaps you suspect your child has some learning difficulty and you would like advice on what you should do. Or perhaps it is becoming clear that your child's current school is not working for him or her, and you need help to find a mainstream school which has better SEN provision, or to find a special school which will best cater for your child's area of need.  Our SEN team helps…

  • The Good Schools Guide online subscription

    Find the best school for your child. One month subscription - £0.49 per day Three month subscription - £0.41 per day Six month subscription - £0.33 per day One year subscription - £0.29 per day Register for instant access to: ☑ Search for more than 30000 schools in our parent friendly interactive directory. ☑ Create and save lists of schools via My Schools. ☑ Use our comparison grid to get an exam results overview of schools you are interested in. ☑ Find comprehensive advice on state and independent schools, tutors and special needs. ☑ Receive our monthly newsletter. For further…

  • Where to find a state grammar school

    Identifying and locating grammar schools. Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston, with only a few grammar schools.

  • Schools for children with performing arts talents

    As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.

  • State boarding schools: free tuition just pay for your stay!

    If you think your child would benefit from a boarding school education, but are put off by the high fees and consequent limited social mix of a typical independent boarding school, you may find that a state boarding school is the answer

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews, data and catchment:

Comprehensive catchment maps for English state schools inc. year of entry.
 School exam results by subject and performance GCSE, Alevel or equivalent.
 Which schools pupils come from and go onto.
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of more than 1,100+ schools.
 Overall school performance by GCSE, Alevel or equivalent.
 School data comparison by A/B weighted, relative success and popularity.
 Compare schools by qualities and results.
 Independent tutor company reviews.

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

 GSG Blog >    In the news >


Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Stand by for some myth-busting from our SEN consultants


Just published - The Good Schools Guide 21st edition - 1200 schools fully reviewed and updated. Buy now