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Hanoi is a sparkling, cultural cocktail and the international schools offer a range of curricula to satisfy most tastes. However, many of them are still too new to be awarded a cherry on top. 

River in Hanoi, Vietnam

Education in Hanoi 

There were no international schools (fortunately, probably) in existence before the Vietnam war and the majority have only been established in the last decade (UNIS aside, which was established during the 1980s before the country was opening up to the world and trade embargoes being lifted). But Hanoi has been transformed from a frightened town on the edge of a war zone into a huge, bustling, watery city, complete with almost everything that westerners want, including a choice of international schools.  

Whichever district you decide to live in – and whatever school you choose - you will almost certainly have to get behind the wheel to take your child to school or use the school bus system that almost all schools operate.  

Choosing a school in Hanoi 

State schools are not really an option unless you are planning to live here permanently and want your children to integrate entirely into the local culture. There are several layers of schooling in the local system - pre-school and kindergarten, primary, secondary and onto high school, during which students prepare for the Vietnamese school-leaving certificate, the National High School Graduation Examination.  

When it comes to international schools, the curricula are as varied as the food. The International Baccalaureate Diploma is increasingly available and either comes as the last part of a full IB Programme or is just offered as the final Diploma qualification, acquired over the final two years of schooling. You can also find the French curriculum, a full American curriculum, culminating in an American High School Diploma and also offering Advanced Placement courses. IGCSEs are also on offer at some schools. 

Unfortunately whichever district you choose to live in (whether that is the ‘old’ or ‘French’ quarters on the edge of the Hoan Kiem Lake or the water covered West Lake District favoured by many international families) you will likely have to get behind the wheel to take your child to school as many schools are between 20 and 40 minutes drive outside central Hanoi, the upside being the air quality is clearer and there is more space for sports facilities. 

Special education needs in Hanoi  

Most top international schools in Hanoi support mild to moderate special needs. UNIS, for example, offers a psycho-educational assessment and speech therapist but does not have behavour and/or autism specialists.  

Pre-schools, kindergarten and nurseries in Hanoi 

Many of the international schools have pre-school / kindergarten sections which we recommend as a good starting point, not least for the fact that they are independently accredited and have good facilities, but we also hear that there are some dedicated pre-schools offering services for young children up to 6 years old such as EtonHouse Hanoi. 

Best schools in Hanoi 

British International School (BIS Hanoi

Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IPC/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,000 students

Operating as the British International School since 2014 and located on a modern campus in the Long Bien district of Hanoi, the school is now part of the global Nord Anglia Education group. Roughly divided 50/50 between local and international students. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Click here to read our full review of British International School Hanoi

Concordia International School Hanoi  

Adapted American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 400 students

Built in 2011 as a pre-school up to grade 7, it has expanded upwards with the first high school students graduating in 2017. Part of the group including the Concordia International School in Shanghai and the Hong Kong International School. Mainly American, Korean and Vietnamese passport holders, with a rule that no single nationality can ever exceed one third of the total number of students.

Click here to read our full review of Concordia International School

United Nations International School of Hanoi  

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,100 students

Founded in 1988 and located north of the Ho Tay lake, this is one of only two global, international schools owned by the United Nations. No one nationality can exceed 20 per cent of the intake. In the middle of a five year renovation programme and accredited by both the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Click here to read our full review of United Nations International School of Hanoi

The schools below have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.

Hanoi International School

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 290 students

An all-through International Baccalaureate school, established in 1996, close to the Embassy of Japan, in the LIeu Giai district of Hanoi. The student body has a majority of Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean nationals. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and also a founder member of MRISA, a local group of six schools who organise sporting, art and STEAM competitions as well as exhibitions for their members.

Reigate Grammar School Vietnam 

PYP/ Cambridge 2/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit 

Formerly the International School of Vietnam which opened in 2013 in Hanoi's Hoang Mai district, on a brand-new, well-equipped and attractive (if relatively small) campus, split between elementary and middle/high school. Recently taken over by the Reigate Grammar School group. 

Lycée Francais Alexandre Yersin 

French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 900 students

Directly managed by the Agency for French Teaching Abroad (AEFE) and one of nearly 500 global schools under this banner. One of the longest-established international schools in Hanoi (founded in 1982) and now housed on a large, new, purpose-built campus (close to Long Bien Bridge) completed in 2018.

St Paul American School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 530 students

Established in 2011 in the upmarket suburb of the Splendora housing community, with branding that emphasises the American connection. Coming from over 20 countries, roughly one third of the students are Vietnamese and there is a large cohort of Koreans. Accredited by Cognia (previously the American accreditation agency AdvancED).

For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international section.






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