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Expat families in Siem Reap: Your Guide to the City’s Best International Schools

You’ve arrived in Siem Reap, found your way around, and possibly even chosen a place to live (if not, our guide to finding long term accommodation can help you). For families newly arrived in Siem Reap, finding a school is next on the to-do list, especially if you’re looking for international schools.

Choosing the Right School

Siem Reap has experienced a surge in the opening of new international schools catering to expat children in recent years. This gives parents a wide range of options, from preschool to high school and everything in between. Unless your child can attend a Khmer school with lessons delivered in Khmer, a private international school is likely to be your focus.

For parents who are contemplating the school system for the first time, it’s important to consider the type of school you’d like your children to attend. Take into account the languages in which lessons will be taught and which curriculum might suit your child best. Also, consider whether you will be staying in Siem Reap long-term or if there’s a possibility of returning to the school system in your home country.

Practical factors such as the distance of the school run, finishing times, after-school arrangements, and the cost of school fees will all influence your final decision.

It is recommended to visit the schools and ask questions about class sizes, curriculum, teaching methods, facilities, and after-school activities. Taking a tour or attending an open day will give you a sense of a typical school day and the opportunity to observe children engaging in lessons or playtime. Additionally, inquire about school lunches, bus or other transportation options, finish times, and uniform requirements. It’s beneficial to view multiple schools for comparison. While personal recommendations can be helpful, it’s important to remember that everyone has different experiences, and what works for one family may not be ideal for yours.

Connect with other expat parents in Siem Reap. We highly recommend joining these welcoming Facebook groups: Siem Reap Community and Siem Reap Parenting. Both groups will prove valuable when integrating in Siem Reap’s small expat community, especially as a family.

Pre-school, Primary and High School

Ideal for working parents, as well as those wanting their child to learn through play in a social environment, or to familiarize young children with a learning setting before they begin formal schooling, pre-school (or kindergarten) is a popular solution. Typically, children can start, often part-time, from a very young age, and stay until they are ready to enroll in their first school (usually around 4 or 5 years old).

Primary-aged children are well catered for in Siem Reap, with a variety of options to suit your preference. These are important years for your child, and schools for this age group should promote a stimulating and positive environment for them to master the foundations of reading, writing and maths.

For older children, Secondary or High School options aren’t as prolific, particularly in the international school category. Avoid competition for places by applying in plenty of time, wherever possible. Places for milestone year groups, such as the first year of High School, get snapped up quickly either by newcomers to the city, as well as intake from existing Primary pupils.

Admission

Admission policies and procedures are often detailed on the school’s website, or you can contact the school direct for more information. Many schools require new students to sit an entry assessment test, particularly if tuition is to be in English and English is the child’s second language. This might be spoken as well as written, so do check with each school.

For a smooth admissions process, take several passport-sized photographs of your child, and one of each of the parents. You’ll need copies of your child’s passport and valid visa, as well as copies of your own. If your child has attended a school anywhere else, bring copies of their latest report. Have medical history and vaccination records to hand, incase these are requested for the school’s records.

Siem Reap’s Top International Schools

We’ve curated a list of the top international schools that have consistently proven to be the best choices for expat families. Let’s explore these exceptional international schools together.

Ecole Française de Siem Reap

The French School offers a quality education where children, placed at the heart of learning, are encouraged to develop their creativity and critical thinking as part of an academic path of excellence. It is an inclusive school providing a caring environment, valuing the qualities of all so that everyone can learn and develop at their own pace. Civic education, taught throughout the school, enables the practice of dialogue, demonstrates the need for knowledge to overcome prejudice, and fosters autonomy and critical thinking.

Treehouse International School

Tree House caters for children from six months to 14 years, covering nursery, pre-school and primary, with a brand new high school opening in August 2023. Their curriculum offers a holistic approach to learning where personal, social, emotional and physical development is as important as academic development.

ISSR (International School of Siem Reap)

This Primary and High School also offers early years places to children from age two and a half upwards. Admission is open to all nationalities. ISSR follows the British National Curriculum.

Go Global School

Children from age three onwards can join their Lower School program which follows the British ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’. Children can continue their primary education at the school from Year 1 onwards, following either the Khmer Curriculum or the British Curriculum (tuition in English).

Did we miss a school? Or do you want to share your experience with one of the above mentioned schools? Let us know in the comments or send us a message through the contact form!

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