Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is much more than just a European metropolis. It is an international and multilingual city that plays a central role in the global diplomatic, economic, and educational landscape. As the headquarters of the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and many other international institutions, Brussels is at the heart of global affairs.
This international presence has given rise to an educational system dedicated to the children of expatriates, European officials, and parents seeking international education for their child. This educational system mainly consists of international schools located in Brussels and the surrounding areas.
In 2022/2023, the website for international schools in Brussels recorded almost 25,000 students distributed across 25 international schools in Brussels. These international schools offer a variety of programs and pedagogical approaches to meet the diverse needs of both international and local families.
In this article, we will explore the best international schools in Brussels and the surrounding areas, categorized into different categories to help you find the best match for your family.
Best International Schools in Brussels by Category
To simplify the search for the best international schools in Brussels that suit your needs, we have classified these educational institutions by categories.
It is important to note that the concept of a “best school” can be subjective and depend on various criteria. What may be considered a top choice school for one family may not be the same for another because educational preferences and needs vary from person to person.
Some parents may prioritize a specific curriculum, while others may place more importance on the school’s geographical proximity or pedagogical approach.
The quality criteria of a school can include academic reputation, exam results, cultural diversity, facilities, extracurricular activities, class size, teacher quality, educational philosophy, and many others. Each of these criteria may have a different weight for each family.
Therefore, it is recommended for parents to consider their own needs and those of their children, visit potential schools, engage in discussions with teaching and administrative staff, and gather information from other parents before making a decision. Ultimately, the best international school for a child is the one that best meets their specific educational needs and those of their family.
European schools are primarily intended for the children of European institution staff to provide them with an education partly in their native language. However, a limited number of spots are available for other students whose parents have submitted an application to the school’s management (see conditions and prices of European schools).
In primary school, the curriculum is generally taught in the child’s native language along with another language. In secondary school, classes are still taught in the child’s native language with a minimum of two other languages.
European schools prepare students for the European Baccalaureate, a diploma recognized in all European Union countries and a number of other countries. European schools offer multilingual and multicultural education for nursery, primary, and secondary levels based on a European model.
BEST INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WITH INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM
Schools in this category are private international schools whose curriculum is based entirely or in part on the International Baccalaureate. This program allows students to obtain the International Baccalaureate, a globally recognized diploma for admission to higher education institutions worldwide (in 75 countries and more than 2000 universities).
Schools offering this curriculum generally instruct in English while also teaching in French.
BEST ENGLISH-SPEAKING INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WITH BRITISH CURRICULUM
These are private international schools that offer the curriculum based on the United Kingdom’s curriculum or the Cambridge International curriculum. These international schools are not exclusively for English-speaking students. For students whose native language is not English, these schools provide special classes (“English as an Additional Language”).
The diplomas obtained from these schools are also internationally recognized: International A-Level, Cambridge A-Level. Some schools in this category may also offer the International Baccalaureate program at times.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WITH FRENCH CURRICULUM
Last year, two international schools offered the French national education curriculum in Brussels. However, starting this year, only one international school continues to offer the French curriculum in Brussels. This is the Lycée français, an iconic school in Brussels for over a century (since 1907). The curriculum at Lycée français is the same as that taught in France, with a stronger emphasis on language education, including English.
Lycée français Jean Monnet
TOP INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WITH FOREIGN CURRICULA
This category includes international schools in Brussels that follow the national curriculum of their home country (excluding European, Belgian, French, and British education programs). Classes in these schools are taught in the national language of the referring country. The curricula and diplomas are identical to those offered in their home countries.
As is often the case in international schools, there is a particular focus on language learning, especially English.
BEST CATHOLIC INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS
Among the international schools in Brussels and the surrounding areas, only two are Catholic. These two Catholic schools offer a curriculum equivalent to that of other international schools. The uniqueness lies in the fact that students also follow a religious education program that promotes a deep understanding of the Christian faith.
TOP INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WITH ACTIVE PEDAGOGY
In Brussels, one international school (nursery and primary) offers a program with active pedagogy. This program combines language learning with active pedagogy. At the end of six primary years, students receive the Belgian primary school diploma (CEB), which allows them to join Belgian or international secondary education.
BEST MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS
Montessori international schools are schools that offer education based on the Montessori pedagogy. Generally, instruction in Montessori schools is entirely bilingual (English and French). Most schools offer programs in nursery and primary education, but less frequently at the secondary level. Schools that offer a secondary-level curriculum follow the International Baccalaureate program.
Digital Guide 2023/2024 | International Schools in Brussels
Digital Guide 2023/2024 : International schools in Brussels | Available now!
June 2023 edition
NEW EDITION OF THE 2023/2024 DIGITAL GUIDE
All the information for the 2023/2024 school year in international schools in Brussels is up to date!
Our information website about international schools collaborates with all international schools in Brussels to provide you with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information about each school. This annual guide provides even more comprehensive information than what is available in this article, including price comparisons, and more.