Options for International Schools

Frankfurt has a big international, non-German speaking community thanks partly to the ECB but also to the many multinational, expecially Korean/Japanese, companies in the area. There is also a strong American community thanks partly to the longstanding US military ties to the area.

As a result there are a few different non-German speaking schools available should you have the resources available to pay for it. German schools are well known for their lack of investment in infrastructure and if you are used to private education elsewhere or if you are lucky enough for your children to have been to school in a country with a well looked-after school system, you maybe in for a shock in Germany! There are definitely good and bad schools, and some that have an excellent reputation, but there is a reason why private schools are becoming so popular amongst even the German parents.

FIS Frankfurt International School
FIS is probably the best known of the international schools and has two campuses. The first of these is located just north of Frankfurt in Oberursel, (S5 line) and the second, smaller, campus is in Wiesbaden (S8 or S9) passed the airport. The Oberursel campus is the main campus and offers education for 3-18 year olds (up to grade 12), where as Wiesbaden only offers up to grade 6. This is the biggest disadvantage for Wiesbaden as the children would need to transfer to Oberursel or a different local school in order to complete their education.

Tuition fees for the school currently range between about €17,000 to €21,000 so as you would expect, the school provides an excellent environment and far better facilities/buildings/equipment than you would get at a local school. Since the schools are not so close to public transport, for a couple of thousand extra a year, they also provide a good network of buses transporting students across the area.

(Offers the International Baccalaureate)

ISF Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main
The second school on the list is unfortunately named almost the same as the first, which has led to much confusion when discussing with others! This one is located in Sindlingen, halfway between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, and caters for 3-18 year olds as well. In the last year or so there has been pressure on places as they were waiting for permission to increase intake. There is a lot of demand for places in both ISF and FIS in spite of the costs, as there is a steady increase in employment across Frankfurt. The situation is definitely worse in state schools though especially if you are trying to get kids into the upper years. The cost at ISF is between €12,000 and €19,000. Although slightly cheaper, and smaller, its reputation is just as good as FIS. There is really not much by way of housing around Sindlingen, so you’ll probably not chose to live there, but there is only a limited bus service to certain areas. That means you’ll probably end up doing a school run until the children are old enough to do the SBahn alone.

(Offers the International Baccalaureate)

European School Rhein-Main
This is newest international school in Frankfurt and was opened due to pressure on places in other private schools. It was set up by teachers from FIS for children aged 4-18. The doors were only opened in 2013 and a half intake was accepted. 2014 saw the first full intake once the building was completed. The biggest difference here, is that the cost is roughly half that of the other international schools – between €9,600 and €12,000 for the English section. They also have a German section that receives state funding and is means tested, which means that the annual tuition fees for low earners could be as low as €4000. Not surprisingly, demand on places is high and there are nearly double the number of students in the German section.

The facilities here are excellent as you would expect from a new building, and they have received support from the local town council (Bad Vilbel) who were keen to have them set up in their backyard. The atmosphere at the school is very good and will undoubtedly become as reliable a choice as the other two schools once they have managed to settle town the 1200 new students they have received in the last two intakes. ESRM has the benefit of a proper community and town centre, but housing is in high demand and there is very little on the market, especially if you are looking for either walking distance from the school or the town.

The school itself is located right on the northern edge of Bad Vilbel in a place called Dortelweil, and is about 10 minutes walk from the nearest SBahn. Realistically, until the town build more houses (which they are working on), your children will either need to use the SBahn or your personal taxi service. No school bus service is available at present.

(Offers the European Baccalaureate)

Strothoff International School
The least well known of the 4 big schools, but just as expensive, Strothoff costs between €15,000 and €20,000 per year, per child. It is located south of Frankfurt in Dreieich, which is on the S3 and S4 SBahn lines. The school itself is not actually close to the SBahn station, so you may just want to move to Dreieich which has some nice housing options, or accept a permanent school drive in the mornings. I have heard that there is a school bus service there, but since there is limited info on their website, you’ll just have to ask for more information directly :-)!

(Offers the International Baccalaureate)

Good luck!!!

12 thoughts on “Options for International Schools

  1. Don’t forget that FIS in Wiesbaden is now expanding to Grade 8… Something to definitely consider!

  2. I have been closely experiencing the quality of school, as my son completed his schooling (from international school); and the ranking would be:
    First place: FIS , Oberursel
    Second: ISF, Sidlingen
    Third: ESRM, Bad Vilbel
    Fourth: Phorms, Steinbach (Taunus)
    Fifth: Strothoff International School, Dreieich
    Sixth: Metropolitan Schoo, Roedelheim
    Seventh: Obermayr, Schwalbach am Taunus

    1. If you are looking for a german/english bilingual primary School (including Kindergarten and reception class), consider Phorms Taunus in Steinbach. A lot of happy Kids there (including mine).

  3. Hello – My family is interested in relocating to Frankfurt and looking for a private school for our 6 and 8 year old. Have friends who recommended ISF with the caveat that decent housing in and around Sidlingen was not easy to come by. Any thoughts – ideas or feedback on the school and living in the area would be greatly appreciated. How far from Frankfurt proper is the school?

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