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Education in Zurich

Despite having an extremely capable education system in Switzerland, we realise that some tax professionals may be more comfortable with their children attending an international school for a variety of reasons.  

Continually increasing numbers of expatriates living in Zurich have led to the emergence of many international schools in the area. The majority of these schools offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum, where English is the language of tuition. However, there are some who teach the English or American style curricula, with a Japanese style school in the area also. Competition for places in the schools is often fierce, with many having waiting lists for students. Therefore, it is recommended that parents act early to avoid disappointment. This guide will profile 2 of the main international schools in the area as well as provide information on all other international schooling options available in Zurich.  

Children walking with arms around each other
International School in Zurich

Zurich International School

Curriculum: Advanced Placement (AP)/IB 

Age: 2 to 18 

Zurich International School (ZIS) is one school split into four different campuses for each level of learning. The school is one of the most well-known international schools in the area and has 1450 students across its campuses. All campuses are brimming with modern facilities to best suit the needs of students at that particular level. ZIS also offers after-school care which can be very beneficial with an expat’s typically heavy workload. 


Students go through four levels of schooling at ZIS; Pre-School, Lower School, Middle School and Upper School. The core language for learning is English, with additional support given to non-English speakers. The Lower School Curriculum is focused on developing and nurturing students into the higher levels. Middle School students will take 8 different subjects, 6 of which, including German, are compulsory. Going into the Upper School, students can choose between Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and/or ZIS designed courses. This choice is largely dependent on ability level, interests and future aspirations. Across all levels, there are a variety of field trips, guest speakers and support services in place to further enhance students’ learning. 

Non-academic Activities 

Across all school levels, students have ample opportunities to get involved out with the classroom. 

In a sporting sense, the school has excellent facilities with a dedicated coaching team on hand across a variety of sports. The school competes on a national and European level and is committed to promoting team spirit and fairness, aspects that can be taken into life outside sport. Away from sport, there are a plethora of activities to get involved in, from science clubs to arts & crafts. Visual and performing arts are key in the school and are encouraged throughout a student’s school career. There are a number of plays and musicals throughout the year which students can get involved in. Music is key throughout the education process and is also encouraged in an extra-curricular sense, with many performances scheduled throughout the year. 

Admission Policy & Fees 

Admission is open to all who the school believe will thrive in the challenging, international and English-speaking environment. There is a general 4-step process to admission at ZIS. This begins with the Initial registration and processing payment of CHF 520. This is followed by the completion of an online application form. Placement testing is then carried out by the school to evaluate the suitability and what level to place students. Subsequently, a notification of acceptance will be sent if and when space becomes available. In terms of fees for the schools, these progressively increase as the student moves up the education ladder. This culminates in an annual fee of CHF 36,000 for those students in years 9-12(13). 

International School Zurich North

Website – 

Curriculum: IB/Swiss School/Cambridge IGCSE Examination 

Age: 3 to 17 

Situated in the northern suburbs of Zurich, the International School Zurich North (ISZN) has a very high reputation. The school is easily accessible through the Swiss transportation network and is popular with children of expats in the community, especially those looking for a typically English medium. The school offers before and after-school care which can be vital in terms of being coherent with an expat’s busy working life. 


The ISZN offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme to students. In primary school, children will work with the Primary Years Programme (PYP), an inquiry-based programme focused on developing skills and abilities for the upper school and promoting positive attitudes, such as tolerance and respect. Students will then move onto lower secondary where the course is tailor-made to prepare students for the challenges of formal IGCSE and International A-Level courses. The Upper School will then take over, providing courses for firstly IGCSE qualification in years 9-10, followed by International A levels in grades 11 and 12. 

Non-academic Activities 

The school offers an array of after-school clubs to get involved in and get away from the stresses of school life. These are also built to encourage students to interact with different teachers and students from different age groups. The clubs vary from sports to dance to graphic design, ensuring that there is a co-curricular activity to suit the interests of all students. Music is valued in the school curriculum and this can be enjoyed outside the classroom also with the co-curricular choir. 

Application Policy & Fees 

The school operates a non-discriminatory admission policy and is welcome to applications all year round. The application process begins with an informative interview and visits to the premises from the parent and student. Secondly, an admission form should be completed and from there the school will go on to admit prospective students with a 6-week probationary period to assess their ability and where they should be placed. It is worth noting that until this period is over, placement is provisional.  Fees for the ISZN shall be paid half-yearly or quarterly in advance. The fees increase as the student progresses, closing with annual fees of CHF 29,000 from years 6-12.  

More Reputable Schools in Zurich

Curriculum: IB 

Age Range: 3 to 19 

Curriculum: Swiss/IB 

Age Range: 2 to 18 

Curriculum: Swiss/IB 

Age Range: 3-11 

Curriculum: IB 

Age Range: 3 to 18 

Curriculum: Japanese 

Age Range: 3 to 18 

Curriculum: IB/Swiss School/Cambridge IGCSE Examination 

Age Range: 3 to 17 


If you are interested in a move to Zürich or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about international tax opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current international tax vacancies. 

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