Going Local: Affordable Foreign-Friendly Schools in Shanghai

Going Local: Affordable Foreign-Friendly Schools in Shanghai

Many of the international schools in Shanghai are well-known by the expat community. Dulwich College, the British International School Shanghai, the American International School, Concordia and many more have earned a solid reputation as a reliable source of quality education. Many expat packages still offer school fee payment, which may explain why international schools can charge extremely high tuition fees, starting at around 150,000 RMB all the way up to 240,000 RMB per year. These fees are on par with top Western institutions in Europe or the US; so for expat parents who do not have an employer footing the bill, what are the more affordable options which still provide good quality education?

Many local schools have seen the demand for good-quality yet affordable education for foreign children grow, and as such offer international divisions within their own regular school setting. Here are some of the most popular:

1) Shanghai Qisehua Elementary School 七色花小学 View In Map
Qisehua is a delightful little local school which teaches a Chinese curriculum to grades 1-5. Though some expat parents might feel like it takes a bit of courage to send their children to a school that only deals in Chinese language medium, the benefits are obvious: their child may be able to not only speak, but also read and write native level Chinese by the time they leave the school.

Sending your child to a more ‘local’ style school also offers great advantages in cultural awareness. Set within an incredibly convenient downtown location (for anyone living in downtown Puxi), it may also mean that your child can get to know the local children where you live and enjoy a feeling of being part of a close group of friends, rather than the ‘revolving door’ feeling of expat friends always shipping off back home after their parent’s stay in China.

Tuition: 3,000 RMB per semester
Grades: 1-5
Add: 56-46 Yandang Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5383 4547
Web: http://qsh.lwedu.sh.cn

Shanghai Gold Apple has an international department which also takes in local students, thus ensuring an excellent mix of cultures and languages in which your child may flourish. Located in Pudong, it is also very convenient for expats based there. Teaching an American curriculum and also Chinese classes (to IB standards), it offers an English programme of usual classes such as arts, math and sciences, while also offering purely Chinese-language classes to allow international students to become fully bilingual. A second stream of education is also offered for students who would like to be fully immersed in China, and progress to Chinese universities later.

Grades: 1-12
Tuition: 35,500 RMB per term          
Add: 1555 Jufeng Lu, Pudong New District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6897 3868
Web: http://intl.jinpingguo.com.cn

Located in Minhang, Shanghai Fudan-Vanke Private School is a great help to expat parents who need to live around Minhang for work reasons. One specialty of Fudan-Vanke is taking in students with little or absolutely no Chinese language skills and then educating them to a bilingual level. There are two programmes of education within the school, which are divided based on your linguistic goal: in programme A, English is taught as ESL only and Chinese is used for the rest of the time. In programme C (programme B is unstated!) the subjects are divided by English or Chinese within the programme, and English classes are taught to a native typical standard, by English-native teachers. The clue is in the name as Fudan-Vanke is also affiliated with the renowned Fudan University. Established in 1996 and set in large, grassy grounds, this is a very popular school in Minhang.

Tuition: 25,000 RMB – 90,000 RMB
Grades: 1-7
Add: 263 Xingzhan Lu, Minhang District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6419 7597
Web: http://vks.cn/english

4) Aiju Primary School – International division 爱菊小学,境外部 View In Map
Nestled comfortably in the former French Concession, Aiju is popular with expats who are local to the area. Its convenient location is one of the reasons why it is a popular school – but foreign-friendly approach is the major draw. Classes for non-Chinese are divided by whether the child is more comfortable in English or Chinese. With roughly two classes per year – and at least one French class each year as well, the international division is a good size. The school concentrates heavily on arts, with dance, music, painting and other art classes being taught on most afternoons. The ‘Director of Moral Education’ Ms. Li is a lovely and friendly woman who will be happy to get in contact with prospective parents and students.

Grades: 1-5
Tuition: 27,000 RMB per semester
Add: 247 Anfu Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5404 3697
Web: http://ajxx.xhedu.sh.cn

5) Fudan International School 复旦大学附属中学国际部 View In Map
Besides being affiliated with the famous Fudan University, one bonus of Fudan International School is that it covers grades 1-12, so children may feel the benefit of having the same group of school friends as they move through the different years of academia. Located in Yangpu District and boasting a bright, spacious and clean campus, getting to the school will most likely require a bus ride out every day from central downtown areas of Shanghai. The school focuses on small-size classes to give each child the necessary attention so that no one is lost or left behind. The curriculum is international with English medium, and offers IGCSE, AP and IB.

Grades: 1-12
Tuituion: 34, 000 RMB – 38,000 RMB per semester
Add: 325 Guoquan Lu, Yangpu District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6511 1292/6510 7760
Web: http://fdis.net.cn 

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Keywords: Foreign-friendly schools Shanghai local foreign-friendly schools Shanghai affordable schools Shanghai


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Shimaa roshdy

Hi how can we make a point with you .. we ha 2 daughters 6 years old and 7 years old and they study french by the way we are Egyptian and we just arrived 3 weeks ago

Aug 23, 2019 16:33 Report Abuse


I would not recommend applying to Fudan International School, they like to tell candidates they are interested in them, do an interview, then not get back to them when asked if they are still interested in the candidate. Especially watch out for Joyce Cheng!

Jul 30, 2014 12:06 Report Abuse