Inclusion in International Schools

This report uncovers research into inclusion in international schools over a period of 4 years. It sheds light on current inclusion practices, and provides understanding of how the international schools market has been adapting to the needs of all children.


Research highlights



Of schools identified themselves as being at the start of the journey towards inclusion.



Of schools report accepting highly capable students. The percent of schools reporting an effective means of meeting the needs of highly capable students remains an area of interest.



Of schools report that multilingual learners are being served through the learning support programme and EAL programme.



Of schools believed a need for professional learning in inclusive instructive pedagogy would be most valuable. 



This report summarises the results of the third global survey on the status of inclusion in international schools. The survey was developed by Next Frontier Inclusion in conjunction with ISC Research, and disseminated by ISC Research between November and December 2019, before the pandemic moved many schools online. Organisations like the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) also promoted the survey and provided members with access to participate.

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Insights in inclusion

It is satisfying to note that after the third such survey, the international school community has clearly accepted inclusion – in varying degrees – as a feature of our landscape. We are now at a point where we can take a closer look at inclusion-related issues at a more granular level and find ways, as a community, to resolve them.

Two areas of concern emerge from the survey. The first has to do with how multilingual learners who also experience difficulties with learning are being served in international schools. The second has to do with the need for a common language between international schools.


Included in this report:

  • International school admission policies
  • How international schools meet the needs of students with special educational needs
  • The qualifications of staff working with students with special educational needs
  • The inclusion categories most common in international schools
  • Current and desired support and professional learning services


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We are dedicated and committed to supporting the broader international schools community by providing data, trends and intelligence. Since 1994, we have guided schools with their growth plans, informed investors on new school development, helped universities to engage with international schools, and advised education suppliers that are supporting the market.