Wellbeing in international schools

A report highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of students and staff in international schools.

Research Highlights



Of teachers are proud of the wellbeing support they provide their students most of the time (11% down on 2018).


Of teachers said they struggle to cope with the demands of their job once a week or less.


Of teachers considered COVID-19 as a significant challenge that increased their stress.


Of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that they felt a sense of belonging to the international school where they work.

Synopsis of Report

Over the past year, schools around the world have had to adapt quickly to limit the impact of COVID-19 on student learning. New challenges can arise from changes at the best of times, and most definitely will do so in stressful times. That is why, at ISC Research, we spent the past few months researching the impact of the pandemic on the wellbeing of students and staff in international schools. Our research sheds light on ways that the wellbeing of the entire school community has been affected. Whilst student wellbeing remained a priority, leaders also had to acknowledge the need to improve support for their teachers, administrators and parents.
ISC Research worked in partnership with International Educational Psychology Services Ltd (IEPS) to include within the report, practical solutions to support whole-school wellbeing initiatives.
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Insights in wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic has tipped the balance of the equilibrium model of wellbeing described at the start of this report in a way that could not have been easily foreseen. For a long while many international schools were experiencing challenges far in excess of their resources. As the pandemic continues, there is evidence of the consolidation of existing resources and development of new skills and attitudes which are rebalancing the scales. In comparison to the 2018 results, the key pillars of wellbeing that were identified; work environment, appreciation, relationships and belonging, still appear relevant with a significant increase in the pressure on leadership, resources, imposed change, and uncertainty taking a toll.

Included in this report:

  • Research into international school staff perceptions of their role and its challenges, their ability to cope, and the impact that COVID-19 has had on their wellbeing
  • Research into parent relationships with international school staff and how this may have been affected by the pandemic
  • Research into student-staff relationships and the ability of staff to support student needs at this challenging time
  • Research into whole school wellbeing provision and needs
  • Practical wellbeing solutions for school leaders and governing bodies, for senior and middle managers, and for individuals (including staff, parents and students)


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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.