We’re currently looking into a school for our son in Santiago, Chile.
If you’re starting the Santiago school search too, here is a list of some of the best international and local schools we’ve come across here in Santiago and the suburbs.
Please note that these notes are my very personal thoughts and impressions. Just because I didn’t rate a school, doesn’t mean you won’t like it.
Every parent and more importantly, every child, is different so I thoroughly advise you to check them out for yourselves. The application process is crazy (read more here), I hate it (read more here) and while we were advised to apply to as many as possible, in the end we broke our list down to just a few that we really, really liked.
Please do drop me a comment (see below) with your own observations on these or any other good schools. I’m still hearing about more great places and I’ll be adding to this list as I go on. In the meantime, here goes:
- The International Nido de Aguilas – a large, mixed, international, US style school with excellent facilities, teaching using the English language. Based in Lo Barnechea, fees are well above the average. Offering classes from Pre-Kinder (age 3) to Grade 12, this school is a favourite among my expat friends, with many claiming that it provides the best facilities and level of tuition in the English language. Beware, it’s pricey; all expat friends here have the fees paid for as part of their expat contract (last time I checked they charged a $200 USD annual admission fee, a $14,450 USD one off incorporation fee, a $1,000 USD annual registration fee, along with the $10–20,000 USD annual fees depending on the age of the child). And a side note: while most schools offer a bus service, the Nido shuttle is especially plush! www.nido.cl
- Chartwell International Pre-School – Based in Vitacura, this is a new small, secular, mixed preschool looking to expand over the coming years to accommodate older children too. It follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) as defined in the English National curriculum. Facilities are modern and it also offers Friday night sleep overs and (optional) longer school days (e.g. 8am – 6.30pm). We personally wanted a more established school with a more defined, structured teaching programme. The teachers came from international backgrounds, and as we wanted more of a local, Spanish speaking Chilean school, we personally chose to focus on different institutions. However all the parents I’ve met have heaped praise on this very well run, efficient school. I was also really impressed with their attitude to food allergies. As for fees, there is an annual admission fee of 10UF per child, tuition fees of around 22.5 UF per month (less for younger children), food costs 4 UF each and optional transportation costs 2.4 UF for a round trip. www.chartwell.cl
- The Grange – Here the international curriculum is linked to the Cambridge IGCSE and A Level programmes. With a strong sports tradition, the mixed school is based in La Reina. The school’s application process takes place earlier than others, around February. It accommodates children from 4-18 years. While the website states it is an international school and the level of English language tuition is apparently excellent, most (all?!) students are Chilean and allegedly it has a strong preference for those with high level contacts within the school. While we did apply as the application process took place much earlier than the others (we were immediately rejected), we personally felt this school was not right for our son as there was a high emphasis on discipline and sports, and we were not convinced that the school was open to international students, nor that it had a thoroughly rigorous anti bullying system in place (although bullying is not limited to any particular school!). It’s not all bad though – it gets good academic results and many of my Chilean friends speak very fondly of their years there as a child. I also know teachers from the UK and US who work here and speak very fondly of it. Here is the link to the fees. www.grange.cl
- Redland – A few friends send their kids here and they’re a very good advertisement. It’s a British style school by Chilean standards, but if like me you’re coming from a English boarding school background it still feels very foreign. Yes, like a ‘typical British school’, they teach rugby, but it’s not compulsory. The kids I know who go here have excellent manners. The school is fairly small, follows the Cambridge exam system and English is taught across the board. It’s a very traditional school in many respects so if you’re after a more flexible / open teaching style Redland might not be for your kid. Also, facilities are not the best, and the focus is more on the teaching and values, so bear that in mind when you look round. redland.cl
- Wenlock – A friend was trying to decide between Wenlock and Redland. In the end she opted for Wenlock. Why? Better facilities, especially sports related. Word on the block is that Wenlock also focuses a lot on values, respect for others and hard work. Like the Redland it’s a British style school (well, British by Chilean standards) and is member of the Association of British Schools here. It teaches right from infant to senior (age 17) and its fees can be found here. For more, see wenlock.cl
- The International Preparatory School (TIPS) – Based in a beautiful part of the country in Lo Barnechea, TIPS is a small, mixed school following the Cambridge international programme, accommodating children from 4-18 years. It offers more friendly, relaxed, gentle ethos than many schools and pupils here do not wear school uniforms. This gentler method of learning could perhaps suit a child who is struggling with their adaptation to Chile, or who would thrive in a more relaxed, less structured environment. For us personally, this wasn’t the right fit as we wanted a more structured teaching environment and routine, as well as higher quality facilities. Fees (as of March 2019) as follows: annual matriculation $ 750 USD, entrance exam $100 USD (for Foundation class and upwards), admission fee: $11,500 USD (for Reception class and upwards). Annual tuition as follows: Playgroup $5,000 USD; Foundation $8,000 USD; Reception $10,500 USD; Year one $11,600 USD; Years two – six $13,500 USD; Years seven – eleven $15,500 USD and Years twelve – thirteen $17,300 USD). On top of this there is a $100 USD charge per exam (e.g. IGCSE / AS levels) www.tipschile.com
- Deutsche Schule / Colegio Aleman de Santiago – this school is very international and routinely popular among expat parents, including non German or German speaking parents, due to its high level of academic performance, especially for the younger age groups. A strong preference is awarded to families who can show their connection to the German speaking community, however. The admission process takes place over three days to allow the child to shine in its best light and is very transparent. As this is a German school, English is not their forte, which is worth taking into consideration if English is a must for you. Like most schools here, admissions are extremely popular with hundreds applying for a handful of places. www.dsstgo.cl
- Alianza Francesa – as the name suggests, the Lycée Antoine de Saint Exupéry Alliance Française is a French school located in the Vitacura district of Santiago, and now also in a new site in Chicureo (outside of Santiago). Friends with children here praise the teaching on a whole, and how they encourage children to think outside of the box, about personal values and real life. Parents have complained about the admin side of things however, lamenting rather unprofessional last minute changes at times. I also heard grumbles from parents with children at the Vitacura school that they were unfairly paying for the newly built school in Chicureo, and that some of the facilities at Vitacura could do with a renovation. The school follows the bacalaureat system, with lessons taught in Spanish and French. lafase.cl
- Santiago College – along with the Nido, the vast international Santiago College based in Lo Barnechea offers some of the best facilities and teaching in the city. Parents I know with children here praise its academic excellence, its high level of English and Spanish language tuition, noting particularly the emphasis the school puts on forming inquisitive minds, teaching through method and example rather than mere rote learning. The admission process is again notoriously long winded, but focuses purely on the child, not the parents. This is a very professional school, and is routinely praised among my expat parent friends for its excellent teaching standards. Don’t get too excited though, compared to Scandinavia, the teaching is still woefully rigid. Word on the block with locals (not expats) is that it can be very, very classist. www.scollege.cl
- Bradford – Bradford School follows the National Chilean Curriculum and also offers the Baccalaureate. All lessons are in English until middle school. There is one teacher at every grade level who speaks English fluently, however I’m told the English isn’t always 100% error free. Again it depends on your priorities, but when we investigated it seemed that many teachers only had a basic knowledge of the language. This wasn’t an issue for us, but if English language is a priority for you, you might like to double check. On the whole admin staff do not speak English at all, so it’s helpful for parents to speak some Spanish. Physical education is compulsory from Pre Kinder (age four), and religion is offered on a voluntary basis. Facilities are excellent and older year groups also have access to the nearby Manquehue Club for sports such as hockey, tennis, rugby and athletics. Tardiness is penalised very strongly ― gates shut at exactly 8.10am and any parent arriving after then must wait until 9.30am when their child is picked up and taken to the classroom. Tardiness is recorded and parents get a ‘dressing down’ if their child is late too many times, while older children receive Saturday morning detention. This may seem harsh, but it’s all part of the focus on values here. Inclusion, fairness and innovation are Bradford cornerstones and their motto is ‘Todos somos iguales’ ― ‘we are all equal’. As of March 2019 feed for PreKinder to Kinder are roughly $3,500,000 CLP per child per year, with an additional $1,500,000 CLP ‘incorporacion’ fee per child per year. bradfordschool.cl
- Colegio Cordillera – this is a boys school based in Las Condes (but towards Lo Barnechea) which teaches according to Catholic values following the Opus Dei foundation. The school is noted for its academic excellence, routinely coming within the top of the league tables. Like most Santiago schools, the admission process is especially tough and it really takes into consideration the Catholic values of the family in question, and other connections to the school. It has fostered a really strong community among its parents and teachers, and really looks to see an active participation from the families themselves. I especially appreciated how in the admission process, at least for younger children there is no exam as such, but a follow up ‘maturity evaluation’ with the child. I agree with them – testing a four year old is idiotic! www.colegiocordillera.cl
- Colegio Everest – a large, Catholic school based in the Lo Barnechea suburbs which gets decent academic results. Everest offers a nursery from one year and education right up until 17 years of age. While the school is mixed, classes are separated by gender from the age of about six upwards. There is a strong emphasis on Catholic values and the school puts a real focus on children’s emotional wellbeing, as well as their academic progression. There is more of a focus on English in the earlier years, but as children progress the classes switch to Spanish in later year groups. Although, in truth it’s a very Spanish speaking school and English is very much on the side lines. I really appreciated its colourful, playful, caring atmosphere, as well as its teacher and administrative professionalism. It also seemed to have much better anti bullying policies in place than many other schools. As well as an one hour exam with the child, parents are interviewed as part of the admissions procedure. www.colegioeverest.cl
- Colegio del Verbo Divino – a Catholic boys school which is partnered with the nearby girls school, Villa Maria Academy. Based in Las Condes, the school is praised among Chilean friends I know for its personal approach to teaching. Whether your child has a passion for sport, art, music or academia, the school will look to support your child. While the level of English is apparently lower than that at the Villa Maria girls school, and the school is by no means international, most teachers do speak English. All parents that I have met are from Spanish speaking countries, however. While your kids would undoubtedly be made to feel welcome in this lovely school, it’s worth remembering that parents are heavily integrated and if you don’t speak Spanish you may struggle. There is a strong focus on religious values throughout the school and parents will need to show their commitment to the Catholic faith in order for their child to be considered. The thing I liked most about this school is it’s genuine focus on simplicity and charity. The school has seen some very famous names (politicians, businessmen etc) through its door, and while Santiago is in itself a very classist, elite city, this school really does its best to teach kids the importance of selflessness and compassion. Again, as mentioned, parents are encouraged to get involved in the school community. The kids I’ve met who go here are really kind. www.cvd.cl
- Montessori Cuidadela – a small, progressive school based in Las Condes which follows the Montessori teaching method. While parents tell me that the school espouses Catholic values, it is very open to other faiths. The school is praised among my friends for its novel approach to education, which sees its pupils expanding on wider themes through a series of different activities, getting kids to think creatively outside the box, rather than follow by rote. Parental participation is actively encouraged and teachers are very much in touch with parents to ensure every child is supported both academically and emotionally. One of my friends was especially impressed how her child had grown in confidence and really learned to take responsibility since starting school here. It’s an all Spanish school, so perhaps not the best choice for older kids with no knowledge of Spanish. www.ciudadela.cl
It’s also worth bearing in mind that:
English, bilingual or international schools – as mentioned in my last post, international schools vary, and may not be as ‘international’ as other schools your child has attended previously). Some supposedly ‘international’ schools employ teachers who speak English brilliantly, but not 100% fluently. There have been reports of poor level of English in some allegedly international / bilingual schools. Some employ very different teaching methods to other international schools your child may be used to, and a much more relaxed format. A mention on the website that the school follows the Cambridge exam system or another British system does not necessarily mean it offers a similar level of education to other international schools worldwide. If you don’t speak Spanish, but are keen to send your kids to a purely Spanish speaking school, remember that Chilean schools typically give a lot of homework, and you might struggle to help them if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch.
‘British’ schools – None of the schools in Santiago are British, but some are members of the Association of British Schools in Chile, which does have membership requirements. Just to clarify – there is no specific British curriculum other than the English National Curriculum. There is however the Cambridge International programme which is similar to the English National Curriculum, and is taught in many schools here, but it is not the same. ‘British style’ schools in Santiago may also vary widely in their general approach to discipline, routine and vales than other schools you may be accustomed to in the UK. I went to a very British boarding school as a child and Chilean schools feel rather different.
Catholic schools – the level to which the school devotes itself to Catholic values varies widely from school to school. Some will only accept students whose families are strongly committed to the Catholic faith, others accept students of all backgrounds. For some, mass takes place on a daily basis and first communion is celebrated within the school, for others it is expected that parents organise this in their own time. For some schools, Catholic values and traditions permeate into teaching on a variety of different levels, and the wider ethos of the school, for others, the values are set more loosely by the parents themselves.
Fees – most schools do not publish their school fees, and as they are updated routinely, it’s best to check directly with the school in question. All schools I know of charge an application fee (to cover the exam etc) which can cost anything from about the equivalent of $20 to $200 USD. On top of this comes an initial incorporation fee per child (also applicable for siblings) which can cost anything from around $3000 to over $12,000 USD. Annual fees come on top of this. Application results come at different times and you may find your child is accepted to your second choice of school, but you’re still waiting to hear from your first choice. In this way you may feel forced to pay the incorporation fee to hold your space, while waiting to see if you got into your first choice. It’s worth checking to what extent your company will support these payments, if at all. In any case it pays to budget for all eventualities.
League tables – every year there is a ranking of students (PSU) and a league table is drawn up with the top performing schools. In 2020 the results published (click here for a media report) showed the top performers. While this ranking gives you an idea of the schools with high academic results, don’t get too hung up with the stats. Some schools refuse to take children with special needs, others are inclusive. Needless to say the inclusive schools might not do as well in terms of the PSU table, but individual children might actually perform to higher standards there. Equally, some children were unable to take the PSU test due to the recent protests and this also skewed some school’s results.
Mixed co-ed vs single sex – some schools accommodate both genders up to a specific age group, then convert to single sex. Others, are mixed schools, but split classes according to gender, some organise mixed gender break periods, while others separate according to gender. Some offer activities and trips with other schools in order to mix the genders, others do not. It’s worth asking where your school stands on the issue.
Extra curricular facilities – Most school days finish around 12.30pm/ 1pm for the younger age groups, and then until 3.30pm for the older groups (the Chartwell is a notable exception). Some offer lunch in school, others don’t. Some schools will offer facilities such as school buses (for an extra fee) which can be very practical for parents living in another are of the city or with children at multiple schools. Others offer extra curricular play groups, music lessons and sports classes which can be a great way to keep your child entertained until a more suitable pick up time and to avoid picking up your children at different times all across the city.
Bullying – Bullying isn’t a Chilean thing, nor is it restricted to any particular school, but we definitely noted a difference in the ways schools responded. Some showed us fancy PowerPoints and waffled about zero tolerance but when we pressed the schools to back up this up with examples and detail their procedures, they were clueless. Does your school have a deadline for responding to concerns from a parent or child? Do child psychologists / mentors routinely monitor classes and what is their response procedure? How does the school prevent bullying in the first place?
Moving to Santiago de Chile? Click here for my resources page which includes a directory of my go to places in Santiago.
I really enjoy reading your summary of schools in Santiago. just in time while I’m looking for a place for my girl. I found 2 other great options through you 🙏!
Can I ask you for which school you finally decided and / or also got excepted?
Thank you, that’s great to hear. I can’t publish the name of my kids’ school on the blog but I can say that we were lucky to get into all the schools we liked. We were refused from a couple of international schools, but that’s OK. Our priority was finding a local school with a good level of Spanish and a strong ethos of companionship. I hope you find your perfect match! x
Thanks for the post, You are a great witer!
Did you research the Saint George School?, any comments?
Oh I’m blushing! 😉 Funnily enough the St George was on our list but we were too late for the admission process. I have heard very good things about this mixed Catholic school. I’ll try to find out more and add it to the list. In the meantime, it’s definitely one to consider if you’re looking for a academic, Catholic school. Watch this space…
Thanks for your post “The Best Schools in Santiago”. I enjoy your writing and the post is very useful!! I have a question about about Chartwell School. When you said:
“As the teachers were non native English speakers, and as we wanted more of a local…”
Did you mean that teachers at Chartwell school are or are not native English speakers?
Things might have changed since we looked round a couple of years ago. The teachers when we looked round were on the whole not native speakers of English. I don’t think this is an issue if they have spent a long time in an English speaking country, or are fluent speakers. However I heard a couple of the teachers making a some grammatical errors with the kids which made me cringe a little. More so, if you consider you’re paying a surcharge for the level of English. The teachers were lovely and I’m sure qualified to the eyeballs though, so it depends on your priorities.
This is also a common complaint at many supposedly ‘bilingual’ schools here. For us, a truly bilingual school was very difficult to find and in any case we wanted a less international and more local, Chilean feel. I know it’s horribly hypocritical, but it was very important for our kids to have Chilean friends, as opposed to expat friends who might leave every semester.
All I can add is that out of all my expat buddies here, I have not heard a single complaint against the Chartwell. And that I think is the most valuable sign.
Good luck with your search!
Al final cuál escuela escogió? Al menos su top 3. Saliendo de Chile puede aconsejarnos? Nos pareció muy apropiada su publicación.
Sorry for the delay – your message ended up in my spam. For security reasons I never mention where my kids go to school or even have been. Sorry.
All I can say is that the list here is all the schools that my friends’ kids go to. They are all great schools, and they’re also all very different. It really depends if you want something religious / secular, Spanish / bilingual/ international, then there’s the school fees and location to consider.
The most popular school among my friends is The Nido. The Chartwell is another popular choice. However neither were right for us personally.
I hope you manage to find your perfect school!
Hi Nina, kudos to you for all the work you did on your research. You didn’t mention Alliance Française, Santiago’s French School, which is also a favourite among the expat community. Regarding The Grange, your impressions are a little bit inaccurate since there are many students (and teachers) who are native English speakers, as opposed to other “English” schools in Santiago. Besides Nido, this is the one to pick if your priorities are English, Sports, Discipline and High Academic Standards.
The three schools I mention here are my top picks among all.
Thanks for your comments and how spooky – I was just updating my post today to add in the Alliance Francaise! The list of great schools is a long one, and I still have a few more I need to add in, but I prefer to speak firsthand to a variety of parents with kids there first.
I take your point re the Grange with its high level of academia, sports etc but to me it didn’t feel very British. (Not that that is a bad thing!)
As I say it’s very personal and this post is very much my personal impressions only. Any parent really needs to visit in person, with the child.
They’re all great schools, just not for every child.
Is there a montessori school in Santiago or surrounding suburbs which follows the american calendar, meaning long school break from June to August? We are an american expat family looking to be able to spend said summer months in the USA
Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. Not to my knowledge, I’m afraid. There is normally a winter break in July, but only for a few weeks max. Perhaps double check on Facebook – there is a group called Chile English K-12 Schools review – someone there might be able to help. https://www.facebook.com/groups/292233717641334
Muchas gracias por tu nota sobre las escuelas chilenas. Ha sido muy util! Quería preguntarte si conocés los colegios Craighouse y Lincoln international Academy. Somos una familia con cuatro hijos que nos estamos mudando a Chile. También, uno de nuestros hijos tiene necesidades especiales por presentar un cuadro de déficit de atención e hiperactividad. Tendrías algún colegio para recomendarme? Muchas gracias!
I replied to your other comment but just to add that my friends have raved about Craighouse, especially for it’s inclusivity and family feel. I am also a big fan of the Everest, but this is a devout Catholic school so it depends on your faith / attitude to faith schools. For me The Everest really looked at the individual child for a tailormade edcuation and has a wonderful team of psychologists.
Have you also considered the TIPS school? I understand it has a good inclusivity record too.
Quería preguntarte si conocés el colegio Craighouse y el Lincoln International Academy.
Somos una familia con cuatro hijos mudándonos a Chile pero uno de nuestros niños tiene necesitades especiales ya que cuenta con un cuadro de déficit de atención e hiperactividad. Cualquier dato será muy bienvenido.
Muchísimas gracias por toda tu ayuda en este blog!
I’m going to reply in English here so other readers can see it too, but let me know if anything is unclear and I’ll message you in Spanish.
So I asked around a few friends with kids at both schools and the general feedback was both schools are really good. Those with kids at Craighouse chose it because it had a family feel. They also appreciated it’s inclusive stance – they don’t just accept children with issues such as Down’s Syndrome, they actively welcome all children. From what I’ve heard Craighouse is very good at looking at the individual child and working around them for what is in their best interest, so for example one child who was very advanced academically had his classes more tailormade and he went from being unmotivated to very motivated again.
The Lincoln has great academics, however I hear some negative feedback from parents that kids are given too much homework, all for nothing. I have heard stories of kids feeling stressed out with their work and actually unmotivated to learn. Another friend complained that the homework was too much quantity, not enough quality – i.e. tedious, time consuming, demanding work which wasn’t helping her son. Having said this, I have read amazing feedback from other parents online (Facebook forums) saying that their kids are doing really well, especially academically, so I guess it depends.
Again, as I say these are very personal stories from just a few friends of mine. Every child is different, so please don’t go on my words alone.
Hope this helps!
Hi Nina, what a helpful blog. Do you know if all of the bilingual schools require students to sit an entrance exam in Spanish? Is it possible for children who are fluent in English but who are not yet Spanish speakers to attend these schools? Also, you mention the city traffic in other blogs. Would living in Las Condes and going to school in Vitacura or Lo Barnechea be a long trip for the children?
Thanks for your note. I can only speak from personal experience for the schools I visited, and from feedback from parent friends.
I’d say, yes, it is absolutely possible for non Spanish speaking children to attend these schools. However the extent to which your child will feel happy, settled and stimulated will depend on a lot of factors, especially age & personality.
I know one friend with a lovely, rather sensitive girl who struggled in a more Spanish speaking context and then went on to thrive at the Nido. Then again, my children didn’t really speak any Spanish before they arrived, and we immersed them in a local nursery, and from here they adjusted to a Spanish speaking school no problem.
I will add that not all exams are adapted for English speakers, and even when they are, they can still fall short. My kid ‘failed’ his exam at one school because he couldn’t speak English properly (?!). I know I’m biased but I think the fact that my son was unable to understand the teacher’s English had a lot to do with it!
I’d ask how the school accommodates non native Spanish speakers. Some schools are very understanding, supportive and clued up, some are rather clueless.
Re the traffic – we lived in Las Condes and drove to a school in Lo Barnechea. I won’t lie – the commute wasn’t fun. We had to be sure to leave at 7.10am… if I left it to even 7.15 I’d run the risk of running late. It was a daily battle! The worst thing was all the parties and playdates my kids got invited to. You can imagine the fun of picking up one kid at one time, then driving back for another kid at another time, then returning to drop off for a party… Rush hour was hell. If we left on time and traffic wasn’t too bad I could do it in 30 mins, but generally it would take 45 minutes. However in traffic I’d be looking at 2 hours, and my record was over 3 hours. Urgh.
There are school buses which can save parents’ lives but they can be costly. And if your kid is dropped off towards the end of the journey, they’ll be stuck in a van for a very, very long time.
I know a lot of friends who move to Vitacura / Las Condes first just because they prefer the busier feel to it. Then, when they’ve made friends and got a clearer idea, they move closer to the school wherever that may be.
The commute from Las Condes to Vitacura isn’t far, however. Again it depends on whereabouts exactly, but generally speaking it wouldn’t be an issue.
Hope this helps and good luck!
Hola!! Alguna opinión del Trewhelas?
Primero perdona mi espanol.. hace mas de un ano que no vive en Chile y me falta la idioma!!
Para el Trewhelas … He escuchado cosas buenas, pero no tengo amigas con niños allí, así que no puedo confirmarlo con certeza.
Siendo puramente ‘word of mouth’, he oído que es un colegio pequeño y amigable. El inglés está bien, pero no es bilingüe, por lo que es posible que deba complementarlo en casa si el inglés es muy importante para usted (sin embargo, también he escuchado algunos decir que el nivel de inglés es bueno, así que supongo que depende de sus expectativas) . También escuché que es menos caro que algunas otras opciones, pero ha habido algunos aumentos de los precios, y de que toda la inversión se destina al sede de Chicureo y el colegio de providencia necesita algo de atención. No puedo confirmar con certeza, como dijo es solo ‘word of mouth’ . Quiza vale la pena preguntar en este grupo tb: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292233717641334/
Hi Nina! Your blog has been so helpful for me! Thanks so much!! 🙂
My name is Ana Ines, I’m from Uruguay. I’ve been living in Madrid… I’m living in Rome now… and at the end of September I will be moving to Santiago 🙂
I have three kids and of course I’m looking for a good school for them. I read you didn’t want to say which school you choose, but you sent your kids to an only spanish language college? It was good for your kids? If it was good… you really don’t want to tell me the name? 😉
In Rome my kids were in an IB school, so at the beginning I started looking for something similar in Santiago. But now I read so many bad things about them, things like bulling, discrimination, classism… so I decided to look for something different. I want my kids to feel comfortable, have great friends and to enjoy.
Now I’m looking for schools such as la scuola italiana, deutche school, the allianza francesa, Pumahue, TIPS, Wenlock (I know this last two are internationals, but I read good things about them). Do you know someone in this schools?
Lastly, I’m moving to Santiago without knowing which school I’m going to choose, so I really don’t know where to look for a house. Do you think I could rent in Lo Barnechea? Or is it too far away in case I decide for the Alianza Francesa (Vitacura).
I know you are not living anymore in Santiago, so I appreciate a lot if you help me. By the way you write you made me really trust in your opinion. 🙂 thanks so much Nina!
Hi Ana Ines,
Thank you for your kind words re the blog. This blog post was very personal, but I’m glad it was helpful.
As I’m no longer in Chile I can confirm my kids were at the Colegio Everest. Now, it is a Catholic school and religion is very much integral to the teaching. I am atheist and that was no problem to the school, but my children are very much brought up in the Catholic faith, my husband is a devout practitioner and Christian values are very important for us. I am not sure what your background is, but I wanted to make this clear in case religion is not a key aspect in your school search. The Everest was a wonderful school for our kids and we are now trying to find something similar in our next country moves. It is very focused on values (charity, caring, forgiveness, solidarity, community etc), the teachers are very passionate, there is a very welcoming family atmosphere (the parents were incredibly kind to me, I got so many messages offering help ALL the time) and the staff are very clued up in terms of educational psychology. As a plus, the parents and teachers were really kind. Yes, I am told there are some v wealthy parents there, but honestly everyone was very down to earth. No snobbery, zero discrimination. Thoroughly lovely parents and teachers.
In terms of bullying, discrimination, classism at other schools – I wouldn’t say it depends on whether the school follows an IB system or something else. It’s perhaps a little more complex. To be honest, the best way to see if the school is a good fit would be to visit it, or ask open questions. For example, when I asked some schools regarding their bullying policy, I felt I was being fed an advert, whereas the Everest was very open and professional (They explained that YES bullying does exist, here’s how we deal with it etc) and they were very open to dialogue. Same re inclusivity. One elite school fed me an excuse that they didn’t have the infrastructure for wheelchairs and special needs… I was pretty disgusted to be honest.
As for the schools you mention, I know of people who have kids in these schools, but not directly. They differ in style quite considerably though, I understand.
Lastly re renting a house. In terms of the pandemic, I’m not sure Santiago is really opened up yet. I would personally rent a house with the best lifestyle for your current needs in mind. I rented in Las Condes and we had a horrid trek out every morning with traffic to Los Trapenses, however it was for the short term. If we stayed longer we would have found a house closer to the school. As you’re not sure on the school yet, I’d get a house where you’ll feel the most safe & comfortable and take it from there. I know a few friends who found it so though with small kids in an apartment in more central areas who moved out to the suburbs for the luxury of a garden. The pandemic has been especially tough for kids in Chile I feel.
Don’t trust my opinion too much. It’s so personal! I hope you find the right school for your kids soon. I know it’s a very stressful process so hang in there!
All the best
PS I’m moving to Uruguay soon – any tips for me?!
I cant believe you are moving to Uruguay!! Such an amazing coincidence!!!!!! 🙂 Are you going to Montevideo? I can help you in anything you need. All my family and friends are there, so ask me whatever you need! 🙂 Uruguay is so easy, small, quiet, great people, beaches and countryside, great weather… you are going to love it with kids. What information do you need?
Thanks so much for all the information about the schools. I will check on Everest. Nice to know there is good people there. Thanks!!
Great to know about traffic. I’m looking for a place in Vitacura, cause somehow I think it’s quite in the center. And its going to be the same distance if the school is in Chicureo, Lo barnechea o Las Condes. Maybe I’m wrong… and I should look for a beautiful garden a little in the outside. Don’t know yet.
Anyway, thanks so much for your kind words…
Lets keep in touch! 🙂 Hugs!
Thank you Ana Ines! I’ll drop you an email. What a small world indeed! x
Hi Nina! how about Bradford and Wenlock? my kid don’t speak Spanish. can you give us some suggest?
Hi Amy, so I asked some friends…
I heard great stuff re the Wenlock. Brilliant facilities (great for sports and great library in particular apparently), very good academically, great teachers. She mentioned the other parents were also v nice and down to earth. I appreciate it’s the school you care about, not the parents, but this is also a good sign perhaps. Apparently the admin staff are not all the friendliest kids on the block, and the entrance procedure is v tough (like crazy hard). I think the headmaster is British (think!) and the school is quite good re the English side of things.
Re the Bradford, I also hear good stuff in general. There is less focus on sports compared to the Wenlock I hear and facilities not quite as impressive. I hear the English is good, not amazing, but good. The classes can be quite large (like up to 32 in some cases). I understand there were some changes in management and staff changes over the last few years, and I have no idea if this has impacted on the school for the better or the worse.
I never personally visited either school; these are just impressions from friends with kids there. As I say please do check them both out for yourself. I was told a school was horrible and I visited and loved it. It’s so personal!
I hope you find the right place for your kids.
All the best,
Thanks for sharing, very helpful advice. Wishing you and your family good health and happiness
Hi!! Sorry to bother you as I know you are not living in Chile anymore but did you gather any feedback regarding Dunalastair school? Thanks
You’re not bothering me! We’re all in this life abroad thing together 🙂
Right, re the Dunalastair. All in all I hear it’s a good school. It’s certainly on the list when people talk about good schools in Chile.
However, I personally didn’t look at this school for a few reasons – like many schools in Chile you pay a premium for ‘English’ but I wasn’t convinced the English was that worth it. I hear English is good, but the teachers do make the occasional slip up. Things may have changed since I investigated though, so do check for yourself. I heard that the school was really pushing English going forward and making some changes so things may have changed since I was there.
I understand the school went through some changes in staff and the curriculum too so undoubtedly things have changed since I was there. You might want to check how ‘stable’ the school now feels if that makes sense?
Also we wanted Catholic and this school is not religious. Again, depending on your preferences this could be a good thing.
I think sports is quite strong too, which again is good or bad depending on your preferences and your kids. The traditional sports thing isn’t really our bag as a family, so it wasn’t right for us. I heard sports were really encouraged v strongly which again depends if you like this or not.
Also, I’m not sure about the option of extra curricular fun stuff (in case that is important to you?)
Finally as there are two campuses you might want to check which works best for you in terms of atmosphere, facilities, commute.
I don’t know close friends with kids there but word on the block it’s a good school with happy kids.
Like all schools, you might want to check their anti bullying policy. This was a deal breaker for us for many schools. I felt a lot of schools just didn’t take bullying seriously, just pretended it didn’t happen and pushed it under the carpet. I’m not suggesting Dunalastair is bad in this regard, just to make sure you ask open questions in all your choices and see their response. Some supposedly ‘elite’ schools felt woefully lax on bullying to me.
Again, to highlight my kids didn’t go to this school, I was only in Chile a year or so ago… so do check for yourself.
Hope this helps!
Hi Nina, Your blog is awesome, thank you for doing this! My son is moving to Santiago with his mom for 4-8 years. They will likely live near Las Condes or Providentia. He is 6.5 years, Peru/US passports, totally bilingual, creative, funny, social. His mom suddenly learned they must be there only two months from now, for her job! What have you heard about San Gabriel? We seek coeducational, secular.
Hi, thanks for your lovely words.
Re the Saint Gabriel- I didn’t visit it myself but I have friends with kids there, and both parents and kids are generally happy.
Perhaps one downside is that there isn’t much green on site, but there is a great stadium the kids go to once a week by bus.
The English level is good, but teachers aren’t native level speakers, if that matters to you.
I understand there were some teething issues getting into online learning at the outset of the pandemic but now things are running more smoothly.
Despite the name, the school is secular (it is named after the street)
I think it’s a popular choice for its location too, for parents living in providencia it’s a great, and convenient choice.
I hope this helps!
Dear Nina, this is an excellent article you’ve written here! Thank you, all these insights have gone a long way in helping us make an informed decision. We’re a family with two 2 kids under age 6, planning to move to Santiago in the near future. Being from Asia, we are also a multi-lingual family, and given the young age of our children, language development is a very important factor in their education. Having native English teachers is therefore quite high up on the priority list. Other than Nido, would you recommend any other schools with native or near-native teachers?
Secondly, which schools are really catered toward international families (non-Spanish speaking), as I notice that even among the “international” group, many families are actually either from neighboring Latin American countries, or from a Spanish-speaking background. We’re afraid that school communications and parent-teacher engagement would consequently be difficult for non-speakers like us.
Honestly in this respect I could only vouch for the Nido. I’ve heard other schools are great but in terms of the language I don’t think others compare. All my expat friends with minimal Spanish had their kids at the Nido, or ended up sending them there.
Yes the Santiago College has a good level of English but I’m not sure how they fare on parent communication (my friends with kids there speak Spanish). Also for the SC I think it varies a lot- my personal experience wasn’t so good (my kid was marked down for being quiet (!) but he told me couldn’t understand the teacher’s accent). I’m not saying my kid is perfect though and you might find a completely different experience! I know other friends LOVE it and the teaching is generally v good.
Another option is the Grange. Personally I found the communication a nightmare and while there were a lot of excellent native English speaking teachers when I was there I found it to be very Chilean oriented (not a bad thing, just perhaps not what you’re after).
I’m sorry this doesn’t add to your list but maybe it reassures you?!
I am a new art teacher for primary and secondary schools in the USA and also tutor international art students in English communication. In addition, I have a background in math and science (wildlife biology). I will be visiting a friend in Chile for 2.5 months, May-July 2022, to learn more about Chile and practice my Spanish and would like to find a short-term position tutoring or teaching English while I am there. Possibly you can direct me to a contact.
Thank you for your assistance.
Hi Linda, I’d recommend reaching out to each school individually. Just to clarify that even some bilingual schools might not have an English speaking admin dept, so do try be patient if your Spanish isn’t at the conversational level yet. The Grange and the Nido seemed to take in English speaking teachers, but I’m not sure of the recruitment process. While covid is still making things tricky hopefully you can pencil in some meetings.
Hi Nina… please I have 2 Internatioal students that need to school in Chile … which of the school in Chile do you recommend ?
Hi Jerry if you’re looking for a truly international school I’d say the Nido. There are other great (and cheaper!) options available, but this is the school that most of my foreign friends (especially those with non Spanish speaking kids) would send their kids to.
Great info Nina, so much useful info.
Any comments on Mayflower or SEKS?
So I don’t personally know anyone with kids at either school.
Going purely on what I’ve heard Mayflower is a Catholic school, but not as religious as other Catholic schools (for example the Everest, where we sent our kids). I’ve heard the English level is OK, and I mean JUST OK. In general I understand the community spirit is good. There was some controversy regarding how the school dealt with the shift to online in the pandemic. You night want to Google that and make up your own mind.
As for SEK, I’ve heard it’s quite focused on academics and discipline. For example, kids get a lot of homework. Whether you feel this is the right approach is of course up to every individual parent. Also, I’m not sure about the level of English – I’ve heard mixed reports, so that might be worth investigating if English is important to you.
As I say I’m no longer in Chile and this is going purely on what I’ve heard on the block, but not directly from any friends of mine. So take it all with a pinch of salt, and please do go and check them out for yourself if they’re of interest. (And remember to always ask open, non leading questions too!)
Wishing you all the best,
Thank you so much Nina, your work is simply amazing ! Thank you for helping so many people.
Yes feeling the same of what Ive heard, its so hard without actually being there…
Did you have any feedback con Lincoln?
Best Regards, hoping all is well in Uruguay!
So I hear that the Lincoln is pretty good for inclusivity. Again, I don’t have friends with kids there myself (if inclusivity is important to you I understand the Craighouse is v good in this regard).
I think the Lincoln is pretty decent in terms of English too. There were some changes while I was in Chile and some more recent changes re the Head too, so I’m not sure how this has impacted things. I understand it’s pretty academically driven, secular and rather small.
Hope this helps!
Hi Nina, Thankyou for such an informative blog! We are moving to Santiago with our 5 primary age kids in August and just looking at Schools and realizing what a nightmare admissions are, even when compared to London!
I had a question re Spanish. We are British and our kids don’t currently speak Spanish but a priority for us is that they learn it over the next 3 years. We are looking at Schools and ruling out places like Nido and Chartwell as they seem very English focused. However, even places like Santiago College and the Grange say they do the majority of their core subjects in English up until year 7. We will do everything we can to help them at home with their Spanish but wondered what your, or others, experience is with kids picking up Spanish (and to what degree) when the majority of teaching is in English? They talk about Spanish being the playground language, is this enough? We don’t want the worst of both where our kids are being left out in the playground and also not learning it in lessons!
Thanks so much
Thanks for stopping by my blog. So firstly, I would say the age of your kids is important. When I was in Chile my kids were very young (kindergarten age) so the language wasn’t such an issue and I was able to throw them in to a fully Spanish speaking environment. For older children, a more gentle transition might be more appropriate.
As for schools, it really depends. In my personal opinion, many schools claim to be bilingual / British but they are anything but. Like you, we prioritised Spanish so this wasn’t a problem for us, but I would say that most schools offer classes in English, but the main language is Spanish. On top of this at most schools, the language in ‘recreo’ is Spanish, so even if many lessons are in English, all the kids still converse together in Spanish. Birthday parties are in Spanish etc etc
I have many friends from the US & UK who sent their kids to the Nido and Chartwell and were very happy with the general level of education, however yes they are very good at English, and a lot of international kids go there.
It’s a tricky decision for you to make and it really depends on your kids. I have a friend whose kid went to a great Spanish speaking school but she spoke no Spanish and neither did her parents. She felt quite left out so moved to the Nido where she thrived. On the other hand, I am switching my kids to a moreSpanish speaking environment as I’m seeing my kids level of Spanish (and native English) slip.
I’m also not sure of your level of Spanish and general adaptability. My Spanish was pretty rusty and I managed to get by, thanks also to some very patient mamas helping me feel part of Parent-Child after school clubs etc. I know some parents who struggled to help their kids with Spanish homework, to read reports, to attend parent-teacher meetings, to help organise school events etc
Sorry not to give you a more clear cut answer but I think it depends on a lot your children’s character and age (how would they feel in a very Spanish speaking environment?), as well as your priorities. All the schools you mention have excellent academic records and this is important if you want your kids to stay at a level so they can easily shift back into another international / UK school later down the line.
One suggestion, if budget allows, would be to hire a Spanish speaking ‘nana’, to join extracurricular activities (gym, football, etc) and to get your kids speaking as much as possible (I ask my kid who struggles most in Spanish to order the coffee when we go out, for example).
Hope this helps, good luck