Q1 : What curriculum do you use?

We are a full range secondary school offering parents the opportunity to chose a continuous place of education for their child from grade 6 up to the time the apply for and enter university.

We deliver the SUIS East Meets West Curriculum adapted where required to give more relevance to international pupils. As they move to G9, students follow a 2-year IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) course, with selected options/electives. Students will sit for IGCSE examinations at the end of G10.

If good grades are achieved at IGCSE, then in Grades 11 & 12 students study for  the IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma or Certificate Programme).

Students who join SUIS in Grade 10 are offered the Pre-IB. This is a preparation year for subsequent entry to either of the two year IB courses in Grades 11 and 12, with emphasis on English language proficiency and a growing competence in the IB style of learning.

Q2 : University Entrance/ can my child enter overseas universities for example in USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Hong Kong etc.?

We are often asked, as we follow a curriculum based upon the English National Curriculum and the IB Diploma/Certificate programme , if these studies will be acceptable by universities in the USA.  The answer is definitely YES.  In fact we have survey evidence to show that many US universities look more favourably on GCSE/IB international students than they do on students with an overseas US High School Diploma.

Last year our Grade 12 Graduates all gained entry to universities of their choice in many different countries including USA, UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Hong Kong (35% of them gaining entry to universities rated in the top 1% of universities in the world … including Cambridge University(UK) which last year was rated No.1 in the world).

Students looking to enter US universities will usually be required to take a test of English ability (TOEFL) and an aptitude test (SAT) these have to be taken in registered centres for these test, of which there are many in shanghai (we are currently in the process of applying to become a registered SAT test centre ourselves).

We do all the required guidance and assistance with applications for university entrance ourselves.  We do not recommend the use of agencies in this.  Please note there are many agencies in Shanghai that will try to convince you that you need there very expensive and often generic services with regard to university applications, TOEFL and SAT tuition.  You do not!!  Anyone having a GCSE in English or having followed an IB course delivered in English should not require further tuition re these from an agency.  University applications are best dealt with by the in-house school guidance team. 

Q3 : When should I apply to join our school?

You are welcome to submit an application any time during the year; we do not have an application deadline. However, due to an ever-increasing number of students on our waiting lists at most grade levels; we do encourage you to apply as soon as you feel ready to enroll into Shanghai United International School Gubei Campus.

Q4 : Does school require admissions testing?

Once the completed form has been submitted to the admissions office, an admissions staff member will contact the parent and student to arrange an interview with a member of the senior management team and relevant entrance tests, to include an English language test.

Q5 : Importance of English levels …

The admissions process which includes written tests and interviews is particularly looking to see if a child’s English levels are sufficient for the year group they are seeking to be placed in.  If this is obviously not so then we do have the opportunity to recommend the parent’s look at placing the child for a time in an intensive English unit that the organization has established so that English levels can be raised and then the child can be retested for admission to the mainstream.  This unit is currently located at our Wan Yuan Campus but is a separate unit and not part of the Wan Yuan School. At GCSE level we enter children for either the English First Language GCSE or English Second Language GCSE.

At IB level students study for English A (First Language) or English B (Second Language).  First Language/Mother tongue speakers cannot be entered for a Second Language exam.


Our school daily routine is from

8:20am until 4:30pm, Mondays to Fridays.

Timetabling of daily schedules/breaks during day. We have a 10 minute registration period at 0820 followed by two 50 minute curriculum lessons… then a 20 minute break followed by a further three lessons periods… then a 60 minute lunch.  The afternoon session three further 50 minute periods. The last period (period 8) on Wednesday is allocated as an Extra-Curricular Activity (ECA) period… The last two periods on Thursday are allocated as a Tutorial Period and House Meeting respectively and the final period on Friday is a Whole School Assembly.

Except for the programmed breaks there is no other programmed break between lessons.

Lessons are taught by subject specialists in that teachers room.  At the end of a lesson pupils will move to their next teacher (we expect this to take only a few minutes).

Allocation of teachers to classes.  Subject specialists are allocated to classes by liaison between the Head of Department and the Principal when the timetable is constructed.

Q7 : What is the Extra-Curricular Activity (ECA) period (period 7) on Wednesday?

Each semester pupils can choose from a list of offered ECA’s (please click here)

Q8: Can pupils take individual music tuition?

This is an optional activity arranged with individual instrumental teachers(please click here).  Pupil’s choosing Music as an optional elective subject at GCSE or IB level do need to be competent at an individual musical instrument and really need individual music tuition in addition to the timetabled music lessons..

Q9: What are some of the main differences between primary/secondary school?

Generally secondary schools use specialist teachers for every subject.  Primary schools more often use a general class teachers who teach a variety of subjects (although most do use some specialists).  Consequently secondary school pupils usually have a greater number and variety of teachers and usually change teacher and subject at the end of every lesson period.

Q10: What are some differences between international/Chinese education?

Local Chinese schools often have far greater numbers of pupils in a class  (40, 50 even 60 is not uncommon)  this can influence the type of teaching, these numbers generally favour whole class teaching.  With smaller numbers in an international school class we would expect a greater variety of teaching strategies from whole class teaching,  group work, pair work and individual activities.  Memorisation and Recall of facts is not seen as a particularly high level skill and we are looking to develop understanding of concepts, application of understanding, the ability to link concepts and the ability to be creative.

Teachers in an international school generally have higher teaching loads and each teacher is not expected to act as a home-school liaison person/ home or hospital visitor.  For contact with home-school contact we have a structured communication/contact policy  (please click here for more information)

Q11: Can you tell me some of the differences between your school and other schools?

Every school has its own strengths.

At SUIS, we try to enable international education to be affordable, rather than the very high-cost fees required by other schools.
We reflect the multi-faceted international community in Shanghai and give due respect to the richness of Chinese culture.  SUIS is certainly not an enclave for the children of well-off expats.
Most other international schools are typically either very Chinese or very western.  SUIS builds bridges between both educational cultures. SUIS students benefit from the school’s “East meets West” mission. They understand more about multi-cultural perspectives and prepare themselves to become tomorrow’s global citizens.
As a result of the low student-teacher ratio, our staff can focus more closely on the individual needs of each student.

Q12:What are some of the special strengths about your school?

SUIS strives to combine the very best of East and West. This is not only reflected in the curriculum – where the study of Chinese is given a high priority – and also at school management level where SUIS implements a Co-Principal Systems. With one Western and one Chinese Principal, we believe we can meet the needs of both Asian and Western parents and students.

Q13: When does your school year begin and finish?

School begins late-August/early-September and concludes at the end of June. The academic year runs on a semester basis. The SUIS calendar meets international school requirements and also accommodates the national Chinese holidays.
Please click here for the school calendar

Q14: What are the class sizes?

The maximum class size is 25, although most classes are much smaller than this.

Q15: Do student wear a school uniform?

We require all students to wear uniform from Monday to Friday during school hours. Students are required to acquire the uniform prior to joining the school and commencing classes. As ambassadors for the school, students are representatives of the school’s high expectations and standards. (Please click here for more information about uniform)

Q16: Does school provide bus transportation? How much does it cost?

We provide school bus services throughout Puxi and some areas in Pudong before and after school. The school has many bus routes available for students who live in different districts in Shanghai. The school bus is optional, as some families prefer to make alternative arrangements for transportation. Bus routes are flexible, from example a request for a pick-up/drop-off point to be added to an existing route can be considered. Bus transportation is also available following the extra-curricular activity program. This fee is not included in the tuition fee. The fee is between 690RMB to 1200RMB monthly, depending on the distance. Each school bus is staffed with a bus mummy who ensures the safety of the students on the bus.(Please click here for the detailed transportation rules)

Q17: How about the staff and staff recruitment?

The Principal at GuBei secondary campus, Mr. David Walsh, is a leader in the field of education with many years of experience in school management, both in England and the Middle East. He has brought with him immense knowledge and expertise and your child will greatly benefit from it.

All our western staff of the staff are English-Speaking.  We aim to recruit qualified teacher subject secondary age-range specialists with undergraduate degrees and teaching certificates or teaching degrees from their respective countries. Experience preferably in the English National Curriculum and/or the International Baccalaurette (IB) Diploma programme is strongly preferred.  The majority nationality of our western teachers is British.  We employ Chinese teachers to teach Chinese.

Recruitment of teachers  This is done by the Principal.  All teachers are western qualified teachers specialized in a particular subject area (with at least a Bachelor’s Degree in that area)(the majority nationality is British).  The primary method of recruiting is by a targeted advert for a specific post in a reputed professional journal (for example the British “Times Educational Supplement”)  followed by shortlisting of applicants and a subsequent interview. Previous employment references are taken before a contract is finalized.

Q18: Can you tell me the background of the school?

Our school was established by the Xiehe Education Organization, which is the biggest private education organization in China.

Q19: Which nationalities do you accept?

We accept students from all over the world if they can pass the entrance test. Unlike many international schools in Shanghai, we welcome Chinese students. The entrance procedures are the same as for other foreign students.

Q20: How do you assess your students?

The school emphasizes regular formative assessment (assessing regularly during the course) as well as summative end-of–semester examinations. Formative assessments include: individual presentations, research reports, group essays, posters, etc. Each student receives four reports per year:

1         Interim Report 1 (IR1) in October

2         Interim Report 2 (IR2) in January, at the end of 1st Semester

3         Interim Report 3 (IR3) in April, which sets targets for the final months of the year

4         Full Report in June.

Summaries of progress/effort in each subject are recorded in the pupils planner diary every 2 weeks.  Parents are asked to sign to acknowledge they have seen these entries.  These are particularly useful in allowing the senior management team of the school to monitor student progress and effort.  The pastoral team of the school will interview pupils with unsatisfactory effort and arrange interviews with parents if this persists.

There are at two formal parent-teacher consultations per year for each year group.

Q21: Tests/mid-year exams/end year exams … Each department will set regular topic tests in their lessons at appropriate points which will comprise part of the overall assessment (as will classroom performance, verbal contributions, homework etc.)

Whole School internally set exams, when the teaching timetable is suspended during that period, happen twice a year near the end of each semester.  Answer papers are reviewed with pupils in class but the completed exam papers are not sent home but retained in school for teacher reference and security.  If a parent has a particular issue with a certain exam result they should contact the Curriculum Vice Principal.

External exams… GCSE/iGCSE/IB Diploma/Certificate. These are set and marked and grades awardedby the examination boards.  We do not get the answer scripts returned to us.  (However it is possible to query an awarded grade if that is felt to be appropriate).

Pupil’s will be entered for the level of external paper that the school deems appropriate.  This will be made clear to parents at time of final registration (usually Jan/Feb of the year of entry),  previous reports will have been indicating the level that pupils are working at.  For most GCSE subjects there are two tiers of final entry Extended and Core.  Extended aims at GCSE Grades A*-D and Core at  C-G.  Pupils should only be entered for the extended level papers if their work shows them with a likely chance of a grade B or above in that subject.(Please click here)

IB course are done at Diploma or Certificate level overall.  Each subject can be at Higher or Standard level.  Diploma candidate need to do three subjects at Higher level  (please click here)

Q22: How much Homework is set? Homework is an important part of our work.

Please click here for the detailed homework policy..

Q23: How can parents be involved in the school’s daily work?

We are committed to fostering a strong partnership between teachers and parents, and the Parent Support Group (PSG)offers many ways to strengthen this partnership.
Please click here for more information about PSG.

Each class has its own Class Representative. Parents can join on a voluntary basis. Class Representatives selected by the parents attend regular school PSG meetings to share ideas with the senior management team, and hold informal coffee mornings. Parents are also warmly welcome to get involved in the voluntarily activities.

Q24: How do we monitor air quality with regards to outside activities?

The PE Department, in its continued commitment to safety first, will follow the Actions Taken as outlined below.  In addition to adhering to these specified actions, the PE Department monitors the Air Quality Index throughout the day and makes decisions at the beginning of each lesson to determine which action is to be taken.  This means if the AQI deteriorates in the course of a day then PE Lessons will be subject to the necessary actions.  In addition, if the AQI improves in the course of a day PE lessons will return to planned activities if the quality of the outside air is favourable.