There’s always a lot to think about when moving abroad, but when you have a young family, there’s even more to consider. Although finding the right school for your children might feel overwhelming, you’re in luck: Basel is a wonderful place for families with international schools to suit every child.
Get to Know the Schools
Each school on the list below has its own strengths, so the main differentiator is likely to be the level of German that you’d like your child to acquire during their time here. When you’re browsing the list or visiting schools, it is important to consider the following; your child’s age, their aptitude for languages and the probable length of time you’ll stay in Basel. If you’re moving to the city with a young child, a bilingual school could ensure that they become rapidly fluent in German. However, if you’re moving with a teenager for a short-term work assignment, it might be best to minimise changes to their education. For more on these considerations, please see this article: Schools in Basel: Local vs. International.
Another thing to consider is the size of the school. This is a very personal choice and while some families may prefer the facilities and programs offered by a large institution, others may feel more comfortable with the more personal approach of a smaller school.
The good news is that international schools in Basel are all very used to welcoming new children and families and ensuring that they settle quickly into their new environment. Rest assured, there really is no ‘wrong’ choice! Whichever school you choose (including local Swiss schools), ‘Herzlich Willkommen’ and I wish you all the best on your upcoming move to Basel!
ISB - International School Basel
Located on three campuses in Basel-Land, ISB is open to students aged 3-19 and follows the IB programme in English, although over a third of students graduate with a bilingual diploma (unsurprising since the students represent over 60 nationalities!). The school has recently started a Dual Language Programme for younger students to encourage early proficiency in both English and German. As an ISB parent, I particularly like the huge range of extra-curricular activities on offer and the focus on athletics, with over 50 teams competing in a wide range of sports. I’ve also really appreciated the school’s Community Association which hosts many events throughout the year for new and returning families to ensure that both parents and children find new friends very quickly.
Primary School Aesch Campus - Arlesheimerstrasse 7, 4147 Aesch
Middle School Fiechten Campus - Fiechtenweg 72, 4153 Reinach
Senior School Reinach Campus - Fleischbachstrasse 2, 4153 Reinach
SIS - Swiss International School
This well-regarded school offers a bilingual German and English education from preschool to high school, with students working towards the Swiss Matura or IB diploma. This makes it a great choice for families who aren’t sure whether they’ll end up making the move permanent. The school uses the immersion method to ensure that students, whatever their mother tongue, rapidly acquire fluency in both languages. With native speakers as teachers, students are ‘immersed in a world in which everything happens in a different language….In addition to language acquisition, the immersion method promotes the children's general cognitive development, for example language awareness, creativity and thinking in alternative possible solutions.’
Erlenstrasse 15, 4058 Basel
Academia International School
Academia is a German/English bilingual school that offers schooling from kindergarten through to high school levels. It prides itself on being 'purposefully small', placing a great deal of value in student-teacher relationships. It follows both the Swiss system and British International Curriculum (IGCSEs and A Levels), allowing for easier transition into both systems. This makes it a good choice for families that may only be in Basel for a short time, but still want to expose their children to a bilingual learning environment. It also has locations in Zürich and Winterthur.
Primary School Bonergasse 75, 4057 Basel
Secondary School Steinentorstrasse 30, 4051 Basel
ELA Basel - The Swiss-British School of Basel
The Swiss-British School of Basel, located on two campuses in the centre of Basel, provides childcare and education for children aged from 3 months to 12 years old. The school’s strong German language programme has resulted in a rare transition agreement with Basel-Stadt, so that graduating students can enter Swiss secondary school without any other assessments. The school also provides wrap around care (7.30am - 6pm) making it ideal for working parents.
Gartenstrasse 93, 4052 Basel
BKA International School
Located across four campuses in Basel, BKA International School educates at Preschool, Kindergarten and Grades 1-6. The school offers a bilingual English and German education taught by native speakers and follows the Primary Years Programme (PYP), a curriculum established by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Academic Programmes. As a Basel-based school, the children are encouraged to learn about Swiss traditions and holidays such as Vogel Gryff and Fasnacht in order to help with integration.
Kindergarten and Daycare Gellertstrasse 37, 4052 Basel
Schützengraben 35, 4051 Basel
Alemannengasse 22/24, 4058 Basel
Lower Primary School Gellertstrasse 25, 4052 Basel
Upper Primary and Secondary Rittergasse 20, 4051 Basel
Ecole Française de Bâle
Popular with francophone families, EFdB follows the official French National Education programme and was excellent for my children, who’d been attending school in Paris prior to our move to Basel. The quality of language teaching is high and, in addition to French, the children have lessons in English and German. The elementary school has recently added a 6ème (age 12) so that children can switch to the local Swiss system more easily. Some children, like my own, move to other international schools in the area to continue their secondary education and others transfer to French secondary schools just over the border.
Preschool and Daycare Dornacherstrasse 192, 4053 Basel
Primary School Engelgasse 103, 4052 Basel
Outside Basel Stadt and Basel Land
Ipso! International School
Located in Rheinfelden, Ipso! International School offers bilingual childcare education for children aged from 1.5 to 16 years old. The primary school follows the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and is also state-approved, meaning that children can transfer between either the local system or other international schools. Children who continue onto the secondary school also follow both the cantonal curriculum while also preparing for the International General Certificate of Secondary Years Education (IGCSE) and are therefore well-equipped to transfer to another school for their final years of schooling.
Bahnhofstrasse 26, 4310 Rheinfelden
The Black Forest Academy
Located in southern Germany, within a short drive of Basel. The Black Forest Academy provides ‘quality, international Christian education that equips students to influence their world through biblical thought, character and action’. Unlike other schools in the area, The Black Forest Academy is open to both day and boarding students.
Hammersteiner Str. 50, 79400 Kandern, Germany
There are many excellent school choices in Basel, including the Swiss local system. I hope this short introduction to Basel's international schools helps you to find the school that best suits your family.
Asha has lived in Basel-Stadt since 2018, but has previously lived in England, France and the US She loves exploring Switzerland with her husband, two children and dog. Her hobbies include hiking, travelling, spinning and reading.