Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As you work through the application process there will be many questions. We are here to help you and provide all the information you need! Below are some common questions perspective parents and students ask us.

What are your school start and end dates?

Our school year must include 180 teaching days, usually beginning the third week in August and ending mid-June. Holidays include the Korean national holidays, American Thanksgiving, three weeks at Christmas, a week during Lunar New Year, and a week for Spring Break. Take a look at our calendar to view the flow of a typical year.

What are your school hours?

Students attend school Monday through Friday from 8:10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Preschool students attend either 8:10 – 11:10 a.m. or noon – 3:00 p.m.

What are your class sizes?

Elementary School: The maximum class size is 14 students in Early Childhood (PS and JK), 20 in Senior Kindergarten, and 20 in Grade One. In Grades Two through Five, the maximum class size is 22 students per classroom. Teacher assistants are provided up to Grade Two. In addition, parents and high school volunteers may assist teachers in the classrooms.

British School: The maximum class size is 22 students per classroom in Year Reception through Year 9.

Middle School: The maximum class size is 22 students per classroom.

High School: Class sizes range from 5 to 25 depending on the course. Lower division classes tend to have more students while some specialized upper division courses can have very few students.

Do you over-enroll?

We can over-enroll by two additional students per classroom for embassy families or companies who hold debentures with SFS.

Do you provide school bus service?

We have a fleet of buses serving most of the expatriate residential areas of the city but are generally limited to driving routes that do not exceed one hour in driving time each way. Although we do our best to accommodate all families, we cannot guarantee school bus service. We will process bus request forms on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Do you have cafeteria services?

Preschool students bring a snack from home. All other students bring their lunch from home or purchase a hot lunch prepared by the school’s caterer. Menus are available in advance.

Do you have a dress code?

The British School has a uniform code. Students' main uniform is sold by Schoolwear International which can be linked here.

Elementary School students must adhere to a standardized dress code. White or red polo style shirts (short or long sleeved), khaki or black trousers, shorts, skirts, or skorts are acceptable. Shoes need to be closed toed and a pair of athletic shoes must be kept at school for Physical Education classes.

Middle School students must also adhere to a standardized dress code. White or red polo style shirts (short or long sleeved), khaki or black trousers, shorts, skirts, or skorts are acceptable. Only black or brown closed-toed shoes are allowed.

High School students do not have a dress code except for the basic need to adhere to neat, clean, modest, and safe dress. Students are requested to NOT wear crop tops, tops with spaghetti straps, halter tops, excessively tattered/torn pants, very short skirts or very short shorts to school. All students are to wear shoes or sturdy sandals at all times.

What amount of homework should my child expect?

British School: Year Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 students take home a reading book every night; Year 3 and Year 4 students spend approximately 45 minutes per night on homework; Year 5 and Year 6 students spend approximately one hour each night; and Year 7, Year 8, and Year 9 students can expect to spend anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes for homework each night. Each child has a Homework Organizer with assingments that parents can access.

Elementary School: The amount of time any student spends on homework assignments normally should not exceed 30 minutes per night for Grades 1-2 and 60minutes per night for Grades 3-5.

Middle School: Normally, sixth graders are assigned an average of about 90 minutes of homework daily; seventh and eighth graders about two hours. However, the amount of time a child spends each night will depend on his or her academic background, study skills, maturity level, and organizational skills.

High School: Normally, about 3 to 4 hours of homework per day should be expected; however, during exam times, more time may be necessary.

What foreign languages do you offer?

British School: French and Chinese are offered to students in Year Foundation and up.

Elementary School: Korean and Chinese languages are offered.

Middle School: Spanish, Chinese, or Korean are offered.

High School: Spanish, French, Chinese and Korean are offered

What school supplies do we need to bring?

British School: All school supplies are included in the cost of tuition and will be provided by the British School as needed.

Elementary School: ES supply list

Middle School: Grade 6 Supplies - Grade 7 Supplies - Grade 8 Supplies

High School: A list of supplies to be purchased for each grade level is available.

What is your student breakdown by citizenship?

It varies from year to year, but on average of the 1400-plus students on campus in the four divisions, 60% are US citizens; the remaining 40% represent 50 nations with the largest representations from United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, India, and Germany. The one thing all students have in common is that they are from somewhere other than Seoul, and that the majority of them are Third Culture Kids.

Where are your teachers from?

In the British School, the majority of the teachers are from the United Kingdom. While the majority of teachers in the other divisions are Americans, we also have teachers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Most of our foreign languages teachers are from their native countries. Over half of our teachers have earned their master’s or doctoral degrees and the average number of years of teaching experience is 12 years.

Are parents involved with the school?

They certainly are! Parents help us in many different ways: providing snacks, helping with field trips and special events, assisting with make-up and costumes for plays, helping students publish books, substitute teaching, serving on committees, and offering their expertise in sponsoring activities or clubs after school or on Saturdays. The list goes on!

Do you have after school activities?

School-wide: There are SWEP (School Wide Extra-curricular Program) activities going on every day which include Girls Scouts, Boys Scouts, ballet, gymnastics, Taekwondo, and soccer, to name just a few. There is also a PTA run Saturday Sports Program. Offerings in both programs change from semester to semester depending on instructor availability.

British & Elementary Schools: Key Stage 1 students, Key Stage 2 students and Elementary School students who participate in these activities do not have access to late activity buses for liability reasons. As such, parents are responsible for providing transportation.

Middle School: Four late bus routes are available to Middle School students who participate in these activities.

High School: The extensive list of activities includes special events, clubs, athletic programs, music programs and drama activities. Four late bus routes are available to High School students who participate in these activities.

Do you administer standardized tests?

British School: The National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) standardized tests in basic maths, maths application, reading and non-verbal reasoning are administered in April/May.

Elementary School: The Education Records Bureau (ERB) is administered in early February to Grades 2, 3, 4, and 5. Students take MAP testing three times a year and MAP Primary twice a year.

Middle School: The CTP4 is administered annually to students in Grades 6 through 8 along with MAP testing three times a year.

High School:
Grade 9: CTP
Grade 10: IGCSE Exams
Grades 10 and 11: PSAT
Grades 11 and 12:SAT I & II, IB Exams

What is IB (International Baccalaureate)?

The IB Diploma is a two-year program of studies with syllabi and external examinations developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The IBO awards an internationally recognized diploma that facilitates college admissions worldwide (based on a country’s prerequisites). Students who score high on IB exams may receive college placement or credit in American colleges/universities. Students will need two years (grades 11 and 12) to complete the requirements for an IB Diploma.

Where do SFS graduates go to university?

The majority of our graduates enroll at universities in the US, with the remaining students entering universities in the UK or their home countries. The goal is to find an appropriate match for each student – academically as well as socially. A wide range of universities including the most selective, hold SFS in high regard; they know that a student who graduates from SFS is well-prepared to succeed in the most competitive of environments. Click here for a a detailed list of college and university acceptances for the previous school year.

How long does the SFS application process take?

Typically, we begin accepting applications for the new school year (a year out) in September, begin processing them in January and begin offering enrollment in April. As soon as all of the required application-supporting documents are received, the application can be considered for admission if space is available at the appropriate grade level AND we are able to approve the application. If a grade level is at capacity, we will maintain a waitlist. We know that your child’s education is a major concern in your accepting the move to Seoul so our best advice is to complete the application process as early as possible.

How will you help my child make the transition to Seoul and SFS?

For new students beginning in August, New Student Orientation is offered the day before school starts. This is an opportunity for new students to meet other new students, teachers, counselor, principal, and to also to tour the school. In addition, for Middle and High School students it’s an opportunity to get their course schedule, meet up with their assigned "buddy,” learn their locker combination, and traverse the campus in search of their many classrooms.
For students beginning after the first day of school, the division counselor will assign them a "buddy” who is responsible for helping a new student through the first week of school.

Are there English Christian church services available in Seoul?

Yes, there are many. Seoul Foreign School would like to encourage your family to maintain contact with the Christian faith by attending the church of your choice during your stay in Seoul. A list of local English church services in Seoul is available here. As service schedules are subject to change, please contact the churches to confirm service times.

If our family is not Christian, can we be excused from religion classes?

Believing that any well-educated person should be exposed to Christianity, SFS requires all children to participate in the school’s religion curriculum. This curriculum introduces children to Christian teachings and values, but is non-denominational and non-evangelistic in orientation. SFS students come from a wide variety of religious orientations including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. They have participated in the school’s religion curriculum without experiencing discrimination or demand for conformance to a particular belief system. The format of the religion curriculum varies among the four divisions. With younger children the instructional program introduces students to Bible stories and Christian values, attempting to apply these stories and values practically to daily life. For example, discussions about responsible decision-making, life-long value formation and the formation of positive interpersonal relationships flow naturally from Biblical illustrations. High School religion courses not only inform students about Christianity but also encourage critical comparisons with other points of view. High school students select their religion courses from a variety of options. The school’s underlying Christian ethos is an important aspect of the Seoul Foreign School experience. Through the religion curriculum, students learn the basic tenets of Christianity and develop a deeper understanding of their own spirituality, which is worthy objective for all of mankind.
SEOUL FOREIGN SCHOOL
39 Yeonhui-ro 22-gil, Seodaemun-Gu
Seoul, Republic of Korea 03723
82-2-330-3100

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Welcome to Seoul Foreign School, a K-12 IB World School, founded in 1912. We are widely regarded as the leading international school in Seoul. We are a non-profit school where 100% of your tuition directly impacts student learning. Of the international schools in Seoul, we offer an unrivaled 100-year+ legacy of educational excellence, international diversity and commitment to educating the leaders of the future.

About SFS

Welcome to Seoul Foreign School, a Pre K-12 IB World School, founded in 1912. We are widely regarded as the leading international school in Seoul. We offer an unrivalled 100-year+ legacy of educational excellence, international diversity and commitment to educating the leaders of the future. We are a non-profit school where 100% of your tuition directly impacts student learning. 

Admissions

We welcome the opportunity to meet you and show you a firsthand look at our campus. Contact us by email or by telephone to make an appointment. We understand a visit is not always possible. The entire admissions team is ready to help you in any way we can. 

Academics

The Elementary and Middle Schools follow a US-style curriculum. The British division follows the National Curriculum of England. In the High School Gr. 9-10 students may choose to take the IGCSE Program and for Gr. 11-12 we offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. Namsan Int'l Kindergarten is a PYP candidate school.

Athletics

SFS athletes develop character, responsibility, dedication, commitment, teamwork, leadership, and experience applicable in all areas of life.  While our teams enjoy winning results in competitive conferences, we measure success well beyond the win-loss column.

Fine Arts

Seoul Foreign School enjoys a long history of rich curricular and co-curricular performing and visual arts programs.  Over 90% of our students are involved in the arts each year and are showcased in our visual arts displays and over 40 annual public performances put on by our music and drama departments.  

Student Life

At SFS we care about the development of each individual student academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There are many choices for participation at SFS. We encourage students to not try to do them all, but to choose wisely. 

Alumni

With a history of over one hundred years, SFS has provided education for extraordinary Alumni. Today, more Alumni are becoming a part of our parent community. Having ‘Legacy’ students at SFS is a compelling testament to our tradition of excellence.

Giving

The Annual Fund provides additional resources to help continue the tradition of excellence at SFS. Your support provides many needs throughout the school, further enhancing our academic and extracurricular programs – setting us apart from other international schools in the world.

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