St. John’s is a private international school, founded in 1964 in Waterloo, Belgium – a tree-lined, historic town providing all the services families may need. It has been the first choice for expatriate and local families in Brussels for over 50 years. As the only school in the area that is part of a leading global group of premium schools, our students receive a unique international education with lifelong global opportunities.
As early adopters of the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Brussels, we have a long-standing reputation of delivering academic excellence that supports our students to explore, grow and learn in an exciting, engaging, and dynamic way.
Our international school is renowned for its supportive, joyful and welcoming community feel. We are dedicated to encouraging the unique talents of each child so they can grow to engage with the world and impact upon an inter-connected and global future.
The St. John’s International School Experience
‘Congratulations to the class of 2022 on an exceptional set of IB results. It has been a demanding journey with many unforeseen challenges, but these results are a testimony to the perseverance, hard work and talent of this cohort. I am incredibly proud that they have realised their ambitions and know they are well-prepared to continue to build on this success at many of the top Universities and beyond.’
- Dr. David Brooke, Head of School
EARLY LEARNING SCHOOL
In our Early Learning School, we lay the groundwork for our students to develop 21st-century skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and negotiation.
The programme focuses on the total growth of the developing child, addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic development.
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is open to students aged 11 to 16. It provides a learning framework that encourages intellectual challenge and connections between studies in traditional subjects and the real world. The MYP focuses on eight subject groups, providing students with a broad and balanced education.
In High School, the students will be preparing for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP). The IB DP is a two-year program that offers students the opportunity to engage in intellectually stimulating academic studies, providing a world-class preparation for university and life beyond.
Welcome from the head of school
St. John’s is a wonderful place to grow, work and learn. It is a learning community in which we expect as much from our students as we do from ourselves. We are lifelong, passionate, caring, inquisitive learners who work daily to create a more understanding and sustainable world.
Our international school is inclusive and is exclusive. We live in the real world and wrestle with global issues. We are comfortable with paradox and understand life as a continuum. We nurture wellbeing and build confidence. We strive for academic excellence whilst valuing hard work and collaboration. We are internationally minded and celebrate diversity.
We value our own identity, knowing our presence enriches the community.
If you’d like to experience the spirit of St. John's International School for yourself, it would be my pleasure to show you around and introduce you to our community.
I look forward to meeting you.
International Schools in Belgium: FAQ
What is the school system like in Belgium?
Figuring out how education in Belgium works can seem intimidating.
After all, each of the three language communities has their own school system and ministries for education. Hence, you will find an extensive range of schooling styles and levels, and regulations will vary.
Most Belgian children are enrolled in free public schools or subsidized religious schools. Unfortunately for many expats, this system rarely offers dual or multilingual education, and the administration is not used to providing appropriate transcripts when families relocate or return home.
Are international schools better?
Belgium is an international hub for politics and business and is situated in the heart of Europe. As a result, Brussels especially boasts a wide variety of private schools offering country-specific curriculums, internationally recognized qualifications, or an alternative style of education. The top international schools offer the International Baccalaureate, and St. John’s is the only premium Internationals School that offers the IB continuum programme from Early Learning throughout the Primary and Middle School years all the way to the IB Diploma Programme. This approach guarantees the best preparation for the diploma itself and the greatest flexibility when moving on to the next assignment.
While being an English-language International School, St. John’s can look back on a long history of language learning. French is, therefore, taught throughout the school in the form of a dual-language programme in the primary years and with advanced and beginner options in middle and high school. Many of our teachers are fluent or native French speakers. This expertise is reflected in a record-breaking 50% of our whole cohort achieving the prestigious Bilingual Diploma.
How to choose the best international school in Belgium?
It is important to look at the school’s accreditation. St. John’s is recognized as an International Baccalaureate Continuum school by the IB organization, is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CoIS), the Middle States Association (MSA) and the European Council of International Schools (ECIS). Additionally, the school offers Advanced Placement course support, which is much sought-after by the top US universities, and fully flexible boarding options for the modern internationally mobile family and tailored programme for children with special educational needs (SEN).
If the child is nearing graduation, it may be wise to look at the school’s history of academic excellence. At St. John’s, we produce IB DP results consistently and significantly above the world average and have a dedicated Academic and University Counsellor to offer support; facilitating placement at the best higher education institutions around the globe.
Also, ensure a wide variety of extra-curricular offerings and a well-balanced curriculum, two hallmarks of a St. John’s education.
Last but not least, come and visit. Absorb the energy and spirit of the school. A warm and welcoming community will, in the long run, have a significant influence on the well-being of everyone involved, the happiness of the student, and the resulting academic performance.
What is it like attending an international school in Brussels?
It can offer a stimulating and well-balanced experience in an environment that opens the mind to various perspectives. We believe St. John’s to be a perfect environment for international as well as local students to perfect their study habits and focus on achieving top grades. Equally important are the myriad opportunities to engage in our unrivalled visual and performing arts programme and make the most of access to specialised sport through our extra-curricular offerings.
Students at St. John’s are encouraged to fully embrace personal and community responsibility while developing their lifelong learning, independence, and leadership skills. Boarders develop their personal integrity, live in a respectful community, and make lasting friendships. They learn to get along with people from diverse backgrounds with different interests.
What are the benefits of international education?
International schools often boast better facilities than public schools and a more modern approach to learning. They also offer a borader variety of extra-curricular activities.
The academic standards are very high. As one of the world’s premier international schools, St. John’s offers some of the finest education one can find.
What defines a premium international school?
First and foremost, academics - St. John’s International School has an exceptional track record with 1 in 3 students enrolling in Russel Group or Ivy League universities - and outstanding pastoral care, ensuring that children’s talents are uncovered, and passions nurtured, since happiness gets results.
Additionally, not all international schools in Belgium offer a wide range of activities. St. John’s offers more than 30 extra-curricular activities in which most of the school’s population participates. For this purpose, we boast multiple sports arenas, outdoor fields, and even a 400-seat professional theatre where we stage large all-school musical drama performances with more than 100 participants.
St. John’s also has a structural partnership with one of the top golf academies in Belgium at the renowned Golf de Hullencourt and is surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful and established golf clubs.
Requirements to enter an international school in Brussels
While some schools have specific points for entry, St. John’s accepts students year-round. We understand the challenges of international relocations and our teams are here to help to make the transitions as smooth as possible.
St. John’s is open to students of all nationalities, faiths, and backgrounds. At St. John’s, we are committed to meeting each student’s needs to the best of our ability. The final decision on acceptance and placement is taken based on the potential of the applicant to benefit from the programmes and educational services available.
How to apply to an international school in Brussels?
It can be a cumbersome process, especially when coming from abroad and possibly a different educational system.
Luckily at St. John’s, we know how important the right support before and the soft landing after an international relocation is. You will be guided through the process by a team of dedicated admission officers with a quarter decade of experience amongst them and the added benefit of having had children in an IB school as well.
You can contact us directly here, and one of our admissions officers will be in touch shortly with questions to your answers and other information you requested. There is not a type of transcript they haven’t seen, and the team is well-versed in giving relocation assistance as well. You also book a personalized private tour of our campus. Should you not be able to come to Belgium, we can also arrange for a virtual tour beforehand. And finally, you apply for admission, conveniently and paperless, online.
Is it worth studying in Belgium?
There are multiple reasons to study in Belgium. The multilingual and very diverse country lies in the heart of Europe, and other exciting cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Cologne are only a short train ride away.
The town of Waterloo itself, made famous by The Battle of Waterloo (not to mention the Abba song), is a student-friendly town of about 20,000 inhabitants in the French-speaking Belgian province of Brabant-Wallon. It is a pleasant and easy place to live that provides all the conveniences of a large town while maintaining a small-town feel.
Everything one needs in terms of services, stores, medical facilities, and cultural opportunities are available in town. As a result, there are all kinds of free-time activities: from cinema trips and days at the local aquatic centre to visiting the many historical sites and going on bike rides in the countryside. After all, Waterloo is surrounded by the 10,920-acre Sonian Forest, which offers extensive walking, biking, and horse-riding paths.
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