Frequently Asked Questions
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 each for Spring Break and Fall Break. Take a look at our parent portal to view the flow of a typical year.
What are your school hours?
ES/KS1, KS2 students attend school Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Pre-K 2 students attend either half day from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m or full school day.
MS/KS3 and HS Students attend school from 8:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
What are your class sizes?
Elementary School: The maximum class size is 15 students in Early Childhood (PK ), and 20 in Kindergarten. In Grades One 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. Teacher assistants are provided up to Year 3.
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.
How long does the SFS application process take?
Typically, we begin accepting applications for the new school year (a year out) in October, begin processing them in January and begin offering enrollment in March. When all required documents are received, the application can be reviewed for admission if space is available at the appropriate grade level.
If a grade level is at capacity, we will maintain a waitpool. 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.
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 services?
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. Please refer to our bus services page for more details.
Do you have cafeteria services?
While students have an option to bring lunch from home most students take a hot lunch in one of our two cafeterias. In ES, BS and MS students eat in our main cafeteria where they have a wide selection of Korean and Western food with lots of fruit and vegetables. Students in our HS have their own cafeteria run by Crave who provide varied, organic hot food with lots of salads, wraps and snacks. There are also two coffee shops in the main cafeteria and in the HS serving coffee, tea and great bread and pastries. Menus are available in advance in the parent portal.
Are parents involved with the school?
They certainly are! We welcome all our parents in many different ways. We have an active and friendly PTA for each of our four schools. They have a lot of fun contributing to the school day and special events. They provide snacks, help with field trips and special events, organise treats and parties and so much more. Our active Parent Ambassadors take tours, greet families, organise group events and design merchandise. There are also opportunities to help behind the scenes at the theatres with make-up and costumes for plays. Parents also help students publish books; they might support with substitute teaching or serve on committees and panels or offer their expertise in coaching or organising activities or clubs after school or on Saturdays. The list is endless. You are all very welcome!
Do you administer standardized tests?
British School: The GL (formerly the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) standardized tests in maths, English, and science are administered at various times during the academic year.
Elementary School: Students take MAP testing twice a year in Grades 2 – 5.
Middle School: In Grades 6 through 8 there is MAP testing twice a year.
Grades 9 to 11: PSAT (Grade 9 – Opt In/Grade 10 – Mandatory/ Grade 11 – Can opt out)
Grades 11 and 12: SAT I & II, IB Exams
Students take SAT I and II throughout High School as we are a closed testing center but most take it in Grades 11 and 12
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.
Do you have a dress code?
The British School has a uniform code. BS uniforms can be purchased through the Spirit Shop. Please contact the BS office for details.
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. Details can be found in the ES Handbook.
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. Details can be found in the MS Handbook.
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 6students 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, French, Chinese, and Korean are offered.
High School: Spanish, French, Chinese and Korean are offered
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.
Do you have after school activities?
School-wide: There are SWEP (School Wide Extra-curricular Program) activities going on every day which include ballet, robotics, swimming, chess, gymnastics, urban farming, Taekwondo, and soccer, to name just a few.
British & Elementary Schools: Students in Grade 2/ Year 3 and younger who participate in these activities do not have access to late buses. 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.
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.
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 detailed list of college and university acceptances for the previous school year.