A Top Class British Education in the Heart of Shanghai

By That's Shanghai, February 3, 2023

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Looking for a top class British education in central Shanghai? Looking for international school standard facilities with a community feel and emphasis on pastoral care? Looking for an extensive language program and abundance of after school activities, all rounded off with academic excellence?

Then allow us to introduce Britannica International School Shanghai. We caught up with Principal Paul Farrell and three different parents – Italian Gaia, Canadian-Chinese Paolo and Brit Ian, the latter of whom told us:

"The tone of the school is set by Mr. Farrell having his office by the main door, with parents welcome to drop in as they pass."

So we decided to start right there, with a brief introduction from Principal Paul Farrell...

Best of British Education in an International Environment 

Britannica Principal Paul Farrell

"As a parent, you want the very best for your child’s education. At Britannica International School, Shanghai, we work in partnership with our parents to achieve this. 

"Located in the heart of the city, we successfully blend the highest quality, rigorous British education through the English National Curriculum, with an international learning environment that is positive, constructive and a happy place for your child to spend their day.

"Students aged 2 to 18 come to Britannica for our strong British roots and truly personalized approach to learning, which enable your child to achieve the very best that they are capable of at IGCSE and A-Level.

"Our commitment to maintaining a low teacher to student ratio, with small class sizes, means we have the time to identify, celebrate and develop excellence in every child.

"We are the only British-owned and managed school in the city, and a fully accredited school by both COBIS and CIS.

"At Britannica Shanghai, we combine high academic standards with excellent pastoral care to help nurture our students into becoming the global citizens and leaders of tomorrow."

Warm Environment & Community Feel

Britannica Parent Gaia

"We arrived in Shanghai in 2015, and when we visited Britannica it was love at first sight for the warm environment, the great facilities and the welcoming teachers we met," says parent Gaia.

"We also liked the relatively small size of the school – it helps getting to know each other and being familiar with other parents, the teachers and the leadership team. The voice of the parents at Britannica is always heard. 

"With the help of Friends of Britannica – the parents association – the school also organizes events to build our sense of community."

It is a sentiment echoed by fellow parent Paolo:

"While the teaching standards at Britannica are very high, what impresses me most is the 'caring' feeling I have from the teachers.

"Different principals and different schools have different styles, and the present Britannica principal has created an atmosphere and image of a 'caring school,' which makes you and your kid feel looked after and respected.

"My daughter is only in Year 3 and, at this age, being in a friendly and caring school campus can help build her confidence and 'sunshine' character, which will benefit her future life." 

For Principal Paul Farrell, home-school collaboration is essential for a school to be successful:

"The relationships between families and the school are vital to the success of our students. I encourage parents to become involved in every way possible. The collaboration and support teachers and parents are able to give each other is invaluable."

Smaller Class Sizes


A huge plus factor at Britannica is the smaller class sizes of 12-15 pupils (and often lower). It truly allows a personalized learning approach, meeting the needs of each child, supporting their well-being, and challenging them to maximize their progress.

High quality child-adult interactions are key in supporting a student’s development and identifying their next steps in their learning journey, and the school places great importance upon these.

Britannica's impressively high teacher retention rate also makes for a stable environment for young learners...

Impressive Teacher Retention Rate


Given that teacher shortage is an international problem (and not to mention parental fears of an educator exodus due to the current situation in Shanghai), Britannica International School Shanghai is proud to announce that their teacher retention rate over the past three years has been 86%, 84% and 82% respectively. And they are already well on course to surpass 80% again this year.

This is well above the international and local average, and has been a key factor in its continued growth and school improvement. With a confirmed retention rate of 84% this academic year, they remain in a position of great strength.

More than that, they filled all of their newly available positions with highly qualified, international quality educators well ahead of the start of the 2022-23 school year.

"While retaining such a high percentage of teachers is an important factor, finding high quality staff to replace our departing teachers is also crucial," explains Principal Paul Farrell.

"Having planned our staffing long term, combined with early recruitment, we secured 100% of teaching staff comfortably in advance of the start of the new academic year."

It is a strategy that has paid off in the eyes of parent Gaia:

"In my opinion, the quality of the teachers is the strength of Britannica, they are all great professionals and we like their dedication in developing each child’s potential. My children love them!"

Full International School Facilities

All this talk of smaller size and community feel could have you thinking it comes at the cost of international school standard facilities. Not the case!

A big outdoor sports field...



With running track...


A full-sized theater...


And rehearsal room...


Music department...



Not just one huge sports hall...



But two...



A swimming pool...



And tennis court...


Science labs...



A comfortable, well stocked library...


... and much, much more. Arrange a tour and check it out for yourself!

Using AI Technology to Support Students


In today’s modern digital classrooms, the needs of students are constantly changing, with educational technology challenged to evolve in sync with those demands. Britannica have proudly taken up an industry leading innovative artificial intelligent (AI) educational support tool from CENTURY TECH. 

CENTURY TECH’s award-winning AI teaching and learning platform uses artificial intelligence, neuroscience and learning science to create constantly adapting pathways for students, as well as powerful assessment data for teachers.


The AI platform not only provides enhanced opportunities for additional learning experiences but can also address learning needs across categories; synchronous and asynchronous; linear learning and collaborative learning.

It perfectly aligns with Britannica's belief that the success of online learning initiatives within educational technology should enhance the learning experience, leading to greater student success.

Mandarin Program


Looking for a top international school education, but not at the expense of Mandarin? Britannica was happy to announce further improvements to their already impressive Mandarin program at the beginning of this school term.

The school previously offered five compulsory Mandarin lessons a week for all students up to Year 9, with two additional lessons for native Mandarin speakers. For the upcoming academic year, students in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 now have the option of two additional Mandarin lessons, meaning up to nine Mandarin lessons weekly.

World Languages Program


At Britannica, they never forget the value of your child’s cultural identity.

In addition to the core curriculum, they support language development, offering an extensive World Languages Program to provide native language lessons throughout the school in Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish and Hebrew, all of which are delivered by specialist native-speaking teachers.

"The Language Program is amazing because it helps to keep our mother language alive without having private tutoring at home," says parent Gaia.

"Thanks to this program my children, for which English is now the first language, are maintaining an excellent level of spoken and written Italian."

Britannica also have specialist teachers offering the highest quality English as an additional language (EAL) program. In addition, all teachers are trained to deliver a curriculum to both English first language and second language students in their classroom.

Early Years


Children learn and develop more from birth to five years old than in any other time in their lives, so it is essential that children in Early Years are fully supported in developing the skills which enable them to become lifelong learners.

We're talking about resilience, the confidence to face challenges, to think creatively and work in collaboration with others.

At Britannica, they pride themselves on combining an inspirational learning environment with a kind and caring community. One that recognizes that each child is unique and on their own learning journey, all the while delivering the best of British Education.

In fact, the benefits of a Britannica Early Years education warranted its own article – you can read that by clicking the link below:

READ MORE: The Importance of a High Quality Early Years Education

The Curiosity Approach


In the Early Years at Britannica, they constantly reflect upon their pedagogy and seek new ways to support young learners to deliver the highest quality Early Years education.

At the beginning of this academic year, Britannica began a journey to become accredited by ‘The Curiosity Approach,’ as a setting that cultivates curiosity, awe and wonder in early childhood. 

Working towards becoming a more ‘curious’ setting has empowered and ignited passion and excitement in Britannica teachers and children. Children are provided with resources and an environment that sparks curiosity, high-level thinking and problem solving.

At Britannica, they strive to continue developing ways to allow for creative and independent learners of the future.

Outdoor Learning


Britannica places high value on the benefits of outdoor learning. Taking learning outdoors allows children to further develop confidence and self-esteem, supporting their key developmental skills in problem solving and critical thinking.

Going beyond the classroom also allows for learners to have an understanding of their individual role as a Global Citizen in our world. Within the safe outdoor areas at Britannica, children are able to explore, take risks and to respect and take care of their environment.


Living in a city such as Shanghai, it is often difficult for children to have access to a ‘real’ outdoor environment and to gain an understanding of seasonal changes and the nature in our world. The school's Eco Garden further provides children with the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning experiences in an outdoor environment.

After School Activities

Encouraging, respecting and nurturing each student’s areas of interest outside of the curriculum plays an important role in their academic development.

At Britannica, they offer over 140 after school activities. From robotics and cooking club to yoga and drama, they ensure your child will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of co-curricular activities outside of the classroom.

"Britannica Shanghai is a dynamic and relaxed place where children can begin to discover answers to who they want to be and what they want to do," explains Principal Paul Farrell.

"No matter what their interest, there’s certain to be something for each and every child at our school."

Says Britannica parent Ian:

"The after school activities that my daughter has done give a good idea of the range of options offered: badminton, table tennis, drama, orchestra, IT games, manga drawing, choir, film club, logic games – AND there are plenty more options!"

And Gaia agrees:

"In seven years my children have experienced so many After School Activities, I can’t remember them all!

"Highlights include ultimate frisbee and dodgeball for my son, and Britannica Voices, swimming and Drama Club for my daughter. 

"The level is very good, and thanks to the wide variety on offer my children are able to have many different experiences and choose what they like."

Exam Results & University Places


Britannica was proud to recently announce that its Year 13 students once again achieved outstanding examination results, with 100% of Year 13 A Level entries passing all subjects.

Furthermore, 97% of Year 13 students achieved grades A* to C, with 67% of all grades A*or A, significantly above the UK national average. There were 100% A* or A grades in Physics, Chemistry and Mandarin.


All of which meant every student gained entry to the university of their choice, with British, American, Canadian, Australian and Asian university entrance worldwide – testament to the academic success and high standards achieved at Britannica.

And offers received so far this year include Birmingham, Brunel, Salford, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Loughborough, Aberdeen, Exeter, Newcastle, Bangor, Surrey and Glasgow in the UK; NYU, Boston, Florida State, Penn State and Minnesota in the US; Alberta, British Columbia and Toronto in Canda; and Amsterdam and Maastricht in the Netherlands.

This success comes as Britannica enjoys its largest sixth form cohort to date, following three consecutive years of their highest exam results.

Sixth Form scholarships – based on academic merit and excellence – are also available.

Final Thoughts From Our Parents

Britannica parent Ian

Says Ian:

"We can thoroughly recommend the school: Excellent teaching staff; friendly atmosphere; impressive range of language classes; students encouraged to achieve best possible results; regular, but reasonable, testing; concern for students wellbeing; good balance of nationalities; and equal number of boys and girls."

Says Paolo:

"Britannica offers 'deep' knowledge education to kids from a young age, and this satisfies us parents of Asian origin who want our kids to learn more in school as well as being happy.

"Yet, I feel it is better than the Chinese school curriculum, as there is a wide range of discussion between the teacher and the pupils in class; I am happy to see my daughter has a wide range of knowledge on subjects that interest her, instead of reciting manual book knowledge as kids in Chinese school do.

"Britannica also gives us a sense of 'being cared for,' from the principal to the teachers of all subjects."

Says Gaia:

"I couldn’t recommend Britannica more. In my opinion it is the best place to enjoy a very high level education in a really inclusive environment where everyone feels appreciated, encouraged and welcome."

Location, Location, Location


Finally – and this can be a big factor when deciding on a school – Britannica is located on Gubei Lu, close to the downtown area, making it easily accessible, with numerous bus routes and short journey times for students. 

Because who wants their kids stuck on a bus for a couple of hours everyday?

Britannica International School Shanghai, 1988 Gubei Lu, by Wuzhong Lu 古北路1988号, 近吴中路.

Arrange a Tour

Don't just take our word on all of the above – go and take a look for yourself. Meet up with their super friendly admissions team, check out the awesome facilities on offer, and get a feel for the kind and caring Britannica community.

To arrange a bespoke tour of Britannica International School Shanghai click here or scan the QR below:


[All images courtesy of Britannica International School Shanghai]

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