ABC International School

Member of/registered with: The British Educational Department, Cambridge International Examinations, AQA examinations, QCA, COBIS (The Council of British International Schools), FOBISIA (Federation of British International Schools in Asia), BISW (British International Schools Worldwide), The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.[1]

The ABC International School
Coordinates10.734067°N 106.691683°E / 10.734067; 106.691683
PrincipalSteven Shaw
Age2 to 19
Academic Staff80
TypeInternational, Private
Inspection RatingOutstanding in all areas (Grade 1), October 2017


The ABC International School (ABCIS), Ho Chi Minh City is an international school in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, offering both a British and International curriculum education. The school is co-educational and non-denominational. It comprises three campuses located in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), both in the Binh Chanh residential area in the south of the city. Students at the ABC International School follow the National Curriculum of England (and Wales) from age 2 to 14 (Nursery to Year 9) and IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and A Level examinations from Years 10-13. All students graduate to university and most attend top universities in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, many receiving academic scholarships to do so. The school is a registered centre for UK and many different international examination boards. 37 nationalities are represented among the student body; the staff are well qualified with the majority UK trained.

Outstanding status inspection visit October 2013 (DfE, UK Government)

The ABC International School was inspected over 5 days in October 2013 and was judged to be an outstanding school, the highest of four possible rankings. The inspection was carried out by four inspectors from CfBT Education Trust who spent four days at the school on behalf of the Department of Education of the UK Government. CfBT is a body approved by the UK Government for the purpose of inspecting schools in the UK and overseas and quality assured by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). As a result of the favorable inspection, The ABC International School is now recognized as an outstanding British School Overseas by the Department of Education of the UK Government.[2]

Findings included outstanding practice in: the quality of teaching, learning and curriculum provision; the quality of leadership and management, the welfare and health and safety of the students the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the students; student behavior, the provision of information for parents, carers and the community; the use of premises.[1]

Further findings included: identifying student behavior as ‘outstanding’’; evaluating that the ABCIS is ‘’an excellent ‘British style education’ while fully embracing and celebrating its Vietnamese context and culture’’; establishing that ‘’most pupils achieve well during their time at ABCIS and make rapid strides in progress, the measure of that progress (value added) indicates that in many subjects pupils’ progress is outstanding’’; identifying that ‘the quality of teaching is outstanding because teachers are confident, assured and know their subjects exceptionally well. Pupils respond accordingly, behave very well and regard themselves as part of ‘the team’, working closely with teachers to ensure they make the rates of progress they know they should’’. The inspectors noted ‘ high quality facilities and resources’’ in regard to ICT and also described the school as ‘’an exceptionally caring school’ with ‘meticulous arrangements for health and safety’.[2]

In finalizing, the inspectors noted ‘’The school has an accurate understanding of its strengths and weaknesses because its self-evaluation is rigorous and honest. The school compares its examination results against the best schools internationally’’ and has ‘’an excellent capacity for further improvement.’’ [2]

Academic Standards

The inspection team noted of student attainment and progress: ‘By Year 2, students make excellent gains in speaking and listening and make good progress in reading and writing. They reach standards expected of pupils in England at this stage. They continue to make mostly good progress throughout Key Stage 2, progress continues to be rapid throughout Key Stage. Attainment levels at the end of Key Stage 3 broadly matches those of pupils in England. Student progress follows a similar pattern in Key Stage 4 and by the end , their attainment in achieving A* to C grades is above the English/UK average’. Outstanding IGCSE and A Level examination results were noted in most subject areas over the past three years, often far above worldwide averages. It is common for up to half of all international examination results in the school to be A* or A grades in any given year. The school has many examples of students regularly attain awards for obtaining the highest score in Vietnam within their subject areas. Academic Scholarships are offered to students who return exceptional examination results each year [1]


The ABC International School was founded in 1995 with an enrolment of 7 students of nursery age. Originally centered on a small site in District 3, the school rapidly expanded and by 2006 this expansion necessitated the movement to a new, larger campus in Binh Chanh District. The school grew over time from a Nursery to a Primary and then a Primary and Secondary school; the first IGCSE examination cohort sat exams in 2007. The school, already registered with the Department for Education in the UK and with the Cambridge International Examination Board, began to branch out and join other prestigious bodies such as FOBISIA (Federation of British International Schools in Asia) and COBIS (The Council of British International Schools). The scope of examinations and opportunities available to the students increased as the school grew.[1]

Curriculum details

These school is divided into three learning areas: Foundation from age 2 to 4, Primary from age 5 to 11 and Secondary from age 11 to 18+. The Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 2–5) and Key Stage 1 (age 5-7) are the first stages of a child’s education within the system. Primary Key Stage 2 (age7-11), Secondary Key Stage 3 (11-14), Key Stage 4 (14-16) and Key Stage 5 (16-18) then follow. Each educational DAB BOI builds upon the foundations set by the previous one. The Cambridge International Curriculum is used for Key Stages 4 and 5 and a modified version of the National Curriculum for England and Wales (often generically referred to as the ‘British’ or ‘UK’’ curriculum) is used between the EYFS and the End of Key Stage 3. Modifications take place so that the local and international context can be referred to in teaching and learning, the skills taught are identical to those taught in the National Curriculum. A key element in the curriculum is the whole school English Language Immersion Policy, which is followed at all times by staff and students, including during extra-curricular activities and on school trips. This enhances the development of pupils’ speaking, listening and literacy skills. In Primary School both Core (Reading, Writing, Maths, Science, ICT) and foundation subjects (History, Geography, Mandarin Chinese, Drama, Art and Design, Physical Education) are taught. Vietnamese language classes are also taught. Throughout Key Stage 3, students study 13 subject areas, with this number reduced to 10 for the study of IGCSEs. In the final two years of schooling (Key Stage 5), students specialise in their chosen 3 or 4 subject areas at A Level; these provide a strong preparation for University course study. Due to the fact that A levels provide very in depth and intense focus on specific subject areas students sometimes find they are able to skip the first year of university and progress straight to the second year of study, especially in the USA. A Level qualifications allow students to access the World’s top universities. Exams results here are outstanding with ‘value added’ putting us within the top 8% of schools worldwide.

Further opportunities for students and staff

The school provides many carefully planned opportunities for pupils to work with the local community through embedded charity fund-raising events/weeks and direct service events. A strong emphasis is placed on the promotion of students’ varied cultural backgrounds in whole school events such as Cultural Appreciation Week. Students of different ages benefit from regular leadership opportunities when working with younger students during Cultural Appreciation Week, Book Week, and Science Week’; older students undertake a work experience programme. Opportunities are also provided to enjoy leadership responsibilities, within the prefect duty system, as student librarians, canteen monitors and student counsellors. Year 10-13 students have the opportunity to engage in other activities such as the International Award, and the Model United Nations at local and international level. Students successfully attend a wide range of international events, academic, musical and sporting in nature. The school itself has hosted a number of international events drawing students from throughout the region. Dramatic productions, singing concerts and orchestral performances are frequent. The Inspection team noted: ‘The strong relationships enjoyed between teachers, other responsible adults and students underpin the confidence that students of all ages have to seek help and advice in academic and pastoral matters. Key Stage 5 pupils avail themselves of high quality university and careers advice. Students participate in outdoor education and residential experiences provided throughout the school from an early age. All students are encouraged to become involved in lunchtime and after-school activities. The school offers an excellent programme of extra-curricular activities across the age ranges.’ Additionally, staff are expected to avail of regular professional development opportunities; then ethos is one of promoting lifelong learning for all members of the community.


The ABC International School deploys a wide range of modern facilities. ICT is seen as essential tool for modern learning and a school wide laptop/tablet scheme is in place, with Wifi throughout the school. Additionally, there are 5 modern Computer Suites. A Learning and Study Centre comprising Library, study and research areas is utilised by students of all ages. Both visual and performing arts are heavily promoted throughout the school and facilities are in place to allow students additional practice times. A 450-seat capacity performance theatre, two swimming pools, canteen, dedicated activity and play areas are also features.


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