Admissions Policy



This Admissions Policy is established so that it is consistent with the mission of the school and responsive to the needs of the community, within the framework of educational effectiveness and available resources.

Prior to being considered for admission, students must submit a complete application including the application fee and all documents as outlined in the How To Apply section. Incomplete applications cannot be processed and will be discarded after 30 days.

Decisions are based on a careful examination of each student’s ability to achieve success in an atmosphere of high expectations and within the context of an English language-learning environment. In making this assessment, SIS will evaluate each candidate’s English language proficiency, demonstrated academic achievement and developmental and social/behavioral history. This will include an interview. Parents should note that current class size/space availability, English as an Additional Language (EAL) guidelines, and parents’ priority status also affect admission recommendations. Besides priority status, admissions decisions may also take into account the short and long term balance of English language learners and other relevant demographic factors in the school in order to sustain and support the school’s mission and programs.

First Priority:

First priority includes any child who carries an expatriate passport with at least one parent having an expatriate passport (here and after referred to as nationality criteria), who meets the age criteria, and:

•   Whose parent works for BP, Conoco-Phillips China, or CACT or for a subcontractor to a founding member company or other oil operator, or

•   Is sponsored by a company with 20 or more students enrolled at SIS, or

•   Is a sibling of a currently enrolled student, or

•   Who lives in Jing Shan Villas and has a valid one year lease contract from the enrollment date.

Second Priority

Second Priority includes any child who carries a foreign passport with at least one parent having a foreign passport.

Third Priority

Third Priority includes any child who carries an expatriate passport who is considered eligible for enrollment under Chinese law and regulations. Priority Three students will be admitted after other priority students are placed, based on space availability and in accordance with the mission of the school. A waiting pool of eligible applicants will be maintained from which applicants will be selected.



Special Criteria for Admission to the EAL Program

The school has additional admissions criteria and procedures for English Language Learners in grades Kindergarten - 12. These requirements are meant to ensure that a child is placed in an appropriate educational program and to ensure reasonable progress through the school’s educational programs.

Admission to the EAL program is based on:

  • English language assessment results
  • Projected rate of language acquisition.
  • Space availability (The balance of English language learners to fluent English speakers in a class and the student’s degree of fluency in relation to his/her age/grade are considered.)
  • Academic potential.

Students will be assessed to determine their English proficiency. Prospective students (grades 1-12 and mid-year kindergarten applicants) will be screened using a standardized test that assesses the academic language of students in English. After reviewing the assessment criteria, SIS will also request an interview with the student and family.

If a student is denied admission, he/she may retake the assessment test. Test results will determine the next testing period and will be formally communicated to parents. This appointment can be arranged by contacting the school admissions office.

Admission to the French Bilingual Program

Native and non-native French speakers are eligible to apply for the French Bilingual Program. Acceptance will be based upon seat availability and an assessment test may be required. To be considered, applicants must submit the documents listed in the How To Apply section. Documents may be submitted in French or English. Students may apply for the program from PreK-1 (PS) through grade 5. Please note that transfers between the French and the international program must be approved by SIS administration and grade placement may be affected. While grade placement in the French program is based on the year of birth, the international program utilizes an October 31st cutoff date. Transfers from the French Bilingual program to the International program are not automatic or guaranteed.

Admission to the French Program follows SIS’s priority system with preference given to those students who may have a tie to France or Europe.

Admission to the German Program

Native German Speakers

German language classes are open to children who have German as their native or mother tongue. Children enroll in the international section where the language of instruction is English and take German as their second language. Native German speakers may enroll in the program from kindergarten through grade 5.

Non-native German Speakers

The German language program is open to non-native German speakers.  Entry into the program is in Kindergarten only.  

Admission to the program follows SIS’s priority system with preference given to those students who may have a tie to Germany or to Europe.

Exceptional Learners Policy

SIS may not be able to provide the necessary resources or specialized staff to meet the particular needs of all exceptional learners. At the time of application, parents must supply all materials related to the unique needs of their child. All testing relating to exceptionality should be provided to SIS for consideration for admission. It is highly preferred that all tests be done in the home country in the child’s native language and then translated into English. Appropriate materials should also include previous teacher and counselor comments regarding the ability and potential of the student. Additional information should be provided about the level of academic or behavioral support the student currently requires. 

SIS reserves the right to request any additional testing and evaluations necessary during the academic year for any student. These tests are at the expense of the family and could influence that child’s enrollment at SIS. Students with exceptional needs will be admitted only after review of all materials and with the understanding of the family that SIS may not have the ability to modify academic curriculum to the level of their child’s needs. The priority system does not guarantee admission in the case of an exceptional learner.

Grade Level Placement Policy

To ensure an educational program suitable for all SIS students, students are placed in grade levels after due consideration of grade level at previous school, age, emotional, developmental and physical maturity, and academic level. Any or all of the following may be considered in determining proper placement: evaluation of previous school records, academic testing, results of screening by a counselor and/or trial placement in an age appropriate grade level. There may be times when a student excels beyond the grade level standard in a particular subject. In this case, SIS will provide a program to ensure that the student is appropriately challenged. The final placement decision is made by the principal. Typically, students arriving in the early part of the school year (by December) from southern hemisphere schools or schools with a different school year calendar (i.e. January to November vs. August to June) will be placed in the grade level which they are currently attending. Above-described students arriving after December 1st will be placed in the grade they have just completed, providing they meet the admission requirements.

The academic progress of students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 who do not complete a full year in the SIS program will be reviewed by the end of the year to ensure proper grade level placement for the following year.

We believe that children learn best in environments suited to their ages and stages of development. We adhere to an October 31st cutoff for birthdays. For example, children must be 3 on or before October 31st to enter PreK-1. Please see the Grade Placement by Age Chart below. Children must turn the “Age at Entry” noted in the chart on or before October 31.

Admission Status

The Director will inform parents of one of the following admission decisions:

Accepted - If a student has qualified and if space allows, the student will be placed in the appropriate grade level.

Wait Pool - If an applicant meets SIS admission requirements but is applying for enrollment in a grade level that is full, that applicant will be placed in the wait pool for his/her class. Based on the factors considered for admission decisions, a student’s position in the wait pool may change if there are subsequent applications from families with higher priority. Students will remain in the wait pool for the academic year for which they have applied. If a seat is not found for the applicant within that academic year, parents may contact the admissions office to roll over the application to the next academic year as early as December 1st. Applications will not automatically roll over to the following academic year.

Not Accepted - The applicant does not meet SIS eligibility and requirements for admission at this time. The decision is based on one or more of the before-mentioned criteria.


Grade Placement By Age—General Guidelines

SIS Class

Age at Entry

US Grade




Early Years


2 yrs






3 yrs






4 yrs





Primary School


5 yrs*


Year 1



1st Grade

6 yrs*

Grade 1

Year 2

ES 1

Year 1

2nd Grade

7 yrs

Grade 2

Year 3

ES 2

Year 2

3rd Grade

8 yrs

Grade 3

Year 4

ES 3

Year 3

4th Grade

9 yrs

Grade 4

Year 5

ES 4

Year 4

5th Grade

10 yrs

Grade 5

Year 6

ES 5

Year 5

Middle School

6th Grade

11 yrs

Grade 6

Year 7

ES 6

Year 6

7th Grade

12 yrs

Grade 7

Year 8

MS 1

Year 7

8th Grade

13 yrs

Grade 8

Year 9

MS 2

Year 8

High School

9th Grade

14 yrs

Grade 9

Year 10

MS 3

Year 9

10th Grade

15 yrs

Grade 10

Year 11

HS 1

Year 10

11th Grade

16 yrs

Grade 11

Year 12

HS 2

Year 11

12th Grade

17 yrs

Grade 12

Year 13

HS 3

Year 12


*Kindergarten and 1st Grade students applying new to SIS may enroll if turning age five or six respectively on or before October 31st. Please note children who enroll from schools with an academic calendar different from August to June (for example, January to November) will be placed in the grade in which they are currently enrolled if enrolling at the beginning of the school year in August. Mid-year applicants will be enrolled in the grade which they have just completed.