As international assignments go, a stint in Vancouver has a lot going for it. The Canadian west-coast city — which has a metro-area population of almost 2.6m — is the world’s third most liveable city, according to The Economist magazine. It is an outward-looking place open to newcomers; more than 80 countries have a consular presence in the city, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission.
The tech, digital and entertainment sectors are among the city’s target growth industries, as well as the green economy. Multinationals with a Vancouver base include Microsoft, Amazon and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
But for expats with children in tow, what about education? The local, state-run schools are highly regarded, and have an average student-teacher ratio of 18:1. They are also diverse: 92 languages are spoken by students in Vancouver’s public schools. Perhaps as a result of this, the city isn’t flush with schools specialising in international curricula. Yet for parents seeking a specific syllabus, the following are a good place to start.
Learn West Vancouver’s coeducational Mulgrave School offers the IB programme all the way through, from the primary curricula up to the diploma for school leavers. The class of 2017 scored an average 34.8/40 in their IB diploma exams, against a global average of 29.95. McGill, Yale and Oxford were among the students’ university destinations. It has 950 pupils aged three to 18 and an attractive campus about 25 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver.
Pay* C$25,650 ($21,121)
Live A 5,325 sq ft, five-bedroom house in West Bay is a 10-minute drive from Mulgrave School and has views over both downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.
Available through Royal Pacific Lions Gate Realty, C$7,189m ($5,837m)
Learn École Cousteau, the French international school of Vancouver, accepts three to 15 year-olds and tops the rankings of British Columbia’s elementary schools. The non-profit private school is coeducational and bilingual, integrating “the best of both the French and Canadian systems”. There is a busy extracurricular programme at the school, located across the city harbour in North Vancouver, including yoga, hip hop and debating.
Pay C$10,700 ($8,812)
Live A six-bedroom house in Edgemont Village is a 10-minute drive from the school and includes a covered patio and a basement recreation room.
Available through Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, C$4,288m ($3,481m)
Learn With an 18-acre campus overlooking English Bay and the North Shore Mountains, West Point Grey Academy certainly offers its 940 students a picturesque setting — and is just 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre. The private, coeducational school for four to 18 year-olds follows the British Columbia curriculum, but high-school age students can take US-recognised Advanced Placement classes. The school emphasises its international links, and recent students have gone on to US colleges including Harvard, Stanford and Yale.
Pay $24,400 ($20,015)
Live A 1950s bungalow renovated in 2007 to include a top-floor master retreat is a 15-minute walk from West Point Grey Academy.
Available through REW, C$3,098m ($2,515m)
Something different Avante School — which charges $8,500 a year and is situated south-east of downtown — calls itself an “alternative school” for “imaginative students” aged seven to 18. Students are encouraged to combine subjects and skills, for example singing their English homework or asking a grandparent to tell a story to complete a history assignment.
*Fees typically increase as the child moves up the school. The figure given is the average annual cost of tuition for final year students, and does not include additional payments such as registration fees.
Photographs: Getty Images