Enrollment and
Placement Policies

The International School of Tianjin does not discriminate in admissions with regard to race, gender, ethnic origin, or religion.


The decision to admit a student is based on an assessment of the student’s ability to benefit both from the school’s academic programme and also from the student environment, which emphasizes care for the person, development of self-discipline, and responsibility to the community. All admissions decisions are made by the Principals in consultation with the Director and relevant academic staff.

Age criterion

Students are be placed in grade levels by age. The cut-off date determining grade placement shall be September 30th, although exemptions may be considered for students demonstrating developmental readiness whose date of birth falls within seven days of the cut-off (i.e., 7 October). The minimum age for admission shall be two years and nine months. No student may be admitted who shall turn 20 years of age prior to the date of his or her graduation. The Director shall specify any exceptions.


Children must be 3 years of age by September 30th of the current academic year to be placed in the Nursery 2; 4 years of age by September 30th to join the Pre-Kindergarten; 5 years of age by September 30th to join the Kindergarten; 6 years of age by September 30th to join grade 1, and so on at all grade levels throughout the school.


There are 2 exceptions to the age criterion, as follows:


  1. Students who are two years and nine months and fully potty trained may join the half day KG 1a (Nursery 1a) class. However, to immediately join the full-day KG 1b (Nursery 1b) programme students must turn 3 years of age by September 30th. Students who turn 3 years of age after September 30th but before the commencement of the second semester will be placed in KG 1a (Nursery 1a) but may join the full day KG 1b (Nursery 1b) program for the second semester. All students must turn 4 years of age by September 30th of a given academic year before they are subsequently placed in the KG 2 (Pre-Kindergarten/Reception) programme for that year.
  2. From KG3 upwards, students joining the school who do not meet the school’s 30 September age criterion but have successfully completed a given grade level in their previous school, equivalent in both age range and learning expectations to that offered at IST, will be considered for placement in the following year’s grade level. Fully documented and notarized school records and testimonials clearly indicating the student’s readiness for the placement must be provided. Such placement decisions will be made on a provisional basis, and will be subject to mid and end of year review. Should the school determine that the placement is not meeting the student’s learning needs, grade demotion or repetition may be considered.


Students transferring from school systems that do not operate on an August to June school year will normally be required to repeat part of a given grade level. When considering a waiver of this requirement the school will consider a variety of factors, including the student’s age and social maturity, academic performance, and level of English language acquisition. At the discretion of the director, students may be considered for direct August placement into Grade 1 (bypassing the prerequisite of having completed a full year of Kindergarten/KG3), if they turn 6 years old prior by January 31 of the same calendar year.

Priority Admissions

The school gives priority for admission within the following provisions:


  • Preferred Capital Levy holders and Associate Members* take precedence over Normal Capital Levy payers, regardless of the date that the application was received (until open registration in the first week of May).
  • Siblings of current students take precedence over new applicants without other children currently enrolled at the school.
  • The number of students requiring ESL services will be limited according to the school’s resources.
  • Remaining applicants will be processed by date of receipt of a fully completed application, (incomplete applications will not be processed for enrolment without special arrangement with the school office).
  • The school will strictly adhere to the class size policy adopted by the Board of Governors; however, with Board of Governors approval the Director may permit minor departures from this policy.
  • Students may not attend class until all parts of their application package are received by the school office.
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