Frequently Asked Questions
How culturally diverse is your school?
We are proud that our school community is truly diverse with over 60 nationalities and over 40 languages spoken.We appreciate that diversity goes beyond nationality and as such, our school celebrates a wealth of cultures within our community. Throughout our curriculum, our students learn what it is to be an outward-looking global citizen while also learning from and respecting those whose values may be different from one’s own. Our cultural diversity policy is what sets us apart from many other international schools because we do not exceed 20 percent of the student population by any nationality.
What makes UNIS Hanoi different from other international schools in Hanoi?
UNIS Hanoi is the first international school established in Vietnam, one of only two United Nations Schools in the world, and the original IB World School in Asia. We are a not-for-profit school, which means our tuition fees are invested in providing the highest quality education and learning environment for all our students.
Where do your teachers come from?
Our classroom and subject teachers are drawn from a multicultural mix of English-speaking countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, the UK, and the US. Our world language teachers are nationals from France, China, Italy, Spain and Brazil. Additionally, our mother tongue teachers come from China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and Sweden. Our very competent Vietnamese faculty are world language teachers, mother tongue teachers and teaching assistants. Our skilled faculty are tasked with inspiring our students everyday in their learning journey.
Does UNIS Hanoi offer learning support?
We are able to serve a managed number of students with mild to moderate learning needs. We offer student support services, such as counselling, learning support and speech therapy. If your child has learning support needs, it’s important to provide all documentation and information during the application process to determine if we offer that level of support and if space is available in the applying grade level. Families should also do research before coming to Hanoi due to the limited facilities and specialists available and the difficulty in accessing services such as occupational therapists, paediatricians, physical therapists and other professionals within the local community.
How many students are there per class?
We aim to maintain our class sizes per grade level in order to offer students maximum opportunities for instruction and learning. The classrooms of our early learners have both an expatriate teacher and a local teaching assistant to support students (the number of teaching assistants per grade level decrease as children grow in independence).
Our preferred class sizes vary depending on grade level and schedules for middle and high school students:
- Discovery: 16 students / 2 classes
- Kindergarten 1: 18 students / 3 classes
- Kindergarten 2: 18 students / 4 classes
- Grade 1: 20 students / 4 classes
- Grade 2: 20 students / 4 classes
- Grade 3 - 5: 22 students / 4 classes
- Middle School: 22 - 24 students
- High School: 22 - 24 students
How is UNIS Hanoi connected to the United Nations?
We are very proud to be one of only two UN schools in the world.
In 1988 the international diplomatic community requested that the United Nations establish an international school in Hanoi to support the development of Vietnam. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the UN Resident Coordinator and the Vietnam Ministry of Education and a start up loan was made available by UNDP and UNICEF. The Head of School at UNIS New York, Joe Blaney, was instrumental in establishing the Hanoi school premises and furnishing resources, including the UNIS New York teacher to become our first Head of School, Dr Alice Ann Winner.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are woven into the teaching and learning at age appropriate levels from Discovery to Grade 12 through our ‘SDG Curriculum’ within the IB framework. The UN in Viet Nam is also represented by 3 Board Members.
What is your curriculum?
We are an IB World School. The International Baccalaureate incorporates a learning cycle of enquiry, action and reflection that promotes critical, creative and analytical thinking. Our Elementary School students up to grade 5 participate in the Primary Years Programme while students in Grades 6 to 10 participate in the Middle Years Programme. In Grades 11 and 12, our High School students undertake the academically challenging two-year Diploma Programme in preparation for university entrance and other post high school options. For more information, please consult International Baccalaureate Education.
Do you use standardised tests?
Yes, there are two types of yearly standardised testing.
Students in Grades 3 to 9 undertake the International Schools Assessment (ISA), which is based on the internationally-endorsed reading and mathematical literacy frameworks of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It is used by schools with an international focus whose language of instruction is English.
Students in Grades 3 to 8 also participate in the Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) test each academic year. The test provides additional data on student achievement and progress in order to support our understanding of individual learning and the quality of our educational programme. Our students take the Mathematics, Reading and Language Usage components of the MAP test.
What is the IB Diploma Programme?
The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) spans the two years of Grade 11 and 12 and provides a balanced pre-university curriculum, encourages social responsibility and self-management, equipping students for higher education. Students undertake external exams and externally-moderated internal assessments in Grade 12. The IBDP is highly respected by schools and universities worldwide, with some universities offering advanced placement credits that acknowledge the academic level achieved by students.
How is technology used to enhance learning?
We strive to create learning experiences where technology is integrated throughout all curriculum areas in the context of classroom learning. All students from Discovery to Grade 12 have access to various technology devices as part of their learning experience. Students from Grades 3 - 8 receive devices provided by the school. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model is in place for all students in Grades 9 to 12. They are required to bring a computer of their choice to meet their learning needs. BYOD programmes allow students to make choices about which device to use and how to use it to meet situational learning needs, to choose applications for completing assignments, to organise resources and to collaborate on projects and presentations.
When should I submit an application?
We offer rolling admissions, which means that families may apply at any time of the year. You should contact us before your anticipated starting date. Our academic year begins in mid-August and ends in mid-June. However, admissions open in late January for each new school year.
What do I submit if my child’s preschool doesn’t have school reports?
Please request the current or past kindergarten/nursery teacher to issue a letter or development report that includes information on what your child has learned and how your child performed and progressed within their programmes. If your child has never attended kindergarten/nursery, please inform the admissions staff before moving forward with the application process.
What is the policy regarding grade allocation and age placement for elementary aged students?
The cut-off date for grade level placement is 31 August - see UNIS Hanoi Age Placement. It is educationally best practice to place elementary aged students into their age appropriate grade levels. A final determination regarding grade allocation shall be made upon review of a completed application.
What is the policy regarding grade allocation and age placement for middle and high school aged students?
If your child is applying for placement outside their age range, consideration of their academic performance, school history and full application information will be made in confirming appropriate grade placement. The final determination regarding grade allocation is always based on the potential for each child to be successful within our programmes.
What does the wait status mean?
Completed applications will be placed on the relevant wait status in accordance with the school’s admissions policies. The applicant pool looks different in each grade level and we enroll new students throughout the school year as placements become available. However, due to the admissions policies that are applied to our school, such as prioritisation, cultural diversity and caps on support programmes, it is not possible for us to guarantee placement in advance for each child whose deemed admissible. As the school year progresses, placement of applicants will be based on the number of student withdrawals, priority applications and availability of places within our EAL and Learning Support programmes.
What is the high school transcript?
This document is required upon entry into Grades 10 to 12 or into semester 2 of Grade 9. Please ask the current school to issue the "official transcript" which includes information such as subjects taken and grades/credits earned by your child during their time spent in High School. This is an important document because it is an official representation of your child's learning to date and will be required as part of any university application. The final official transcript must be submitted prior to your child starting school.
Why is it necessary to provide a full medical examination and vaccination information before my child starts school?
In order to complete a child’s transition into the school, families must submit a completed medical examination and full immunisation history that must be approved by the school nurses before the child starts school.
We appreciate that many families will have to consider planning for a child’s medical examination during an overseas transition. You can choose to have your child’s family doctor complete the health check or you can access medical facilities within Hanoi. The School Health Centre stresses the utmost importance of vaccinations and requires all students to be properly immunised as per the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Please refer to the CDC immunisation schedule to make sure your child has received all of the required immunisations to start school.
Student Medical Insurance
We require that parents maintain medical insurance coverage for each child enrolled. All fees and costs pertaining to medical treatment is the responsibility of the parents.
What is the process for paying tuition and fees?
After parents have completed and signed the enrolment contract indicating their choice of payment, the business office will issue a debit note to families with deadlines for payment.
Please kindly note that payment of the tuition and fees is the legal responsibility of the parents. Parents may nominate a third-party representative to be included in correspondence; however, parents are responsible for any non-payment of tuition and fees. UNIS Hanoi does not enter into third party negotiations regarding the tuition and fees payment. Please see the tuition & fees schedule for the 2020-2021 payment options and due dates.
Does UNIS Hanoi offer discounts in tuition and fees?
Families with three or more children simultaneously in attendance will receive a 10% discount on tuition fees for the third child and a 15% discount on tuition fees for the fourth child and any subsequent children.
Does UNIS Hanoi grant scholarships for students?
The UNIS Hanoi Scholarship Fund offers the opportunity for Vietnamese students from low-income families, who are excelling at their local schools, to apply for entry into the secondary school if accepted with a full (100%) tuition and fees waiver until graduation.
Do you offer an English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme?
Our student population represents a diverse range of languages and cultures and many of our students are non-native English speakers. These students participate in a comprehensive English language support programme (English as an Additional Language - EAL) to help them succeed. School policy limits the number of EAL students in each age group up to Grade 8, which helps to maintain a strong language-learning environment. Kindly note, all students entering the Middle School and High School must have a proficient level of English language in order to be accepted into the programme.
How do you determine EAL applicants?
Student applicants that have not attended an English Language programme for at least three school years must participate in the WIDA Placement Test to determine their English proficiency. Please refer to the English as an Additional Language (EAL) for more details.
Do you offer a Mother Tongue language programme?
We believe in the value and importance of students maintaining and developing their Mother Tongue language. Please see this page for details of the Mother Tongue groups. All programmes with the exception of Vietnamese are paid by the community members participating in the programme. The community groups are self-formed and take the responsibility of finding a suitable teacher. These classes meet during the school day or after school. If you have any questions about this programme, please contact the representative of the language of interest.
What world language classes do you offer?
For grades 1 to 5, we offer French, Mandarin and Vietnamese as World Language classes (World Languages section of Grade Level Guides). In the Middle School and High School, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese are offered as Languages of Acquisition (Language Acquisition section of Curriculum Handbooks - G6-G10 MYP / G11-G12 DP).
Do students wear a uniform?
We do not have a school uniform. Students should wear practical and comfortable clothing and footwear that allow for the freedom to be involved in many ‘hands-on’ activities that take place at school. Students should dress neatly and respect the diversity of our community. Extremes in styles are to be avoided. Guidelines are found in the school handbooks.
Our students in Lower Elementary School wear hats/caps when undertaking activities outside. In addition, students are required to wear the official PE uniform during Physical and Health Education classes, which is purchased at the school shop.
What time does school begin and end?
School begins at 8:10 and ends at 15:30 for Elementary School students and 15:35 for Middle and High School students, except on Wednesday when school finishes at 14:35 for all students.
In addition, students may choose to take part in various after school activities and sports from 15:30-17:30.
Do you provide a school bus service?
We contract external transportation companies to provide daily travel to and from school. Bus monitors assist students on every bus route. The school provides late buses for students who take part in scheduled activities and sports after school. The bus offers a service for students residing in various locations in Hanoi, mainly from the West Lake, Ciputra, Ba Dinh, My Dinh, Minh Khai, Long Bien and the city’s center areas. Travel time varies by location; however, most buses take around 15 to 60 minutes to and from school.
Families register for the bus service during the enrolment process. The Transportation Office will confirm the approved route directly with families prior to the official start of the service.
Does the school provide lunch?
Students can bring their own packed lunch from home or purchase lunch from the canteen (See school canteen). Lunch is provided by the school for Discovery (full day programme) and Kindergarten 1 students and is included in the tuition fee.
What is the difference between Discovery half-day and full-day?
Discovery half-day students attend from 8:10 - 12:20. Full-day students attend from 8:10 - 15:30 every day except Wednesday when all Discovery students finish at 12:20.
What other activities and programmes are available for families and the wider community?
There are many different ways in which families can participate in programmes and activities organised by the school. These include our extensive Community Classes and Workshops for adults and children, Summer Programme and Saturday Sports for children. In addition, sporting facilities are available for use; for more details please connect to Sporting Facilities Booking.