Alice Smith Intl School

Hi, My family and I are planning to move to KL during Christmas holidays. I have a 7 yr old daughter and a 3 year old son. We wont be moving to KL till at least 3 weeks before the children are due to start school. So we are really trying hard to choose a good international school for my daughter. We have narrowed it down to either Alice Smith or Garden Intl. We are more keen on Alice Smith bcoz of the location and as it seems to be more 'international'. Alice Smith currently has a waiting list of 3 children and I am not sure if we will manage to get a place by Jan 2015. Does anyone have any experience with this waiting list? Also if we have no other option but to put her in Garden bcoz of lack of availability at Alice Smith, would we need to shell out the huge registration/application (one off) fees again? Is there any way around it?  Really appreciate any suggestion/ideas...Thanks

I have no idea why you think Alice is better than Gardens. Although true Alice is not for profit. Both are good established proper international schools but neither are the best as iskl is the old time favourite of expats (generally considered one of the top ten in Asia) and both of your choices have complaints by parents against them and are not perfect. Garden is slightly more inclusive and Alice is elitist by reputation with some accusations of rascism. But then Garden is suffering so I am told by management who want greater profits. Both are selective Alice more academically. Both though are among the best 5 schools in Malaysia so really comes down to location and personal choices. Garden does have a traffic issue though due to its location.

Thanks for your comments..Infact some of the points you have mentioned are the ones I had considered. I ruled out ISKL bcoz we want to stick with schools that follow British Curriculum. Reasons why I am more keen on Alice Smith - 1. Location. We are planning to live close to Bangsar/Damansara. I am put off by the traffic talks I have been hearing about in Mont Kiara. 2. Language choices - Gaden intl - The children seem to learn Bahasa Malaysia from KS1. They do not learn a modern European language till they are in KS2. My daughter has been learning French from Year 1 onwards. She has no knowledge of Bahasa Malaysia. I do not want her to feel added pressure to learn a new language when she might already be struggling to cope with a new school, new class, new country and so many things new. Alice Smith - seems to offer Frnech from a much earlier year group than Garden Intl. 3. Alice Smith appears to have a better mix of international and local students. 4. Term Fees in AS is lower than Garden Intl. I was very concerned when I read a review about Alice Smith being 'racist' because I would not want my children to associated with a school which could be 'racist'. However, It was only one review/blog by one parent. I did not read any further comments from any other parent of a similar nature. Also the parent who had made that comment had not substantiated it with any incidents or further info. So I was inclined to dismiss it as one parents perception of the school. But please help me understand why you think Alice Smith could be 'racist'. I am very concerned...Also would you know anything more about the language choices in garden Intl. Will my kids be required to learn Bahasa Malaysia. Thanks in advance.

ISKL has a far better reputation for not being cliquey. Although the latest results at A level for Alice Smith are impressive. You have a young kid who is not taking any exams. Go for a small school, that does not combine infant, junior and senior all in one campus. Kids need to be kids. You can pay as much as you think, but at the end of the day, the parents (read Mother) is the person who will guide the educational success of their children, not the teachers (at least until the kid is about 12 years old.)  When you leave KL - what type of school will your child enter?  It's always important to look AHEAD and plan accordingly.

Hi. Gravitas. Thanks for your comments. Very thoughtful...we would like to stick with schools that follow British Curriculum bcoz we may stay in KL for 2-3 yrs only. At the end of it we intend to return to the UK so that my daughter can take up the 11+ exams ( entrance exams for being accepted for Selective  grammar schools). She is now in an independent school in the UK and is considered 'bright' by her teachers. We plan to return to the same school at the end of our stay in KL till she can (hopefully) get into a grammar school. Even though we have all these plans, we would never know where life could take us in 2-3 yrs...So our options are open to some extent. So is the 'racism' aspect in Alice Smith real?

I guess you are basing your choice on location. If you plan live to near the school, the city centre is not very suitable for children i.e. around the area where Alice Smith is located - so you will be in traffic most of the time. AS has its building in a rather remote area on top of a hill and is close to the UNHCR refugee registration centre. There are a couple of government offices up there and a couple of restaurants and perhaps one or two houses used by corporates.  So planning where to live and where other kids will live in relation to the school could be tricky - as they would not live really locally.

Its also going to be important to make sure your husband can get to work easily as the commuting is horrendous - so perhaps that is why you are thinking of living in the KLCC area and not in one of the family-oriented areas, such as Mont Kiara.  Actually, I dislike MK a lot because it basically is just high-rise properties next to one another and the north-south highway actually runs through it and over it.  However, there are some nicer areas around it.

Have you considered the British School? Friends recently did the same analysis as you, but found family life and the financial set-up and educational standards were best at the BSKL. It is also not necessary to live in MK.

This makes interesting reading (couple of years old, but gives a gist) but gives an overview of all the different fees you will be paying. 

Comparison of international and private schools in KL area

If you look at the forum on Expatgo there are a lot of postings about different schools. Well worth spending some time reading the relevant comments. The forum has a different readership.

Thanks again for your reply. We are hoping to live in and around Bangsar. We are actually looking forward to city living- bcoz we have always lived in the countryside in the U.K (Buckinghamshire) close to nature. The buzz of the city sounds like an exciting change. Your ideas of Mont Kiara are similar to my perception of it (blocks of condo). Husband wants to take public transport to work(LRT), bcoz it will get him there faster. But I am trying to dissuade him as I am concerned about the security aspects. Going back to my original concern- Why does Alice Smith have the 'racist' tag?  Is it the staff, students or the parents? Would you know more info on it?I would be very grateful for any comments you may have on this.Pls p.m me if it is easier.

It will probably take 1 hr in rush hour to drive from Bangsar to KL City although it is quite close. The LRT is convenient for the City Centre and it is possible to change at Sentral Station and take the Monorail for Bukit Bintang and other parts of the Golden Triangle. The problem is getting to Bangsar LRT station as most condos are a long walk away.

Living in the city? Haze, pollution, hellish jams! You will get KL flu (and a shortened lifespan). I used to say go to kl as a family and Bangkok as a young single - noting the Bangkok flu due to pollution - but kl is now worse. Children are affected the worst especially with asthma.

Although not a patch on Beijing!

We will be moving to KL after Christmas break. My husband will be there next week looking into schools. We are looking into Alice smith but we are really hoping for iskl. Although we aren't sure his company will pay that much, we will have 4 kids in school in 2 years. Good luck and let me know if you find any other important things about the schools!

Garden school gets good academic results and is better than most schools in this country. However if I were in your position I would definitely try for Alice Smith school. My son not only did academically well there, he had great sporting experience and best of all, enjoyed himself. Yes, you are correct, it is truly more international in its culture that Garden International. Its culture is probably better because its managed by parent governors and owned by parents - Garden is owned by a private company taking out their profit margin. There is a reason why the Malaysian royal family educate their children in Alice Smith - not Garden!
If you want further details on the school and on accommodation etc, i'm at david [[at]]
good luck!

I was surprised to hear the "racist" word in terms of Alice Smith. My kid is half Indian & half caucasian & we did not encounter racism; he had 5 good years there - academically, sports-wise and all-round.  The junior school has always achieved high-end results, and with a very good headmaster now in high-school, they are now achieving excellent A-level results.  If you want to live near to school to avoid traffic, live in Mutiara Seputeh (Moderated: no free ad on the forum pls + post your offer in the housing section)

My daughter is in class 8, studying in india CBSE school. We will be moving to KL soon. Would like to know whether it is better for her to join GIIS and continue her class 9th there or join any international school like ISKL.

Please advise.

If Year 9 is an exam year, then it would be counter-productive to move your daughter.  Much depends on what kind of academic performance she has and what she expects to do in the future. As private education is rather expensive in Malaysia (up to RM1 million - see attached article) careful choices have to be made based on budget. FYI Alice Smith senior school is not in the city centre, it is in Seri Kenbangan, which is about 30 km south of the city centre. Much also depends on where your workplace is located and ease of fitting in transport for the whole family.

Check out this article. It gives all the financial breakdown of the various fees, charges, deposits, required by some of the main schools:

Financial requirements associated with private education

Thanks for all the helpful comments. Even though I was very concerned about Alice Smith, we have decided to go ahead with it as I didn't hear any specific information or clarification on why there were some comments on 'racist' aspect of Alice Smith school. I even spoke to two mums whose children are in BSKL and Australian Intl School. They both confirmed that they haven't heard of any such concerns about AS and if it was really an issue they would have heard of it thru their big circle of friends. I am less concerned now. My daughter has now been offerred a place in AS subject to the outcome of her assessment. The assessment was administered by her current school in the U.K after being contacted by AS. My daughter said that the test was 'very easy'. So I am hopeful that she will be successful. But one thing that surprised me about the international schools is the class size. Most of them seem to have 20-24 children and multiple classes for each year group. My daughter has only 15 children in her current class. So it will be a lot of getting used to for her... Nevertheless, we are all looking forward to our move and our new life in Malaysia...Can't wait for sunshine all year long...

Sunshine all year long?  There are two major monsoon periods and we have not seen the sun now for about 3-4 days. It rains most days in "normal" weather - just had two major dry and hot spells which was almost unheard of. So although it is warm - no hot - the weather in KL is quite often wet and cloudy or hazy i.e.smog/pollution. But is still beats the UK weather !

Hi Dear,
I am now walking on your shoes few years back. You have any advice on AS ? My kids are 5 and 6 now...

Hi Dina,

Alice Smith is a superb school & I have no doubt your kids would thrive there. Fees are amongst the highest in the city, but their staff are extremely experienced and well-qualified, and their results are consistently amazing. If you'd like other ideas about other possible school options or more info about Alice Smith, feel free to PM me. Cheers

Hi all,
We'll be moving to KL next month for DH's new job. We're enrolling the kids at AS primary school as both kids attended an independent school in UK where they thrived and loved it there.
Kids are starting in years 2 and 4. Any advice on how the school is these days and whether the class structures are good and fun?
Are there a lot of expat kids there?
How is it to meet parents? Are people friendly?
We're looking to stay in a gated community house in Bangsar... any recommendations? Also travel tips to school and rail to work for DH?
Thanks in advance - K ☺️

Alice Smith Primary is superb and has an outstanding local reputation. They also offer plenty for parents in terms of coffee mornings, family events, workshops etc (they've even got a special parent coffee shop on campus) so I'm sure you'll all settle in very quickly and be very happy with your decision.
Can't help with housing, but Pauline Yeoh is a wonderful agent who knows Bangsar like the back of her hand. She helps find homes for a lot of the Alice Smith teachers. Her number is ***

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I was reading the thred on Alice Smith, and wondering how you have found it so far?  We will be moving to Malaysia from Australia in July, and looking at Alice Smith or the Australian School (which is quite far away from KLCC).  Planning on living around MK area.  Thanks so much!  Bec

Alice Smith & AISM are both great but very different - it really depends what you are looking for & expecting. If you're considering British curriculum (like Alice) then Garden International & BSKL are also worth throwing in the mix. Feel free to PM me if you'd like some more specifics. Cheers

I had a job offer in KLCC and I’m waiting for the visas pass for me and my son. I started contacting the schools there GI and AS and waiting to find a place for him. He is in one of Surrey public schools and I have been always told that he was doing very well and he is within the top group of his class. However when he took the assessment test last week for GI, he found it a bit hard and I’m starting wandering if we can get him a place there..he still have to do the assessment for AS. Just wanted to check if these assessment are very hard as we don’t have any experience with private school.
I’ll be working around Razak Tun Jalan in the CC and would like to have some advices about housing there please? Many thanks!

I had a job offer in KLCC and I’m waiting for the visas pass for me and my son. I started contacting the schools there GI and AS and waiting to find a place for him. He is in one of Surrey public schools and I have been always told that he was doing very well and he is within the top group of his class. However when he took the assessment test last week for GI, he found it a bit hard and I’m starting wandering if we can get him a place there..he still have to do the assessment for AS. Just wanted to check if these assessment are very hard as we don’t have any experience with private school.
I’ll be working around Razak Tun Jalan in the CC and would like to have some advices about housing there please? Many thanks!

Not sure about the schooling part of your question, but remember that International Schools are a business and they often have waiting lists. Alice Smith school is not an easy place to reach from the KLCC area so really hope you find good way for your child to get to school.

There is probably an oversupply of accommodation options in the area of Jalan Tun Razak near KLCC area but of course it all depends on your budget. Lots of places in the Hampshire Place part but also all around KLCC Park is full of condominiums. If you are willing to look slightly out of the city along Jalan Ampang you can find less expensive accommodation although some places are still walking distance to KLCC, and there are less expensive apartments in the Bukit Bintang area which are either a long walk or easy commute from KLCC area.

As long as your son doesn't need learning support or English language support, he should be okay. Alice Smith are reasonably inclusive and aren't academically selective but yes, they are very tight on places so it will be great if he gets a place. The testing is to check whether his current abilities fall broadly in line with the year group he is applying to, not whether he is top of the bunch.
Garden is larger, with larger support and EAL teams, so if Alice says no he may well get a place there.

Edited to add: Would strongly recommend living close to your chosen school, rather than being close to work - far easier and less tiring for you to commute each day, rather than your son. And KL traffic can be really tough going!

Actually living in a place like Bangsar South or in the Mid Valley Megamall area or KL Sentral area would be much more convenient for schooling at Alice Smith. All these places should have a fairly easy commute for you to get to work by LRT etc. If you send your son to Garden International School then you could live in the Mont Kiara or Sri Hartamas area and the drive in to work should be fairly easy. However, Jalan Tun Razak is a pretty busy road during rush hours.

Thank you for your reply!
My option to rent at a walking distance from the work is because I’ll not drive at KL and someone told me that commuting by public transport is not recommended...I heard that all the international schools have buses for the kids, is this right?

Thank you for your reply!
How much shall I put in a good 3 beds condo flat?
I have been doing some research and the prices are quite different, I was looking mainly around my work place in Jalan Tun Razak.

Well, I suppose you have already checked with both schools to check about their school buses.

Jalan Tun Razak is very long and runs halfway around the city. The best way is to go to one of the property websites and input the specific area that you are interested in, enter your budget, number of bedrooms etc and see what appears. Many expats temporarily stay in service apartments when they first arrive in KL and then have time to look around. The rents are going to vary a lot, perhaps starting perhaps at around Rm4k up to around Rm8k and even more, it all depends on the condo you choose. Some are lower end buildings while some are exclusive.

There are a few that are a little older and less exclusive such as Panorama, Hampshire Residence, Hampshire Place, 202 Desa Cahaya etc. These are all just off Jalan Ampang and close to KLCC. But it really depends which part of Jalan Tun Razak you are working at.

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