"An authentic international education rich in the arts, languages, and technology"
Students enrolled 400
Hours 8:30am - 3:30pm
School leader David Rowsell
Transportation options Yes
Type no info
Preschool capacity no info
Before school no info
After school Yes

Contact this school

2001 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20007

School website
(202) 829-3700
(202) 829-6522
Nearby homes for sale
Map of British School of Washington address.

3 stars
Based on 44 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

June 28, 2014
We have had a wonderful experience at BSW. I cannot vouch for the upper school but the Nursery is outstanding. Incredibly committed teachers, a very warm and friendly community, 3 and 4 year olds nurtured and guided through their learning and socialization. It is very structuted, which I think is a good thing. They think they are playing but they are learning every minute. The head of nursery is incredibly hard-working and devoted to her job. Children as young as 3 take part in incredibly poised assemblies and school productions. They are very much part of the wider school community whilst retaining their own special nursery identity. Behaviour is noticeably excellent. I have never once observed poor manners around the school, the older children are delightful.

- submitted by a parent
June 26, 2014
We've had two very happy years so far at BSW, with 3 kids really enjoying going to school. The teaching staff are, by and large, excellent - caring, well qualified, and enthusiastic. Yes, the sports facilities are very poor, but the sports staff make up for that with great organization and energy, so our children haven't suffered at all in that department. On the contrary. Music and languages are mixed, but additional activities - school camp, musicals, a world-beating skiing trip by all accounts are out of this world. And a terrific school community. We've been made to feel very welcome. So why only 3 stars? It's a for-profit school, and that has implications. It's great in that the school never asks for additional money or fundraising. But it seems to lead to a one-dimensional focus on increasing school pupil numbers at all costs. And a constant drive to cut overheads (over burdened staff, never-ending promises about facilities that don't materialize, incredibly old computers that don't work). If they spent a little more money, they'd get 4 or 5 stars from me.

- submitted by a parent
June 12, 2014
We have been very happy at BSW. Its a very small community of parents and students; which is great because it becomes a big family. The best part about BSW is how they teach the children, the kids don't simply memorize they analyze and understand a subject matter. For example they don't come home having to memorize the times table as I had to do as a child but they spend time explaining to the children the concept behind the times table and how one may use it for division, what it actually means to divide. Its a wonderful way to learn and this way it will stay with them forever. The smaller children in Nursery and PreK learn via play. My 4 year old is already reading and writing! I was shocked when I found him writing his name one day. He wants to learn and homework is not a chore its fun. BSW has some fault (such as lack of sport facilities , which they are working on) but one thing they do well is instill a love of learning in kids, and that to me is priceless. BSW unlike other private school is a for-profit school, which is great because they do not ask for any extra donation in addition to the tuition. There is lots of opportunities for parents to be involved at the school

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2014
My 3 year old son started at BSW in Sept and has made a smooth and worry free transition into his school life. The welcome from staff in both his class and those of others has been extended to all the family and has made him feel right at home. Some concerns over his speech development have been dealt with sensitively and in a supportive manner. He has so many opportunites to talk about his learning with peers, adults and older students, backed up by informative weekly newsletters that have enabled us to follow up at home as well as with extended family members around the world. It is clear that the ethos of this school is about pastoral care working hand in hand with individual academic progress and this is exactly what i am looking for in a school environment. We look forward to our continuing relationship with the school as we progress on our son's learning journey.

- submitted by a parent
January 12, 2014
It is the best school my child has been to, we've been moving a lot and that means a lot of different schools. He tells me he hates being sick when it means missing school. The school's teachers are very good at encouraging kids to challenge themselves, especially Mr. Horton.

- submitted by a parent
December 31, 2013
Think again before you send your child to this school and he or she intends to return to the UK for studies. They do not offer the IGCSE options that even most state schools offer in the UK, teachers set work from websites and teh choice of languages is very poor considering it is an international school with kids from all over the world. This school has hardly eany pupils in the upper years and the teacher turn around is alarming. Look in last year's yearbook and you will see that most teachers are no longer there. It is a huge disappointment. It professes to care for individual needs but it truly doesnt. All it really knows how to do is sell a false image in exchange for exhorbitant fees. It is worrying to see that it is a school accountable to no educational authority, such as Ofsted, unlike most British Schools outside the UK.

- submitted by a community member
June 09, 2013
Our child has thoroughly enjoyed their time at BSW and loves going to school every day. The teachers are engaging, and set appropriate challenges. Based on the British curriculum, along with their normal studies of maths, literacy, PE, languages, every six weeks the children start a six week project based on the International Primary Curriculum; I have been thoroughly impressed as my now 10 year old has had to learn and explain the physics of rollercoasters and then design a functioning rollercoaster with a team of 3 other children, research the functionality of satellites and space travel, create their own mythology books using art, storytelling and science, study the US government and the constitution including performing mock elections with campaigning. The school is made up of 40% Americans and 60% International families. You will not find that type of mix in many private schools, let along the public school system.

- submitted by a parent
June 08, 2013
This school does not do enough to promote the really great things that are happening in the High School. Last year from a class of 26 students who sat their Cambridge IGCSEs one student got the highest grade in the WORLD for Drama, another got the highest marks in America for both Geography and Design Technology and 3 more students were given Cambridge Scholar Awards for having combined scores for 3 subjects in the Top Ten in America. Last Year the IB results were 10% above the global average. Academically this is a great school. The managing company acknowledge that mistakes have been made and we now have a fantastic new Head Teacher who is working incredibly hard. It takes a village to raise a child and this school and the community it fosters is a village capable to raising amazing students who go to do fantastic things. So there is not as much homework as some American parents would like, that is because the students are not given homework for the sake of being giving homework, if they complete tasks in class there is no need for them to bring work home. The Drama, Music, Art and Design departments are exceptional.

- submitted by a parent
May 30, 2013
As a new parent at NSW, I had high hopes but these were dashed almost in the first week when I saw parents haranguing the teachers about how poor the curriculum and homework was in early senior grades. The academic curriculum is very unambitious, and standards seem too low to make this a school to recommend. Homework is sporadic and more project oriented than academic. Overall, it seems to offer little value for the money.

- submitted by a parent
May 23, 2013
We really like this school. The teachers at the elementary school are very passionate/committed and easily approachable. The curriculum is British, and most teachers are from the UK, but the school has a truly international feel to it. The teachers take the time to really get to know their students. Our child in pre-K can t wait to go to school each day. She and her classmates go on walks in the woods every week (rain or shine) and have taken numerous interesting/fun field trips to strengthen their learning/understanding. The school has gone through some management changes, but all seems steady now. Facilities are somewhat limited (e.g. sports fields/gym), but the school is working on expanding these.

- submitted by a parent
April 20, 2013
School is unsatisfactory on a number of levels, not the least is the chaotic administration, poor organization, and lack of communication, both internaly and to the parents. The company that runs the school has been unimpressive, hiring a headmaster last year then firing him within about 6 weeks. Not a move that built confidence among parents.

- submitted by a parent
January 24, 2013
Outstanding nursery program. We have been thoroughly impressed with the education and socialization that our twins have received at BSW. My kids have very different personalities and strengths, and I can see that each of them are being nurtured based on their individual traits. The curriculum is play-based but with impressive amount of academics (literacy & mathematics) disguised as play. But I am most grateful for the social- and emotional-skills emphasis. The teachers foster empathy, cooperation, and age-appropriate independence. There are concerns about the facilities - small indoor play space, no proper gym, & lack of older-kid-appropriate outdoor play space - but the corporation that owns BSW now seem committed to developing unused space (about two floors worth) in the building. Personally though, I'm happy with the outdoor and indoor play available for the primary grades. The administration has quickly responded to the few questions or concerns that we've raised. Both administrators and teachers are always available in person or via email to chat, address concerns, or give (solicited) advice. BSW is a great private school and a great value. We're returning next year.

- submitted by a parent
December 12, 2012
A super professional independent private school in the heart of DC serving Nursery to High School Students. What makes this school standout is its British high quality curriculum and diverse student population. Class sizes are small and the teaching first class.

- submitted by a parent
December 05, 2012
My daughter is in the secondary program and has been there for 2 years, she loves the studies, the teachers and the diversity of the students. It is a perfect school for girls they are taught to be very strong thinkers and individuals. As an American family we are most welcome andappreciate the method of teaching She is inquisitive, independent thinking and well versed in all subjects We did a search ogf other private schools in the area and found that British not only offers the IB program, it possesses the training for critical thinking that we all need so much to succeed in the world!

- submitted by a parent
October 05, 2012
My son has been at BSW for the past 5 years and I could not be happier with the school. The teachers are excellent and provide lots of individualized attention and mentoring. The international primary curriculum provides a stimulating and effective course of study that induces students to think deeply about a wide variety of important social, economic, political and cultural topics and promotes intellectual engagement that enhances their acquisition of learning and life skills. The BSW community is international, socially engaged, courteous and fun to be a part of. The school has been perfect for my son and for my family. I would recommend BSW to any parents in the Washington DC area who are looking for a socially diverse, intellectually challenging, deeply caring and friendly school environment for their children.

- submitted by a parent
September 30, 2012
My children attend the high school and are very happy there. We are delighted with the excellent grades in both the IGCSE and IB exams that they have achieved. The learning styles that they are encouraged to adopt have helped with the transition to university. (Most students go to very good universities after finishing the IB Diploma.) There is always a positive learning environment and atmosphere in the school.

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2012
I have two boys who have attended BSW for the past three years at Primary level. I can honestly say that it has been a truly joyful, positive and productive experience for them. The teachers instill a love of learning in the children right from the outset which allows them to become inquisitive, thoughtful and independent learners. Class sizes are small, resulting in more individual attention from the dedicated teachers and assistants. The International Primary Curriculum in my opinion has been a huge success. It allows for differentiation and helps the children understand their place within a diverse, international community. The school continues to act upon feedback from parents and students, and together with a very strong Parents Association I am in no doubt BSW will continue to go from strength to strength. Of course, as some of the reviews here show, the school is not a best fit for everyone (as is the case for all schools). I hope in future personal grievances can be redirected to the school itself and space is left for those with constructive criticisms.

- submitted by a parent
July 13, 2012
I went here for four and half years before finally transfering to a different school. In short, my experience was unpleasant. I was bullied by my classmates (and certain members of staff) frequently. Only a small handful of the teachers were actually very good, but the rest were atrocious. (Like showing videos of cats instead of preparing us for our IGCSE exams.) Coming from a former student, don't send your child here. The school is too cliquey to make true friends and most the teachers can tell you more about their lives instead of their subject.

- submitted by a community member
June 13, 2012
We sent our older daughter to BSW for one year and took her out. The classes were large (32+) and, although the course material was well-taught, at the end of the year, the etacher, who went back to the UK, could not tell me anything about my daughter, good or bad. Also, bullying was tolerated, and seemed a part of the culture of the school. I often had to beg my child to go to class, and she is not especially shy or withdrawn. Many of the parents were nice, but there was a definate in and out crowd. The school administartion was aloof. After a year, we send our daughter to a small Catholic school in Palisades, where she has thrived. Before sending your child to BSW, understand that it is for profit and therefore will tolerate all manner of bad behavior to keep enrollment up.

- submitted by a community member
May 15, 2012
Our son has been enrolled at the school for two years. Upon enrollment we were told by the school that we had to pull him from Kumon tutoring because this program was antithetical to the BSW curriculum. After speaking with another dissatisfied parent, we had our child independently evaluated this year, & like her child, he was far below grade level & couldn't test into any private school in the area. To add insult to injury, he has been bullied for the past 2 years, & when we talked to administration about this, providing names & evidence, (the scar on his forehead from being pushed), the school blamed him for the abuse. I was incensed and 100% agree with the other poor reviews. I also attended British schools in Africa & I believed that the curriculum was comparable. We just discovered that BSW uses a product created by the corporation which owns the school & it isn't even accredited. Now, we have re-enrolled in Kumon, but kids in his grade who stayed in Kumon are doing 6th & 7th grade work but my son has to play catch-up. BSW provides no homework, no tests, unmotivated teachers, too much money & no scholarships. DO NOT SEND your child here unless you are a diplomat passing thru.

- submitted by a parent
May 14, 2012
Our children have been in the primary school for the last two years and the greatest compliment that I can pay BSW is that they look forward to going to school every day. The primary school teachers are enthusiastic and dedicated and the small class sizes this year have enabled them to focus on the needs of each of our children. I have been impressed by my children's development in literacy and their reading skills in particular. The language programme does need improvement and this is being addressed.

- submitted by a parent
May 14, 2012
Our two children are thriving in the BSW Primary School. The teachers are not only motivated, but motivating. The literacy programme is fantastic - both for reading and writing. The younger children go out for weekly Walks in the Woods, connecting with nature and becoming Junior Rangers. There is a strong focus on presentational skills, through homework which involves individual talks to the class, and annual assembly performances. The primary school needs more structured focus on math, which we are told is happening, and leadership has been improving. We are confident that BSW is providing the best start possible for the education of our children.

- submitted by a parent
April 24, 2012
We have two children at BSW and have been with the school for four years. The teachers and curriculum have consistently met and exceeded our expectations. The children are challenged and develop a love of learning from the beginning. We have seen this continue each and every year. Teachers are caring, dedicated, challenging, creative, and hard-working. The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is one of the many aspects that help make BSW a unique and special school. The IPC is taught in the Primary School (Reception (PK) - Year 6). It is an engaging curriculum designed to foster rigorous learning, particularly focusing on on academic, personal and international learning. Through the IPC teachers are able to provide their students with innovative and exciting ways to learn, which I have seen first hand in our children. They truly do love learning and we can't imagine providing our children with a better education than at BSW!

- submitted by a parent
February 21, 2012
Our daughter started attending BSW this year (elementary school) and we have been very happy with the experience so far. Her home room teacher is excellent, and her reading and math performance has improved dramatically. I believe that the academic standard is quite high compared to any private school in the area. Most importantly, our daughter is very happy. We have particularly appreciated the school's willingness to help students who enter the school at varying levels to catch up to their class mates through individualized attention. I did not get that impression from any of the other private schools we visited, most of which seemed more concerned with what the student would bring to their school, rather than what the school could do for the student. That said, the physical facilities are not really up to par (particularly in term of sports, play areas etc.) and the language program needs strengthening. But there are signs that this is being addressed - so we'll see. Our daughter has only been at the school for half a year, and it remains to be seen whether our experience will extend to other teachers, but so far, we have had an excellent experience.

- submitted by a parent
September 29, 2011
I have several children at BSW. Quality of the school is best at the primary stage and then steadily deteriorates in secondary and student numbers drop making it a very small school at IB level. Teachers variable - some excellent, others far from it. Strengths: design and technology, maths and english. Weaknesses: sport, language program. School building very average - below DC public schools in terms of facilities. Governance structure is not responsive (for profit, based in the UK). Parent involvement correspondingly limited.

- submitted by a parent
May 02, 2011
As a student attending this school, and having attended for over 5 years, I can honestly say my experience here has not been the best. Although I have gained a lot from having to cooperate with classmates, it's definitely been a struggle. There are some teachers who show clear signs of favoritism, and these displays are very discouraging for the rest of the class. Having seen the IB room (which, by the way, is simply disgusting), I was really worried about going here next year. I now attend a public school taking AP courses instead, and not once have I regretted it. There have been several occasions as well where I have seen students mistreated by teachers both unfairly and wrongly. Some punishments that are put on some students are then not put on other students who rightly deserve them as well. I don't know how well this school works for kids, for me it didn't. That's just my own experience.

- submitted by a community member
January 14, 2011
My child attended the lower school for 2 years and had a very rough time of it. Teachers need more training. There is a focus on appearance and presentation in everything that is done. Creativity and individuality is not valued. The environment is very structured, but not consistent. There is also some bullying. I just can't recommend the school, but I will say that the music program and the foreign language program for lower school is very good.

- submitted by a parent
September 15, 2010
Our child has been at the British School for nearly 3 years now and it goes from strength to strength. All three teachers have been excellent, and the management team are improving the school every year. Best of all, she loves going there.

- submitted by a parent
June 01, 2010
We have been at the BSW for 2 and half years. We will no long be attending. We have been very disappointed with the teaching and schools responsiveness (?).

- submitted by a parent
March 14, 2010
This is our second year with the school and we absolutely love the education our son is receiving. His teachers are excellent and the structured environment has proven to be a great fit for him. We also like the fact that parents are highly encouraged to be involved.

- submitted by a parent
January 26, 2010
We are into our second year with the British School of Washington. Last year went rather well. The teacher was creative and really worked with the kids. This year is totally different. The teacher doesn't seem happy to be there or to be teaching. Our child is unhappy, which is the worst of all. We've tried working with the administration. They seem 'understanding,' but this doesn't solve the problem. Bullying has also been an issue, and some kids seem allowed to break the rules that others are forced to follow.

- submitted by a parent
October 01, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
August 06, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
April 19, 2009
I have been to this school for nearly four years and I agree that some of he teachers are good but for the most part they never manage to actually teach us anything unless they're one of the good teachers. The fact that we don't have a playground isn't a problem at all. In fact, many of us think it's a good thing because it gives you more of an opportunityto be creative with games and you'd be surprised at how easy it is to play games with something you brought from home like a skipping rope or hula hoop. What my classdoes is have someone bring in a ball each day and we all play soccer. Thanks to that I have actually made more friends because we play as a team. The only thing I don't like is that they give us too much homework, more than they tell you.

- submitted by a student
March 06, 2009
There is a new head so people are hopeful that things will improve at the BSW. I concur with most of the comments below. The school has incredibly inconsistent results for different grade years and teachers involved. The school has rolling admissions and appears to for the most part accept just about anyone at any point in the year; that alone should tell you something about the school when you compare it to excellent private schools in the DC area where very long waiting lists are the norm. In theory the school concept has great promise; but in practise it has not achieved its potential by a long shot. Maybe some day it will

- submitted by a parent
no rating March 02, 2009
Our child used to attend BSW but sadly, it just didn't work for us especially as we progressed into the Middle School. We thought we were signing up for a British private school education but instead, the school models itself on British public/state schools. Academically, it's OK, I always felt the students could have been pushed more and the teachers very much taught to the tests and no further. I'm not suggesting the teaching was poor, in fact, there are a few good teachers but when the school has very few facilities to offer for $20,000 a year the classroom teaching throughout the whole school needs to be excellent. If you have a 3 year old it's worth a look as they teach reading and writing at a very young age but visit other schools to compare. It shouldn't be your first choice.

- submitted by a parent
January 27, 2009
My daughter has attended BSW for the past 4 years and I believe the faculty and the administration (yes, the administration) are excellent.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 25, 2008
Our child has really flourished at BSW for the past several years. It's especially great for any 'quirky' kid who doesn't fit in a really socially competitive environment. BSW teaches kindness and respect, and the teachers really know their pupils as individuals. Not for everyone, sure, but worth a look.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 24, 2008
Clearly this school is going through growing pains where it has never quite found its footing. I agree that academics are the school s best point; however, like any school it has some excellent teachers and some very mediocre teachers. Historically we have been happy about the curriculum, especially in the earlier years where there was a strong emphasis on teaching fundamental concepts; however, we have been disappointed as of late, where the academic rigor in some subjects is lacking including an insufficient level of homework and scant use of textbooks. Considering the tuition is now in the $20K range with no discounts available, one should take a VERY close look at this school compared to other private schools in the area. The new facility is very lacking and appears to be the product of another unilateral decision by the baffling administration who continue to blow-off the inputs from parents.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 17, 2008
Students who have remained with the school over a long period have excelled academically because of its high standards, quality of curriculum, and outstanding teachers. While I agree there are big problems with the school's administration (& this has been true since the very beginning, in 1998) the negative impact appears to be on the parents and not the students, who generally speaking, have flourished. The curriculum is very demanding but the kids who've stuck with it from the early years are now doing very well academically, as measured by UK and U.S. standardized exams, awards in national competitions, and university admissions, as well as personally (early emphasis on courtesy, respect for diversity, and articulateness pays off in high school). BSW's certainly not parent-friendly, but the students seem happy, and if a parent can tolerate the daily frustrations and focus on BSW's long-term results, the returns make it worthwhile.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 15, 2008
This school is run as a total profit enterprise -- little care is given to the well-being of the students or relations with parents. There is no playground, and many parents with ideas to improve the school and community relations are ignored at best, if not treated as pariahs. We have just received notice that a venture capital firm has invested in the corporation, and therefore can expect that the almost blind profit drive of the administration will worsen. Don't put your kids here yet.

- submitted by a parent
March 19, 2008
We concur with the comments on the inadequacy of the school administration and the almost antagonistic relations with well-meaning and highly educated parents. The absence of any confirmed outdoor play space and an inadequate indoor playspace is problematic. Art, science and music are scant. Having said this, the teachers themselves are incredibly dedicated and hardworking.

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2008
The academic quality at BSW is high, and the teachers are good. Yet overall we have been disappointed and have decided to enroll our child elsewhere. The leadership has been surprisingly unilateral, even when approached in a constructive way by parents. Earlier this year, the pre-k class enrollment rose to 26 children, with only one teacher, and other classes were at 23 or 24. Discipline in the classroom was a problem and there seemed to be little time to attend to the social and emotional needs of the students. Problems relating to the move to the new location caused us to lose seven full school days, and we have been informed that this time will not be made up. Thus, our sense is that when the chips are down, the school will sacrifice the well-being and education of current students for somebody else s bottom line

- submitted by a parent
March 07, 2008
The teachers are fantastic. That's why most parents stay. However, the administration of the school is very poor. There are many examples of poor leadership. One example relates to outdoor play space. The school is now in a new location. Unfortunately leadership did not make an outdoor play space for children over 5 a priority. Parents/children have been granted a grassy area for 6 months but have been repeatedly told that there is no guarantee this space will be available next year. This is very upsetting to many parents of younger children, especially given the fact that the previous location had a dedicated outdoor play space. Had leadership communicated effectively with parents prior to signing the lease at the new location this situation could have been avoided. BSW may be great school in 5 years - but would not recommend it at this time.

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
no rating February 26, 2008
Don't ever expect a straight answer from any teacher or administrator. Always remember this school is a for profit company. Now that they have moved to the new North Georgetown building there are even fewer athletic opportunities and no adequate play areas for young children.

- submitted by a parent
February 21, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2008
definitely in a major transition stage with new building and new head of school coming in next school. Teachers are fantastic and the curriculum is challenging yet well-paced. Many issues with the administration and the fact that this is a for-profit corporation running the school. Parents and students are wonderful and are as involved as they are 'allowed to be'. Really a shame that they are not providing more considering the cost and the future increases in tuition.

- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 22, 2007
its very small but the kids are the best and a very wide range of ethnicity the teachers are mostly english

- submitted by a student
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British School of Washington
2001 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC  20007
(202) 829-3700
Last modified British School of Washington is a Private school that serves grades PK-12
British School of Washington Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 50 reviews.