Admissions Criteria and Guidelines

School Philosophy

Since its establishment as a Catholic international school in 1872, Saint Maur has been a school community where moral values govern all that we do to help students, parents, and staff, reach their full potential. From its inception, the word ‘Catholic’ has always been interpreted as all-embracing and wide-ranging, implying the acceptance of all, regardless of nationality or religious faith. The education offered continues to be based upon Christian principles, which focus on enabling one to embrace and celebrate differences and diversity, and through such an appreciation, come to the realization that, as human beings, we have more in common with each other than not.  

This approach assures good collaboration and a strong sense of true interconnectedness between and among the nationalities represented among our multicultural students and staff of all faiths and nationalities. Please note the Saint Maur Essential Outcomes targeted by our values here.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The school does not discriminate in its employment or student selection practices based on race, religious beliefs, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or physical disability. It must be noted that our campus is not ‘barrier-free’. Saint Maur goes to great lengths to secure people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds in support of its belief that such diversity enhances student learning and broadens the views and experiences of the community.  

Serving the International Community and its Students

An international student is defined as a student whose life experiences span more than one cultural dimension. Therefore, applications are accepted from Japanese students who are applying from abroad, are classified as being members of the international community as they are either 'recent returnees'; transfer students from other full-time English-medium international schools within Japan; or students for whom due to family background, attending a Japanese/ethnic local school within Japan would not be beneficial. In the case of Japanese dual nationals, they are eligible to apply if one parent or legal guardian is a proficient speaker and reader of English and is able to communicate in written English to engage meaningfully with the school and support the student in their learning language. 

Admissions Process

  1. Inquiry: The submission of an online pre-application Inquiry Form (no charge involved) is required to determine the eligibility of your child to apply to Saint Maur International School. (Pre-application Inquiry Form here) The submission of an inquiry provides essential information, allows the correct personnel to be assigned to the file, and clarifying questions, if any, to be asked.  After an inquiry is submitted, a family may visit the school if they are eligible for admission.
  2. Application: If the family is eligible to apply, they will be sent an admissions link. The application requires various information to be submitted, including a copy(ies) of passport(s) and two years of academic records in English (with the exception of the French school). We will also require parents to provide contact details for two Confidential Teacher’s Recommendations. For Preschool students, it is recognized that such documentation may not be available or will be limited. Where a student has particular learning needs or differences, professional assessments, and related documentation will be requested. Particularly for secondary students, additional information may be requested, including standardized testing results and in high school, IGCSE, or IB related preparatory documentation. An Application fee is collected, paid by credit card, in this portion of the application process.
  3. Evaluations 4th-11th Grades: All incoming students from Grade 4 through 11 are evaluated prior to acceptance. Saint Maur does not usually accept 12th grade students due to the demands of the IB Program that commences in 11th grade. Evaluations are conducted in a developmentally appropriate manner and cover English language skills and Mathematics. For students that are not in Japan or for students who cannot travel to campus, the evaluation will be administered remotely.
  4. Evaluations 1st-3rd Grades: All incoming students from Grade 1 through 3 are also evaluated prior to acceptance. However, for such young students, it is not developmentally appropriate for them to be subject to a remote evaluation. Therefore, for students that are not in Japan or for students who cannot travel to campus, a “tentative” acceptance will be issued and the actual evaluation will be administered upon arrival prior to the student starting their classes. Note: “tentative acceptances” are fully honored by Saint Maur, unless it becomes apparent that the academic information submitted differs significantly from what the evaluation or inquiry shows.
  5. Acceptance: A full acceptance or “probationary/conditional” acceptance may be issued to allow a family to enroll the student. A “probationary/conditional” acceptance is issued when there are special student-specific requirements necessary for a student to be successful, and the school determines the further definition of the school/parent partnership appropriate. For students living in Japan, the family will have five business days to make their decision and enroll their child(ren). An enrollment Registration fee is collected. For students outside of Japan, the family is given ten business days to make a decision.
  6. In the case of full enrollment:  If an opening for the student is not available at the time it is determined that a student is admissible, that student will be placed in the Waiting Pool. Waiting Pool Guidelines here. The waiting pool is not sequentially structured and Saint Maur will always accept first the student that is the best match for the school.

Admissions Standards and Criteria

As it is the intention of the school to provide students with achievable opportunities for successful development and growth, the school goes to great lengths to determine if the education offered at Saint Maur International School will be the right match for the applicant. Please note the following guidance.

Montessori Pre-school: Children who are toilet trained, and do not require the use of ‘pull-ups’ or any form of diaper/nappies, and are 2 ½ - 5 years old are eligible to apply for entry into our Montessori Pre-school. 2 ½ - 3 year olds are eligible for a half-day, or an extended day program. From the age of 4, students are expected to attend on a full-time basis to join the afternoon pre-literacy program. As no evaluation is given, acceptance into the program is based upon the understanding that the child is ready for formal schooling, and is able to use the bathroom independently and able to integrate within the classroom environment.

Acceptance into our Montessori Pre-school program does not make a student automatically eligible to transit into the elementary section of our school. Students who turn six by October 30, may be considered for entry into Grade 1 English medium international section of the school for that academic year, and those who turn six by December 31 into the Ecole Française (French medium) school. All applicants applying to enter the elementary school are required to 

  • have attained an age-appropriate level of maturity;
  • follow group direction, and implement such directions with the minimum amount of teacher assistance;
  • can complete age-appropriate tasks within a prescribed time frame;
  • have acquired age-appropriate social and behavioral skills;
  • have acquired an age-appropriate level of language skills.

Elementary through Secondary School: Students who apply for entry into our Elementary through Secondary School sections are required to demonstrate that they have the potential ability to meet the demands of our academic/social program, and would benefit from the education Saint Maur International School has to offer. Please note the minimum age guideline detail in the above Montessori comments regarding eligibility to join 1st Grade. English Proficiency is desired, but not required for Grades 1 through 8. English as an additional language (EAL) support and classroom differentiation and support will be supplied as necessary to strengthen a student’s academic language ability.

Secondary School Entry into Saint Maur: Students of all English language abilities are considered for admission from Grade 6 through Grade 9. From Grade 10 and above, academic English proficiency and skills are assumed, required and essential for success due to the increased rigor of the academic program.

Saint Maur, beginning in Middle School years, introduces integrated mathematics and sciences in Grades 6 & 7.  From the start of the second semester of Grade 8,  are leveled to the student’s abilities. From the start of Grade 8, Science becomes “Combined Sciences” in which, for a period of time, a specific science of the three natural sciences (Chemistry, Biology, and Physics), is taught. All three are then covered in rotating fashion, in Grades 8 through High School, 9 & 10.

Incoming 9th and 10th-Grade students will join the two year IGCSE program.  

Incoming grade 11 students will join the IB Curriculum and will participate in the IB program as either a Full Diploma Program Candidate or a Course Candidate. The school admits students to the Full Diploma Program to the extent that selected course combinations and levels and the overall balance of the academic program are appropriate and manageable for the student. For students who have compatibility issues with the second languages which are offered to a particular cohort, the Self-taught Language A Literature SL course and Pamoja Online courses are offered as possible options. (All fees for the Pamoja Online courses are paid for by the family.) For students who register as Course Candidates, they are offered the option of registering for Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay (EE). All students are registered for the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) class.

A note on Special Needs: Saint Maur endeavors to treat each applicant and student as an individual. Because Saint Maur is a relatively small school, the level of learning support is limited. We strive to admit only those students whom we are equipped to successfully support. Non-disclosure of essential information that will enable the school to determine if it is able to meet the specific necessary needs of a student undermines the school/parent partnership and could result in the student being required to withdraw.

Specifically, Saint Maur does not have the resources and personnel to cope with students who are substantially below their grade level, those that have significant psychological or behavioral issues, or who require a significant amount of support to have their learning differences met. In some circumstances, the school may offer a student acceptance on a 'probationary/conditional' basis as a means of better determining his/her needs, and the school's ability to meet them. 

Students with learning needs due to limited proficiency in English or those who have learning, social, behavioral, physical, and emotional needs are catered for, providing that the level of support required is within the ability of the school. Saint Maur can provide certain accommodations but we can not modify the curriculum, assessments, and/or learning expectations/outcomes. Apart from the school tuition, additional fees apply to some internal and all external support. 

Additional Points for Families to Note:

  1. As Saint Maur International School is a day-school, it considers only those applicants who reside in Japan with one or both parents.  Under certain circumstances, a legal guardian is also acceptable.
  2. A non-Japanese student must have a proper residential visa to attend school. 
  3. Because a family enters into a partnership with the school when it enrolls a student, we require that at least one parent speaks and reads English with sufficient fluency to enter into that partnership. 
  4. Please note that the Saint Maur campus is not a ‘barrier-free’ environment, which means the school may not be able to offer admission or continued enrollment for students who cannot cope with the physical demands of our buildings.