Collaboration and internationalism are more vital than ever today. Whilst others talk about this, we do it. EIFA is bilingual, international quality in action.

2021/2022 EIFA brochure download

About EIFA

EIFA’s philosophy

EIFA is an independent, international, secular school providing an English-French bilingual education. EIFA takes a child-centred approach to learning and encourages the linguistic diversity of its students – developing responsible global citizens, and promoting multicultural understanding through study in at least two languages.

EIFA is the only school in the UK to teach all core subjects in English and French – from day nursery to year 13.

Most parents would agree it is vital that our children grow up with an openness to, and a deep acceptance of different cultures. This must start with language. It is language that frames our lives and by being bilingual we gain an insight into other cultures. Language skills are also a powerful springboard when it comes to gaining admission into the most challenging universities and workplaces.

  • At EIFA we foster open-minded and flexible citizens of the world who will find themselves at home in more than one culture, communicate in more than one language, understand the views of others and how these are shaped and mix with people of a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
  • We offer a broad, balanced curriculum delivered in at least two languages, designing school experiences that develop and showcase each child’s talents, meet challenges, pursue and expand interests, allay fears, and realise hopes and dreams.
  • We encourage students to reflect on and accept responsibility for their own learning by presenting opportunities for inter-disciplinary research projects where they explore subjects of interest, employing critical thinking skills to select, analyse and evaluate different sources of information in order to offer solutions to the issues raised in class discussions.
  • We equip each student with the requisite tools to achieve their potential by pursuing an internationally accredited education.
  • We provide internationally recognised programmes in the iGCSE and the IB Diploma which encourage learners to acquire social skills as well as academic skills, and foster a desire to promote peace and understanding in our world.


EIFA owes its wonderful school buildings to the vision and commitment of the Howard de Walden Estate, which, at the height of the recession made property available to us. Our day nursery and Junior School are at 36, Portland Place, while our Senior School is located at Duchess House, 10, Duchess Street. Both are beautiful period properties that are ideally adapted to teaching and learning inside.

History of Portland Place

Portland Place in London was designed and built between 1774 and 1776 by the renowned Scottish architects, Robert and James Adam, as a wide thoroughfare with an uninterrupted view north towards Marylebone Park.

In the early 19th century, Portland Place was incorporated into the royal route from Carlton House to Regent’s Park, developed for the Prince Regent by John Nash.

The street is unusually wide for Central London (33 metres /110 feet). It still contains many of the spacious Georgian terraced houses built by the Adams.


Benefits of a bilingual programme

Nowadays, collaboration and internationalism are more vital than ever. Whilst others talk about this, we do it. EIFA is bilingual, international quality in action.

Research shows that only a programme taught fully in two languages leads to totally bilingual children. When children are educated in this way in two languages, their cognitive development is significantly enhanced. The bilingually trained mind is better able to multi-task and to switch between topics without losing focus. And the younger it starts, the better.

Cognitive advantages

  • Greater adaptability, mental flexibility
  • Conceptual mobility
  • Higher abstract reasoning, independent of language
  • Advantages in the construction of concepts
  • Verbal intelligence
  • Greater creativity
  • Higher communication sensitivity
  • Greater capacity to problem solve
  • Higher performance in spatial perception
  • Positive consequences in the mathematical world
  • A richer and more attractive curriculum
  • The learning of additional languages is greatly facilitated

Communication advantages

  • Greater facility of communication (family, community, international relations, employment, etc.)
  • Reading and writing skills in English and French

Cultural advantages

  • Multiculturalism, the experience of two linguistic worlds
  • More tolerance and less racism

Personal advantages

  • Higher self-esteem
  • Affirmation of one’s identity

Leadership, administration and support staff

We are happy to introduce to you our school Leadership, Administration and Support Staff Team:


Sabine Dehon is a teacher with more than 30 years of teaching experience, Isabelle Faulkner an international lawyer. They met in 2007 in London, when Isabelle was looking for a bilingual independent school and they started to talk about a vision for a rather different kind of offering.

The vision was of a bilingual school, but one that would creatively combine the rigorous academic approach of the French curriculum with the breadth and excitement of the English one. Thus was EIFA born.

Truly bilingual in every aspect, from the start right up to Year 13, EIFA is unique in its scope, its ambition and its relevance to today’s global child.


EIFA is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board consists of international and UK members who have experience in, amongst other things, education, finance and law.

The duties of the Board of Directors include: current and future strategy formulation, business planning, approval of tuition fees as well as policies and programmes. The Board supports the development and operations of the School. All Board members are requested to vote on major financial decisions such as the approval of the annual budget and capital expenditures.

In accordance with our education philosophy, Mrs Zurbach our Head of School is responsible for taking decisions relating to the school curriculum, as well as the teaching staff and their professional development. Mme Zurbach has extensive experience in all aspects of education. She applied a holistic approach to developing an international bilingual environment, ensuring the educational success of every pupil.

Valérie Carrier

Eifa Parents

EIFA Parents is the official Association of Parents of EIFA International School. We depend on parent volunteers and financial contributions for intra and extracurricular activities that promote creativity and foster a love of learning outside of activities provided by the school. We deliver a number of events and experiences for the children and raise money for charity; helping our children to learn to give back to the community.

An active well-functioning Parents Association is a sign of a healthy school with engaged parents. The Good Schools Guide specifically notes the contribution of EIFA Parents to EIFA school life.

Left: Calia Brencsons-Van Dyk, President of EIFA Parents association

Eifa Parents Board Members

  • Calia Brencsons-Van Dyk, President
  • Nada Choueiter, Vice President
  • Charlotte Grundman, Treasurer
  • Maire Deslandes, Secretary
  • Marilyn Le Cam, General Trustee
  • Kinga Hollidge, General Trustee
  • Vasilisa Aby, General Trustee
  • Giuseppe Puccia, General Trustee
EIFA Parents Association

The aims of EIFA Parents

To raise funds for projects and equipment to benefit the School community as a whole. To organise social events to enable School parents to meet and get to know each other, such as coffee mornings, summer parties and sports day picnics. To represent the views of parents to the Head of School and School Board of Directors. Parents of children in the School are entitled to attend meetings and are encouraged to participate in the organisation of events throughout the school year.

Class Representatives

At the beginning of each school year, the Head of School and EIFA Parents invite all parents to attend an informal meeting where parents will be asked if one of them would like to be a class representative for their child’s class. At EIFA we regard the cooperation with parents as of the utmost importance, class reps thus have a leading role in our school community.

EIFA Parents Liaison Meetings

EIFA Parents meet once each term with the Head of School to discuss items of general parental concern. Prior to each meeting an invitation will be issued to parents to submit any questions or issues which they may have. EIFA Parents and the Head of School may also discuss fundraising events and items that the School may particularly need in the upcoming year.

Forthcoming Events

For the latest news on EIFA Parents events, view the School Calendar. The emphasis is on fun, friendliness and maximum participation – everyone is welcome! Please also look out for information posted on the noticeboard at the main entrance of the School.

Ofsted report

We received an “Outstanding” in Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare of our students and also of our staff, in our last inspection in 2018. The Ofsted inspectors congratulated us for the remarkable work accomplished  since we opened, and they have highlighted how we can close the gap to gain an “Outstanding” grading in all categories.

EIFA International School would like to thank all of its staff and parents who kindly took part in the OFSTED surveys.

Ofsted Report 2018
Ofsted Report 2013


Homologation: Accredited by the French Ministry of Education

The homologation of EIFA has been approved by the French Education Ministry and has been in effect since June 2014, from PS (Nursery) to CM2 (Year 6).


EIFA is approved by Cambridge International Examinations to offer IGCSE, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education.


EIFA is a “DELF Junior” and “DELF Scolaire” examination centre. The DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) is the official French language proficiency qualification.


EIFA is an IB World School and provides the IB Diploma Programme.  EIFA offer students the opportunity of gaining a Bilingual IB Diploma.


Mission Laïque Française

Partner School of the “Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger”



EIFA is inspected by the UK Office for Standards in Education – Ofsted. Read the latest full report here.


EIFA also goes through a strict inspection by the IEN (Inspecteur de l’Education Nationale) based in London and attached to the French Embassy.

Mission Laique Francaise
Cambridge InternationalEdexcel - Pearson


EIFA has many policies available on various subjects. We are committed to ensuring the best possible care for both the children and the adults at EIFA. Please consult the links below to review key School Policies.

Attendance Policy
Health, Safety and Welfare
First Aid

Parent Complaint procedure
Child Protection and Safeguarding
EIFA School Rules – Junior School

EIFA School Rules – Senior School

We also have a large number of additional School policies that are available in digital or hard copy on request. If you would like to view any of these policies please contact Debbie O’Sullivan,

Academic Honesty
Acceptable use of IT and Social Media
Accessibility Plan
British Values
Code of Conduct at the Park
Educational Visits
EIFA Admissions Policy
Emergency Fire Plans
General Fire Safety
Gifted and Talented
Junior and Senior Schools PSHE & C
Language Assessment
Pastoral Care
Risk Assessment
Safer Recruitment
Special Education Needs

Should you have any questions or concerns about practices at EIFA please contact Françoise Zurbach at:

EIFA Designated Safeguarding Leads:

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Françoise Zurbach:
Stéphane Kuhn:

EYFS and Jnr School-Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Bonita Regan:

EYFS – Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Rebecca Naylor:

Prevent officer
Françoise Zurbach:

Learning support

Bilingual learning support

For students arriving at EIFA without proficiency in either English or French, we provide a special programme called EAL “English as an Additional Language” and FLE “Français Langue Etrangère”. These courses allow children to make rapid and sustained progress irrespective of their initial knowledge base in the second language.

Students will be working on attaining the necessary language skills, with a specialist teacher or teaching assistant, either individually or in small groups during French or English literature classes. We aim to promote all aspects of language simultaneously: oral expression and comprehension, as well as reading and writing skills.

The student remains in the EAL or FLE class until the classroom teacher and the teacher of EAL or FLE agree that the student has attained a sufficient level of English or French to be able to participate fully in the academic programme.

This support programme is only for students who do not have English or French as a first language. Our dual-immersion concept and learning-support programmes are designed for the needs of international students, regardless of the language spoken at home.

Special Educational Needs support

EIFA offers learning support to pupils with special educational needs (SEN). Our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and teaching staff work with external specialist consultants, who take care of specific educational needs such as speech and language impairment, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and/or ADHD.

Our staff set up special support programmes specific to the pupils’ individual needs. We are a small, family school and each child receives individual attention. Our teachers work in close collaboration with medical staff to assess learning difficulties and adjust exercises, tasks and homework accordingly. For example, children with dyslexia might be given fewer spelling words to learn and/or an extra 20% time to sit tests.

Please note that, owing to the constraints of our Grade II listed buildings, we are unable to cater for severe SEN pupils.

Relocation support

Support for children

EIFA places a strong emphasis on small class sizes so that children can get the individual and tailored support they need. The feedback we receive from our families is that their children have integrated very rapidly on their return to other international schools.

Today, we are particularly happy to host a growing number of international non-Francophone and non-Anglophone families. For those non-Francophone and non-Anglophone children, we have developed a pedagogy that enables such children to immerse themselves in both languages and cultures – English and French – and to become bilingual, thanks to individual support. For more information, visit our page Learning support.

Social support for families

We are lucky to have a very dynamic parents association.

All new families are welcomed to the School by EIFA Parents.

A series of events throughout the year, from end-of-term concerts, to a gala dinner, to Sports Day, and to coffee mornings allows new parents to meet with the existing parent body and share tips and information, as well as forge new friendships.


EIFA has a ‘No uniform policy’
Students will be required to wear the following PE Kit at school: A white polo shirt with shorts in the summer, and sweatshirt with sweatpants for winter.

You will be able to purchase the PE kit through the Lana Cotone directly HERE . Your PE kit will be posted to you directly or delivered to school.

All lunches served at EIFA are hot meals and are provided by a private London caterer offering natural wholesome food. Our caterer uses excellent ingredients and we also offer a vegetarian option. Pork is excluded from all preparations.


Frequently asked questions

We compiled a list of questions that parents have asked us during the application process. Please contact us if you have any additional questions and we will be happy to answer them personally.

Our teachers come from all over the world. They are qualified, native-English and native-French speakers with experience teaching in their home countries as well as in schools around the world. We also make a point of recruiting teachers with the right mindset and our teachers are truly dedicated to offering a tailored and supportive environment to allow each child to develop rapidly, confidently and equally in two languages and two cultures.

EIFA is an international school and our children currently represent more than 30 nationalities. Most children have dual nationality and we have a fair proportion of Francophone families.

We place a strong emphasis on small class sizes, so that children can get the individual and tailored support they need. The feedback we receive from families is that their children have integrated very rapidly compared with other international schools abroad. We also have EAL teachers.

We also have a vibrant and dynamic parents association called EIFA Parents who welcome new families when they arrive in our School. The aims of EIFA Parents are to raise funds for projects and equipment to benefit the School community as a whole, and to organise social events to enable our School parents to meet and get to know each other, such as coffee mornings, summer parties and sports day picnics.

We will have approximately 8 -20 students in any one class.

We are a small, family school and each child receives individual attention. Moreover, we give extra attention to children with learning difficulties. Our teachers work in close collaboration with specialists to assess children’s learning difficulties and adjust exercises, tasks and homework accordingly. 

We make use of the extensive facilities in Regent’s Park, which is a short walk from our Schools, as well as visiting local leisure centres for activities such as swimming.

EIFA Schools have a non-uniform policy. However, children are required to wear the EIFA PE kit.

We offer hot meals every day. School lunch is compulsory unless your child suffers from a food allergy.

Yes. There is a bus company that provides a bus service. Please contact them directly to arrange transport. This company is independent of the School. Parents are free to use other companies.

La Clef des Champs, Tel: 020 8376 5006, Mob: 07703 677669 Email:

Yes. We run a rich and varied programme of afterschool clubs. The full list is published on our website at the beginning of each term.

Quality at the heart of everything we do.

EIFA is an approved centre to offer iGCSEs with Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), as well as Edexcel International GCSEs qualifications from Pearson, which are studied in over 55 countries worldwide and at over 350 independent schools in the UK.

EIFA is an MLF approved school and AEFE partner.

Personal Development,
behaviour and welfare"