Reflecting the growing spotlight on international schooling over the last three decades, this special issue aims to illuminate how education is straddling complex tensions between global and national forces across various contexts. Taking a comparative perspective, the special issue addresses the following key questions: How does the growing provision of and desire for international programmes affect education not only in international schools but also in other types of schools in their local/regional/national/international arenas?; How are schools across diverse contexts engaging with what international programmes represent as a global education for a global future?; How might a focus on “the global” facilitate or undermine engagement with local and national citizenship?; How have public schools and local governments responded to the expansion of international programmes into national education systems?; How are the educational opportunities and experiences of marginalised communities influenced? Eight research articles and a commentary in the special issue deepen our understanding of the changing nature of international schooling and its influence on national education systems.