Thursday, November 24th, 2011
If you are moving abroad with children you will need to think about the most suitable school for them in your chosen location. On top of the arrangements for your move overseas this can mean additional stress, but if you start your research on time and involve your children in the process of exploring the options, you’ll find it much easier to choose the right school and your children will be much happier as well.
1. International Schools vs Local Schools
First, you’ll have to decide whether to send your child to an international or local school. Local schools can help your children integrate sooner, get to know the new culture, and pick up the language more quickly. Local schools can also be significantly cheaper. However, socialising with others will certainly be harder for your children in the beginning,
If you are not sure that you are going to stay in the country for a long time, think that the quality of local education is not up to your standards, or want your children to enjoy a potentially safer environment, where they can speak English, choosing an international school would be more suitable. International schools also give your children the opportunity to get to know people from different backgrounds, which will teach them important social skills.
2. Types of International Schools
If you want to choose a school that has a similar curriculum to the ones in the UK, where your children can speak in English, and where the school environment is more familiar, there are different types of international schools you can choose from.
– If your are moving abroad from the UK, choosing a British international school would make the most sense. There are over 2000 British schools outside of the UK from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia
to Tokyo in Japan
. They follow the British national curriculum, although schools in different locations can still differ a lot as these schools are privately run without any government monitoring. Enrolling your children in a British international school will ensure a certain standard of education and will mean that they can easily transfer to another British school in other countries and can progress easily to University in the UK or abroad. Find out more about accredited British Schools abroad by visiting the Council of British International Schools
American Schools – American international schools follow an American-style education program and are suitable if you want your children to learn in a system similar to American schools in an international environment. There are around 200 American international schools in over 130 countries, so if you move to one of the more popular Expat destinations, you’ll almost certainly find an American school at least in the capital.
IB Schools – The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers educational programmes for children aged 3-19. There are over 3000 IB schools in 141 different countries around the world. The IB Programme is independent from national curricula, offers a high-quality education and is a top passport to international Universities. If you want your children to learn in an international environment, and get a uniformly high-quality education, an IB school would be a good choice.
3. Choosing the Right School
The kind of school you eventually choose should be based on thorough research. You can do this online, by visiting the schools’ websites, but you should preferably visit the potential schools in person as well, especially if your children are smaller, to gauge the school atmosphere and see your children’s future teachers in person. Find out as much as you can about the curriculum, the available extracurricular activities, and the standard of education in the school. Other practical considerations, such as whether there is a waiting list or not and the tuition fees should also influence your decision.