One of the most important things in life is a good education. As a result, it’s no surprise that finding a good school is top of the agenda for any relocating family. Moving to the area of a good school is the priority in the majority of family house searches. But, how do you know what school is best internationally?
Finding the best school for a family in a relocation falls to the hands of the school search consultant. Working in close partnership with home search consultants, school search consultants are ultimately required to gather as much information as possible about the different school and education options required by their clients so that they can make an informed decision. Their knowledge of the wide variety of international education options is essential.
The key aspect of a school search consultant’s job is research. First of all there’s location to consider; are there good quality schools within the vicinity of the area the family are intending to live, can the school be accessed on foot, will it require a bus or a car journey, is there a catchment area? The questions to ask are seemingly endless, but on the most part these are similar questions any parent would ask when choosing a school for their child. The type of school needs to be considered – international, local (this would require fluency of language), specific nationality such as American or Canadian – as does whether the parents are looking for state funded or private fee paying. Arranging visits to the schools is also an important part of the job of a school search consultant.
International curriculums are another big factor in the international school search. There are many varieties and specialism’s, so choosing can be difficult, but it is the job of a school search consultant to provide as much information as possible. Many British families will understandably want to maintain the English National Curriculum, popular across the globe in English speaking schools. Similarly the American program can be adopted. Yet, more common are the international baccalaureate and international GCSE. The IB remains the only truly international qualification that is easily transferrable around the world, while iGCSE, established for more than 25 years, offers a broad range of subjects and specifications.
International Accreditation is clearly very important, but how do you know which schools are the best? First on the checklist might be whether the school is a part of respected organizations such as the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) or the Council of International Schools (CIS). Any school can label themselves as international, but true international schools will follow an international curriculum, such as IB. Local league tables and performance records do remain the best gauge of a school’s quality – make use of any local contacts to verify information.
Education is essential, and relocation can disturb it enough. By trying to maintain as much continuity with curriculum and type of school, settling a child into their new environment should be fairly smooth, particularly if the time is taken to find the best school possible for the child’s needs.