For expat parents living abroad, with children attending British international schools locally, it’s easy to understand why the current political climate is a very worrying time. Brexit looming-or not! Confusing dilemmas about planning for the future are understandably an everyday occurrence for families who find themselves in this position.

In our consultants’ experience, frequently asked questions emerge –

  • Will work contracts suddenly change, or come to an end?
  • Would moving back to the UK now or seeking a boarding place while remaining overseas achieve greater certainty and cause less worry?
  • Will it be possible to find places at good boarding or day schools back in the UK at the last minute, even for September 2019?
  • When should I start planning my school choices if I anticipate a move in the next few years?
  • Where in the UK should I relocate, to enable the whole family to settle and be happy, so focus on work is feasible without family worries?
  • How on earth does the application process work when I am overseas – each school seems different and some are not particularly friendly when I call?

Siblings of varying ages, as well as existing family and friends located in different parts of the UK can make thinking through this problem difficult and challenging. Not knowing where or how to start makes the whole issue feel too stressful and complicated. Browsing the internet for hours on end, looking at colourful school websites full of happy children and fantastic marketing messages can be over-whelming, for some parents. Dinner party banter can lead parents to the depressing opinion that, finding places in ‘all the good schools’ are impossible as they are rare as hen’s teeth unless you put your child’s name down from the maternity suite at birth!

However, with an open-minded approach, the right guidance, experience and contacts, our team of expert consultants frequently helps families to resolve this issue, building a solution by asking questions, one step at a time.

Here’s how –

Children’s Needs

  1. What age and stage of UK education is each of your children?
  2. What age and stage of UK education is each of your children?
  3. Are you looking to continue the IB programme or embrace the UK’s CE/GCSE/A Level system?
  4. Do any of your children need support for any particular sport, creative talent, activity, hobby or need?
  5. Would boarding for some of all of the week be feasible?
  6. Do all siblings need to attend the same school?

Family Needs

  1. Do you have family or friends in a particular UK location?
  2. Where will work be based-so how will your commute work?
  3. Do schools offer buses or is train to school feasible?
  4. How do the parent community of a school engage with and support new parents to the area?

Last-minute places – School review process

  1. Gather pack of information to share with schools (reports, achievements, pen profile, family profile)
  2. Review children’s needs and family needs list to come up with a long-list of possible schools in the target area.
  3. Contact schools, sharing information pack, to find last-minute places
  4. Review available school options and short-list-keep an open mind and let go of those which do not have space!
  5. Arrange visit timetable for whole family-schools will want to meet the children at this late stage.
  6. Register, taster days, assessments in UK or overseas (where not covered during the visit)
  7. Review of offers and acceptance process