Updated: Nov 11, 2019
One of the challenges for families with international careers is knowing when to move without disrupting their child’s education. Here we answer the most frequent questions that come up on this topic and advise how we can help parents in this situation with our “education road map”.
We move all the time, so I am thinking about British boarding schools so my child can have a stable education. When should I start looking for a 13+ entry?
The process of choosing and registering for a British boarding school for a Year 9 /13+ entry starts much earlier than you would imagine. For many of the top academically selective schools, the initial visit to see a school will usually be in Year 5 and in some cases the child will need to be registered for entry by this point. In Year 6 many schools require their potential applicants to take the ISEB assessment, this is usually in the November of Year 6 but can vary depending on the school. Based on the results of this assessment, school reports, an interview and possibly an assessment day a child may be offered a place which will be subject to them performing well in a second set of exams, Common Entrance, when they are in Year 8. So, if you are considering a 13+ move you need to be thinking about it when your child is turning 9 years old. For families considering this option it is best to start early and be prepared even if you decide not to action it later on.
We are keen for our child to go to the UK for Sixth form. When do we need to start planning for this?
Applying for a Year 12 place in a UK independent school has a shorter lead in time than a Year 9 entry point but it still pays to be organised. We would recommend starting the research early in Year 10, taking advantage of the Open Days for prospective 6th form pupils. Most academically selective schools will require registrations to be submitted in the September of Year 11 with a view to taking assessments in the November and offers made in December. There are, of course, a wide range of other schools in the UK who operate more of a rolling programme of admissions, so there is absolutely no need to despair that all avenues will be closed! There will always be great schools who will have a less rigorous approach and be happy to accommodate a last minute application. Read more about 6th Form in the UK
I want to plan my next move so I can be sure that I don’t interrupt my children’s education? When is the best time to move schools?
It is helpful to have an understanding of the key transition points in the education system to see when are the best times to make a move.
Moving at any point in the Primary years is manageable as the curriculum is very adaptable at this stage. Year 7 is a key transition time in many countries as it is the start of secondary school. Traditionally in the UK the transition point has been in Year 9 for independent boarding schools which allows a year to settle in before making important subject choices for the GCSE exams. Some school will offer a Year 10 start point but this is less usual. We would always advise against moving a student in Year 11 in the British curriculum, as it is midway through the two year GCSE programme. Year 12 is a popular time to change schools, either because the student is looking for a different final 2 year curriculum such as A Levels or IB or because they are looking for a specific subject combination only offered at certain schools. Parents need to be aware that this is a 2 year “lock down” period as the exam courses are taught over Year 12 and 13, making it very difficult to enter a school in Year 13.
What happens if I need to move my children mid way through the academic year?
This can be a challenge depending which country you are moving from or to. If you are heading to the southern hemisphere the school year runs from January to December whereas in the Northern Hemisphere it is from September to July. Many international schools are used to onboarding students in the middle of the year and will be supportive of helping the child to settle in. In some cases there may not be availability mid year in the school you have chosen so it may be necessary to either select another school for an interim period or to home school or tutor the child until a place becomes available.
What do I need to be aware of if I am moving to the UAE?
Again information is key! Whilst there are many entry point into the Junior years, the key transition point here is in Year 7 with entry assessments taking place in the November of Year 6. For very competitive schools, registration dates will often be early in the autumn term and some schools are very strict about their deadlines.
Prior to the registration there is plenty to prepare for; information days in the schools, taking your child to look around, collating all the information required for submitting an application, notifying the child’s current school. Then it is important to be aware of what form the assessments will take, the dates they are offered and what preparation your child will need to do to be in the best frame of mind to take the tests.
How can I plan out the options for my childrens’ education so I don’t miss any key deadlines?
Wherever your child is being educated, having a education ‘road map’ can be a great way of identifying what options are available at different stages on the education journey. It helps families to be more aware of the key transition points in their child’s education so they can plan which schools are suitable for which stage. And for international parent it is a critical part of planning when to make career moves so that they can minimise any disruption to their education.
Out Education “road maps” start a few years before any key transition points are on the horizon, we identify a range of schools both here and in other parts of the world such as the UK, that would be suitable for the family given their potential location or family ties. An education road map can then pull together of all the options and choices and key dates that everyone needs to be aware of in order to secure a place at the chosen schools and to be sure
that no deadlines are missed.
Being forewarned is to be prepared and arming yourself with an Education Road Map can give you a clear time line, a heads up about the when you need to act and how your child needs to prepare and most importantly peace of mind so you do miss out on a place in your child’s dream school.
Interested in a bespoke Education Road Map for your family?
Contact Carfax Education to find out more, Carfax Tutors UAE, or call us on 044385278.