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Thinking of Moving to a New School? Timing Matters

Updated: May 27

If you're considering moving your child to a new school, whether nearby or afar, you often need to start thinking about it earlier than you realise. However, for international families, the challenge is that plans are often confirmed late, leaving decisions up in the air until the last minute.   For any move, the importance of decisions surrounding education should be a key consideration.To avoid disrupting your child’s education at critical stages and give them the best chances of success without restricting the family’s movements, information is critical.  But what do you need to know?  These 5 key pieces of advice can help families to make the right decision about when to move schools. The five principles that will help make your decision

  1. International schools are very used to transient families arriving at different points in the school year and slotting into year groups.  The communities are generally very welcoming as many of them will have been through the upheaval of a move and children being in an unfamiliar environment.  Locally based schools maybe more restricted in when they can accommodate children with more rigid deadlines for application and less flexibility about start dates. Starting your research early can save a lot of heartache and set out clear times when it will be good for the family to make a move.

  2. Moving schools with younger children is generally less complicated as there are fewer curriculum restrictions to consider.   Whilst uprooting a primary school child can be upsetting for them in terms of leaving a familiar environment and friendship groups, children of this age tend to be very adaptable and settle in quickly. With the added bonus of video calls it is now easier than ever to stay in touch with their old friends.

  3. At secondary level there are certain transition times which make moving a relatively straight forward process across different curriculums and schools. Good times to move are for the start of Year 7 or Year 9 respectively or Year 12. However, there are some points that you definitely need to try and avoid; moving in Year 11 or Year 13 in the British system would mean moving half way through a 2 year exam programme GCSEs or A Levels and similarly with the International IB programme once you start in Grade 11 you are really committed to two years.

  4. Be open to new opportunities by exploring different curriculums with more flexible start points and sometimes it can be useful to consider boarding schools as an option, in order to provide a child with a continuity of education, particularly if the family may need to move on every few years.

  5. Creating an ‘Education Road Map’ can be very helpful in setting out the options and timelines for when to move and to identify any ‘crunch’ points for the different children which will make a move more challenging.  A ‘road map’ will also set out the key dates that you will need to be aware of in order to apply for and secure a place at the chosen schools and to be sure that no deadlines are missed. For example, several academically selective schools in the UK often begin the registration process as early as Year 5 with assessments in Year 6 ready for a move at Year 9.

By arming yourself with as much information as possible about the potential options it means you can be well prepared with  a clearly set out  time line. You’ll have a clear understanding of when you need to act, how your child needs to prepare, and most importantly you’ll have the peace of mind that you know what to do and when. Interested in sourcing an Education Road Map for your family, please get in touch with Carfax Consultants today.



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