Working and living abroad throws up many issues for families not least of which is the question of what kind of schooling is best for your children. Do you need them to follow a British curriculum? Are you happy for them to board at one of the many UK boarding schools? Will you look for an international school or seek out a local school accepting international students? Or are you prepared to opt for home education whilst you live abroad?
A school with a British curriculum
The Council of International Schools (CIS) claims that there are more than 2,000 schools outside the UK that offer a British curriculum. These are very popular with expats because by continuing to follow the British national curriculum they make the transition to education abroad, and the return to the UK, much less of a sea change on a child’s learning journey. The real question is whether one is close enough to where you are based to be feasible.
An international school
International schools, or local schools that accept international students, are likewise a favoured option for many expats. Many international schools are part of large, well-respected organisations delivering education all over the world so their pedigree is easy to check. Most also offer respected international qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate or the international GCSE (iGCSE). Most of these schools give children the choice to study in English, the local language or a mix of both.Accreditation by the Council of International Schools is a reassuring stamp of approval to keep an eye out for.
A UK boarding school
There is of course the option of sending your child to a boarding school in the UK.Your gains will be that your child may feel more secure staying in the UK, they will receive a high quality of education and they will learn to be independent.
As one parent who sent her children to the Alexanders School whilst she lived in the Middle East commented: “UK boarding schools offer quality and the consistency that older children need. There is little for teenagers in the UAE to do at the weekends but boarding schoolsprovide so many activities and a great set of friends to explore new interests with.”
Home education is an increasingly popular option, despite its obvious impact on the parents. There are more and more resources available to support home education, such as the online lessons that can guide parents through an international or English curriculum that are available from the K12 International Academy.