Tips and advice for parents before getting their children enrolled in an international school.

In today’s fast paced world, time and tide waits for no man. With rapid changes in technology, human behaviour, policies and procedures, both nationally and internationally, children should be well equipped to meet and overcome challenges, collaborate, provide solutions and innovate for a better world. So how do we empower them? How do we stimulate their intelligence to create informed, capable and strong citizens of tomorrow? The way forward is exposure to an International Curriculum provided by one of the best schools.

From inception, parents may freely choose an International School based on their priorities. However, at a later stage, it is imperative as a family to consider and discuss the child’s personality, learning needs and willingness to change schools. Additionally, arrange a family counselling session with an experienced career counsellor to decide the best match between the child’s interests, capabilities, talents, desires and a chosen career path.

How does one choose an international school?

Prepare and plan to make the task easier. Spend time researching schools, check their websites, speak to existing parents for candid advice and information regarding the parent/school/teacher interactions. Prepare a shortlist thereafter.

Listing down your priorities will help you understand the many issues and considerations.

Make one list of “must have”, consisting of essential elements (example: pure IGCSE/IB DP/A Levels or a combination with an ICSE curriculum) and another list with “nice to have”, consisting of elements that may be available in the chosen school, but which you may forego if necessary.

If relocating, start your school search and applications possibly a year or more in advance of your move. Inquire, note the application deadlines, documentation needed and prepare all the paperwork in advance. Usually international schools request official grade reports. The more sought-after schools may require new students to go through entrance tests.

Have an approximate idea of the costs based on sourced fee structures, coinciding with a pre-determined budget. This may be combined with a preference for a particular country-specific curriculum.

If looking for a local change, start researching online and narrow down to a school in your area you align with most in terms of its philosophy, general ethos, approach to learning and facilities. One that allows both intellectual growth and emotional intelligence, ensuring the child’s overall development; which inculcates a set of beliefs and values in every student.

Ideally veer towards a school that attracts and retains excellent teachers. Providing access to the best professional development opportunities by supporting teachers to develop best practices, knowledge building and collaboration with colleagues, results in a well-trained highly professional teaching faculty.

Your child’s future may depend on examination results. Knowing the school’s past academic achievements would instil confidence in their ability to bring out the best in your own child. The success of past students and their university placements is important.

Consider your child’s needs, abilities and talents. Choose an international school which will enable their passions and grades to flourish. One that gives equal importance to extra-curricular activities enhancing the child’s all-round holistic development. For example, you may be looking for a school to nourish your child’s talent, as a result of his passion for music.

If learning a second language in the primary grades is important, choose a school that includes foreign language as a core part of the curriculum.
If the proximity of the school to your residence is a priority, probably you will narrow down on schools located within a radius of perhaps one or two kilometres of your home, or find accommodation nearby.

Awareness of your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses, his learning style and previous academic background, will help you choose an appropriate school for his benefit.

Research on the school’s explanation on how they plan to support your child during the settling in phase of their new school life.

The teacher student ratio is important. Be certain you are happy with the class size to ensure as much individual attention to guide their education as necessary.

If the pedagogy includes good books, encourages inquisitiveness and motivates students to learn, learning becomes lifelong and will enable children retain what they learn. Hence, it is very important to choose a school having a teaching philosophy encouraging children to learn in every which way.

The formative years being the most important years of life, schools play an important role. Ensure that the school focuses on character development. Good moral and ethical values inculcated and engaging students in projects requiring determination and integrity, help shape young minds. Students will perform better in life and be good persons too.

Ensure the school is accredited, meaning the school lives up to a certain standard, academically and otherwise. This will ensure that the curriculum follows some specific standard resulting in a positive learning experience in the school. Adherence to certain safety standards is important.

Consider your family’s future plans: whether you intend staying in your city for a short period before relocating back to your home country or to another country, or do you intend staying for a longer duration.

Gather information. Choose the school that you and your child feel best about him attending based on the data collected, or a good feeling about the staff or other features. Your choice will enhance the all-round future growth of your child. Take time, research your options and choose the school that feels the best to both of you.

With these tips in mind, you are ready to make an informed decision for the best education for your child.

Good Luck!

Also read-


  Online Admission   Scholarship Programme   University Counselling   Leadership   Voices at ABWA Get In Touch
Quick links