Settling in a new country can be especially challenging when you have children. All parents want their children to enjoy a quality education. However, not every education system in the world can measure up. For families that travel from place to place, international schools are an ideal option as the quality of education is often consistent and they help in overcoming the problem of the language barrier. There can however often be many international schools to choose from. Here are the most important considerations to weigh as you make your final choice.
1. Admission Process
Different schools have different admission processes. While you may have found an ideal choice for your child, you may find that they do not accept new students in the middle of the academic year. Others may undertake admissions tests and other evaluations that do not automatically guarantee your child a spot.
Some may be so much in demand that they have a waiting list that may mean your child may not be enrolled for several years. Look into the international schools you are considering early on. This way you can meet application deadlines in good time, put together the documentation required, and help your child prepare for whatever evaluations may be required.
You will need to decide early on about what kind of curriculum you want your child to follow. This will mean choosing an international school that has an accreditation that matches up. Some of the top curriculum choices in international schools include the Cambridge Assessment International Education, International Baccalaureate, and Edexcel.
You will want an accreditation that offers the best quality education for your child and a good shot at them being able to join a higher institution of learning of their choice.
3. Academic Standing
Even where you find an international school that offers the kind of curriculum you want your child to pursue, it is also important to consider academic standing. This refers to how well students perform in their testing that will be considered by the colleges and universities they apply to. This is also a reflection of the quality of teaching and teachers the school offers.
The curriculum should be challenging and well-covered. Efforts should be made to ensure that students fully comprehend the learning materials and get support should they fall behind. Look into the academic performance of the schools you are considering to see where your child will be most likely to excel.
Some international schools require daily attendance, while others offer boarding facilities. Depending on such factors as commute and location, you may want to think about which option you prefer. A day school will allow you to more closely monitor your child but should ideally be closely situated to your home to avoid long commutes. It will also mean having to make arrangements for dropping off and picking up your child. if you have several children in different schools, this can be challenging.
With a boarding school, your child will not have to waste time in traffic. They are in a more focused environment, are compelled to become more independent, and will get to live in close quarters with other students, helping them form lifelong bonds. You may want to look into the quality of accommodation, meals, and other facilities to ensure your child will be comfortable.
5. Classroom Size
Smaller classroom sizes are great for ensuring that students get more personalised attention from teachers. The teacher is better able to ensure students remain focused and can take more time to offer support to those that need it. It is less stressful for both students and teachers and delivers better academic outcomes.
The best international schools have invested well in infrastructure. From athletic playing fields to laboratories, you should look into what kind of facilities are available to help nurture students and their ambitions. Consider what co-curricular interests your child has that you would like supported and ensure the school has the requisite facilities.
The same goes for academic pursuits. If your child is interested in going into a science field, then laboratories and libraries should be key considerations. The best schools offer a wide range of facilities to help their students excel both in and out of the classroom.
Even within the international school market, you will find that the cost of education can vary. Just like any other school category, the cost of education tends to go up depending on the location of the school and the facilities they provide. You need to be practical in establishing what price range of school fees you can afford and choose the best school that falls within that range.
8. Calibre of Teachers
The teaching staff will have a strong impact on your child’s schooling experience. They not only provide instruction on the curriculum, but they are also role models. They spend so much time with students that they also often become mentors and confidants.
While you should consider the technical qualifications of the teachers the school recruits, their characters are also important. You will want your child to be exposed to and build relationships with teachers that are not just passionate about their jobs, but also demonstrate a healthy interest in the personal development of their students.
9. Character Development
School plays an important role in cultivating the character of students, especially in their formative years. Seek for a school that emphasizes good moral and ethical values like integrity, compassion, self-discipline, and responsibility. This good foundation will help build the character of your child and determine what kind of person they become in future.
10. Co-Curricular Activities
While academics are often the most important factor for parents, they should not be the only one. It is important to nurture the different talents of children. From music to sports, there are many other areas in which they may excel and be able to showcase their abilities. These activities are another opportunity to nurture important qualities like discipline, focus, teamwork, and leadership skills. When choosing an international school, look into the facilities and co-curricular programs they offer. If your child has particular talents or interests, ensure the school you choose can help nurture and grow them. This will not only aid in character development but can also help enhance their profile when applying to top universities that appreciate a more well-rounded personality in their students.