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Understanding the international school system: 9 things a global mobility manager should know

by Edufax, on Sep 21, 2020 12:58:21 PM

international school system

As a global mobility manager, you need to be a bit of a juggler. You should adhere to a general company policy while providing an international hire and their family with the best possible guidance. If children are involved, families will have a lot of questions regarding the international school system and education solutions.

What are the nine most frequently asked questions, and how can you best answer them? We'll discuss it in this blog post.

1. Can and will my child receive any language support once they'll be part of the international school system?

Most local and international schools offer language support programs. These are usually readily available to new students who don't have a good command of the language of instruction.

When considering the international school system, though, there's an important distinction to be made: the school's experience with supporting students of diverse versus less diverse backgrounds. If you want to know whether a school can meet a particular child's needs, you should ask about its student body demographic.

What's crucial to know is that language support is often subsidized by local governments, provided that the child is enrolled in a local school. In that case, no additional expenses are required. At international schools, however, language support usually does come at an extra cost.

2. How can I assess the quality of a public school and pick the best one?

Most local education systems have an inspection process that's part of their quality assurance regulation. Although the international school system consists of many different aspects, schools across the globe are usually required to share their inspection reports on their websites. These reports typically state whether a school meets national standards.

If such inspection reports are not available for your international hire's destination, you may want to consult with education consultancy companies. They can share relevant criteria and support the family in selecting the best performing public school in the area.

3. How can I assess the quality of an international school and pick the best one?

Look for proof of accreditation from a recognized accreditation body. The type of accreditation varies depending on the curriculum. For example, international schools offering the UK national curriculum should be accredited by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and have been inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

If you've brought your list down to a number of well-accredited international schools, request school-exit examination scores. These are good indicators of how a school’s quality of teaching reflects on student performance. Schools usually share this information as part of their transparency agreements for obtaining accreditation.

4. If I want to enroll my child in an international school, where can I access a school directory?

School directories of accreditation bodies are usually great sources of information. Every accreditation body has a list of accredited international schools worldwide. All you need to do is enter your host destination, and you'll get a list of accredited international schools in your location.

5. If I want to enroll my child in a public school, where can I access a school directory?

A country's Department of Education usually provides a local school search directory that you can access. Bear in mind, though, that most of these directories are only available in the language spoken in the host country. If you want to navigate a directory, be sure to install a Google Translate plugin. Alternatively, you can work with an expert education consultancy company that can provide you with a list of vetted schools.

6. Which report cards will a school require as part of its admission process?

It's common practice for a school to request that parents include their child's two most recent school report cards when submitting school applications. For example, if parents apply for the 2020-2021 school year, a school may request the following:

  • Semester 1 and 2 report cards from 2018-2019
  • Semester 1 report card from 2019-2020
  • Semester 2 report card from 2019-2020 (if available)

7. Should my child be present before enrollment in an international school?

This varies from school to school. It strongly depends on whether an interview and an assessment are part of the admission process.

Generally speaking, though, schools are more likely to request a child to be present if they apply for lower and upper secondary education. This is common practice across the international school system.

8. What subjects will my child be assessed in to be admitted to the school?

The international school system is incredibly varied. There are differences between public and international schools, and on top of that, each school has its own assessment methods.

Schools often assess a student's linguistic and arithmetic or reasoning skills. For example, if the school's language of instruction is English, your child will need to take an English entrance test so the school can determine their command of the language. The same may apply to mathematics.

9. What to do if I missed the school application deadlines?

Different school systems around the world work with application deadlines, and it is important to plan ahead to check what is needed and when. 

If parents miss the application deadline for public school enrollment, getting in touch with the local education authority of their child’s targets school is the best first step. It can be the case that exceptions are made for exceptional circumstances. For international or private schools, contacting the head of admissions directly and discussing the options is a good place to start. 

If the family still faces challenges, and education consultancy company can research the best possible solutions for the family.

Want to get a good grasp of the international school system?

Understanding the international school system in all its facets is not easy. It requires thorough expertise and experience. If you want to provide families with A-to-Z support on the educational part of an international relocation, be sure to contact Edufax. Let's go the distance together!

Topics:Educational SolutionsGlobal Mobility


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