How to find the best international school

Finding the right school is often cited as a top reason that international assignments succeed. Mougins School, France, gave us tips for choosing the right international school for your child.

Positive relocation: choosing the right international school

Mougins School

Choosing the right international school for a child when relocating is of prime importance. It should enable them to pursue their education within a familiar curriculum – despite changing countries – permitting them to retain some stability whilst adapting to a new environment. Families should not underestimate the impact of change – a welcoming community where parents can socialise with other parents and get involved in school activities can facilitate integration.

Pastoral family care: an important aspect of international schools

Any choice of school needs careful thought, as the repercussions of both good and bad decisions can have an impact on all the family. Children have an innate ability to adapt, which does not always come so easily to adults. As soon as friendships are formed life becomes easier. It can be more challenging for parents who are dealing with the daily hurdles of life in a foreign language with which they may not be familiar.This is why a welcoming school which offers pastoral care to the whole family is important, making a change of school and country a positive experience which offers the chance to establish lifelong friendships which are rich and rewarding.

Questions to ask on a school visit

A visit to a prospective school is the best way to judge if it will suit your child. Much depends on the welcome and atmosphere amongst the staff and students. When visiting a school, answers to the following questions should help you in your decision:
  • Does the admissions department spend time with the family, show an interest in the student as an individual, and give realistic answers to any questions they may have?
  • Is the Headmaster prepared to take the time to see you?
  • Are you able to see classes at work and check the school facilities?
  • Is extra tuition given to students for whom English is a second language, or who have learning difficulties?
  • Is there an active Parent Teacher Association, which will enable you, as a parent, to become involved in the social activities of the School?
  • How supportive of student life in the school is the PTA?
  • How much importance is placed on subjects that are not purely academic i.e. sport, music, art, theatre?
  • How much do staff get involved in after school activities?

Autumn is the perfect time to take advantage of school Open Days. With the UK state secondary school admissions deadline looming at the end of October, schools across the UK are opening their doors to prospective parents to help them make an informed choice. For those applying to International schools, autumn is an equally important time with more opportunity to secure places than January onwards when waiting lists build.

The benefits of both academic and non-academic subjects

It is vital to remember that, although the academic achievements of a student are important, other qualities will form the confident young adult ready to face the challenges ahead.The requirements for entry into an international school can vary. Most schools will ask for previous student reports in order to assess the child. They may also need to do written tests.
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The school can be selective, in which case they will only accept students of a certain academic level, which tends to ensure excellent results. On the other hand, non-selective schools will accept students of varying academic levels and therefore excellent results from these institutions would indicate exceptional teaching.When researching school examination results it is worth bearing in mind that, at an international school, the majority of students tested may not be studying in their maternal language. The benefits of learning a new language and the ability to communicate in two, or more languages, are an important facet of international education.Receiving an education in an international environment has many benefits, including teaching a child that there should be no racial barriers or discrimination. The experience opens up the world as children learn about cultures other than their own and become the ‘global nomads’ of today.Find out more about Mougins School, an international school offering the British curriculum in France.
Relocate Global Guide to International Education and Schools video introduction
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