Relocate Awards Winners Announced

Winner of the 2019 Relocate Award for School Providing Outstanding Relocation Support

Above: Yoel Gordon, Brit Beckers, Claudine Hakim, Richard Dudley & Susan Stewart, ISL

Award Winner: The International School of London (ISL)

Open to state, independent and international schools from any country, this award recognises schools that make a significant contribution to the successful relocation of pupils and their families.

With “a settled family is a successful assignment” being one of the accepted truisms of relocation, along with “always pay attention to pre-departure and repatriation”, the International School of London’s (ISL) entry showed it had both bases covered.

Add to this measures to ensure each individual – student, parent or faculty – is made to feel part of the school community and genuine sensitivity to cultural differences, you begin to get a sense of the great things that are happening within this school community and the positive impact on people’s lives.

“Moving families well is so important,” said Brit Beckers. “The most vital thing is that they have a soft landing when they arrive and good support for the children. When the children are happy, then the parents are happy and that is the most important thing.”

Brilliant starts and good goodbyes 

“We’re committed to making sure everyone in our community belongs,” says Claudine Hakim, head of admissions, external relations and transitions. “It’s not just about our school, it is about making sure everybody believes in ensuring that their families are supported with their transition.”

At the ISL, seamless transition is a whole-school initiative, led by the transition team and Hakim. This approach is dramatically improving outcomes for every student. From Early Years to Grade 12, everyone is welcome within its inclusive admissions policy that supports each child and young person, and a range of special educational needs.

Families considering joining the school community can also visit virtually if they are not able to “walk the halls” and have a tour in person, says Juliette Bolon, the Parent Liaison and Admissions officer. Through its wider network and relationships with a relocation company, the ISL can also help relocating families find housing and access further assistance to help them get to know their new locality.

Making the move

Once the move has been made, the ISL
offers a year-round programme of transition
workshops. These are tailored to students, parents and teachers, and run alongside parent and student buddying, bi-lingual parenting sessions and English lessons if required.

The testimonials show how this support is very much valued among parents and students. “What really made a difference were the first few weeks and the great sense of community surrounding the ISL,” said one parent. “All this creates an atmosphere of safety and warmth that is really hard to attach words to.”

Young people also recognise the impact of the ISL’s onboarding. “As a student that has moved to over nine different countries and attended seven different schools, I can easily say that the ISL community has offered one of the most welcoming transition systems I have ever been through.”

The ISL extends a very similar approach to its international team of teaching staff, who deliver lessons in no fewer than 26 students’ native languages. The school promotes multilingualism as a fundamental part of increasing intercultural understanding and international-mindedness.

Paul Rose, head of secondary at the ISL, is among members of the teaching team to have experienced this kind of support, including being met on arrival at the airport. “Transitioning to the ISL from Penang was seamless and exciting, and a credit to the transitions team who led the process from the start.

“Quite simply, it’s easy to feel part of the ISL family with such a caring, empathetic and international staff, not to mention the warm and committed parent and student community.”

Ultimately, this holistic outlook grounded in inclusiveness and valuing diversity won the judges’ praise for the considerable added value it offered to both students and their parents. “It is clear that this school is dedicated to supporting its staff and students,” noted the judges. “This is very positive and provides excellent outcomes for students and parents.”

www.isllondon.org