With campus closures and travel restrictions around the world, 2020 has presented families seeking international school places with some unique challenges. But, says Tim Eaton of Nord Anglia Education, families should not be deterred by this period of uncertainty: the benefits of researching and applying for schools as early as possible far outweigh the benefits of waiting for campuses to re-open. Here’s why.
The best international schools may not have places available soon
Many schools are anticipating a slow down in the number of expatriates relocating around the world, so will be re-sizing the number of classes they offer accordingly: it’s far better for students to be taught in a purposeful and vibrant fashion in a class of the right size than one that is half empty. To increase the chances of your child getting a place at a good school, talk to Admissions teams as early as possible to find out about virtual campus tours and online assessments.
Give your child the reassurance of knowing you have a plan
A move between countries can be an anxious undertaking for anyone. Build in a change of school and friends, and you can understand why relocations have to be carefully managed for children in particular. A good school will ensure that the admissions process is stress-free and enjoyable for the children and will already be planning how best to integrate new students into the school community. Call the schools you are considering and ask them how they are managing admissions during the restrictions.
Find out which schools offer a high standard of online learning
With the possibility that communities will have to lock down again in the future, parents need the reassurance of knowing that the school they choose is well-prepared to meet their children’s learning needs – whether campus is open or closed. Good schools will arrange time for parents to speak with senior teachers on Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another platform, so that they can explain the virtual or blended learning which is available to students unable to access campus.
The British International School Abu Dhabi was rated the highest possible grade in every category in the ADEK distance learning inspection.
Take the time to understand tuition fee discounts
With the global pandemic having an impact on most people’s spending power, it’s not surprising that some international schools are lowering their fees and offering scholarships – but what impact will a cut-price education have on your child’s learning journey? Will you still get the personalised and holistic education you were promised? Our advice is to start your research into schools as early as possible and ask lots of questions about how the school will provide your child with high quality teaching and learning with such a reduced revenue from school fees.
The British International School Abu Dhabi is offering all families the opportunity to join a personalised introduction to the school – what we call a Virtual Discovery Meeting. A member of our admissions team will guide your family through life at the school, introduce you to the campus and facilities through a combination of videos and photographs, answer your questions about academics and pastoral care.