We have recently helped a family moving back to the UK from Beijing. They had an 11 year old son looking for entry into a leading London day school for September 2016 and had been told that they had missed the deadlines for entry and were feeling rather desperate.
Supporting the parents we initially worked closely together to build a sensible strategy that would provide peace of mind – allowing them to reach for the higher levels but provide the safety net of a strong Plan B shortlist of options.
We ensured that they showcased their son’s abilities to the best extent – thinking about how to present reports, pull together supporting information from his current school – and then used our contacts in the admissions offices to ensure fair review of this portfolio.
Three schools said that they were prepared to move outside of their normal procedures to to test the son. Dean Associates then pulled together a preparation package including sample papers and insight into common tripping points.
We provided access to an online tutoring service that allowed the student to link to an experienced tutor in the UK who understood how the testing service worked.
We also provided some training and support for his interview which was managed via Skype, thus demanding a different set of skills to face-to-face interviewing.
The boy was offered a place in a school that is rated in the top 20 in England on academic results – the father commented;
“Dean Associates has provided an exceptional service. They gave us a strategy and worked closely with us at all times to ensure best practice. They were always available to discuss any concerns we had.”
One of the main challenges facing a family when moving home is understanding the educational journey that they are embarking on.
A move is not just a professional relocation, but, more importantly for children, an academic journey that will dictate future choices and options.
Before a family commits to a school or college in a new country, time should be taken to consider both what the future holds and what the past has given them.
This could include what a student wants to do when they leave school, what curriculum they have studying, how they have responded to academic environments in the past, as well as the length of time of the assignment and how that will impact on future choices.
This might not just be an academic consideration but how a school can meet a student’s co-curricular interests, support a special educational need or how they offer pastoral care to ensure that a child settles well.
Every single school handles children differently and parents can only make a judgement on which would be best by fully understanding the journey that the family are taking.
Dean Associates is a leading international education consultant that can provide a unique insight into this journey. Over the last 30 years we have helped over 10,000 families successfully move home.
A leading figure in UK education has argued that schools should be ranked as much on pupil well-being as on exam results.
Sir Anthony Seldon – formerly head of Wellington College – asserted; “As long as the only metric on which schools are being assessed is their exam performance, our schools will never have the incentive to take well-being as seriously as they should.”
Sir Anthony has proved an innovative figure in English education – introducing happiness and well-being classes at Wellington.
The Office for National Statistics regularly measures well-being within schools – and it this information could possibly be used within a league table format.
This could include comparing the resources put into pastoral care, such as staffing and support services, and surveying a sample of pupils to see their views on school life.
There have been numerous reports about increasing unhappiness, anxiety and depression among young people and Sir Anthony insists that pupils need help while they are still at school.
“By the time students arrive at 18, the damage has been done.“
We receive regular questions about what funding is available for early (pre-school) childcare in England.
There is a nursery education grant for all three and four year olds, regardless of nationality, as long as the child is legally resident in the UK.
This is sometimes wrongly interpreted as free nursery care, covering 15 hours a week during term times. In effect the grant will only make a contribution to the cost of childcare, as the funding is set at an insufficient level for most nurseries to cover costs.
From 2017 this will double to 30 hours per week but again with the funding level set very low.
The nurseries manage the grant so families receive the money back as a refund or reduced fees.
There is also funding available for under-3’s but this is means-tested and most corporate families are unlikely to be eligible for this.
Free nursery care can be available for three and four year olds through nurseries attached to a state school and some (though very few) state school nurseries.
Some companies also provide childcare vouchers that allow some tax relief on nursery care. The company HR would be able to advise on the scheme.