FAQs: Are there international schools outside of London

Each newsletter we look at a common question from families and clients.

London tends to the main destination for international families but we offer a nationwide service and have seen increasing numbers of families looking to move into different parts of the UK.

But for families moving outside of London, what are the options? Are there international schools in other major cities, for example Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Edinburgh?

The short answer is no. The main international schools are grouped in Greater London.   This is true for both the large IB and American schools and the range of smaller, country-specific, international schools, such as French, German or Spanish.

However, many regional British independent schools have an active international division including English language support – and some even offer international qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate.

Likewise, the English state system, though less pro-active in seeking to help international families, will find a place for any child who is legally resident in the UK, and provide any additional support they need to successfully access the curriculum.

Many areas also have evening and Saturday schools in place for local international families – these can be good places for children to maintain access to their native language and curriculum.

There are some families with children at more critical points of their education career, especially in high school, who now look to board their children in one of the London international schools on a weekly or full-time basis.

For more information, contact Nathaniel Price at nathaniel@deanassociates.co.uk.

State schools – how to win the game

At first inspection, finding a space in a good state school when relocating can seem an impossible task.

The best schools are full with long waiting lists (especially in urban areas), councils are reluctant to help before a family commits to a home, and increasingly the admissions process differs from school to school depending on a school’s management and status.

However, Dean Associates continuously succeeds in placing families in good quality state education.   What are the keys to success?

Step 1:  Manage the expectations of both the family and the client.  Providing clear and jargon-free insight from the start helps keep a potential stressful process calm.  This should include a clear and frank discussion of the “rules of the game” and the risk involved.

Step 2: Agree a strategy.  The aim is to give the family the best chance of success which means developing, and finding agreement, of a strategic approach.  The strategy needs to encompass many elements, for example, the age of the children, the duration of the assignment, the size of the housing budget, commute times, and specific requirements (faith, special educational needs just two examples).

Step 3: Burn up the phone lines.  When a family are on the grounds house hunting there should be a hot-line between the home search team and the education consultant.  How does a house affect school choices? What local information on school movement is available? In cities, one side of the street can mean a different school to the other side. Great communication is vital.

State school searches are not straight-forward and require experience, know-how and sheer persistence.