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Schooling when living overseas with children

In this post, we will look at the options parents have for educating their children when overseas. We will cover:

  • The option of international schooling.
  • The rising costs of international schooling.
  • The option of state school education overseas.
  • Online schooling as an alternative education when overseas.

The option of international schooling

Nowadays, more than ever, we are on the move. We live in a global village where travel for business or leisure has no boundaries. Globalization has opened borders where freedom of movement is commonplace in the business world. When travelling or living overseas for business, family life is a very important aspect to consider and one of the biggest considerations is the education of your child.

As many as 5.5 million Brits currently live overseas. The most popular option for the education of young expats is to enroll them in the local international school. An international school provides a curriculum that is not the national curriculum of the country it is located in. Instead, it may offer an international curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate  or the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and/or International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC). It may also offer the national curriculum of another country. The most common national curricula used in international schools are the National Curriculum of England, or adapted versions of these. The National Curriculum of England is very common in international schools, but is very often adapted to make it more relevant to an international student population and appropriate for the host country – this may mean including relevant learning references to the country’s history and culture.

International schools can provide a ‘British experience’ with most schools allowing pupils to sit British examinations such as GCSE or A-Level exams. Around 2,000 schools worldwide offer a British curriculum which makes it easier for young people to transition back into British schools if and when they return to the U.K.

The cost of international schooling

Educating your children at an international schools comes at a price. The cost of international schooling overseas has seen a 1.9% increase in the last year meaning that the average cost of international schooling is around £11,900 per year with some international schools demanding as much as £27,500 for a years education under British or internationally recognized curriculums.

International schooling in the Middle East and Asia is on the increase. It now costs around £10,900 per annum for an international school education in this region. Asia has also recorded the biggest increase in fees compared to other continents.

“The rising cost of international education is exacerbated by increased demand from wealthy or even middle-class families of emerging nations in Asia and the Middle East who want a grounding in international curricula – International Baccalaureate or an American High School Diploma – for their children,” CEO and ExpatFinder.com co-founder Sebastien Deschamps said.

Country-wise, Switzerland is the most expensive in the world to send a child to an international school. China is 3rd most costly in the world and the most expensive in Asia – parents can expect to pay £20,500 per annum for their child’s international school education here.

It’s not only tuition fees that schools increase annually. Families should also expect increases in application fees, registration fees, building levies, uniform costs and many other charges that international schools often levy. These can contribute significantly to the overall cost of educating your child overseas.

State school education overseas

It may however be possible to reduce these costs by educating your child in a state school rather than paying expensive fees for international education. Despite this being a non-fee paying option, the standards may not be as high as British schools or the international equivalent. Classes will be delivered in the native language meaning barriers for some students in some countries. This isn’t a problem with English speaking families moving to places like Australia or New Zealand however the governments of these countries will often charge expatriate families for sending their children to non-fee paying state schools.

The option of online schooling

Online schools allow face-to-face student-teacher interaction via a virtual classroom. Here, students log into the virtual classroom in the morning and they are met by their peers and their teacher who is able to deliver interactive lessons based on a particular national curriculum. Students are able to ask their teacher questions, interact with their peers and take part in the range of interactive features that promote excellent teaching and learning.

The growth of fast broadband speeds, ever accessible internet and the huge advances in technology over the last few years has opened up another option for families seeking a British education whilst overseas. Initially started as ‘distance learning’ for students living in remote areas, online schooling has brought another dimension to the education world.

When we break down a child’s learning in school, we can highlight the 10 key aspects that make it an education of quality:

  1. They are taught face to face by a qualified and experienced teacher who has the child’s best interests at heart.
  2. They have the opportunity for guided self-study with material provided by their teacher.
  3. They learn in a quiet, disruption-free, safe environment.
  4. They have the opportunity to ask their teacher questions and seek clarification when reinforcement may be required.
  5. Feedback on their learning is provided by the teacher.
  6. School reports are sent home termly.
  7. Lessons are designed and delivered around the National Curriculum.
  8. Pupils can prepare for and sit exams.
  9. Pupils have access to a range of interactive I.T. features that can complement their learning.
  10. Pupils and parents can get in touch with their teacher on a regular basis to seek help and support.

Online schools are able to match these 10 key aspects of learning with the added advantage – students can access their school from anywhere in the world. For a fraction of the price of international school fees, pupils can be taught live lessons, by qualified teachers from the National Curriculum, meaning that they can prepare for and sit examinations in any one of the 120 registered countries worldwide.

With a laptop or tablet and an internet connection, the classroom can be brought to wherever you are in the world. Pupils logon to their virtual classroom in the morning alongside their peers and lessons are delivered by their teacher, as they would be in a normal classroom. Work can be set, completed then submitted to their teacher and regular feedback on the pupils learning is provided.

With prices starting from around £1,800 per year for full access to a taught National Curriculum, there are significant savings to be made when compared to the price of international schooling.

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