Which schools make the grade?

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Ask any parent why they moved abroad and choosing a school is unlikely to top the list. Yet the fact is that international schools have traditionally produced some of the best-educated children in the world. You may feel that choosing to educate your children abroad is a risk. It is, but no more so than having your child educated in their home country. And there are distinct advantages too. For example,


Most European international schools offer a wide-ranging primary to secondary curriculum, covering languages, sciences and humanities. Assessment is carried out according to well-respected international systems including the IGCSE (International General Certificate in Secondary Education) for 15 to 16-year-olds, and the IB (International Baccalaureat) for 17 to 18-year-olds.


Your child will mix with a much wider range of interesting people at an international school, interacting daily with other pupils and teachers from a variety of cultures, countries and backgrounds. This in itself is an education, producing young people who are particularly confident and tolerant of others.

There is one international school in Monaco itself.  If you’re prepared to travel a little further afield, there are others in Nice and along the Riviera

(More info to come, including interview with Steven Holroyd, headmaster of a major international school)

PLUS Edit the following (from expatfinder.com)

When you move overseas, decision-making processes can be complicated and overwhelming, and schooling is certainly one area where parents face difficult choices. Here are four schooling options for an expatriate family.

International Schools
International schools do not follow the host country’s curriculum, but provide either an international curriculum (such as the International Baccalaureate) or the national curriculum of another country. These schools follow a curriculum that is closer to your child’s education system back home.
Most commonly international schools are based on an American or British curriculum, but some schools follow alternative national curriculums, dependent on location and the size and demands of the local expatriate population.
A number of factors may determine whether placing your child in an international school is viable or most appropriate:

  • Length of time you are staying abroad
  • Finances; international schools can be costly
  • Child’s age; older children find integration into a local school harder than young children do
  • Continuity of curriculum
  • Level of education; if your child is starting tertiary education on repatriation, consider if the international curriculum covers the necessary subjects to gain entry to university in your home country
  • Language and culture issues


Local Schools
As an expatriate, you may also have the choice to place your child in a local state (or private) school. This is particularly relevant for smaller (primary) schoolchildren who can more easily learn the local language. Young children adapt far more easily to new surroundings than older ones, and if the overseas stay is a lengthy one then local schooling can facilitate their social integration.
However, if neither parent speaks the local language, then helping your child with homework and being involved in the school is difficult. A tuition centre or a tutor can support you and give your child assistance with troublesome subjects. In addition, depending on the availability of teaching of your native language, your child may require extra tuition in their mother tongue too.

Boarding Schools

Some expatriate parents choose to place their children in a boarding school if there are no feasible schooling options in the overseas location.
Boarding schools offer continuity and consistency to children of parents that frequently relocate. However, for children who are not used to living away from home the adjustment can be a difficult one. For other children the idea of boarding school may be an exciting prospect. Choosing a boarding school with teaching styles and house parenting methods that fit with your child will enhance their acceptance and experience.
With use of the internet and email, school websites and (mobile) telephones, parents can now connect daily with their children and keep abreast of events in their lives, reducing the sense of distance between parents and children.

Home Schooling

If the standard of local education is low, or if the curriculum of the international school is very different to that in your base country, then homeschooling is a viable alternative. For a family that moves frequently, homeschooling provides children with consistency in their education and facilitates reintegration back into their schooling system on repatriation.
There are benefits to home education, as well as challenges, but the right to homeschool your child is location dependent. Some countries do not recognise homeschooling as legitimate, whilst others make provisions for it in its constitution. You will need to check the legal situation and requirements in your destination country.
In order to home school your children, you do not need to be a qualified teacher, but you will need to apply to, and register with, a national body and meet minimum education standards. You may need to attend an interview with a representative from the home schooling body to discuss the reasons for homeschooling.
Once approved, you may opt to follow a national curriculum, or tailor a learning program to fit to your child’s talents and interests, or combine elements of both methods.
Whichever method or subject matter you choose; there are organisations that support homeschooling parents. Support comes in the shape of various services and tools: providing learning materials; marking your child’s homework; offering tutoring services; a phone line for questions and advice; community fora to exchange ideas and experiences with other homeschooling parents and children.


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