Children and schools abroad

Moving children to schools outside the UK can involve major preparation by the parents and a period of adjustment for the child. It can be an unsettling at first, but depending on their age, children generally make friends and adapt to their new school quite quickly.

Finding a school place

You can contact the education authority or schools information service in the place you are moving to so they can help you understand the choice and application process, as well as telling you what state schools are in the area.

You are likely to find contacts for such information on the government website for that particular country or by searching on the internet for state or private schools in the area of your choice.

Not all countries have free education funded by the state. You should find out what education your child will be entitled to, whether you need to be a national of the country to qualify and how much you are likely to have to pay.

Many countries have English speaking international schools. The pattern of school holidays and daily hours can vary between countries.

Documents needed

For some schools, you will need to provide copies of your child's immunisation certificates when you apply. A birth certificate or passport with a certified translation in the language of the host country may also be needed. The school should be able to tell you how to get a certified translation.

Adjusting to a new school

The younger your child, the easier it will be for him or her to adjust to going to school in a new country. Coping with a new language and customs will be harder for older children. It is possible for teenagers to adjust, but it may take longer than for younger children.

Getting used to a new education system and leaving friends back in the UK are two of the main problems for the older child. Some countries and schools run international exchange programmes for young people which may be a helpful way for your child to explore their new environment and get to know another country before you move.

You can contact the education authority or schools information service in the place you are moving to find out more.

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