Monday, 25 April 2016

Expats: How to future-proof your child's education in the face of redundancies

The worry over job stability and continued funding for a child's education can be daunting for any parent. People who live and work abroad, however have additional concerns that can make an already stressful time for the family even more overwhelming.

Losing a job abroad often means losing the right to remain in that country. Some countries give foreigners as little as 14 days to exit the country after their work permit has been canceled. That means fourteen days to terminate your lease, sell your car, pack up your belongings, find a place to live "back home", and find a school for your child. Most people would struggle to get all that done in fourteen weeks, let alone fourteen days. 

Well I can't help you with your lease, your car, your belongings, or your new home, but here are a few tips to ease the burden of finding a school for your child, when a redundancy may be imminent:

- Gather your child's school reports in one place, and be sure to have access over them when the desktop and filing cabinet are both in the shipping container

- Acquire references from teachers - better to do this in person than by email, especially if the teachers aren't aware of your expectations.

- Find out whether it is possible for the child to remain in the country on a student visa in order to finish the term or school year, especially during the teen years when moving mid year can be disruptive at a crucial time.

- Consider whether you can ask a close friend to 'host' your child while he/she completes the term/year. It's a big ask, but you never know unless you ask.

- Consider whether you can go back to the country you left, whether your home country or a previous expat posting? Sometimes schools prioritise former students in their wait lists, and some countries may have less onerous immigration restrictions.

- Call your dream schools for your child - you never know if a place has opened up but no one else wants to take it mid-term.

- Consider whether home-schooling is an option for you and your child. There are vast resources online to assist in home-schooling, and you can even brush up on your own algebra!

- Consider whether you can make lemonade from lemons: world-schooling can be an amazing opportunity for you and your child to travel for extended periods in new or old territory. You could immerse your child in a French school and ski every afternoon, volunteer to build houses and teach children in Cambodia, go tramping and explore new sports in New Zealand, spend an extended period on an agritourism farm learning how farmers live, spend a few months with extended family you don't often get to see,....

- Contact TIEC and find out how we can help you find places mid-year or mid-term. Often schools will have places open up when students leave unexpectedly. 

Don't despair. Children are resilient, and often unexpected or unwelcome changes can lead to unforeseen opportunities.

Click here to register for your FREE TICKETS to the Expat Fair in July 2016 

Country Life Future Schools Fairs are the perfect opportunity to get all your questions about education answered. Taking place around the country - starting with the EXPAT FAIR in London on July 16th - these events will be packed with representatives from top schools from all over the UK, as well as seminars on entry requirements, curriculum, boarding school worries and more. TIEC will be on hand to answer your queries and better still - the whole event is free to attend. Tickets are limited so be sure to click the link above and register for your FREE tickets to the Expat Fair today.

Check out more information at or get in contact below:

If you are a parent with questions about the fair, email Claire at
If you are a school, email

This post by Christina Benson.

We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.

Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.

For more information,

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Benefits of Educational Trips for School Children

The School Trip – it is an event most children look forward to all term, whether it is an educational visit to a historical monument, a day out at a Wetlands Centre, a visit to the theatre or a weekend away at an adventure camp. For the children, it’s a chance to get away from the school grounds, from their parents, and from their routine. An afternoon outside of the classroom feels like a hard-won prize at the end of a long term.

But school trips are more than a reward. Whilst important academic learning is done in class, it can hardly be compared to the wealth of real life experiences, simply because the two things are so very different. Life is full of challenges and opportunities that cannot be understood in theory the same way they can in practice. Whatever the nature of the outing, it is bound to teach them some very important skills and knowledge that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, regardless of whether that is through adventure activities, sports, or written on the exhibits at a museum.

There is a new culture in parents and in schools – perhaps simply in society – that demands we be fully conscious of all the risks involved in every choice we make, especially for our children. This can lead to some serious molly coddling, with overprotective parents panicking about children catching something whilst playing in the dirt and fretful teachers banning playground games over scraped knees and elbows. Some people are concerned school trips put children at too much risk of harm. This kind of worry comes hand in hand with concerns over absorption in technology and obsession with phones, computers and games. Sometimes it seems like people argue against one as much as they argue against the other, and yet they are so very contradictory. If children cannot play outside in the real world in fear of the risks, but should not sit inside watching television or going online either, we’re left with a very limited spectrum of activities for them to enjoy and take part in.

The truth is, the benefits outweigh the risks for almost all of the modern worries, but this is particularly true for educational outings. The opportunity for children to experience a vast range of situations and challenges they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to is key to their personal development. Educators on trips are often experts in their field, providing more in-depth knowledge for the children on the trip than could be conveyed in the classroom. Learning and interacting in groups provides a chance to build a community between them and their peers, to learn interpersonal skills and teamwork, respect and trust, and these strengths translate to the classroom, the playground, and beyond into the world. Teachers have noted that children who struggle in the classroom with speaking up frequently come into their own on educational trips, developing confidence, resilience and self-esteem that bolster performance in every area in school.

Psychologically, this is not the only benefit either. The routine of learning in a classroom week after week can cause lessons to blur into one another in the mind, making the retention of information more difficult. If you’re anything like me, you can probably think back and remember a single holiday or outing from your childhood far better than any of the school weeks surrounding it. Individual events like this create what are known as ‘Episodic Memories’ – autobiographical collections of experiences that can be explicitly recalled. Times, places, knowledge, and associated emotions are stored better in the mind during these events, and so time away spent learning in a manner and environment different from normal routine means children will remember more of what they learned than on any other day.

Aside from bonding with their peers and better learning, school trips can really open children’s eyes to the world around them. Visiting places they would never usually go, particularly for those children who aren’t fortunate enough to travel often outside of school, can provide a whole new perspective on the world. Activities they may have never tried can become lifelong interests. Places they visit can lead to future professions – hospitals, local businesses, University science centers. These visits can teach children more than information, helping them understand why the knowledge is important and how it pertains to real life. They will learn better behaviour too – responsibility and respect not just in the presence of an established figure of authority, but to the public, their peers and communities, and the environment.

The benefits of these trips are vast and the risks – particularly with our modern culture of rules and regulations at every turn – are containable and very carefully assessed by the schools. Of course, there is always a danger of injury. It can’t be denied – accidents happen. But they can happen anywhere, at any time, and it is important to keep this danger in perspective. If you ever find yourself weighing up whether to permit your child onto a school trip, remember this – giving in to your worries about the risks is denying them an opportunity to discover a future hobby or career, to expand their mind and realise their potential.

Educational days out are real adventures for children, and the memories will last a lifetime. I have treasured memories of my field trips. Some of them were disappointing, of course – the highlight of one visit to Waltham Abbey as a child was feeding my worksheets to the goats there – but some turned out to be undeniably important. I still explicitly remember what to do in the event of a house fire – and to check my smoke alarms regularly – all because of a few fun activities and a short lecture given by the local Fire Department on a school visit when I was nine years old. Others were simply awe-inspiring: a lecture at University College London on the concept of Virgin Galactic when spaceflight was only an inkling of a realistic idea, a visit to a Victorian London surgery where the tour guide demonstrated to us how a doctor in 1866 would have performed an amputation on a gangrenous leg, and on one life-changing Senior trip, a theatre acting class on Broadway in New York City. There can be no denying that these adventures helped define me as the person I grew up to be. They were as important as any factor in my school years.

School trips provide children with a reason to believe that the pursuit of knowledge is fun, worthwhile, and above all else – endless. Education does not begin and end in the classroom, nor should it, and these outings help children to see that the world around them is trying to teach them things every day, if they are only willing to open their eyes and take it in.

This post by Lauren Bowman.

We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.

Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.

For more information,