Online International Schools - The New Certainty For Expat Children In An Uncertain World?
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
It used to be that expat families chose to educate their children either in international schools, boarding schools, or through homeschooling. Today, the new kids on the block since Covid 19, are online international schools. These schools are regularly doubling their weekly admissions, with many parents seeing them as the new way to maintain stability in their children's education, whilst providing educational consistency, and greater flexibility of where they can live and work as a family.
How has our thinking on educating our children changed since Covid 19?
The Covid 19 silver lining has been how it has forced us all to reflect on how we live our lives, and what is really important to us. This second wave has made us even more concerned that the old normal will not return for a while, if at all. So what are expat families priorities now, and what are they looking for from their children's education, now that we are in a "new normal"?
Latest information shows that many expat parents are concerned, post Covid 19, about many of the following:
Continuing to receive high quality standards of teaching and learning in the curriculum of their choice, during lockdowns and illness.
Receiving consistency of education, with little or no extended periods of learning loss, or substandard provision.
Keeping their children close, so as to minimise the risk of infection at school, or from being unable to travel overseas.
Being able to move closer to home, or to another country should the need arise, with minimum disruption.
Keeping their children's education as certain and as stable as they possibly can, in an uncertain and unstable world.
How have Online Schools changed since Covid 19?
It's probably fair to say that Online Schools haven't changed at all due to Covid 19, but that the market certainly has! Whereas students used to come from families who had digital nomad parents, or high networth parents moving their families around the world, or parents whose children didn't thrive in mainstream schools - now the profile is changing rapidly.
Online schools are filling up with expat international families, and families from countries like the USA and the UK, where parents have despaired at the lack of provision and consistency for their children during lockdown, and have decided to take control of their children's experience by going online.
Some parents of secondary school students even noticed that whilst their children struggled to concentrate in their mainstream school, they were much better organised and focused in the online learning environment, and in fact thrived.
A new way of thinking about educating our expat children is emerging. Families are choosing to have an education to match their family needs and that of their children, rather than their family having to base its relocation plans on the need for good schools in their new country, concerns about waiting lists at those schools, and worries about how to integrate their children into yet another school and another way of working.
"It's a minefield out in the online schools world!"
A parent recently commented on an online learning facebook page, the quote above. She was quite rightly confused by the number and array of different online education providers on offer - but knew for all the reasons above, that she wanted to move her daughter into online schooling, but didn't know where or how to start evaluating all the different online schools.
There are now so many new startup online schools, private tutors and 'online education' providers willing to take parents money and prey on their fear and feelings, that it is certainly harder now to choose an online school than before Covid 19. There is currently a UK government White Paper from the Department For Education (DfE), published in June 2020, putting forward proposals for teaching and learning standards and inspections for online schools. It recommends that any online school operating out of the UK, should follow the same standards of inspection as independent schools, which is encouraging to hear!
Choosing an Online School..
So where do you start? As with all schools check the curriculum and subjects on offer, and that the final qualifications will give your children a good choice of university or entry into a career of their choice. Student well-being is important to check, and due diligence is necessary to see what safeguarding is in place, and how teachers are selected, trained and monitored.
It's an exciting time for families who want more options, need flexibility and want to cater for their children's sporting and social needs outside the school gates.
It seems a truly global network of students is developing online!
For further information or initial free consultation and support contact;
Angela Fairs, CEO and Educational Consultant to families and schools
Full Circle Educational Consultancy