November 18, 2019

Relocating with Children: Finding a School

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Relocating with Children: Finding a School

Posted by: Christine Wrigley, Manager, Supply Chain Management
International assignments can be challenging enough, but when you add children into the mix, it can make it even more stressful. With more than 60 years’ experience in relocating families, we’ve collected quite a few tips and best practices for how to go about finding the right school for each child…

The Early Bird. When an assignment is scheduled, relocating families should work with their relocation services provider to start the school search process. Once a suitable school has been found, submit applications as early as possible, especially if it has a waiting list.

Do Your Homework. Ahead of any school search trips, assignees and their families may also want to research available schools online. Before visiting a school, assignees should list what’s most important to them, is it the math department, extracurricular activities or perhaps the overall academic record?
Assignees should also find out what education program each school offers. If it is a relatively short assignment, then the curriculum should be one that is easily transferable to another school. If possible, older children who are completing their school life whilst on assignment should leave with qualifications that are recognized by colleges/universities around the world. 

Choices Choices. Assignees shouldn’t choose just one school to apply to in case their application isn’t successful. Instead, they need a second and third preference as a contingency.

Supporting Your Assignees. Companies should consider providing assignees with their school allowance at the very start of the relocation process when school searches begin. This will allow assignees and their relocating families to pay registration fees or other up-front costs. 
Financial support aside, it may also be beneficial to provide a relocating family with a forum to meet with expatriate families who have already relocated to the host location. Hearing anecdotal evidence and recommendations about local schools may help the assignee to decide which one is best for their children.

Check the Date. Depending on how the host location’s academic year runs, the time of year a school application is made, may impact the availability of school places. However, if a school does have space, then they will accept children whatever the time of year.

Commute Considerations. Of course, the quality of the school an assignee chooses for their child is imperative, but the location of the facility should be considered, particularly where it is in relation to the family’s home and assignee’s workplace. Additional factors should also be considered to help assignees calculate commute times, like the area’s traffic congestion during peak periods, and whether the school provides transportation to collect and drop-off pupils.

A Family Decision. Where appropriate, assignees should include their children in the school finding process. Helping to decide which school to attend may help them to settle into the new location.

Every day at Cartus, we help to relocate families around the world. We understand the importance of ensuring that these families feel fully supported throughout a move. Their ability to settle into a new location may influence, ultimately, whether the overall international assignment is a success.
Through Cartus’ Educational Counseling and Placement program delivered by our Network Provider, Bennett International, we can help assignees with finding and placing family dependents in a school that meets each child’s unique profile. Families receive customized counseling to determine educational needs and receive ongoing educational support throughout the school selection process. 

If you would like more information on supporting relocating families, or any other aspect of relocation, contact us at or visit our Resource Hub on
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Posted By

Christine Wrigley

About Christine

Christine Wrigley joined Cartus in 1989 and has held various positions in Client Services and Real Estate Services, managing a portfolio of clients across diverse industries. In 2008 she accepted a role in Supply Chain Management and currently manages multiple Supplier Networks including U.S. Temporary Housing, Rental Assistance, Property Management, Spouse/Partner Career Transition Assistance, and Educational Assistance Services. 

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