When Do I Start to Look for a School?
You think that point has arrived where you know that finding a school for your child is their next step towards starting them on the long (and expensive road) to their education. Given the commitment that you are making to your child (and potentially from your pocket), it’s important to get this right.
Historically, some especially anxious parents would try to register their new-borns at their preferred school within days of their birth.
That is no longer the case.
As more and more schools have introduced automated Admissions systems, and as they have got to grips with the long waiting-lists that needed to be updated on a regular basis, so the norm has tended to towards applications only being taken one academic year ahead of the planned start date.
The majority of international schools open applications in term 1 (often October) for places in September of the next academic year, or in term 2 (again around October/November) for April academic year schools.
Some schools do still take applications earlier, and if you have a particular preference and want to know the timing, there is no harm in contacting the school directly.
If you already have a child in school, you will be invited to register any younger child ahead of admissions being opened up to the wider public. However, you may feel that your child’s current school may not be the best fit for your subsequent children or your circumstances may have changed, leading you to start the school search process again.
The key point to bear in mind is that the application for school places is probably towards the end of your journey to find a school.
It is the research into curriculum, location, ethos, size and all of the other factors that may matter to you that needs to start well before the application process.
Our advice would be that it is never too soon to start the process of researching and informing yourself about the options.
At a minimum, we would suggest that this process starts at least 18 months prior to the planned school start date for your child. This will allow you sufficient time to investigate, narrow down your options and, ideally, visit the schools that you have prioritised – at least once and possibly more!
In this series:
MY CHILD DID NOT GET A SCHOOL PLACE. WHAT CAN I DO?
APPLICATION AND ASSESSMENT – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
CHOOSING A SCHOOL – WHAT MAKES A SCHOOL THE RIGHT ONE FOR MY CHILD?
MOVING TO THE UAE WITH CHILDREN: RULES AND REGULATIONS YOU SHOULD KNOW
THE SCHOOL VISIT CHECKLIST – WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR…
THE CHOICE BETWEEN NEW AND ESTABLISHED SCHOOLS
UAE SCHOOL ACCREDITATION: WHAT TO LOOK FOR, AND WHY?
WHEN DO I START TO LOOK FOR A SCHOOL?
WHICH SCHOOL CURRICULUM SHOULD I CHOOSE?