I don’t want my child to go to a traditional private school - What other options do I have?

ACS Egham High School students

ACS Egham High School students - Credit: Archant

One of our experts from ACS International Schools, which has campuses in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, answers your questions

I don’t want my child to go to a traditional private school, but what other options do I have?

A new trend among parents is for a ‘mix and match’ approach to education. Starting perhaps with private nursery for the crucial early years; switching to state for primary where there’s a top church school or high performing local school on the doorstep, then switching back to private for secondary or sixth form.

This approach allows thousands of children to experience the benefits of both private and state education. It allows them to become more rounded individuals and escape the bubble which inhabiting only one type of environment can create, or where incapacitating cliques can develop.

Now the smart money is on adding an international education element to that mix. Traditionally the preserve of expat families, local British families or long-stay residents have discovered the huge relevance and value of their children having an international education, and are adding this type of school to the education mix.

Half of all pupils at ACS International Schools, for example, are now British, enjoying a world class education along with up to fifty different nationalities in a typical year group.

Parents see the rapid pace of change in the world, and worry that a traditional British or national education won’t prepare their children to thrive in the modern, culturally diverse, globally mobile world.

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Where once the concept of international mindedness seemed intellectual or aloof, it now seems like basic common sense to be taught how to enjoy, thrive and respect different cultures; to come out of school equipped with the skills to live and work successfully with people from other countries or cultures, or to be able to thrive anywhere in the world you choose to live.

Research has proved just how tangible the qualities of an international education really are. In a survey of university admissions officers carried out in April this year, the International Baccalaureate was rated as a far better preparation to thrive at university than A levels.

A survey of school leavers who had been to an international school, where 67% had also attended a state school, showed the top five qualities they had gained from their international education were:

• Greater tolerance and respect for other cultures 85%

• Greater self-confidence through making friends with people from all over the world 79%

• The confidence to live and work anywhere in the world 78%

• A better education through experiencing different approaches to learning 64%

• The ability to learn more and be happier through freedom from tradition school cliques and attitudes 44%

It’s results like this, combined with the seismic changes that seem to be happening in the world, that makes an international education the natural choice.

Don’t forget to tweet your education questions to @acsintschools | acs-schools.com

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