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The Hidden Compliances in Global Mobility

Transitioning Families at International Schools

ACS MAI 2016The need for support required by new staff and transitioning families at international schools

International recruitment and relocation can be a stressful and challenging experience for anyone. Considerations towards housing, location and education all need to be made and it is crucial for families that they are supported fully throughout the transition. ACS International Schools offers excellent relocation support; both for new staff and for new families joining the schools.

Support for relocating families

A Cartus Global Relocation Survey found that the second most common reason for relocations to fail is ‘the inability of the family to adjust’. International schools can offer unrivalled support to relocating families, helping them establish themselves in the area and within the school community. Their expert pastoral care teams and counsellors have specialist skills and many, like ACS, have developed bespoke programmes to help families adjust to their new environments.

The role of the Welcome Team

The Welcome Team is a group of existing parents and teachers (forming part of the Parent Teacher Organization) on standby to help new families settle in to the school and local community. Within 24 hours of the Welcome Team being notified of a new family’s arrival, a team member will email a special ‘Welcome Letter’ with details about the school’s latest events, contact details and a special ‘Welcome Booklet’ – an invaluable local directory of services and information produced by the school. Returning students and families who might have come back to the school community after a year or two studying or living somewhere else also receive this service.

As ACS employs a rolling admission programme, the Welcome Team hosts a number of events for new families right across the academic calendar rather than having a burst of focused activity during September as other more traditional schools might. A ‘Welcome Bagel Breakfast’ offers a chance for new families to meet current parents, staff and the Head of School.

Everyone gets a ‘buddy’

ACS organises a ‘buddy system’, whereby each new arrival is paired with an existing family with children of the same nationality and if possible near the same age. These buddies are available as soon as the new family receives their welcome letter and provide valuable support.

A buddy can be on hand with advice and many families remain good friends throughout their time at ACS and beyond.  For students their buddy is an instant friend, able to guide them through first few weeks of school life, often helping them make more friends and dispel fears about starting a new school.

Parent Teacher Organisation: advice and activity provider

Alongside being a welcoming and advice service, The Parent Teacher Organisation at ACS organises regular activities such as book, weekend and cooking clubs, coffee mornings, sports teams, and day trips, each providing a vital catalyst in helping families get to know their new neighbours and make new friends, whether British or International. Furthermore, there is a special Multi-Cultural Team at ACS, which organises events throughout the year with the school children.

This give parents the opportunity to share their culture with their children and their friends. A ‘Pot Luck Lunch’ allows all the families to celebrate and share their individual nationalities and cultures by bringing a favourite dish for others to try.

The Parent Teacher Organisation also plays an active supporting role for families relocating away from the school, which can be a challenging time. Students and parents alike invest emotional and physical energy in their time at ACS and moving away can be a big upheaval. To help celebrate their time at ACS and move forward with happy memories, a leaver’s High Tea is organised at the end of the year. It is a dedicated time for families to reflect on their time at ACS and prepare for their next challenge.

Support from Counsellors

In each ACS school, there are dedicated Counsellors, who support both parents and students in the transition phase and offer welfare support at all levels. Across the schools there is an extensive range of extra- curricular opportunities to nurture students’ interests and talents both on a local and international scale.

An international education continues to be one of the most effective foundations for modern life – teaching students to accept and integrate with many different cultures and nationalities from a young age, equipping them with the life skills to be ‘global citizens’ and instilling a broad outlook and thirst for new experiences. The first-hand experience of transitioning by many of the counsellors and teachers themselves means that any new student or staff member is really understood, supported and helped to establish connections with their peers, making the transition process much less daunting to all involved.

Case study: ACS Hillingdon’s new High School College Counsellor

Alban Ferrieu, a recently appointed High School College Counsellor at ACS Hillingdon, relocated to ACS Hillingdon last August from Toronto, Canada, with his family, including two small babies. Alban describes the support he received from ACS Hillingdon; from the recruitment process right through to starting work at the school and confessed that he signed his contract with the school without even visiting as he was so confident ACS provided the best transitional support for his family and working environment for him.

Alban talks about his experience:

“The recruitment process made me confident that the school was right for me. Whilst there was a lot of paperwork, references and admin to go through, as with starting any job, the process was efficient and streamlined. The HR team was organised, helpful and professional, answering any questions I had quickly and clearly.

When it came to the relocation, the ACS team helped me feel fully prepared. Before we left Toronto, ACS had partnered us with their Housing Officer at ACS Hillingdon, who helped to organise everything – from setting up a UK bank account before we arrived, to talking us through the neighbourhood options in London and the UK tax systems. This support meant that all of our questions were answered before we arrived and there was always somebody on hand to talk to both before and after the move.

Starting at ACS Hillingdon this year has been great. I have been made to feel very welcome by all of the staff here – a lot of them have experience of relocating themselves so they have been supportive and very friendly. At ACS I felt fully supported in my relocation experience, so I was able to focus completely on the job and fulfill the needs of students and parents from the very beginning of my time here.

Alban’s keen interest in the subject of international schooling has extended into a real passion of his; currently he is completing his PhD in Education with the University of Sherbrooke in Canada, studying the impact of international schooling on Third- Culture Kids’ sociocultural development.

The need for support required by new staff and transitioning families at international schools

International recruitment and relocation can be a stressful and challenging experience for anyone. Considerations towards housing, location and education all need to be made and it is crucial for families that they are supported fully throughout the transition. ACS International Schools offers excellent relocation support; both for new staff and for new families joining the schools.

Support for relocating families

A Cartus Global Relocation Survey found that the second most common reason for relocations to fail is ‘the inability of the family to adjust’. International schools can offer unrivalled support to relocating families, helping them establish themselves in the area and within the school community. Their expert pastoral care teams and counsellors have specialist skills and many, like ACS, have developed bespoke programmes to help families adjust to their new environments.

The role of the Welcome Team

The Welcome Team is a group of existing parents and teachers (forming part of the Parent Teacher Organization) on standby to help new families settle in to the school and local community. Within 24 hours of the Welcome Team being notified of a new family’s arrival, a team member will email a special ‘Welcome Letter’ with details about the school’s latest events, contact details and a special ‘Welcome Booklet’ – an invaluable local directory of services and information produced by the school. Returning students and families who might have come back to the school community after a year or two studying or living somewhere else also receive this service.

As ACS employs a rolling admission programme, the Welcome Team hosts a number of events for new families right across the academic calendar rather than having a burst of focused activity during September as other more traditional schools might. A ‘Welcome Bagel Breakfast’ offers a chance for new families to meet current parents, staff and the Head of School.

Everyone gets a ‘buddy’

ACS organises a ‘buddy system’, whereby each new arrival is paired with an existing family with children of the same nationality and if possible near the same age. These buddies are available as soon as the new family receives their welcome letter and provide valuable support.

A buddy can be on hand with advice and many families remain good friends throughout their time at ACS and beyond. For students their buddy is an instant friend, able to guide them through first few weeks of school life, often helping them make more friends and dispel fears about starting a new school.

Parent Teacher Organisation: advice and activity provider

Alongside being a welcoming and advice service, The Parent Teacher Organisation at ACS organises regular activities such as book, weekend and cooking clubs, coffee mornings, sports teams, and day trips, each providing a vital catalyst in helping families get to know their new neighbours and make new friends, whether British or International. Furthermore, there is a special Multi-Cultural Team at ACS, which organises events throughout the year with the school children.
This give parents the opportunity to share their culture with their children and their friends. A ‘Pot Luck Lunch’ allows all the families to celebrate and share their individual nationalities and cultures by bringing a favourite dish for others to try.

The Parent Teacher Organisation also plays an active supporting role for families relocating away from the school, which can be a challenging time. Students and parents alike invest emotional and physical energy in their time at ACS and moving away can be a big upheaval. To help celebrate their time at ACS and move forward with happy memories, a leaver’s High Tea is organised at the end of the year. It is a dedicated time for families to reflect on their time at ACS and prepare for their next challenge.

Support from Counsellors

In each ACS school, there are dedicated Counsellors, who support both parents and students in the transition phase and offer welfare support at all levels. Across the schools there is an extensive range of extra- curricular opportunities to nurture students’ interests and talents both on a local and international scale.

An international education continues to be one of the most effective foundations for modern life – teaching students to accept and integrate with many different cultures and nationalities from a young age, equipping them with the life skills to be ‘global citizens’ and instilling a broad outlook and thirst for new experiences. The first-hand experience of transitioning by many of the counsellors and teachers themselves means that any new student or staff member is really understood, supported and helped to establish connections with their peers, making the transition process much less daunting to all involved.

Case study: ACS Hillingdon’s new High School College Counsellor

Alban Ferrieu, a recently appointed High School College Counsellor at ACS Hillingdon, relocated to ACS Hillingdon last August from Toronto, Canada, with his family, including two small babies. Alban describes the support he received from ACS Hillingdon; from the recruitment process right through to starting work at the school and confessed that he signed his contract with the school without even visiting as he was so confident ACS provided the best transitional support for his family and working environment for him.

Alban talks about his experience:

“The recruitment process made me confident that the school was right for me. Whilst there was a lot of paperwork, references and admin to go through, as with starting any job, the process was efficient and streamlined. The HR team was organised, helpful and professional, answering any questions I had quickly and clearly.

When it came to the relocation, the ACS team helped me feel fully prepared. Before we left Toronto, ACS had partnered us with their Ho using Officer at ACS Hillingdon, who helped to organise everything – from setting up a UK bank account before we arrived, to talking us through the neighbourhood options in London and the UK tax systems. This support meant that all of our questions were answered before we arrived and there was always somebody on hand to talk to both before and after the move.

Starting at ACS Hillingdon this year has been great. I have been made to feel very welcome by all of the staff here – a lot of them have experience of relocating themselves so they have been supportive and very friendly. At ACS I felt fully supported in my relocation experience, so I was able to focus completely on the job and fulfill the needs of students and parents from the very beginning of my time here.”

Alban’s keen interest in the subject of international schooling has extended into a real passion of his; currently he is completing his PhD in Education with the University of Sherbrooke in Canada, studying the impact of international schooling on Third- Culture Kids’ sociocultural development.

By Caroline Breeds

Find out more at www.acs-schools.com

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