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Ensuring a smooth academic transition for mid-year joiners - top tips for parents

Starting school mid-year is surprisingly common, especially in international schools where families come and go more frequently. However, here at The British International School of Kuala Lumpur, we understand moving schools mid-year can be difficult and parents are likely to have some concerns such as, ‘Will my child be able to catch up with the work?’; ‘Will my child make friends easily?’; and ‘How will my family fit into the school community?’

The level of teaching throughout The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) is excellent according to our latest Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report, and we are committed to ensuring that all children make the best possible start, no matter when they join.

This blog outlines a number of ways we ensure a smooth academic transition for mid-year joiners, as well as some guidance to parents navigating this path. You can also read our top tips for ensuring a smooth social transition.

  • Get to grips with the school curriculum

At BSKL we follow the English National Curriculum (ENC). Although this is one of the most widely taught and respected curricula in the world, some families might not be familiar with it and the change may be a cause for concern. If the ENC is new to you, we can provide you with useful information to understand the levels of learning required, as expectations for a child’s age may differ within different curriculums. We always provide clear information about our curriculum to help parents in making an informed choice. You can talk to our teachers, view samples of past work, read some curriculum books and ask for support if needed.

  • Discuss your child’s academic needs as early as possible

Our admissions assessment process provides useful information for class teachers so that new students are effectively supported, but also challenged in their learning from their first day in school. If you have concerns about whether your child will be able to meet the curriculum demands, or will be too advanced for their age group, discuss this with the admissions team as early as possible so that the right measures can be put in place. For families who are not based in Malaysia and want to secure their school place early, we provide opportunities for a Skype assessment and in-depth discussion.

  • Meet with the school’s teachers and leadership team

98% of new parents said that their first contact with BSKL was warm and welcoming and this is no doubt thanks to our wonderful staff. Our Senior Leadership Team will always be delighted to meet you and be on hand to answer any questions you may have. They can show you around the school where you will get a better understanding of the engaging learning environments and wonderful facilities on offer. We also have a ‘meet the teacher’ day which is a good opportunity for you to meet your child’s teacher, ask questions and share your child’s strengths and needs with them.

  • Check in with your child’s teachers

All of our teachers hold international teaching qualifications from well-regarded institutions and will ensure a personalised academic programme is in place for your child. Many will have experience teaching students in transition and by getting to know students quickly, teachers ensure that they plan tasks that meet the needs of individual students. Quality dialogue is fostered and encouraged between teachers and students - this allows students to receive regular feedback on their work and to seek advice and support when required. In our Primary school, all of our Assistant Teachers also hold degrees (which is unique to BSKL) so there are always two highly-trained adults on hand to welcome and support new joiners.

  • Find out how the school helps children with English as an additional language

As an international school, we have many students whose first language is not English and we are well prepared to meet these needs, which are identified through the admissions process. Our teachers are trained to use visual cues which helps mid-year joiners to settle in more quickly and our inclusion department is available for students who may require additional support in their language acquisition or learning. We also support parents with limited English by translating key documents or communicating with the help of a translator. This way we can effectively welcome all families whose first language is not English. 

If you are considering moving your child mid-year and would like to find out more about BSKL, please get in touch with our admissions team via phone on +60 3 7727 7775 or email at admissions@britishschool.edu.my