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New insights on parents’ priorities for international school selection

sharePosted date: 20 Feb 2021

In December 2020, ISC Research conducted a survey of senior admissions staff in international schools distributed across Europe, the Middle East, East and South East Asia. Those staff responses uniformly reported that parent inquiries indicated a number of “new priorities…which have arisen as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Parent interest in online learning, for example, is reported to be much higher this year. This reflects the broad disruption in K-12 teaching and learning throughout the world. “Most school campuses closed for face-to-face learning in or around March 2020 with some schools reopening, either fully or for a blended learning approach, in late summer term 2020, and others re-opening for the new 2020-2021 academic year,” notes ISC. “Since then, schools have had to remain agile in response to repeated campus closures, re-openings, strict safety measures, and isolation periods. A few countries have not re-opened school campuses for face-to-face learning since their initial closures.”

Admissions staff report an increase in inquiries from families who had not previously considered an international school, which they attribute in part to an interest in higher quality online provision (in other words, those same parents are concerned about the quality of provision in their current schools). As many as 84% of admissions officers responding to the December survey said that their school’s online provision is either “important” or “very important” to parents.

The stress of the pandemic on school-aged children and their parents is also very apparent in the survey findings. With so many extra-curricular activities suspended during the pandemic, parents are placing a greater priority on student support and student wellness services. Two-thirds of responding admissions officers said that the support services provided by the school is a “very important” factor for parents during school selection.


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