The Initial Enquiry
Our client got in touch regarding a one-year posting to a company based in Maidenhead. With two teenage girls aged 14 and 16 schooling was the main priority. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is gaining momentum in the UK as a recognised equivalent to A Levels and schools are starting to offer the IB on their syllabus. Our first hurdle would therefore be to find a school offering IB with spaces in the required year groups.
How we helped
We researched a wide range of schools, however the majority of schools offering the IB were in central London. This caused two issues. Firstly, increased commuting distance to Maidenhead and secondly the rental budget for living in central London would not afford the family much living space (we are talking the difference between a four bedroom family house with a garden on the outskirts of London vs a two bedroom flat in London). We decided to look outside London to the ACS International Schools in Hillingdon and Egham and also at independent Queen Anne’s School in Caversham, a day school and boarding school attracting a wide range of international students.
The Problems we faced
Whilst offering a real international feel and iGCSE’s, Queen Anne’s School did not offer the IB and on reflection, given the girls would only be in the UK for one year, the need to stay within the same educational system was deemed paramount. We wanted to show the family a choice of international schools offering IB but the central London international schools added the further layers of complication in terms of housing and securing a place. Our client also considered visiting ACS International School in Egham to ‘compare and contrast’ but on reflection it was decided that ACS Hillingdon offered everything they needed.
We shortlisted a number of properties within commuting distance to Maidenhead and on bus routes or walking distance to ACS Hillingdon. Our client highlighted a property she had seen online in Uxbridge to add to our viewing schedule. As we often find, photos of properties can be wildly misleading and this was the case for this particular property. Wide angle lenses and photos taken many years before tenant wear and tear meant we could not get out of the house fast enough!
We visited a house in Hillingdon which in fact looked rather tired on the photos only to discover that in this instance old photos has been used and the property had since received a makeover. This house had four bedrooms, a garden and was a fifteen minute walk to ACS Hillingdon and our client could easily commute to Maidenhead. However, we were the fourth viewing that day – and all viewings had children going to ACS in September – so we needed to move fast and put in the correct offer first time round to secure it.
We discussed the level of our offer taking into account the interest in the property and were thrilled that the offer accepted. Schools places were confirmed and move date finalised. The family are looking forward to their year-long adventure in the UK and arrive in July ready for work and for the girls to settle in and take an English language course over the summer ready to get stuck into the IB in mid-August (yes international schools start quite early!).
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