x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Taking kids out of school

If you have children at school, there are two main documents you must obtain prior to departure.

The first is a “report card”, or a certificate showing the grades the child has received throughout the year. This record is essential for proper placement in the next school he or she attends. The second document is the official transfer letter, which will enable your child to switch from their UAE school to one in your destination country.

“People just need to tell me beforehand, either by phone or in person,” said Layal Saraieddin, a registration secretary at the ABC Private elementary school in Abu Dhabi. “I will provide them with the forms, which takes usually about a week.”

Once you get the transfer letter from the school, there are still a few other steps to take. You first need to have the letter signed by the UAE Ministry of Education, then the embassy of your country.

Tuition fees are generally non-refundable. Each school has its own policy, so make the appropriate inquiries ahead of time. Some charge for tuition per quarter, some per term, and others want the entire year’s tuition up front. You may be able to get some of your money back, so why not ask?

And note that it is important to think about the schools at your destination. Decide whether your child needs to go to a private school and whether you need to apply weeks or months ahead of time to enter the school of your choice.

Also, as in the UAE, the school year varies from country to country. Problems can arise if you pull your kids out at the end of the UAE school year in May, only to find that the year began in April at your destination. But remember, you can avoid any potential conflicts simply by planning ahead. If you know you will be leaving your job a few months into the school year, it might make sense to set your children up at their next school ahead of time.

And consider hosting a party or setting aside time for your child to socialise with friends, and encourage them to keep in touch. Moving to a new place can be difficult for young people, and guidance on your part could go a long way.