Navigating Transatlantic Education

As director and lead consultant for Holland Park Tuition & Education Consultants, William Stadlen advises families and students on a host of issues impacting private education in London, the UK and internationally. For this edition of Tanager Talks, we asked William to focus on the challenges students face when moving between the US and UK education systems. As an expert in the provision of private tutors, William also offers advice on how to be a smart consumer of the service.

Transatlantic school searches

According to William, transatlantic families face three major challenges when relocating: social, curriculum and timing. Socially, almost all children, happy or otherwise, are unhappy about leaving their school, friends and country. Recognizing this, William advises parents to have an ‘adult-like’ conversation with the child to acknowledge their concerns. Curriculum differences between the US and UK can be substantial and are most often experienced in the subject of mathematics. Firms such Holland Park can provide assessments and tutors to help bridge the gaps. Timing is a difficult issue, particularly in a space-constrained city such as London where demand for good independent schools far exceeds supply. If a family must move and a place at a target school cannot be found, look for an interim solution supplemented by tutoring and ongoing discussions about availability with the preferred schools. American and international schools can be good alternatives to overcrowded London day schools, having the advantages of a more ‘dip in/ dip out’ curriculum offering an environment where student can often stay until the age of eighteen.

Private Tutoring

While parents often worry that an estimated one-third to one-half of students in the independent sector in London have a private tutor, William advises parents not to panic. Before seeking a tutor, it is important that serious consideration is given to why a tutor is needed. And if the child is against it and cannot be persuaded of the need, then it is best not to proceed, as resistance will only grow. Nevertheless, in the right situation, a tutor can create a safe haven for the child that is relaxing and reassuring where problems can be addressed. Chemistry between student and tutor is important, as is regular feedback from all parties involved. A great tutor should be inspiring, empathetic, have patience and be able to get along with everyone in the house.

Read to Succeed

 William ends the discussion by touching on the importance of parents creating an environment where reading, conversation and education are valued. “The children who read are the children who succeed. It is absolutely pervasive to their performance in education.”

Listen to the interview below. You can visit Holland Park Tuition’s website here.


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