Relocation is, by its very nature, disrupting. A new job and home in a different area may be exciting for everyone, but any parent’s priority will be ensuring their children move seamlessly into a new school with as little disruption to their education as possible.
Bowker Consulting in Milton Keynes has over 20 years’ experience in helping and supporting relocating parents as they make decisions about their children’s futures. Debbie Bowker, who has been running the company since 2007, is proud to offer a caring, personalised and professional service that relieves some of the stress faced by parents, and provides this insight into the help and expertise that is available:
What are the benefits of the service offered by Bowker Consulting?
Relocating is always a challenging time. It’s exciting but at the same time it can be very stressful for families with children. It’s not always as straightforward as choosing an area to live and assuming there will be a place at the school of your choice. Our in-depth knowledge of local schools, availability of places, local authority procedures etc will help to simplify the process as much as possible.
Explain the process when it comes to helping a family?
That depends on the circumstances. It often starts with those at the early planning stage exploring different locations; others may be further down the line and have already moved but their children haven’t been allocated a school place and they need support finding an alternative option, or with an appeal.
We can provide an overview of an area, down to a specific post code if that is known, and advise on the local schools and catchment areas, taking into account the current needs of the children, and how their needs will be met over the next few years if they are approaching a move from primary to secondary school, for instance. We are familiar with the requirements of the local authorities – so some may be happy to allocate a school place in advance with proof of a signed tenancy agreement or ongoing house purchase, while others will not start processing the application until the family is actually resident.
For those who require it, we can work with international relocation into the UK where language barriers and different education structures have to be taken into account, and with those considering independent schools where entrance assessments may also need to be arranged.
How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your service?
Massively, in a word. It’s disruptive enough to move your children to a new school at any time, but when schools are closed it becomes even more problematic. Home schooling when you or your child don’t have an established relationship with the class teacher is incredibly problematic. The child will have no friends within their new classroom and can feel isolated.
In addition, during total lockdown councils stop processing in-year applications unless the child is vulnerable or the parent is a critical key worker, so families can find themselves living in a new area with their child still remote learning at their old school.
So your support for parents and children is more important than ever?
Our aim has always been to keep stress to a minimum, to take some of the weight off the shoulders of parents who are already dealing with a lot in the run-up to a relocation. Through our contacts in schools and local authorities, we can help them navigate a complex schools admissions process at a time when their own situation, and the situation generally, may be changing daily. Years of experience and knowledge means we can provide calm reassurance and valuable research into all the available options and the best course of action.
To find out more, contact Bowker Consulting on 01908 395041 or 07793 584293, email Debbie.email@example.com or visit the website www.bowker.org.uk