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  • Writer's pictureBennett International

Bennett Service Highlight: The Public vs. Private School Assessment

Updated: Jun 6

When employees request private school support as an exception to policy, Global Mobility/HR may require our expert recommendation as to whether it is necessary from an education standpoint, or not.


The Public vs. Private School Assessment Service is highly personalized and student-specific. It begins with an exhaustive interview with parents by an expert consultant to understand why they feel that private school is essential for their child when being relocated.


The consultant considers all aspects of the student’s situation: academic profile, languages spoken, education system of origin, nature of state and private education in the host location, and repatriation needs.

The objective is to determine whether private/international school is critical to the continuity of a student's education or simply a family preference.


Emma Hoffman is a Senior Bennett Consultant who goes back a ways with Bennett. There’s a story behind that. She has delivered every service we offer, from school placements Pre-K, K-12 to college placements, personal statement development, repatriation planning, private vs. public school assessments—a virtuoso.


The Public vs. Private School Assessment service is among her specialties. We thought we would ask her a few questions about her approach to them.


Emma, please describe how you approach the various assessment services that Bennett provides. Where do you begin?


I always begin by having a lengthy call with the parents to gather information about each of their children and the upcoming move. This will include a thorough understanding of each child’s education path up to this point, the curriculum that they have been following and the length of time they have been following it, their strengths and struggles, both academically and socially, their home language, any tests they’ve taken, any special educational needs, the school system and curriculum that they are going to, as well as other factors. I also ask about their future plans beyond the move. During the conversation, I listen carefully to the parents’ answers, as well as their concerns about their children. In other words, I get the clearest picture I can of each child in the family as an individual, so that I can understand each one's specific needs and objectively recommend the type of school where they can succeed. 


Where do you go from there?


Research, research, research! This might include talking to schools and teachers, looking at school reports, taking into account any major tests and exams, as well as any services that have and will be available. Really, it is about thoroughly understanding the situation from the perspective of the child within the context of their life, past, present, and future. It doesn’t get much more personalized than that! 

I then review the policy of the company that the family is moving with, and apply that to what I have learned from my conversation with the family and my research to give an objective recommendation of the type of school at which I feel each child will be able to succeed.


After I have written my report, I present it to a committee of Bennett International education consultants to get their input. This is one of the fun parts of the service, as it often involves a spirited conversation, and I always learn something new when my experienced colleagues offer their different perspectives.


What value do you see in these services?


Our assessments are very personalized. There is no ‘one size fits all’. As a TCK myself, I know how hard it can be to move through different school systems at varying points in your education career, and my goal is to ensure a smooth transition for each child with no major disruption. The nature of their parent’s job shouldn’t mean that their education should suffer.


How does this service compare to the other Bennett services that you provide so well?


All of the services that I provide involve really getting to understand each child in the context of their home, their family, their culture, their education path, and their experiences as a whole. The fuller a picture I can get, the better I can provide a more individualized service.


This service differs in that I need to take a very objective stance as I determine, given this picture of their child that their parents have provided, what kind of school would ‘work’ for a child. I find that my legal education has been very helpful to me in providing this service.


With the varied interested parties that you’re carrying out this service for, what is your primary focus?


My job is to apply each company’s policy to the child in question as faithfully as I can. 


This means stepping back to get an understanding of why the policy was developed and then honing in to apply it to each child’s particular circumstances.


The child and their needs are, of course, foremost. When parents feel that their child is on the ‘right’ education path, that takes stress away from them, during what is often a very stressful time for a family.


What's your dog’s name?

My gorgeous rescue dog is called Lalo. It is the diminutive of the Mexican name 'Eduardo’, it’s kind of like ‘Teddy’ in English. We‘re an international family, so it just ‘worked’ for him!


Thank you on behalf of Bennett, and all the families you’ve helped.


Bennett offers a robust menu of services to satisfy the needs of all the constituents in the relocation industry, anyywhere in the world.

Emma Hoffman is an experienced Bennett consultant who currently lives outside of Philadelphia. She is a true TCK (Third Culture Kid) and has lived all over the world. Her experiences as a student in many different countries, an educator, and a parent bring a great deal of empathy and knowledge to each family she works with.

Emma also has a fantastic sense of humor, which is always helpful when working with families and students!

To read more about our top-flight team of consultants, please see here.

Bennett International Education Consultancy works directly with hundreds of families each year across the globe. We support families by helping them make informed decisions about the best-fit schools for their children; with our guidance, they secure placement in preschools, private day schools, public/state schools, boarding schools, colleges & universities, including schools with particular programs, such as special needs support.


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