120. Witnesses mentioned that children can be perceived
as a constraint on mobility, as people may be concerned about
the effects of moving children between educational systems. The
CBI confirmed that children's education "is another key factor"
for people when considering geographical mobility "given
the differences in education systems across Europe (p 16). Greater
co-operation between educational systems may help to alleviate
121. The CBI explained that families are "increasingly
concerned about their children's education. Families do not necessarily
want to move at that critical point in their children's education
and disrupt that education" (Q 74). The CBI also drew attention
to the fact that "starting ages also vary, with children
in the UK beginning their education at the age of four, yet in
many European countries schooling does not start until the age
of six" (p 16).
122. The CBI held that businesses are conscious of
the implications of geographical mobility on children's education
and that no company would want to "jeopardise the children's
education prospects". Mr Ginn, of the CBI, said "I do
find companies bend over backwards in that respect, for the sake
of the children" (Q 85).
123. The Committee considers that employers who
wish to move a worker with children should help the family search
for suitable schooling for their children.
124. In some instances, this will mean putting in
place boarding school facilities, as sometimes parents will want
to keep their children in a boarding school in the UK rather than
take them with them. If this is the case, the Committee fully
supports the CBI's suggestion that companies should enable the
family to meet together "at least every major holiday"
and that when the company returns the ex-pat to the home country
the company "should continue to pay for the balance of that
course", so as not to "upset the important academic
qualifications which that child could get" (QQ 85-86).
125. In other instances, as the CBI pointed out,
the family "may want their children to attend a local school
[in the country to which they are moving] and acquire various
language skills. They can actually see that as a very strong benefit
of relocation" (Q 87). In such cases, the company must help
the family identify a suitable school in the other Member State.
126. The Committee believes employers must respond
to the individual needs of the family by looking at the particular
requirements of the child and providing assistance accordingly.
127. One proposal that would enable children to switch
schools more easily between Member States is the widespread use
of the International Baccalaureate. This would mean that wherever
workers were posted within the EU, their children would be able
to continue on the system in which they were being educated. The
CBI said it supports the International Baccalaureate as it is
"suitable for children of any nationality and can be joined
at any age." Moreover, it stated that "many employees
find the International Baccalaureate helpful because it is broad
enough and deep enough to be able to go to universities in most
European countries once you have done it" (p 16, Q 87). The
Committee would support a more widespread use of the International