California to the UK

american executive and family move to the UK from California

Mr and Mrs Grey and their two children were relocated from the USA to the UK at the end of December 2013. Mr Grey’s role was to be based in Bedfont Lakes and the family wanted to live in the English countryside.

The family’s main priority was schooling; they were keen for the boys to be educated in a Co-Educational British Independent School as Mr Grey grew up in the UK. They also wanted to find places for both boys at the same school, which meant finding somewhere that accepted both junior and senior school children. TTA highlighted the possible benefits and challenges families face when making the transition from the US to the UK education system.

Other priorities included being located in a safe neighbourhood, within easy reach of the school and the office. The family were looking for a character property with a large garden that was not overlooked and Mr Grey specifically requested that the front door be in the centre of the house. TTA took all of these specifications into account.

The family only had one week in the UK to find school places, decide on an area and choose a house. Their visit was booked for the end of November 2013 and they needed to be settled in by the time school started in January 2014.


TTA’s first action was to research both International and British Independent Schools in the area, sending detailed information to the family on availability, curriculum, location, assessments etc. Using this research, the family decided on a shortlist of schools to visit.

Based on this, and conversations with the family, TTA set up a programme for the week to include area orientations, school visits, interviews, entrance exams and property search as well as leaving an extra day for the family to visit local attractions and enjoy a Thanksgiving Dinner! TTA managed to source a local restaurant serving a turkey dinner.

Mr and Mrs Grey fell in love with a house in Esher and hoped to find places at the nearby British Independent School. However, things didn’t quite go according to plan when the school was unable to offer places to the two boys. Feeling this was a disaster, Mr and Mrs Grey initially panicked and considered alternative options including home schooling and International schools but nothing seemed to fit their requirements. TTA sought advice from an education specialist and after some soul searching and deliberation, the family decided to reconsider the British system but in a different area.

Having contacted 15 different schools in the area, TTA organised a visit with the headmistress of Licenced Victuallers School (LVS) in Ascot; TTA have had positive feedback from clients who have children in the school and thought it would be a good option for the family.

The family were happy with LVS and the boys were offered places. Mr Grey still wanted to try and make it work with the house they found in Esher, however TTA advised that this would place a big strain on the family and the boys would have a 44-mile commute to and from school every day.

Time was running out and the family were forced to return to the US without having made a firm decision on housing. TTA continued the search on the ground, staying in close contact with the family back in the US. Through extensive research and discussion, TTA found and visited a house in Virginia Water and sent Mr and Mrs Grey detailed property and area information with over 100 photos of the house and gardens. TTA also managed to source photos of the property when it was tenanted (and therefore furnished) to give the family the maximum amount of detail possible upon which to base their decision.

After some deliberation, the family decided they wholeheartedly wanted to go with the house in Virginia Water. TTA negotiated the deal and agreed for works to be completed. The check-in was arranged, short-term rental furniture was installed, and the family was able to move in by the 3rd January 2014 a few days before the boys started school. TTA met the family at the property and arranged to meet the managing agent to discuss any outstanding issues in the house. TTA recommended the garden be landscaped which greatly improved the overall aesthetic of the property and both the agent and Landlord were impressed and grateful for the suggestion.

Benefits, Results, Outcome

The family’s move was arranged at the last minute. As such, they had very little time to consider all aspects of the relocation and therefore they had to rely on TTA’s knowledge, expertise and experience.

Schooling was an important priority for the family and the transition from the US education system to the UK education system can be sometimes problematic. It was a challenge to find an appropriate schooling solution in the area that would take students into the January term. With limited options to consider, the family benefitted from the research TTA conducted and were able to make informed decisions about housing, schooling, commuting and the realities of daily life in the UK.

Overall, this was a very successful relocation; the children are studying at a top Independent Co-Educational School under the British System. They have a short commute to school and Mr Grey has an easy commute to work and also to nearby Heathrow Airport for his frequent business trips abroad. The family are living in a safe neighbourhood in a secluded, country home with a large garden and the front door is in the middle of the house! TTA have arranged for new ovens, new carpets, curtains and a new dishwasher. The Client have a happy assignee and the family are enjoying living in the UK.

In a very short time, Helen Townend and the TTA team were able to understand our family's expectations and requests for our move to the UK. Just as importantly, they were able to clearly communicate the options available to us. The relationship that was built enabled us to have complete trust and confidence in what could have been a very low point in the excitement of our transition. It made it possible for us to agree to lease the home we are in now having only seen photos and discussing the pros and cons with Helen. Helen and her team are not only consummate professionals, but very personable too.