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 Post subject: Schools Required
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:53 pm
Posts: 76
Hi Everyone

I hope you can help.

DH has an American colleague moving to the London area shortly with the following children.
DS1 aged 13
DS2 Aged 11
DS3 Aged 9
DD1 Aged 7

They are all bright children, but I think American schools lag behind English schools? anyone any experience?
They want them to attend English school (s) somewhere in the London area or outskirts. I can't think of anywhere in the London/Surrey area that would have places for children at those ages. They ideally wanted to live quite centrally, but I think they are going to have to go further out. I know Kent has a lot more GS's so I was thinking that there maybe more availability in the Indy sector in that direction. Wishful thinking?
The list suggested by the moving consultants isn't great and very limited, so I am looking into and would be very grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction.

Thanks
Doing my best


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:35 pm 
How long are they planning to spend in the UK? Do they need to reintegrate into the US system either during secondary school or at the university stage? If the answer to the latter question is yes, they should at least consider either one of the American schools (transferring each child in as and when they can get places) or a British school which offers the IB.

The children won't necessarily be behind English pupils; my eldest was well ahead of her new classmates when she moved to the UK in all core subjects (despite 2 years less of full time schooling). She was still primary (grade school) age though, and had attended a selective private school in the educationally "pushy" tri-state area. As the children get older there will be more divergence in the subjects studied/ teaching methodology.

The biggest issue will be finding a school for the eldest boy. The other children are all still prep school age where, at least outside London, it is relatively easy to find good schools with vacancies. Here in Kent the best private schools are oversubscribed despite the grammars. If the family were able to get the eldest son a place at Sevenoaks School (first rate, IB, good record with Ivy League as well as Oxbridge entrance) or nearby Tonbridge School (traditional Public School, excellent academics and sport), however, there are several good preps in the area that could probably take the others. Commuting-wise, Sevenoaks to London is about 30 mins by train (frequent service). Tonbridge is just down the road.

The schools mentioned above all take a mix of boarders and day pupils.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:51 pm 
Should add- Sevenoaks is co-ed with two main intakes at age 11 (mainly girls) and 13 (mainly boys). Tonbridge is boys only with intake at age 13.

The local preps (in Kent), with the exception of girls' only schools, generally take children through to common entrance at 13, but do lose a lot of pupils to state grammars at age 11. They often, therefore, have vacancies for the start of year 7. If son 2 was to start year 7 at one of these preps, the school might make a special effort to find places for the younger siblings. I have heard of similar "deals" before.

This will depend on whether son 2 is currently year 6 (5th grade) or year 7 (6th grade), though, which will depend on when he turned 11. It may be harder to get him a place in year 8 as the school will be mid-way through the common entrance course. This will include subjects such as Latin which the boys might not have studied. This is potentially a problem anywhere though. I think this family need to approach a few prep schools and ask about compulsory subjects.

I am also assuming that when you describe the children as bright, you mean bright enough to get into truly selective schools. If not, scrap all the above! We do have less/non selective independent schools here in Kent and they are generally less over-subscribed. Some have their own junior schools too.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Last edited by Belinda on Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:02 pm 
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Posts: 2439
Harpenden and St Albans have good school, state and non-state. Its a non grammar area, and only 30 minutes or so on the train to London.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:31 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:53 pm
Posts: 76
Thank you so much for these replies, so much for my Kent theory, there is some really good information here and it was very kind of people to take so much trouble. I shall paste it onto an e-mail for the mother.
I am sure there will be no problem with the younger children but you can't help but feel sorry for someone re-locating to London and looking for year 7 and 9 places for this September! How on earth do you describe the 13+/11+ scramble for school places in the M25?


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8117
I think it is really difficult for people moving anywhere in the country with more than one child as it is quite likely to be the "wrong" time for at least one of them.
Can remember a friend moving from scotland to england with 3 kids (using indies) and ending with them at 3 different schools...

It may be that the moving consultants list is not so bad as they are aware of the problems for a larger family and the area.....

....are they sure they really want to come to live here????? :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:24 pm 
If your friend is American with no experience of British education at all perhaps you should provide a glossary of British terminology. :D We tend to use the same words as the US to describe different things. For example the terms "grammar school", "high school", "public school" and "prep school" have completely different meanings over there. I can see the potential for major confusion!

Also, at least in the state where I lived, the way places were allocated (and funded) within the state system was completely different to in the UK. If the family are considering state education (even as a fall-back) it is important that they know that they are NOT guaranteed a place at their local school. Also, there will be no help with the costs of books, transport etc if they choose to go private. I'm assuming, however, that if they are looking at paying potentially £50,000 - £80,000 p.a. in school fees the latter is not an issue...

For what it's worth, I don't think the scramble for private school places is as bad in London as in NYC. And I'm guessing other big US cities are pretty bad too, so it won't necessarily come as a great shock to them.

Oh, and make sure they know (though it sure to be in prospectuses etc) that the relevant date for deciding which year group a child goes into is 1st September; I think it's different in the US. Although I guess these things might vary from state to state so I may be making misassumptions.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:53 pm
Posts: 76
Thanks again everyone. I have now written out a basic guide to our wonderful education system, with full explanations of all different school types!
At least coming from NY they should have sharp elbows, but I can't believe they are coming! I just hope I am never in that situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools Required
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6696
Location: Herts
Heath Mount in Ware take boys and girls upto 13 and Haileybury is close by if the 13yr old is 14 by the time they get here. DG


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