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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:12 am
Posts: 4
Help need some advice please.
I know this might be a very general question but I have no one I can turn too for advice.
My daughter will be 9 in Jan and we have lived abroad for the last 4 years.
Next July we will be returning to the UK, so I am now starting to look at the best options for her schooling.
We have no family or even acquaintances in the UK and will be renting, our options as to where we live in the UK are totally open.
Obviously this is great for flexibility, but also a total headache as I have no clue about the UK school system so looking at any advice on the best areas to move too with good chance of applying for Grammar Schools (have not got the financial means for public school).
One criteria we do have is any good school that offer Mandarin on the syllabubs would be perfect as DD is bilingual and we would want her to retain and improve her Chinese, but if that's not possible any good school we would be interested in.
thanks for your time in reading, and looking forward to any advice.
John


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:30 am
Posts: 505
Location: Warwickshire
I'm obviously a bit biased about Warwickshire (great grammar schools but difficult to get in to, alternative comprehensives often also good) but as far as I know they don't do Mandarin.

DD has a couple of friends who are of Chinese descent and they have both been taught at Chinese School, which is held on Sunday afternoons locally. It seems to be set up for those who already speak the language but want to improve, write it, etc. The Mandarin taught at local schools is a much more basic level, for those who have only spoken English in the past (perhaps with school-level French or German). I think your DD might find it too basic!

DD's school doesn't do Mandarin, but did Japanese for a while. However, when the Japanese teacher left she was not replaced so the subject stopped. If you're definitely looking for Mandarin at a school, it's worth asking whether this is a long-term prospect or dependent on a single teacher.

Sorry not to be more help!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
I agree re the Mandarin in schools - if she wants to keep it at a reasonable level then I think this will be out of school, most who start in year 7 will never have done any before.

Re Grammar schools - there are limited parts of the country still with GS, in other parts of the country there are some very good comprehensives. Really does come down to where you want to start looking ... must be somewhere you have always fancied living??


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
I think we need a bit more info on the type of area you want. Life is more than a school!

For example, rural or city, coast or inland, north or south, ....


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:12 am
Posts: 4
thanks for such fast replies,

I guess south, but not rural ( London inside M25 to expensive) but open to any suggestions, as I said we have no family in UK, and we can make a life anywhere, the right school is the most important aspect in our case.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
Posts: 4604
But only you can know what type of school will suit your daughter! Strangers on the internet can't tell you that. Maybe you should decided on an area (are you commuting, for example?), and then people can help you from there. If someone said "I live in a a village called X and it has a good comprehensive school" would you go there? What if it turned out to be the sort of school your daughter would not thrive in? You need to pick an area, then visit a few local schools - maybe even do this in a few areas, and then choose the school best suited to YOUR daughter. Sorry if this doesn't sound very helpful, but this would be my advice.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:08 pm
Posts: 1225
South, outside M25, not rural, girls grammar offering Mandarin- try Chelmsford County High School for Girls. Mandarin was being offered as an "enrichment subject" to gcse level last year but obviously no guarantees they will continue to do so.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:03 am
Posts: 302
My DD goes to Nonsuch in Cheam. She does Mandarin in an after school club but as earlier posters suggested, your daughter may need to do it outside school to justify her level. Perhaps the school could support her for a GCSE?

There are a large number of East Asians but the majority are Koreans from New Malden. I do think though you may find a network and support from Mandarin speakers in the school.

Very expensive area in the immediate vicinity but you could look at cheaper areas accessible by bus if you do not have a commute to consider.

This is a superselective and very bright students with extensive coaching do not get in sometimes so there are no guarantees.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 2814
Are you coming back to work? Where are you most likely to be based/get a job that suits your skills?

That might be a useful starting point as, when you know where you have to get to, you can look at what would be a reasonable commute for you, daily, and then see what areas you could live in and start the school search there.

Be aware that Grammar Schools are not the be all and end all - some areas of the country don't have any - but they still have really good schools. Others, like Bucks and Kent have a full Grammar School system, which generally means that there is more choice and, therefore, as long as you achieve the pass mark you have a good chance of a place - others are very competitive as they have an opt in system and high competition for places. Some have very strict catchment areas, meaning you have to live in particular places to stand a chance, others are more open.

I would start by looking at the family life aspect - you, your job, your partner, any other children - all have to settle and be close to work/schools, not just your daughter - and, you may have preferences over the type of area you live in (as Guest55 suggested) such as city/rural/coast.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8200
Location: Buckinghamshire
I agree with everyone's comments. A few musings on the issue of Mandarin & schools in Bucks.

There is a Chinese language school in Amersham (Dr Challoners High School/Chesham Grammar School) http://search3.openobjects.com/kb5/buck ... channel=16 although I have no idea what level it teaches to.

Chesham Grammar offers an after-school club in Mandarin for all year groups, and they have run school exchanges with Chinese pupils in the past.

If you Google "Mandarin tutor Buckinghamshire" you will find someone in Beaconsfield (Beaconsfield High School.)


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