Private schools in New York.(18 Posts)
My husband has just been offered a new role in New York that would mean my two sons and myself would move there with him. My sons are in year 9 and 7 at school in England. I have been reading about how hard it is to secure places for children at private schools. Is it too late to get places for September 2012?
You need to ask your DH's company to pay for a relocation advisor who can help you getting your DSs into suitable schools, and to make his relocation dependent on finding appropriate schools. Or leave your sons in boarding school in England.
My first piece of advice is... Think twice before you move to the USA if you have young kids in a good prep school in England! The fact is that US private schools are run as a business and are not regulated, so they will feed you with promises and sales hype to get you to join.. But they rarely deliver. The schools in the US are at least 12 months behind the Uk in terms of the curriculum. Your child will be a star in the classroom... But they will fall behind their UK counterparts back home and you will find it near impossible to secure them a place in a good prep school when you return home! I talk from experience. I wish someone had told me what i am telling you before i moved here with my family. We gave up an excellent UK prep school to come to NY and now my kids can't get into a good school back in the UK because there is fierce competition for places and they have fallen behind due to their stay in the US. Think hard!
Are you planning to return to the Uk? When?
Where are you planning to live? If you live out of New York city, the state schools can be very good ( I heard private schools in one town being described as places you only send your kids if you want to show off yor money). Of course if you send you kids to a good state school it will be paid for from you residential taxes etc.
Otherwise have you looked at the UN school? It sometimes keeps places for late arrivals.
I do get a bit tired of this crap that gets trotted out automatically that American schools are at least 12 months behind the UK. My DDs transferred to an American school in years 4 and 6 (so 3rd and 5th grade). DD2 was expected to have learned all of her times tables up to 12 x, both multiplying and dividing by the time she arrived - back in the UK school she was still pissing about with 3 and 4 and 6 (having done 2, 5 and 10 already), so she had a bit of catching up to do. She is good at maths, and is in an extension group, and next year (when she transfers to Middle School at age 11) will learn maths with the next grade up. In my experience of this school (not speaking for all, obviously), they teach to their ability, not their age.
OP, get your kids into a school that does IB or at least AP exams, both of which will be accepted by a university in the UK. A High School Diploma is merely a piece of paper. Last year, those who left the DDs' school went on to Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, LSE, UCL...I don't think they were a year behind.
SATs are accepted by UK universities, including top ones BTW.
Well we all have our opinions. I moved to Connecticut. The public and parochial schools have 30 kids per class and when looking at the pupils boos i could see they were doing work that my own chikdren had been doing 18 months previously. They werent even taught cursive writing at age 7. The private schools were the same but had 15 kids per class and charged $30k a year. After 12 mths my kid was bored and had been taught nothing. We then started to apply for schools back in the uk including his former prep school who tested them and they told us that he was 12 months behind and they could not accept us. We ended up paying an addit $800 a week for 6 hours after school tuition just to help him catch up. I have been told that Connecticut schools and also in other provinces, tend to be a lot more relaxed in schooling compared to NYC where they push the children more.
We looked at the British International School of New York - to go on a waiting list - but were not overly impressed. This does follow the British and IB curriculum. However, as mummytime mentioned above, if you are prepared to cast your net further you can find good schools just outside NYC but to go to a public school in Upper State New York - you have to live there - and that defeats the purpose of moving to the US for the New York experience. Unless... You put your child in a parochial school (catholic or other church school) which doesnt require you to live in the area.
I have friends who have moved and their ds is doing very well in a catholic school.
It matters exactly where you live, not just Conneticut, but which town in Conneticut. Simply the more residential taxes you pay, the better funded the school. This differs on a town by town basis.
If you want to live in NYC then it is really complex, I have had it quoted that you need to allow 18 months to get you child into the right school. As you have to find the right school and then make sure you move into the right area to be zoned for that school.
Are you able to do a recce visit and have a look at different areas and schools?
As other posters have said, it very much depends where you live. For example, state (public) schools in Westchester County (north of NYC) are really good, but it's a 45 minute - 1 hour commute into the city, and as jongemini says, you really don't get the New York experience (but you do get the living in wealthy America experience). If you live in the City (as we do) options are more limited, as you need to live within the catchment area of the school, or send your child to private school, which from what I've seen can be a long/difficult process.
It's also worth thinking about how long you expect to be here, and how old your DCs will be when they go back into the UK system - for instance will they be able to complete their education here/get into an IB programme which they can continue back in the UK?
It's not an easy decision whatever you end up doing (both my DCs are boarding in the UK - for all sorts of reasons it was the right thing for them, but that doesn't mean it would be the right thing for other families).
Another question I have is... If we did leave in NYC and put our kids into a parochial school in Westchester County, do you know of any tutors or classes in NYC where my kids could be tutored for the UK Common Entrance Examination and the 11 Plus? We plan to go back in Sept 2013 so I have a 18 myths to get them ready.
There are a number of private schools in Greenwich CT and having moved my kids here last year I wouldn't agree that they were academically behind the UK. They are very academic and competitive to get into. Also, I have 3 lots of friends who are going back to the UK this summer and all of their children have places in the schools of their choice with no extra tutoring needed.. I think it depends where you are in the UK and where you are in CT.. We follow the IB programme which means the children can continue with that when we return to the UK.
In Manhattan, you might consider the British International School, though it too is well behind the average UK private school. It really does depend which school you choose in New York. Somewhere like Trinity would probably be on par. There is an interesting article about it all here: http://www.nycmummy.com/schools
Anyone who dismisses American schools in one swoop, obviously knows very little about the variety that exists. In Manhattan there are many prestigious schools which feed into Ivy League universities. They will cost north of $40K per year, sometimes $60K per year per child. But all these schools are worth investigating and ignore the nay-sayers.
My son is attending a good private school in Manhattan; it is at least 12 months behind the UK and TBH really frustrating for my son and me. I did extra work with him to get him to pass assessments in the UK (one of the top 6 in exam results), as he would not have been prepared for it by the school currently.
I am not one of these tiger mums - I have expectations but take queues from my son when to up learning a level and it's ok for countries to have different rates of learning. It's just not working for us and would make the transition back to the UK harder, if it wasn't for the extra work I put in. My son is only little, but he is frustrated at the rate of new topics / level of learning and even USA parents have started to complain about it. So, not just a little Britain mentality.
In our school it is definitely a case of the emperors new clothes - you are paying a lot, it's supposed to be good and it's in an excellent area. I find they are managing the parents egos a lot more than structuring the school / recruiting the right teachers. We are still there because we are moving back to the UK (mainly because of the education system) shortly and I can compensate for their shortcomings as he is little, he also enjoys the group of children he goes to school with. Location wise, he spends more quality time with his dad.
I have also viewed Westchester schools and have a similar experience to the above. I do admit that all schools cannot be dismissed as behind the UK, and maybe overtime it evens out and could be better. But if you are considering moving back to the UK around the 11 entrance exams - you really need to do your research.
NYC has a lot to offer but for us it has taken a lot of effort and energy to make it work. Good luck with your decision and make sure you get the company to pay for a scouting trip. Companies do pay for relocation experts but my experience is they just tell you the schools that have places. I got further personally calling the schools and viewing.
Hope it works for you it is exciting, and I dont want be a party pooper.
The problem is US schools start at much slower pace. However the OPs children are 5th and 8th Grade, which are much more competitive.
We know a few families who have returned to the UK from WCounty public schools with teenagers and the chdren have been very successful. In fact, some of the Math and Science syllabuses are way beyond GCSE level even at 8th and 9th Grade.
The best person to advise for private schools is your Relocater. That is one of the things they are there for.
Sorry...6th and 8th Grade.
Won't your child have already done the 11+ if s/he is in year 7?
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