Moving from US to UK with young kids - need school advice.

(10 Posts)
FP0112 Mon 04-Jan-16 16:11:55

Hi Mums,
After many years in the US (Boston), we are planning a move back to the UK with our kids. The timing is up in the air - its looking most likely to be summer 2017. DS currently 4, DD currently 2.5.
Under the UK system, DS would start Reception in September 2016, but would not start Kindergarten in the US until Sept 2017.

I understand how the different grades 'translate' but what I'm struggling with is how different is the actual curriculum. I'm trying to figure out how easy it would be to move from the US system to the UK system in the early years. Would a year of Pre-K here be equivalent to Reception in the UK?

Purely for the sake of schools, we're considering 3 options:
1) I head home with the kids before DH, so DS can start Reception in 2016. This would mean doing long distance for at least 1 year, so I'm not keen on that, but at least we are in the UK school system.

2) Boston has a 'British School' so he could go there. It would mean moving house and shelling out a lot of $$, but he'd start Reception at the same time as if we were in the UK. This is all do-able.

3) He starts Pre-K here in the US, and then when we move, he goes straight into Year 1 in the UK. Is this even do-able? Would what they are learning at Pre-K be equivalent to Reception?

As you can see, I'm tying myself in knots a bit with this! Am I overthinking this? If it makes a difference, my son is shy, not much of a talker etc...

If anyone has moved kids from US to UK at around the same age, I'd really appreciate any advice or input.
Thank you in advance!

mummytime Mon 04-Jan-16 16:44:14

I wouldn't worry at all. He should very soon catch up on anything he may have missed. I've known children arrive in primary school with little English and rapidly catch up, others have arrived in years 1 or 2 with no prior school experience and done just fine. On the whole British schools are used to students with a wide range of abilities, and those who with help progress rapidly.

lifeisunjust Mon 04-Jan-16 16:46:13

No 3 you are thinking too hard over something which will not matter to your child.

VimFuego101 Mon 04-Jan-16 17:19:07

I'm pretty confident my 4yo could cope fine in a UK school system if we moved back there from the US. His pre-school still lets him take naps, and is probably a little less regimented than a UK reception class, but academically I think he's on a similar level. I would just find out in advance what reading scheme/learning system/letter naming convention the school uses so you can prepare him a little and help him at home if needed.

A bigger problem might be finding a school you like with a place available if your DS doesn't go into reception and follow the normal application process. In year 1 you would be dependent on someone leaving the school to free up a place, I think.

LIZS Mon 04-Jan-16 17:21:23

The range in "ability" in year 1 in UK is going to still be wide so chances are your dc would fall within that. I'm not sure the overall benefit of a British school for a year would justify the disruption. The applications for Reception entry this September close next week so it seems unlikely you could get one in on time unless you plan to return to an established UK address. Tbh I'd continue as you are and deal with any transfer as and when.

semideponent Mon 04-Jan-16 17:31:29

I did this move with kids of roughly the same age. Vim's comments make sense to me - the focus in early years of both systems is literacy and the abilities vary widely.

In retrospect, I wish I had got tutoring to help my Reception class dc make the transition though - the change was tough and dc fell behind quite badly. One on one attention from a tutor might have really helped, both for confidence and achievement.

ChablisTyrant Mon 04-Jan-16 17:37:31

I agree. I would purchase one of the major phonics schemes used in England and do it with your DC at home. Either Read Write Inc or Oxford Reading Tree. I would also just take my chances on a space becoming free in year 1 and other years you need. You'll miss the deadline for standard Reception admissions since it is January 2016 for 2016 entry.

FP0112 Mon 04-Jan-16 17:52:24

Thank you so much everyone for your input - your responses are so helpful.

In terms of Reception 2016, we do have a local address, but no utilities bills in our name, so although we have applied, I don't think we will get a place (fair enough)
We also have a place at a local private school confirmed. So the option to start Reception in 2016 is there.

From the above comments though, it seems like staying put until we know our move date, and helping him at home might be the best.

Thanks again everyone. Any more comments, keep 'em coming - this has helped no end!!

DancingDuck Mon 04-Jan-16 18:13:24

Vim is right that good schools can be massively over subscribed and you may not get a place in Yr 1.

Agree with others that Reception is very much about settling in, learning to listen, share, try out new things and establishing core basic skills like days of the week, weather, seasons, counting to 20 and some basic spelling. Depends from school to school but numeracy and literacy out our vair naice middle class village school was almost non existent in YR.

mummytime Mon 04-Jan-16 18:47:13

You will get a place somewhere - the LA has a legal obligation. It might not be the school you would choose, but it still might be a great school. I know a great school near me that has a high turnover (from University families moving on) and often has places as its not as highly thought of due to snobbish reasons (but I nearly moved one of mine there from her sought after school).

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