Help - moving from the USA to UK for primary school

(33 Posts)
mummy123456 Thu 05-Dec-13 19:08:01

Hello everyone

I just wondered if anyone can give me some advice on the type of work kids are currently doing in Year 1 at primary school. We are moving to the UK for Sept 2014 and I currently have a child in nursery and Kindergarten. They start school at 5 here instead of 4 so they will have to skip a year and move straight to Year 2 and Reception. I'm not so worried about my youngest as he is currently learning phonics and to recognise letters. He is also doing basic counting and trying to write his name. I am more concerned about my Kindergartener who will have to skip year 1 and move straight to year 2. He is only just starting to bring home books to read and has sight lists to learn. We are on the last list which contains words like:

near
everyone
wouldn't
need
kind
different

etc

Once we finish this list he will start the lists again and learn the spellings.

He doesn't have writing homework yet and is still learning to write between the lines. He is still practising letters and trying to write sentances. They teach print writing here not cursive. I fear this could be way behind that of the UK.

In maths he is doing addition and subtraction but not multiplication or division.

He has separate special teachers for science, social studies, drama, art, language (French and Spanish) music and PE. Do they have this in the UK?

I don't know if anyone can give me advice on what I may need to help him with or if they have any experience of the two systems and how they may differ. It is very informal here and they really try to make school work fun. I wonder how that compares.

I appreciate anyone replying to this and thank you for your time.

junkfoodaddict Sun 08-Dec-13 20:13:36

As a 'late applicant' you will more than likely find your children in schools with places - these generally are schools that are graded as 'requires improvements' or 'inadequate'. But you might be lucky in getting a 'good' or 'outstanding' school'. Having said that, grading only tell you half the picture. Some schools that are rated as brilliant by parents (due to their pastoral care for example) are the 'requires improvement' schools. It might be worth looking at village primaries as these tend to be 'better' and have places which may mean a car is essential. In YR and KS1 (Yr1 & 2) class sizes are limited to 30.
Obviously, I am being VERY general about the grading of schools!!!

Also, are you both working? If so, it may pay to look at schools with a breakfast and after school club or contact your local authority (where I am it is FISH via the authority) who can give you a list of childminders.

Schools tend to begin between 8:30am and 9am and finish from between 3pm and 3:45pm - 3:30 being more common. They have a morning break of 15-20 minutes (between 10:15 and 11:00am), an hour for lunch (usually 12:00-1:00) and some have an afternoon break of 10-15 minutes around the 2:00-2:15pm time. Children are in school for 190 days and this is split into three terms; Autumn (Sept-Dec), Spring (Jan-Easter) and Summer (end of Easter-July) with the last 2 weeks of July and the whole of August off. There are three half terms in October, February and May of one week. Schools are also coming down VERY heavy on any type of absences - even illness. Some schools are requiring sick notes, others will investigate if attendance is less than 97% and holidays ARE not permitted unless you have one of the very few reasons they allow - i.e. a parent coming home form a military posting being one.

In Y2, most children are reading fluently and are showing an ability to retrieve information from texts and are beginning to deduce and infer. In writing, children should be writing in sentences (about a page of wide lines by mid Y2) using punctuation (capital letters and full stops) accurately and simple connectives such as 'and, because, then, so, when, also'. Adjectives should be used in some writing and sentences should be clear and make sense. Spelling of common monosyllabic words should be correct and other spellings should be 'phonetically correct'. In maths, they should know the 2, 5 and 10 times table and begin to know corresponding division facts. They should be able to add and subtract 10 and single digit numbers to/from a 2 digit number, recognise patterns of numbers and extend sequences, solve real life simple problems, tell the time to the hour, half past, quarter to, quarter past - the list is endless! BUT, judging by what your child is reading NOW, he/she shouldn't have a problem in Y2 as many of these words are words which Y2 are beginning to read themselves.

Schools have uniforms - most are cheap and are a polo t shirt, skirt/trousers with jumper/cardigan with the school logo on it.

Lessons are taught by their class teacher but some schools (like mine) do employ a specialist PE teacher.

Huitre Sun 08-Dec-13 21:50:27

As a 'late applicant' you will more than likely find your children in schools with places - these generally are schools that are graded as 'requires improvements' or 'inadequate'.

No, really that isn't true if you look carefully. DD's school is graded good but has such a high turnover of expat children that there are nearly always places in each year. Children seem to come and go around the core group who will be there all through at quite an astonishing rate.

mummytime Belgium Mon 09-Dec-13 07:01:01

I know a local "Outstanding" school which often has places. It's in a deprived area but from my time working there, I would be very happy to send my children there (in fact I did think about transferring my youngest).

Lavenderhoney Mon 09-Dec-13 07:10:08

My dc are moving mid year primary - the schools I contacted said not to worry about levels and things as they will do that themselves, plus all the other worries about settling dc.

If its mid year you are moving, schools manage that themselves, so contact the schools you like the look of and ask if they have places. Speak to the head about the school, quiz the receptionists and you might be lucky like me and a teacher be passing and happy for a 5 min chat on the phone.

I wouldn't worry too much about the rating as it can be deceiving, people come and go, and often its the feel of the school when you visit.

If you plan to start sept, you will have to go through the LA, but you can always pre empt by calling the school and finding out likelihood of places.

LIZS Mon 09-Dec-13 07:54:41

If its mid year you are moving, schools manage that themselves Even if a school says it has space these are usually allocated by a formal In-Year application process through the LA.

Lavenderhoney Mon 09-Dec-13 17:34:35

My experience is you call the LA and they tell you to call round the schools mid year. Then you just turn up and they do the paperwork.

I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it is, in the UK.

MrsPnut Mon 09-Dec-13 17:49:13

If you can access these games then he can do some fun practice at KS1 level.

Some areas, especially where there are high levels of expats or military families usually have a quick turnover of places at KS1 level. We moved to Stoke Newington during the summer holidays when DD1 was 5, with no school place organised and it only took us 3 days into the new school year to secure a place at our closest school.

SwimmingMom Mon 09-Dec-13 17:55:30

My DD goes to an independent school in Surrey. Am happy to share the Reception/Y1/Y2 curriculum by term if it helps. Please PM me.

Depending in whether your DC go to a private school or not they may find it easy/bit challenging to academically cope, but being early years they will eventually catch up & become comfortable.

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