Moving from the US to the UK

(151 Posts)
MJIG Fri 04-Jan-13 14:59:49

We will be moving to the London from the US with our daughter who will be starting year 11 in September. Can anyone offer advice on state schools? I understand that she would be entering a school in the middle of the GCSE years so I am looking for information on what type of school would help her assimilate best into the UK system. We would like her to move on to the IB diploma.

Copthallresident Fri 11-Jan-13 14:26:44

mummytime I would never say never. DDs' school does have strong discipline and a uniform but a group of "strong characters" (for which read insecure attention seekers) with really terrible back stories subverted the norms in DD2s year. They could have turned up at any school. The question really is whether the school were right to stick with them and try to help them, the school is the only source of stability in their lives, leaving the rest of the year to put up with their disruptive and bitchy behaviour, and taking the hit to their reputation , rather than asking them to leave expelling them They just lost a quarter of the year to other sixth forms because they chose the former. The irony is the school has a, actually undeserved, reputation for poor pastoral care.

Spalva Fri 11-Jan-13 10:55:02

Lancelottie -- Aww, Friends looks like such a nice school. We loved the girl sith short hair on the homepage! So cute! And so rare! (my dd is growing hers out)

Tingalingle Fri 11-Jan-13 10:32:55

Yes, I think a rule that says 'clean, comfortable, covered' (as DS's sixth form does) is fair enough.

Bonsoir Fri 11-Jan-13 09:59:40

I don't personally think that uniform is here or there - what matters is whether pupils are held to reasonable standards of self-presentation. All my DCs go to schools where there is not a uniform. DD's school has a dress code (basically a colour code - plain navy/white/grey but you can wear what you want - no micro shorts or strappy tops or tracksuits however) and the DSSs has nothing but the DCs may not wear faded jeans or clothes with holes in them or reveal flesh etc.

mummytime Fri 11-Jan-13 09:56:28

Well my experience has been all schools in my town have Blazer and tie Uniforms. Some are very strict on skirt length, how ties are tied, trousers hicked up - they have better behaviour; than the ones with pants showing, miniscule skirts, ties loosely tied. The school with a new head where Uniform has smartened up also has improving behaviour.

I think it is one sign of: self-respect of pupils, and if the school "sweats the small stuff". But I would also happily send my children to at least a couple of schools (not local) which have no uniform.

Lancelottie Fri 11-Jan-13 09:29:18

I'm guessing you're looking at scholarships to the CI school based at GA, or Friends at SW? Both welcoming and nurturing, according to friends' children.

Lancelottie Fri 11-Jan-13 09:27:14

beg to differ about the uniform though! DS's old school was very blazer-and-tie. His new one is (faded) sweatshirts and random skirt and trouser styles, with some wildly hairy kids of both sexes, but it's friendly.

Lancelottie Fri 11-Jan-13 09:25:57

Oh Spalva, DS's old school tried to imply that the troubles he was experiencing would be the same anywhere. They weren't. He moved and has been fine since.

Meanness and bullying should not be the norm at a school.

mummytime Fri 11-Jan-13 09:13:29

I can say there would be no bullying by "raccoon-faced, orange-skinned girls with their skirts hiked up" at my kids State school in Surrey. Its a school which takes bullying and uniform both very seriously (whatever the arguments about Uniform, if a school has it then how seriously it takes it seems to correlate strongly with behaviour in a lot of other areas).

Spalva - I really hope you find the right school for your DD soon. I can say having worked in schools that it is very surprising how different schools with similar in-takes and similar results can be. Do ask lots of awkward questions about pastoral issues.

Spalva Fri 11-Jan-13 08:18:24

I didn't think it wasn't something she would encounter anywhere -- precisely why we're both worried moving schools won't help anything.

Copthallresident Thu 10-Jan-13 18:46:55

BTW Spalva In response to your point "And please don't allow her to be bullied by raccoon-faced, orange-skinned girls with their skirts hiked up." More or less what happened to DD2 at one of the top 10 selective independent day schools in the country in leafy Surrey, one with lots of girls from different cultures. Sadly it is a sub culture they can encounter wherever they go.

Spalva Thu 10-Jan-13 16:14:41

Oh thanks Lancelottie. It's much more complicated than that, unfortunately. But things are starting to turn for the better and we are looking to move to Herts/Cambs from Essex if a certain scholarship goes through for a certain school that has a place for dd. That's after I convince dh that, actually, we're no longer moving to Welwyn Garden City, which has been the plan for the past month.

Lancelottie Thu 10-Jan-13 15:53:12

Spalva (in response to your hijack), stick her in Sawston VC while you wait for an International School place, if you're anywhere near Cambridge (as I'm guessing from your other thread).

Honestly. if there are problems, they care. They try to fix them. They don't tell you your child 'needs to try harder to fit in'.

You might loathe it (though I doubt it) or you just might accept that English schools are generally a bit crap at languages, breathe a huge sigh of relief, and cancel the other application...

Needmoresleep Thu 10-Jan-13 08:54:45

In areas with grammars, pupils who did not get in at 11+ can apply again.

Depending on the area and provision there can be a lot of movement for sixth form, so your daughter would be entering with lots of others.

Some state schools offer IB for sixth form. There are some earlier threads that suggest IB pre-sixth form is rare.

piprabbit Thu 10-Jan-13 00:11:24

A school sixth form is when the children stay on at their secondary school (or maybe transfer to another local secondary school) after their GCSEs for two years to do their A-levels, prior to going to uni. It may be very small and the subject choices may be limited.

A sixth form college is a separate, larger institution for studying A-leves etc. for ages 16-18. It often has much larger numbers of students and have a wider choice of subjects. Sometimes sixth form colleges are used for a wider range of vocational training and for maturer students as well as academic prep for uni.

Copthallresident Wed 09-Jan-13 23:54:54

Amerryscot This thread is about one DCs need for a school place in year 11 because they are moving to the UK, I haven't seen any posts saying it is a huge demand. However OP is not unique, both returning British and overseas Expats do find themselves sometimes needing to move at times that are not ideal for their DCs schooling which is one reason why , if you look at the links I posted , private schools and colleges are offering one year Gcse courses. The posters here are suggesting possible options state and private for OP. I don't understand why you appear to be taking a swipe at them, and on what grounds? It doesn't appear very constructive or helpful?

webwiz Wed 09-Jan-13 23:13:04

A school sixth form with usually be relatively small and will have a smaller choice of subjects but may have a more supportive atmosphere/better pastoral care.

Sixth form colleges are much bigger and will have an intake from a number of schools. There will normally be more choice of subjects with more emphasis of working independently.

We don't actually have any sixth form colleges where I live its all school sixth forms.

MJIG Wed 09-Jan-13 23:06:08

What is the difference between a school 6th form vs 6th form college?

Amerryscot Wed 09-Jan-13 22:35:36

I don't really get the notion that there is a huge demand for UK state schools starting from Y11.

How many people on this thread actually know what they are talking about?

incogneetow Wed 09-Jan-13 22:06:11

Getting into sixth form shouldn't be too difficult, if she's doing a 1-year condensed GCSE course. As long as she gets stuck in immediately, so that by the time 6FC applications come round (as soon as early December in some areas), she has high predicted grades and glowing references. It will also help, I think, if you are living close to the school or 6FC where you want her to go. So choose wisely where you are going to live.

Cambridge has loads of high quality 6th form provision, and to make things easier the applications are actually handled centrally. (This is not normally the case for 6th form). So you apply on one form, list several preferences, and it's all worked out. You don't have to apply individually to lots of different schools.

Copthallresident Wed 09-Jan-13 21:43:11

Obviously the International kids are competing for boarding, whilst DDs' peers would be going for day places.

Copthallresident Wed 09-Jan-13 21:42:02

Needmoresleep Entry to Westminster for the bright DD isn't necessarily that difficult. A number apply from DDs (girls') school each year and a few get in. There never seems to be any rhyme or reason to who is successful, with some of the brightest not being successful and some not so bright succeeding. It doesn't seem to correlate with extra curricular, spark, geekiness or whatever either, so the girls assume it depends on demand for particular A levels. Though no easy pattern to spot there either. However definitely worth a try. In DD2s year girls got into Westminster who didn't get into Latymer!

Needmoresleep Wed 09-Jan-13 20:04:32

The thread that is 166 pages long with lots of really intelligent and motivated kids from all over the world agonising over the detail of personal statements, interview etc......

My bright but not super bright DD would love to apply, but the strength of the competition is off-putting. It is not just London wide or from the UK but from across the world.

If you are an international student wanting to do A levels in London before applying to UK Universities I guess Westminster, with its strong Oxbridge (and Ivy League) track record would be the perfect place to go. OP asked about competition for sixth form places. Sixth form entry to good private schools appears to be getting more competitive by the year.

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 19:54:59

"Look at the Student Room website thread on getting into Westminster School for sixth form. (Be scared, be very scared.)"

This made me curious, so I took a look. What is there to be scared about?

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 19:50:30

There is also Cranbrook School (state day and boarding) which definitely takes boarders from overseas. Not IB though, but worth talking to as they surely have experience of other similar cases.

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