Living in America!?

(10 Posts)
RugbyMum46 Sun 24-Apr-16 17:46:10

We have just found out we MAY be working in the USA for 2-3 years .... complex one as we have 2 boys in year 6 & 9 here. So, they would see out 2 years in the American system before moving back to the UK. This will be my eldest's GCSE years.

Does anybody have any experience of doing this - how he would re-intergrate back in? He would be home for A levels, will British Schools take him with a part completed High School education? Would he need to fall back a year to take his GCSEs before doing A'levels?

I know there is the IB system at some American schools and advanced courses, but he will be too young whilst there to take them as they are for 16-18 year olds.

Heeeeelp! I don't want to mess up his future, but also the opportunity to go is amazing!

donadumaurier Sun 24-Apr-16 20:39:44

My sister was educated in the states, I was educated in the UK. As I understand it, high school graduation is the equivalent of GCSES, and then the first year of US college (which is 4 years long rather than 3) is the equivalent of A levels, roughly speaking. I don't know how the level of the work compares, but the point is that without a high school diploma, an American student has no official qualifications in any subjects.

The UK system does not allow students to be held back a year- he wouldn't be able to just come back to the UK and do his GCSES, and GCSE courses are 2 years long anyway. I would have thought he would have to go into a sixth form college back in the UK and do English and Maths GCSEs alongside A levels, like those who retake? Hopefully someone who knows more than me will be along to confirm!

I went to an independent school (in the UK) and did 6th form with a girl who had been living in the states until year 12. She had already graduated high school but was 'held back' a year to do A levels, then went on to a British university with her high school diploma and A levels. I'm not sure if this is because a high school diploma isn't enough to access the British university system alone or if it was done to increase her chances of getting a place at her first choice? (Top Russell group)

As I see it, you have three options if you go:
1) stay in the US until your DS completes his high school education
2) go for 2 years, but then put your DS into the American School upon return to the UK, enabling him to complete his high school education.
3) put him back into a private school that can and is prepared to hold him back to enable him to take his GCSEs. But I would expect this to be year 10, not year 11 straight away.

Almostdone2 Sun 24-Apr-16 21:56:02

Graduating from a US high school is not the equivalent of GCSE's.
The US system is not as specialised at senior school level as most liberal arts universities look for major declaration at the end of year two-of a four year course.
There are benefits to this system-as there are to the UK system.

donadumaurier Sun 24-Apr-16 22:06:34

Almostdone I possibly didn't explain that too well, what I was getting at is the end of high school is the point in the US at which students end up with qualifications in English, Maths, Science, Humanities etc, ie at 18 with a high school diploma, rather than at 16 with GCSEs in the UK. So a student returning to the UK for year 12 going onto A levels would not end up with a set of qualifications in multiple subjects, be it a high school diploma or GCSEs.

Lookingagain Mon 25-Apr-16 08:15:25

I would discuss it with the school they are in right now in order to understand what the school would do/be looking for when you returned.

I think it would all be fine for your youngest. He would return into year 8 or 9 with plenty of time to do his GSCE preparation. Your eldest would either return in his GCSE year completely unprepared or miss it all together. Either way, that sounds like a problem to me.

Of course they would be learning things in a their US schools. Your eldest would be in High School, and your youngest in Middle School. But, it would not be the same syllabus. American students don't study for national final exams in their subjects the way that British children do. There is a strong possibility that even in subjects like English and Maths which are should be basically the same, that things may be learned in a different order.

titchy Mon 25-Apr-16 08:20:19

Also be aware depending on your individual circumstances (your visa, whether you keep your home here etc) your eldest may well come back and find he is not eligible for home student status for university, so much higher fees, no maintenance loan etc.

flingingmelon Mon 25-Apr-16 08:28:01

Hi, SIL did similar with her kids. She finally put them into a British international school in the US. It was fee paying school however, paid for by the company she worked for. You don't mention in your post whether this is an option.

Assuming you are moving to a decent sized city, there should be options.

Good luck, sounds amazing!

t4gnut Mon 25-Apr-16 08:29:54

US system on the whole, with notable exceptions, is nowhere near the standard of the UK.

Lookingagain Mon 25-Apr-16 09:21:48

The US system is actually a state by state system. So which state you are going to makes a big difference.

DesertOrDessert Mon 25-Apr-16 09:31:48

I'm not in the US, but most people coming over on short term contracts leave kids with GCSE or A level courses which will get disturbed in boarding school in the UK (usually paid for by the company). Might that be a possibility?

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