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.

whiteflame Fri 04-Jan-13 15:50:21

Hello MJIG. I am not particularly knowledgeable about UK schools, but you are right in thinking this is in the middle of GCSEs. A lot (all?) schools spread the GCSE syllabus over Y10 and Y11, including internal assessments/course work that counts for the final grade (although I understand this internal aspect may be changing very soon). So it can be very difficult to slot into Y11. Private schools are often more open to this sort of thing (and offering the IB).

Maybe this discussion will help, although it is a bit old.

In terms of the IB, this might be useful.

Good luck!

MJIG Fri 04-Jan-13 18:10:00

Thanks whiteflame

NewYearBlues Fri 04-Jan-13 18:15:00

Have you considered an international school like the ones in Cobham and Culham, or the french school in london (the lysee?) ?

MJIG Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:54

New Year Blues-We are looking at non-fee paying schools. Most of the international schools seem to be very expensive.

lljkk Fri 04-Jan-13 20:22:46

Is there a state school in London offering IB?
Whereabouts in London will you be living, OP?

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 04-Jan-13 20:23:15

I don't think you'll find it easy to find a non fee paying school doing the IB at GCSE. I know of sixth forms doing it- but as an alternative to AS And A2.

Which area are you looking at for schools?

BettySuarez Fri 04-Jan-13 20:28:59

Your daughter will arrive just in time to sit her GCSE exams, most of these will be sat May/June time.

It won't be easy for her having to make the transition (and I do sympathise as we almost had to make the same transition in reverse)

In all likelihood she will find that she is ahead in some subjects but behind in others.

One concern is that her school friends will have had lots of exam practice and have been coached according to the specific exam board.

I think her only option is to take the exams, do the very best she can and see what happens with her results.

She could always then do year 12 at Sixth Form/College to resit those exams that she needs to improve upon before embarking on the IB

juliewalters Fri 04-Jan-13 20:33:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MJIG Fri 04-Jan-13 20:55:36

My husband will be working near the Aldgate East tube station. His recruiter mentioned several towns in Surrey to us. We are not set on any particular area. We have been trying to look at what schools would be best for our daughter and would be willing to move to that area. Two schools that have been recommended to us are the Hockerill School in Bishop's Stortford and the Anglo European School in Ingatestone.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 04-Jan-13 22:03:59

Anglo European is very good and more easy to get into at yr 11 as there is always less movement at this juncture.

You have the option of paying for a tutor to 'catch up' on missing areas.

I would imagine Anglo would offer a reduced timetable to give your child the best chance of securing grades that reflect your child's ability.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 04-Jan-13 22:05:20

And Anglo would certainly offer the IB at AS/A2 and be very experienced at delivering the syllabus- unlike other colleges who have had dissapointing results following patchy delivery.

sashh Sat 05-Jan-13 04:04:05

Have you thought about college? College as in 16 - 19 (but they actually take students from age 14)

She is going to have to work increddibly hard and be very bright to do GCSEs in one year - US colleges take 5 GCSEs as being equivelant to a HS diploma.

At college she could do English and Maths GCSEs alongside vocational courses that would get her into an IB programme.

Is this a permenant move or will she be going back to the US?

There is a US Highschool in London, I think it's fee paying but has bursaries - let me do a quick google

Could you ask for fees as part of the package?

Would you consider home schooling?

whiteflame Sat 05-Jan-13 08:15:41

sash homeschooling could be a good idea. If this would be an option OP, you could look into what sixth form schools/colleges want when accepting home school students into Y12, and depending on what you find, homeschooling for Y11.

Don't worry, the British school system is not always this unwelcoming. It's only really moving into Y11 or Y13 that can be so tricky because of the 2-year courses.

creamteas Sat 05-Jan-13 14:22:16

When is your DD's birthday OP? If she is a summer baby, you might find a school willing to take her into year 10 so she could do the full two years before exams.

A school (not in London) did this for one of my colleagues and it worked really well for them. Their DD was an August born, so only a couple of weeks difference between her and her peers.

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 15:42:28

I find the whole school system very confusing. My daughter does very well in school. She in on the high honor roll which means that she gets all A's. What is the difference between a college, secondary school and 6th form school? I have been looking at this list but there are so many variables accredited, academy, independent, grammar. Home schooling is not an option for us. Any help would be appreciated

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 16:11:43

I am American born & raised so I understand your confusion.

To try to answer questions, and to go back to basics:

Year 11 in England is the school year when they turn 16. It is quite unusual for kids to go up a year or be held back, so assume it's set in stone what year she'll be in. Will she turn 16 next school year (1 Sept 2013-31 Aug 2014)?

GCSEs are typically (for now, subject to future change) awarded as part of 2-3 course, including a series of tests and some coursework (projects/homework). But you're talking about bring her in for just half of that time. If she's a straight-A student the odds are high that she could get decent GCSEs even if she just did half the coursework, but the results may well not be what you want to get her into American Universities (how to do that from Britain is a whole 'nother thread).

If you speak to individual schools they may suggest different things, including purely exam-based GCSE awards (IGCSEs). For these she wouldn't need to do 2 years of course work, she would just study her butt off to pass 2x2 hour exams held over a 10 day period, which could be administered at almost any time. You would pay exam fees for the IGCSEs, I think typically about £100/exam. The IGCSEs are not all that hard, my friend's HE 12yo has passed them and he's only moderately bright.

"College" in England, also called "6th form college", was traditionally only for university prep, and targetted at kids age 16-19. At College they specialise in just 3-4 subjects; on its own, rather unsuitable prep for most American universities, I imagine.

I wouldn't know if any London or Surrey state schools offer IB; your googling is as good as mine for that.

I am wondering if she could attend yr11 here but study for high school diploma equivalent (GCE?) in your home state, in meantime. If there's someway she could swing that and then the pressure is off about GCSE results.

I hope that clarifies a few things.

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:37

okay, me still being educated, I live in the sticks where we don't even have things like IB, lol.

Something else I didn't explain is that some secondaries have 6th forms but many don't, so don't assume your DD will stay on the same school from yr11 onwards. No need to plan for one school from yr11 thru IB.

I would start phoning & emailing schools and asking them about how your DD could go about getting 5 GCSEs from just one year of attendance at their state school. It's in the Google keywords so other Londoners are looking for same thing, must be possible, somewhere! But unless someone here knows for sure, I think most productive thing is directly contacting the state schools to ask what is possible.

I think that it will be impossible for someone not coached in the GCSE system to get all top grades especially in the humanities subjects, so if you can manage to get her at least the full two years of prep it'd be good. It's not that the content is necessarily more difficult (I wouldn't know), more that they want you to think and react to the questions in a very specific way and you need to get the hang of it. Your DD sounds very bright but she will have to adjust considerably to get the same grades here. Also be aware that the British grade scale for GCSE goes up to A* (which is supposed to mean that you're the top of the top and which, IMHO, means very little....but that's a contentious topic....).
I would consider doing A levels if she easily gets the hang of GCSEs....they are apparently slightly less demanding than the IB and count for just as much, and British unis are much more familiar with them.

Secondary schools are the schools most kids go to at age 11 through to 16. Year 11 is the last mandatory year of schooling (usually age 15/16). Before that it's primary school. You take your GCSEs at the end of secondary school. Then you can either leave the school system and go into employment, take a gap year or do whatever else, or go and do a diploma or A levels (the exams between GCSE and university).

Colleges are usually much bigger, you don't necessarily get as much support or "interference" from the teachers unless you go and look for it. They also tend to offer vocational courses on top of the A level courses. If your DD is very motivated re: achievement in school and she can cope with being a small fish in a big pond, and wants to meet a wide range of people from all walks of life, college would probably be a good fit for her. They're usually state run (non fee paying).

Year 12 and 13 are the last two years of school before uni and they're optional. If you do A levels, Year 12 equates to AS levels and Year 13 to A2 levels.

Sixth forms are attached to schools. So some secondary schools may only have Years 7-11 (ages 11-16) or they may have Years 7-13 (ages 11-18). You get more support, homework gets chased up, you might still have to wear a uniform (probably not if it's a state school) but you have more privileges and you have free periods- maybe a bit like study hall in America? except you can usually do whatever you want in them.

I have no experience of grammar schools but they're highly respected. Sort of like non fee-paying private schools....except you can't find them everywhere.

Anyway- so that's a quick run through. I just went through the UCAS cycle (applying to uni, in my case with A levels, having gone to a sixth form which was attached to a different secondary school than the one I'd done my GCSEs at....) last year and it all seems quite blurry to me now....
Lots of luck to your DD. Don't get too fazed, in a week or so you'll know all these terms backwards and forwards!

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 16:43:39

Thank you for the explanations!

LIZS Sat 05-Jan-13 16:56:15

"college" can be a 6th Form (ie Years 12&13) for A levels/IB or Further Education college which typically takes students post GCSE , but may also take adult students, on a full or part time basis and offers A levels, NVQ (Vocational Qualifications) Level 1 onwards, Btec Diplomas, basic professional qualifications, Access courses etc . Increasingly they are also taking 14-16 year olds from local schools not suited to traditional GCSE courses on a link scheme with more practical orientation for a day or two a week.

tbh your dd's suitability to enter a gcse course half way through may be determined by which type of qualification is being sat and from which exam board Some gcse/igcse courses place little if any emphasis on coursework , more so on June exams so may be achievable in a year depending on the relevance of her current education.

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 17:27:56

Her core classes are algebra, biology, honors english, honors global studies and spanish 2. Are these equivalent classes to the GCSE's? I think the GCSE's also teach physics and chemistry. Are there other differences?

ggirl Sat 05-Jan-13 17:38:46

is global studies another name for geography?

yes she should have some physics and chemistry in there as well

I have no advice btw just sympathy's a bit of a minefield isn't it.

I was educated in Canada eons ago and came here to do nursing , my grade 13 secondary diploma was equal to Alevel standard but not specialised like A levels. Totally useless info but thought I'd throw that in there for good measure grin

ohfunnyhoneyface Sat 05-Jan-13 17:39:23

We split English into Lang and Lit and science is taught in the three disciplines.

Algebra is just part of maths (although you can take statistics as a seperate GCSE normally only offered to top sets)

Have you spoken to Anglo school? Have they got a space or an idea of what programme your daughter could study?

ohfunnyhoneyface Sat 05-Jan-13 17:41:21

Oh and I know of three students (my own school, a friend and someone I tutored) who arrived in the UK from English speaking countries in year 11 and got all As at GCSE- reduced number of subjects and extra help was needed- but it is do-able.

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 18:01:06

I think her global studies is what we called world civilisation back when I was in school. This is how her school describes the class: This class is an exploration of the histories and cultures of the peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America from ancient times to modern day. An emphasis is placed on studying the effects of intercultural exchanges among the people of these many different nations
In the US we teach the sciences and maths in a linear form. She must take algebra, the following year geometry, following year algebra 2 and final year of high school calculus. Science is biology, following year chemistry, following year physics

ggirl Sat 05-Jan-13 18:03:46

so a mix of history/geography and politics?? is it for one year ?

ohfunnyhoneyface Sat 05-Jan-13 18:03:59

Global studies sounds like a mixture of geography and history.

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 18:18:05

Ggirl- yes, it is for one year

NewYearBlues Sat 05-Jan-13 18:25:24

You can do combined science gcse, of either 2 our 3d disciplines, but I believe brighter students trend to do then desperately as, obviously, they go into greater depth if studied individually.

I don't think there's any subject which approximates global studies unfortunately and over here english language and literature (two separate subjects) are both compulsory I believe...language definitely is anyway.

Maths is a combined subject, so she would be expected to do a wider range of aspects, but possibly to a lower standard/level.

nannyof3 Sat 05-Jan-13 18:39:58

The GCSE 's that are completed in year 11, have a rounded up score from the previous year , year 10... So if she done only year 11 work, her rounded GCSE marks would be very low, she would be entered into lower grades d downwards

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 18:45:58

Do students pick their own classes for GCSE?

creamteas Sat 05-Jan-13 19:04:46

Some classes (like English, Maths, Science) are compulsory and some are choices.

Each school has slight variations as to what they have to do and how many choices they have.

ggirl Sat 05-Jan-13 19:06:02

they can pick some but must do eng lang/eng lit/maths/sciences and some schools have compulsory languages etc

dd had to do french /spanish/ IT as well as it was a language specialist school ( another minefield for you grin )

It would be a real pity for an American grade-A student to get GCSE D grades, because she will have to declare them in all likelihood when applying for uni, and will be unnecessarily discouraging Must she do the exams? Apart from the grade thing, I would find it incredibly frustrating moving to the GCSE system- I found it very stifling and restrictive myself and I've had time to get used to it!.....eleven years of state school......

Loshad Sat 05-Jan-13 19:40:14

you do not need to worry about her peers having done part of their exams, the y11 for next academic year will be the first for many years to do totally linear exams, ie all the exams are in may/june at end of y11. She will need to do some coursework, but most schools will offer that in y11.

Lilymaid Sat 05-Jan-13 19:49:05

If there is any chance of being able to pay for one year's schooling, I'd recommend that she went to somewhere like CCSS or MPW for Y11 and then on to a local (non-fee paying) school for Sixth form/IB.

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 19:49:48

American Uni wouldn't require her to declare all previous grades, our system allows for as many resits as we like and we only submit the results we want to.

Global studies will have very little geography in it as English recognise Geography.

Spalva Sat 05-Jan-13 20:14:12

Disclaimer: Haven't read all the replies yet (but I will).

We just did this. We moved from Lithuania where dd1 was at a very small private international school because we were still considered expatriates and our organization was helping to pay for it.

The transition to the British was a disaster. Granted, she went into a large comprehensive (the equivalent of a big public high school in the States...except she's only 12 years old, as around London there are no middle schools). The systems are vastly different and, quite frankly, so are the children.

There are a couple of state-run IB schools but they are quite full. We are currently on the waiting list for one of them. One is in Essex, east of London, and one is in the north at Bishop's Stortford (but that one is even fuller than the one in Essex and it currently does not have a place in Year 11).

Would love to chat about your experiences or give you tips on finding areas, adjusting, etc. I've only been here since August but I've done a lot since then -- even did a school appeal (where you beg them for a place they don't have!). It can be frustrating when we're used to just going down to the nearest school and enrolling the kids in a few minutes.

Spalva Sat 05-Jan-13 20:27:20

I really think Anglo European is the school for you. I would talk to them (fantastic people!) and see what they say. They have plenty of experience with students from abroad.

I live two stations away. Ingatestone does not have loads of rental properties so you may have to look in Shenfield or Brentwood, though I do not recommend it as there is almost nothing to do outside of going to school -- besides spending a fortune on the train to London! These towns are an easy commute to Aldgate, though. Dh does that commute and it's very easy.

Kids are very independent here and take the train to school from age 11, in case you were wondering.

forevergreek Sat 05-Jan-13 20:43:42

Gcses subjects generally have compulsory then choices. Usually everyone must do Maths, English language, English lit, double or triple science ( triple gives more choices), one humanity ( geography/ history/ region) and a modern foreign language. Then depending on the school they usually pick 3-5 other subjects such as arts/ drama/ Ict/ more languages or more humanities

You generally need a b level or above at gcse to continue the subject at the next level

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 21:02:14

I just sent a private message

Could she sit her GED before she leaves so that she has something to bring to the UK with her, then talk to schools about doing fewer GCSEs so she can concentrate on them and get good grades? With the combination you might find some sympathetic schools. Some schools go up to the age of 18 and those are ones I would approach to start with to see if they would entertain this idea.

LIZS Sat 05-Jan-13 21:15:55

Is this a permanent move ? Would she want to go to a UK university ?

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 21:28:29

LIZS-This is a permanent move and would possibly be attending a UK university.

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 21:31:29

OhYouBadBadKitten- I don't think the GED is comparable to the GCSE. The GED is taken by high school dropouts so I don't think that would be something helpful to bring to the UK.

True, but cos the gcse is for 16/17 year olds and I think the GED is equivalent to graduating high school, the UK might see it as a helpful qualification.

Will pm you with another idea.

BettySuarez Sat 05-Jan-13 22:34:18

Very tricky situation, we almost relocated to US. Our daughters had just sat their GCSE's (completed year 11) but still would have had to completed at least one year of senior high I think.

Could you forget GCSE'S altogether? Maybe start her on the first year of an AS level so that she can start working towards her A Levels and Uni Entry?

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 22:43:24

BettySuarez- Are the GCSE's not mandatory?

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 05-Jan-13 22:49:10

I would home ed for a year and then send her somewhere that does the IB diploma. If she gets this, she won't need anything else and you can forget GCSEs, AS levels etc. We are likely to be in your situation come the summer, and I have researched schools which do the IB MYP, but in the UK they are all fee paying. I think we are just going to have to bite the bullet and go for it as DD1 will be starting year 10 in September.

MJIG Sat 05-Jan-13 22:56:56

What would be the curriculum for home schooling? GCSE, A-Levels? How would she get in to an IB program without those test results?

outtolunchagain Sat 05-Jan-13 23:02:29

There are some state schools doing the IB , the ones already mentioned higher up the thread , plus I know Colchester Sixth Form college does.

GCSEs are not mandatory but if there are no extenuating circumstances , then generally UK children heading to University will take GCSEs as a step towards A levels .

Is there no possibility you could delay for a year ,this stage of education is so difficult for them to move at , even within the UK system would be difficult, as year 11 is like the culmination of secondary school, friendship groups are very settled plus there is really only 2.5 terms before study leave and exams in June and in my experience they hit the ground running in Sept and by Nov they are planning for sixth form or the next step so a very busy year .

outtolunchagain Sat 05-Jan-13 23:04:41

In the circumstances a sixth form offering the IB may look at her current results and make a judgment. I think your best bet would be to talk to one or two of the schools/ colleges about admission to IB and what level she would have to reach to be accepted onto the course

CaHoHoHootz Sat 05-Jan-13 23:35:35

Depending on your circumstances (nationalities etc) it may be a very bad idea to delay coming to the Uk due to whether or not your daughter would be classified as a home student or an international student for fee purposes. Foreign student fees are much higher. Info here

Your daughter doesnt need gcse's to get into UK Uni's, nor does she need them to be accepted on the IB diploma programme

If she has no GCSE's the IB may be more suitable as it includes maths and English.

When is your daughters birthday and roughly where do you expect to live in the UK?

We were in a similar position and came o the UK when my eldest was starting the IB at 16. He had absolutely no previous qualifications and nor did he take any extra ones over the normal IB requirements. He got several offers to study medicine and is now in his third year at Uni.

BettySuarez Sat 05-Jan-13 23:42:56

I was going to suggest letting her stay behind in the States to finish her qualifications there before coming over but yes, on second thoughts that would be disastrous in terms of Uni Fees.

EduCated Sat 05-Jan-13 23:49:50

It may be worth speaking to colleges about what they would require for her to sit the IB. Slightly different situation, but a close friend was allowed to take A Levels with only Maths and English GCSEs, having been home educated. He recently graduated with a first from a Russell Group uni and won loads of awards, jammy sod so certainly didn't hold him back only having 2.

CaHoHoHootz Sun 06-Jan-13 00:01:33

All my son needed to be accepted on the IB at our local state 6th form college was copies of some of his recent school reports. He is academic but didn't have any actual qualifications. There were other kids from overseas on his course.

MJIG Sun 06-Jan-13 00:31:03

We have dual citizenship so were are European Union members as far as Uni fees are concerned. I will see what the schools will require for her to assimilate into the GCSE or if it would be possible for her to go straight to the IB. Thank you all for your responses!

Chiff Sun 06-Jan-13 08:03:56

I just wanted to jump in to this thread to say what a great mother you are! You're taking so much care and interest in your daughter's education and how she will fit in to this complex system. I moved around the world as a child and I think my mother just gave up trying to figure out all the different education systems, and left me to it. So you are being wonderful and I am sure she will really appreciate it.

I think if your daughter is clever then she will probably be fine, after a period of adjustment. At her age, the other really important thing is making friends and fitting in (and I know from experience that can have a big effect on grades), so my advice would be to look for a school that feels right for her in more ways than just the academics.

Good luck!

Lilymaid Sun 06-Jan-13 12:07:22

University fees don't depend on citizenship but on having been ordinarily resident in the UK (or other EU state) for three years immediately before entry onto university course.

CaHoHoHootz Sun 06-Jan-13 13:44:42

Citizenship does matter if you are in the UK for less than the three years. That is why I mentioned it. As with all these things it is always best to go to the actual source of the information.

My DS went to Uni as a home fee payer despite having lived in the Uk for less than three years. I seemed to have filled out millions of forms as all the Uni's decide your fee status individually and my son didn't want to waste a Uni choice with a Uni that wasn't going to consider him a home student. There are cases of the same student being considered a home fee by one Uni and an overseas student by another Uni. Goodness knows why this isn't done by some central body.

MJIG Sun 06-Jan-13 14:14:36

Lilymaid- Yes I did read that we would need to be living in the UK for three of the previous five years to be considered eligible as a home payer so we should be ok if we move this June.
CaHoHoHootz- It seems like there will be another round of education fun to get through for Uni?
Chiff- Thank you! I am so concerned with the social aspect of this move as well. She is very involved if different activities(sports, play, music, clubs) at her school now and was hoping to continue those as well but that seems to be a whole different issue. The other confusing thing for me is the specialist school title for music, languages, science, etc. Does the average school put on plays and compete in sports?

EduCated Sun 06-Jan-13 14:34:06

In short, yes they do. Specialist status can be a bit of a red herring and is variable by school. For example, a local languages specialist school insists everyone takes a language at GCSE and offers a couple of choices, but languages are still offered at every other school. The local Sports specialist just has an extra PE lesson a week.

In essence, every school will offer music, sports, languages, drama, technology etc, but they might be slightly better resources in their specialism or it may alter the options the students are allowed to make at GCSE.

Spalva Sun 06-Jan-13 14:54:08

Dd1 is making cookies so I'll just sit here and answer you!

From what I've read it isn't wise to rely on a school's specialist status -- doesn't mean much apparently. I know it was a total and complete joke that my dd's school was a specialist science, math and computing school. Music schools seem to tend to prioritize places for music students.

Which sports does your dd do? Girls play netball (a form of basketball) here, sometimes rugby, sometimes football (soccer). It isn't like in the States. There are extra-curricular activities but often quite limited, as in "such and such club" for "Year such and such only." You could find sports clubs exterior to the school.

Drama is part of the national curriculum, if I'm not mistaken -- at least my dd had it.

lljkk Sun 06-Jan-13 15:02:40

Agree specialisms mean almost didley squat.
Any decent size secondary will do some sport & some drama.
They don't have competitive sports teams to the same extent that most American high schools do, it's not a central part of high school life.

Homeschooling a home-sick culturally shocked 16yo with no local friends and not even any siblings: sounds like Hell to me! Hope you get something sorted soon.

Spalva Sun 06-Jan-13 15:20:29

lljkk, just try it with a 12 year-old! I have searched all over the London area (Essex and Hertfordshire included) trying to find a suitable school for my dd! (same situation as OP)

She does have a 7 year-old sister to keep her company -- when she's home from school!

RiversideMum Sun 06-Jan-13 16:11:59

It may be worth thinking about putting your DD into year 10 in Sept. It is uncommon, but not impossible for a DC to be in the "wrong" school year. You could also argue that as the school start year is different in the US, that this will be more appropriate anyway.

Moving country will be stressful. Starting a new school will be stressful. Starting a school in an exam year will add to the stress. Going into Y10 means that she will be starting courses with the rest of the group and may have a better chance of developing friendships. She will have more of a chance of filling gaps (or consolidating) in knowledge. The only long term impact will be that she misses out on a year of pension - hardly a massive consideration.

IB is quite rare in the UK. If that's what you want her to do at 18, then you probably need to find a school that offers it first and work backwards from that.

CheeseStrawWars Sun 06-Jan-13 16:23:17

Would you consider commuting to London from Cambridge? Village College is a secondary school which includes an international sixth form, and they do IB so may be able to work something out.

CheeseStrawWars Sun 06-Jan-13 16:23:55

Sorry, that link again

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 06-Jan-13 16:41:01

You don't need GCSEs or any qualification at age 16 to start the IB diploma. And IB schools tend to use the calendar year instead of the September-August dates of birth - not sure if this helps or not!

CaHoHoHootz Sun 06-Jan-13 16:46:26

I am pretty sure most of the schools offering IB in the UK follow the standard uk school year.

CaHoHoHootz Sun 06-Jan-13 16:48:32

Oops, misread the last post. blush sorry

However, I still think most schools offering the IB in the UK use the UK August cutoff for entry ages IYSWIM

MJIG Sun 06-Jan-13 19:20:58

I will look at the Cambridge schools as well. Thank you

cavell Sun 06-Jan-13 21:14:27

You might not need GCSEs to do the IB per se - but schools offering IB may have their own entrance requirements based on GCSE results. (It may not be typical, but in my area, entry to a school offering IB is highly competitive and would rquire at least 6 Grade A GCSEs).

It would seem to me to be more sensible to look at the possibility of your daughter stating school in Y10.

LIZS Sun 06-Jan-13 21:18:02

I would have thought it might be possible to join Year11 but start the first year of GCSE courses if needs be so effectively be a year "behind". As a gap year after A levels/IB isn't uncommon, likewise GCSE resits in Year12, she wouldn't necessarily be out of peer group for long.

MJIG Sun 06-Jan-13 23:23:09

What are GCSE resits in Year 12? Taking the exams again before Uni entrance?

Amerryscot Mon 07-Jan-13 07:30:56

It will be very difficult for her to slot into Y11 and have a good attempt at GCSEs. There will be 2 terms left of basically a five term course. Some subjects may have already done their controlled assessments in Y10.

The subjects will not match up well with what she has done in the US, and even if she is very bright and motivated, it will be very difficult for her.

I think you have two options to do the right thing by your DD:

1) put her into Y10
2) put her into a US diploma or IB MYP for a year, then move onto the IB diploma for sixth form. This option would cost you £15k ++ for the year.

LIZS Mon 07-Jan-13 07:38:33

There is more flexibility in age groupings above age 16. In most schools/6th forms/colleges you can't take AS/A levels or IB without having achieved 5 GCSE at C or above (or equivalent) often including the same topic at A*/A/B ie. in English for English Lit or Science for Chemistry. You may hear mention of the EBacc which is a core range of subjects achieved at this level. Some A levels will teach a subject from scratch (ie. Economics) but even then it is some advantage to have done relevant GCSEs (such as Geography). In Year 12 you may get those resitting to get a better result or even taking extra ones , so your dd would not necessarily be alone if she were still doing GCSE courses in year 12. Also Year 12 is typically the first year of A level courses (known as AS levels) and you may find those from year above resitting these to get required grades to take A level the following year.

Spalva Mon 07-Jan-13 08:42:09

Amerryscot -- It is my understanding that the girl is in grade 10 in the US, meaning:

a) she would not be doing the MYP as it is for middle school students, grade 6-8 (in the American/International private school system)
b) she would have two years left in a private US/IB school and would complete said IB in two years, costing £30,000.
c) I don't know about you but for our family (and the OPs, I believe) £30,000 ain't peanuts -- besides probably wanting to live somewhere near said schools, which is an impossibility for my family and maybe hers as well (no relocation package as stated in the OP)

Amerryscot Mon 07-Jan-13 19:07:22

MYP goes up to 10th grade US; diploma is 11th and 12th grade.

Many state school sixth forms offer an IB stream so no fees required for those two diploma years, just the Y11 bridge year.

As a fee payer paying 40k per year, I live and breathe that fees are not peanuts - but they are worth it. We got into the independent system when we moved from the US and local state schools inappropriate. Ours was a local transfer, so we don't get any help with fees. We suck it up for the sake of our DCs.

BettySuarez Mon 07-Jan-13 19:34:16

Amerryscot no one is doubting that your daughter is not worth the 40,000 you pay annually for her school fees. But if the OP doesn't have access to that kind of money then, well, she doesn't!

Spalva Mon 07-Jan-13 22:09:08

Amerryscot, at two of our international schools in Eastern Europe MYP was only up to grade 8, so I'm sorry for the mistake. I will definitely try to keep sucking it up for my girls. Thank you for the advice.

ohfunnyhoneyface Mon 07-Jan-13 22:56:27

Spalva just realised I never replied to your last pm!

Will do it now!


Amerryscot Tue 08-Jan-13 01:54:08

I don't know why you think that MYP only goes up to Y8. The IBO, itself, states that MYP is for students aged 11-16.

sashh Tue 08-Jan-13 05:22:57

We have dual citizenship so were are European Union members as far as Uni fees are concerned


You need to be 'ordinarily resident' in the EU for three years to get EU fees, regardless of having EU citizenship.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 07:39:22

It is perfectly possible to do gcses in a year for bright pupils, several private colleges do it, see here However the state school system is not geared to delivering the syllabus in 1 year. The problem is that whilst gcses are not demanding in terms of intellectual application, they are in terms of learned knowledge, and syllabuses vary between various exam boards let alone to what your daughter has learnt in the us. Generally academic children in the Uk would do at least 10, with English literature and language, Maths, 2 or 3 Sciences, either general science syllabus covering all three sciences or 3 individual sciences, a language (your daughter may well be at Gcse standard already, many learn Spanish for Gcse from scratch in 2 years), and then a mix of History, geography, Religion and ethics, further Languages, drama, art, music, textiles, design technology etc etc etc. and expect a string of A/ A *. That takes a lot of cramming of knowledge for exams. Can you not stretch to a private college geared to delivering the curriculum in a year, then your daughter could fit back into our state system where it best suits her.

Spalva Tue 08-Jan-13 07:42:39

Amerryscot, jeez Louise, I think I just explained that the two schools we attended had it only to grade 8 (not Y8). I also apologized. What gets under the skin of some Mumsnetters, I have no idea.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 08:39:50

Interesting info here, private schools and colleges cashing in on the gap in the market.

A lot of these private colleges are what is known as the UK as crammars ie they cater to students who for whatever reason did not do well in their previous schools. They can have a reputation for being for drop outs but I know that the one year GCSE at DLD had amongst those who are retaking, those from International backgrounds, those who just didn't fit with their previous schools (friend's v bright DC, now at Oxford went there from v. academic private girls' s school in Y11 because she was just fed up with the alpha girl, sloaney/ preppy culture ) and some very bright pupils from less well performing inner city state schools whose parents have stretched themselves (often really stretched themselves) to afford the one year to give their DCs a chance of the best grades.

However Wellington is a well respected boarding school that a lot of my expat friends have been very happy with.

Some of these schools might consider a bursary, paying or subsidising fees, for a bright child but I think they are quite stringent about requiring proof of financial need.

The problem is that our state schools, whatever the attitudes of their staff, just do not have the processes and funding that enable them to be flexible to the needs of International students. We had experience of this at 11 returning from abroad, even though we owned our house in the UK and could have demonstrated we were moving back we could not apply until we were actually resident in our house with utility bills in our name to prove it, by which time the local schools were full. In contrast we found that private schools really valued our daughters international background.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 08:51:30

By the way I do not know of a secondary school in the UK, state or private, that does not provide opportunities for extra curricular sports, music , drama etc. On top of that there are extensive opportunities out of school, especially in London, plenty of Theatre groups, Sports Clubs etc. that will enable your DC to perform to the limits of their potential.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 10:22:50

I would add I was speaking recently to a friend who is American and works with children in International Schools in another part of the world on literacy skills. Her judgement is that the British system does not teach children to write as well as the American system, to articulate themselves and present an argument, but does teach the skills of literary criticism and analysis to a much greater depth. Feedback from other friends who have shifted between the systems, or taught in both, is that there are many similar differences of emphasis between the two systems, and of course specialist A levels, narrow but in more depth, are a symptom of that.

I hope this helps, it is stressful, but I do think our kids are in the end the better for the experience of change and of other cultures. My DDs really value their time in other cultures for all that at times it was an upheaval.

Needmoresleep Tue 08-Jan-13 11:43:40

I agree with Copthallresident. DC's cousin transferred to the UK system from a non English speaking system in Year 11. The idea was that he would spend a year making the transition in a "college" environment (in his case Ashbourne College) and working very hard, ready to join a sixth form in a more traditional school.

All very different yet he managed something amazing like 10A*s. Inevitably extra curricular options were limited but his parents were impressed by the efforts made to organise a choir and by the art.

The advantage is that colleges are geared up to covering the whole syllabus in a year, which a school wont be. Fees appear to be no worse than a standard private school, and it need only be for a year. Demographics have also changed from my day when crammers appeared to be full of idle public school boys resitting. Instead there seems to be a strong overseas contingent seeking British qualifications as a prelude to applying to British Universities who are expecting to work hard.

MJIG Tue 08-Jan-13 12:56:47

Copthallresident- thank you for the great information. I have been very discouraged after talking to admissions yesterday at many of the schools that we were interested in.

Needmoresleep- it is nice to hear that someone has done this and had positive results. Thanks!

I was shocked by the fact that schools can just tell you that they will not accept a student in a non-intake year. This is a very big learning curve for me and I appreciate all the help that everyone on the board has been offering.

My sister's friend who grew up in England (now lives in the US) sent this link to me so that I could get an idea of the differences in education. Has anyone used this?

mummytime Tue 08-Jan-13 13:04:57

Bitesize is great for GCSE revision.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 13:15:36

Hi,yes DDs used it for revision, recommended by their academic private school BUT big health warning schools here have become very good at teaching to the exam, technique rather than what I would call an Education. This will give you an idea but probably doesn't reflect the boring slog it takes to get an A*. If you google or look around here you will see the debate going on about the future of Gcses.

MJIG Tue 08-Jan-13 13:26:20

How do schools look at these crammers? Will it hurt her chances of getting in to an IB?

DoodlesNoodles Tue 08-Jan-13 13:36:18

If your DD does do go down the route of taking GCSE'S in one year don't think that she needs to take loads of them. Fewer GCSEs at A* is better than loads at lower grades.
Mostly though, as long as she does well in her IB and as long as it is explained on her University application that she took her GCSE's in one year then her GCSE grades won't be the be all and end all ( as long as they are reasonable)

Phoning school admissions is a very painfully buisness. When we moved to the UK with three non-intake year kids it literally took dozens and dozens of calls. Some State Admissions Departments were spectacularly unhelpful. Some private schools were not much better. I just kept calling and kept calling and everything fell into place eventually.

MJIG Tue 08-Jan-13 14:54:48

Does it matter which examining board (edexcel, ocr, aqa) the GCSE is from?

mummytime Tue 08-Jan-13 15:04:49

It doesn't matter about the exam board, or if GCSE or iGCSE, or even the Welsh or The Scottish equivalant. But you really need Maths, English and Science.

Lilymaid Tue 08-Jan-13 16:12:24

Why would schools have negative opinions on what you have referred to as "crammers"? Our experience (for sixth form rather than GCSE) was very positive - certainly no problems with applications for UK universities.
These colleges can offer 1 year courses as the classes are small (around 8 students rather than say 26 in a mainstream school) and students will probably take fewer GCSEs than in schools (8 rather than 10 or more).
Sixth forms will choose students on predicted grades/interview/reference (and any catchment criteria that individual schools might have).

Saracen Tue 08-Jan-13 16:44:41

At state schools certain things must be done at certain ages and there is very little flexibility. But after that, your dd can do whatever suits her educationally. As long as she achieves the right qualifications or exam results, her age won't matter.

It seems to me that the main problem is how to get past the next year. After that your dd can go to college, university etc whenever she is at the right stage educationally irrespective of her age.

If private education isn't an option then you could consider home education for the next year or longer until your dd has racked up enough IGCSEs to start a more advanced course such as A levels. She can sit IGCSEs in any order, all at once or a few at a time. You do have to source the materials yourself and pay the exam fees and centre fees, but a bright academically-inclined teenager should be fine without any tutoring.

Here's some info about how to do that: People often "work backwards" by first checking out the advanced courses and then looking at the entry requirements for it.

Home ed itself is straightforward: there is no curriculum you must follow and you don't need approval from anyone; you just go ahead and do it in whatever way suits your child.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 18:41:53

MGIJ I think I mentioned friends DD getting into Oxford from a private college after the one year O level and then A levels (sorry I used the term crammar in order to knock it down, not play to the stereotype). In fact the flexibility helped her in that she did German GCSE as soon as she arrived as they judged her ready ( many of the private schools get them to a GCSE skills level in Year 10, and even Year 9 or earlier), and then she did AS at the end of Year 11, clearing the way to focus on other A2s. I actually think an unconventional background is an advantage, shows it hasn't all come on a plate and they have learnt a few life lessons.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 18:49:12

IMHO home educating herself whilst adjusting to a new country and finding friends would be a lot to put on a 16 year olds plate, especially of they are gregarious and like to get involved in lots of activities. I have known a few expat kids who had to wait a few weeks for school places to come up and they were climbing up the walls and made their mothers' lives a misery. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be around my gorgeous DDs if I had put them through that. One thing is for sure you need to make sure your DC is fully signed up to whatever option you pursue.......

orangeandlemons Tue 08-Jan-13 19:17:56

I teach in a secondary school. I think she should go into the start of Year10 rather then transferring into y11. All gcse's are designed to be taken over 2 years really. Some of them involve coursework, particularly subjects like music, drama, dt art etc. This starts is the biggest component of the exam and usually starts in year 10.
Other subjects have controlled assessment which is a bit like an exam, and also can take place in year10.

All students have to take Maths, English and Science. The introduction of the wonderful ebac means that most will be expected to take a humanity and language too. However, very able students may take as many as 10-12 gcse's. This means students will can choose a wide variety of subjects to take. When we have had similar situations in my school, students have started in year 10. I think putting her straight into y11 at the moment will not be very good for her. Most of my y11's are finishing coursework at the moment, and then revising. Most subjects will be starting revision of the course they have studied very very soon (March). She wouldn't have the knowledge to complete the exams properly which would let her down.

If she wishes to integrate and make friends, I"m not sure home educating her is the answer either. My suggestion would be to start her in year 10. You will find schools will be helpful though.

Spalva Tue 08-Jan-13 20:20:54

Copthallresident -- I hate to keep hijacking the thread but I am doing the very thing you advocate against and to keep reading this is getting me so worked up (in a sort of friendly, argh! way if you know what I mean). If there isn't a suitable school with a place then there isn't a suitable school with a place. I can't make one appear. Trust me, I would love to make one appear. I cannot pay for a school. Period. It just can't be done. Right now I'm seriously considering getting out of the UK and depriving dds of their papa for a few years. If you have any advice, PM me. 'Cause I'm just not getting it apparently.

Copthallresident Tue 08-Jan-13 22:35:42

Spalva I appreciate you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea and you have to make the best choice available to you for your family, that suits your DCs. Sadly I cannot change the UK state system to accommodate those of us with third culture kids, however much I think it should because as my DD's private school appreciated they have so much to offer sad.

OP was asking for advice and I can only offer my knowledge and experience to put into the pot with all the other advice on here, and their knowledge of their own DCs. I don't doubt there are some DCs and families for whom home schooling works, even as they adjust to a new country. However my experience is that moving teenagers to another country is difficult enough even with a school available for them to create a life for themselves in, and adjust to the different peer norms etc. I have had to home school my children when they were younger with the material provided by their school when it was closed by SARs and so I am quite sure it would not work for my family even without the added stress of a country move.

My point is that if OP can afford by whatever means to fork out for that one year then that is what I would do. In the same position if I could not afford a private school for a year I would stay put in the US and split the family rather than home school. I know quite a few expat families who have done just that.

DoodlesNoodles Tue 08-Jan-13 23:06:21

I wouldn't split the family. sad.

If I was the OP I would carry on phoning any IB school that her DD could potentially go to.

. If the OP's DD is bright then it may be a possibility to start the IB Diploma Programme a year early. She would then have to take a gap year prior to starting Uni in order to avoid being an overseas fee payer.

There were a couple of DC's on my DC's course who did this successfully.

springrain Tue 08-Jan-13 23:44:31

Orangeandlemons Y10 entry is good - state schools do do this in exceptional circumstances and yours are exceptional. I will pm you a suggested school.

incogneetow Wed 09-Jan-13 02:06:28

One complicating factor is that many North Essex schools start GCSE courses at the start of yr9, with top sets sitting the final exams at the end of yr10. This means that the option of starting in yr10 may not be a great one in those schools.

Those schools do tend to have a 1 year enrichment/extension curriculum for those yr11 top students who have completed most courses. But I don't know if they'd be happy to accept an international student onto that sort of course, because the fact that she doesn't have GCSE passes would affect their school league table results.

Spalva Wed 09-Jan-13 08:11:34

Maybe we can all just write advertisements for our dc and put them in the newspapers!

Having lived in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, France, the United States and Lithuania and having spoken, been instructed in or studied Kyrgyz, Russian, Ukrainian, French, English and Lithuanian, 12 year-old bilingual, straight A student, gifted and talented, winner at her previous international school of the 2012 Math Day, 2012 Robotics Tournament in Budapest and 2012 Middle School Science Fair is seeking situation in a decent, friendly secondary school with science/tech extracurricular activities in an affordable neighbourhood/town/village somewhere within an hour's commute to Moorgate. And please don't allow her to be bullied by raccoon-faced, orange-skinned girls with their skirts hiked up.

cornishblue Wed 09-Jan-13 10:55:24

just found this thread (thanks Spalvasmile)

I am in a similar situation - contemplating moving this year but my DD would also be entering year 11 in Sept.

The difference being that mine is not top of the class and would definitely struggle to cram GCSEs into one year, but would rather die than be put down a year (she's an autumn birthday). An added problem is that she has been studying Italian as her MFL for 3 years, and it's pretty hard to find a school that offers it.

Do both Hockerill and the Anglo-European take pupils in year 11? Did any schools offer a viable solution to the problem?

outtolunchagain Wed 09-Jan-13 12:04:43

Spalva with qualities such as you indicate I would definitely be approaching independent schools with a view to getting a bursary .Even if you have missed the normal round many schools will have discretionary funds for such circumstances .

Lilymaid Wed 09-Jan-13 12:10:27

Year 11 is possibly the most difficult year for moving to a new school and few places will come up for entry into that year as it is the second year of the GCSE course.Very few students will be moving school at that time and it would be difficult for a new student from abroad to cover a two year syllabus in one year without some personal tuition (it isn't that the educational level would necessarily be different but the syllabi would be) . You should contact the schools you are interested in and discuss possiblities with the school and also contact the local education authority for the area you would like to move to.

Spalva Wed 09-Jan-13 12:35:26

outtolunchagain -- (great name!) I have been rudely; prissily informed by many independent schools that bursaries are already allocated for the year.

outtolunchagain Wed 09-Jan-13 12:58:19

Oh dear , I work in an independent school and whilst we would respond that bursaries have been allocated for a routine enquiry ( although I hope not rudely) your special circumstances would be taken into account and discretionary funds are sometimes available for outstanding candidates . We are not in your preferred area though so that doesn't help you .

outtolunchagain Wed 09-Jan-13 13:01:09

I would also add that sometimes it is well worth politely but firmly persisting , as schools do get a lot of enquiries and you may just need to get through to the next level of management IYSWIM .Make sure they know your particular circumstances etc

MJIG Wed 09-Jan-13 13:06:05

I only referred to the schools as crammers because 2 previous posters called them that and I thought that was just a slang term for schools that "cram" 2 years in to 1. My only concern was when someone mentioned that it used to be looked at a place or idle boys to sit. I can only look at school guides from here and I am relying on all of you for the local opinion so that I can get a more rounded opinion. There are many schools here in the US that would look good on reports but by living here I am aware of certain issues that an outsider wouldn't be. So if I ask things that make you want to give me the side eye please know that I mean no harm.

Deux Wed 09-Jan-13 13:20:57

Sorry, not read the whole thread. There is an American/International school in Cobham. ACS Cobham. I think she may be able to continue the US education system there.

Possible until she can move to the UK system? Just a thought.

Spalva Wed 09-Jan-13 13:53:55

Well, outtolunchagain, you gave me a bit of courage to grovel to a few schools today. :-) It will be your good deed of the day if any works out!

outtolunchagain Wed 09-Jan-13 14:03:43

I do hop things work out Spalva , your dd sounds lovely and this must be do hard for you all . Fingers crossed

Needmoresleep Wed 09-Jan-13 14:48:48

MJIG. That was me. However my point is that there is now a very different market.

If you are an overseas candidate getting into a good British University is often easier than into an Ivy League and there is a historic tradition of students from many countries coming to the UK. In addition the University systems in many European countries can be less attractive than those in the UK. (Very simply put some systems take in lots of students many of whom fail the first year. It may be harder to get into a UK University but you are expected to stay the course.)

Doing some of your schooling in the UK and in English will increase your chances of getting a place at the UK University. The University understands your qualification, knows you are familiar with living in England and can study in English. Hence two of DCs cousins ended up studying at London colleges, one for GCSE and the other for A level. They both ended up with very good, indeed excellent, GCSE and AS results. There is something to be said for small groups of motivated students all in the same boat.

There are still one or two colleges that seem to pick up the failing public school boys who need to resit, but you ought to be able to weed those out simply by looking at results or by talking to them and asking where their students come from.

Whether private or state my guess is that teachers in mainstream schools will struggle to find the extra support a new entrant at Yr 11 will need. At the very least you should offer to "home ed" through the summer so your child is at least familiar with the work covered by the others. With the exam rush in full swing a new child might struggle to break into existing social groups and into school teams and activities. Better to find an international school working to the same syllabus, start in year 10, or use a specialist college (or perhaps home ed if feasible) to get through to the next natural entry point which is sixth form.

MJIG Wed 09-Jan-13 17:56:11

Needmoresleep- Thank you for the info. Now it makes a lot more sense to me why these secondary schools are so competitive. It must be very hard to be born and raised in England and then have international students coming in to compete with you at the secondary schools level. We don't have that type of competition until University.

I am looking in to the 1 year programs like so many suggested and see if there is any way that we will be able to do this financially for one year and then apply for 6th form. I now understand that there must be a huge pool of international candidates who are willing to pay these astronomical fees if it will help them secure a place at Uni.

I think I know the answer to this question but....will I be facing a horrible time of trying to get her into a 6th form as well?

webwiz Wed 09-Jan-13 18:33:37

It will be nowhere near as problematic getting her into a 6th form as this is a time for movement in the system and lots of DC change schools then.

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 18:36:08

Tonbridge Grammar School is a state IB (in the sixth form) school. Try - they might be a lot more interested in a later incomer from abroad than you would think.

outtolunchagain Wed 09-Jan-13 18:54:17

6th form shouldn't be difficult ,the problem with year11 is that no one moves school then as year 10 and 11 are really a two year course .

I don't think there are lots of international students trying to get into UK secondary schools , it's more that schools here don't have to take you just because you live near them so there is a bit of a lottery getting in and then people tend to stay once they are in .Hence no spaces, plus as I said before moving in year 11 is just not done.

MJIG Wed 09-Jan-13 19:44:59

Bonsoir- I will check out Tonbridge. Thanks!

Needmoresleep Wed 09-Jan-13 19:46:32

I dont know but assume international students are not eligible for British state schools.

There is a noticeable contingent from overseas looking for private boarding school places at 16. Look at the Student Room website thread on getting into Westminster School for sixth form. (Be scared, be very scared.) The same students will be trying Dulwich, SPS, Sevenoaks, Harrow and others. Lesser known boarding schools pick up even more, with some laying on, say, special English classes for Chinese students. This market has also encouraged the proliferation of private colleges. The fees are not insignificant so their families will expect students to work hard. Some of the results are impressive. However it will help if the year is seen as a way of getting to the next stage. Work hard, get the results and you are on your way.

I think for DC's cousin, the year was pretty much spent in limbo. He did not know many people other than his classmates and had stacks of homework which dominated each weekend. But he is now in the school he wanted to go to, over the transition, enjoying himself and with 10 A*s at GCSE well placed to apply for a good University.

In terms of the state sector if your daughter did go to a private college, she would presumably apply in the normal way for either a place at a school sixth form or at a sixth form college. Lots of kids move at this point. She will need predicted results. If these are good there is nothing to stop her getting a place at a selective school, perhaps a grammar. Catchments don't apply in the same way as they did at 11.

British Universities have always taken a lot of overseas students. However they have a set number of places for British students.

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.

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?

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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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...

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 09:29:18

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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