Moving to the UK in June(12 Posts)
Hello! My husband is in the US Army and we are being assigned to a British regiment in the UK in June for two years. We will be moving there the last month of the school year and would like to enroll our boys in our local state school, if possible for the last 3 1/2 weeks of the school year so they can meet other children and start to adjust to some of the differences in the schooling.
I am wondering if this is a possibility. In the US, you would just go to your local school and enroll them and they would simply attend those last three weeks. Not sure how that is handled in the UK since I know the process is a bit different and was wondering if anyone had an insight on this.
For what it's worth...we fall into a catchment for the school located on the regiment base. We already know we would use this school so I'm not necessarily looking for school recommendations at this point.
Thank you so much!
I can't help but hope you have a great time here.
Can you reveal roughly where you'll be in the UK?
If you know which school you want your DCs to go to, that makes things much easier.
You need to contact the school and ask them. The school will have a set number of places. If your DCs' year group has space, then I imagine they might let you start mid-term. If there is no space in your DCs' year groups, then they will put you on the waiting list.
Assuming the school is an ordinary state school, IIRC your place on the waiting list will be by distance I think, not length of time on the list, and you may have an advantage once one DC gets a place as siblings are prioritised for state school admissions. (I could be wrong on that bit, worth checking with the school / local council.)
The school has no requirement to take your child. If it's a very popular school your DC may be on the waiting list for a long time. If that's the case you would need to home-school, or find them another school to go to. The school can advise whether it has space. Also you may find info on them by googling / looking at the local council website.
Incidentally, one difference between UK and US schools is that children go to school with their age group. There is no concept of "passing" a grade.
Thank you so much! As a follow-up, we will be stationed in Bordon, near Alton. We may have the option of funding for Alton Convent School and will go that option if we can. However, the US government is doing some major budget cuts right now and this may be one program that is affected.
In the meantime, I'll be in touch with the school on Bordon to see what they say. I home school now, but my understanding is that the officers there mainly send their children to boarding school which would leave my children to be the only ones in the neighborhood so we thought that putting them in school would be the best option for them while there.
I've done a lot of reading and research to try and educate myself about the differences in the school systems. I do know that the boys would be Year 1 and Year 4 starting in September. I've looked a bit on Ofsted for the ratings of the schools there. My military connections are telling me that I should have no issues having the boys in the school there on base, but I'll have to see if that is truly the case.
Again, thank you! We have been wanting this assignment for quite some time and are very much looking forward to our time there in the UK.
I hope you have a great time in the UK. I was posted to Bordon a few years ago before I was married and had a great time. Alton Convent is a good school too so it would be great if you got funding. There is a school bus route near to Bordon so there would be school friends living in the area.
You mention that you have been told that most of the Officers send their DCs to boarding school. I think that is not necessarily totally correct. The Military will pay a contribution (CEA) from age 8 usually year 4 that is true (occasionally year 3) but the majority don't go that early. So your youngest will not have a problem. As for your eldest it just depends on the particular families in your unit. Some send their DCs to boarding school later in yr 5, others will wait until age 11 and others will not go at all.
If you speak to the Families Officer he/she will be able to tell you how many DCs there are at boarding school and how many there are at local schools. When we were back with our Battalion last time there were very few DCs at local schools under the age of 10, but that was because there were very few DCs under 10 at that time and not because they were at boarding school. So it is important to look at both figures.
Do you have a guaranteed place at the state school on the base? School place allocation in the UK is not the same as in the US- as I understand it, in the states you automatically have a place at your nearest school, and the school just have to accommodate however many children this is. In the UK, schools have a maximum of 30 children to a class, after this the school is full for that particular year group. So even if you are well within catchment for the school on the base, if the school is already full then you won't be given a place, you'll have to join the waiting list. As Aufaniae says, if your child ends up on the waiting list, places are allocated on the distance from your home to the school, not the length of time you spend on the waiting list. So you could be on the list for longer than another family, but if they live closer to the school than you and have a child in the same year, their child will be offered a place first.
Assuming you don't have a guaranteed school place at the base school, at primary level I wouldn't worry so much about OFSTED ratings as whether or not the school has places available.
The key phrase you may need is "fair access protocol" as this is usually used by British forces people to gain places in schools when they are re-deployed. I assume that you will fall into the same category.
A good place for further information here is the "Forces Sweethearts" area.
There'll be lots of primary children in schools around Bordon who are forces, it's a bit of a fallacy that all officers send their children away as standard.
Have messaged you a group that are ace for housing enquiries and for school hints and tips.
Check the OFSTED reports and then approach the LEA with your 1st and 2nd choice. We do this every two years Don't forget you can appeal if you don't get the school you want under the 'gypsy status' rule
Just to correct a couple of points...
If you are looking for a place at a state school. You apply to the local authority (Hampshire County Council) for a school place, not to the individual schools. You can name your preferred schools but there is no guarantee you will get a place at one of them.
US Army personnel to not fall into the same category as British Armed Forces. That means you will not be able to apply for a school place until you are already in the country (or at least have a confirmed address - contact the local authority to find out when they will accept your application).
Having got that out of the way, the school you are interested in is an independent school, not a state school. If you want your sons to go there you will have to talk direct to the school. They may be willing to allocate a place before you move to the UK.
Why I am reading this thread I don't know, as I have no knowledge of th military or moving overseas. However I have just moved from England to Wales and found the local authority spectacularly useless at dealing with school entrance for my year 1 and nursery aged children. They told me to deal directly with the schools but couldn't tell me which schools would be nearest to my new address. I ended up ringing around and visiting the schools, and the application process was handled directly by the school. The only contact with the LA was to sort out school transport.
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