Relocating from US - School search help needed(28 Posts)
Hi mums, We are relocating from US to London with two kids - 6year old and 12 year old. We are looking to live close to our work place in central London (Can take upto 30 mins of commute). What locations have good school options? Both my kids are bright and excellent students overall. They will be looking to join Year 2 and Year 9 respectively. Should we consider only independent schools? What are some good state schools that we should consider. Any help will be much appreciated! Thank you
Are you looking for places in September ?
I think a lot of regular Mumsnet users are asleep, but hopefully you'll get some more responses in the morning.
Y2 and Y9 are both reasonable points to enter the English education system. (We have had a few people on here ask about trying to move their children to England at the beginning of Y11 or Y13, neither of which would work).
In and around London, there is a high density of schools, but not all are easy to get into. If you are looking at state (public) schools, you have to have an address nearby before applying. Independent (private) schools are often more flexible about this.
Depending on where in London your work will be located, you might want to look at train and underground lines going out from there.
Once you know which train/underground line you need to live on, look online at property prices and work out how close to the centre you
can afford want to live.
This should help you narrow it down to which borough(s) you want to look at, then use a school finder tool like this
Hi moved back the uk with my twins very bright but unfortunately American education system means they where behind uk children of the same age despite private school.
Good news is because my twins are bright like yours they caught up in a year two and surpassed their year group in year three. Also the school I felt we had been made to settle with by the LA as it was deemed failing a year before our children went there, then satisfactory about 3 days after our children started was given an outstanding the next year and it was. My children's elementary in the is was a feeder school to the White House silver stream or whatever the hell it was called for high schools our local taxes for that high school would make your ears bleed.
Your children will be fine in the UK x don't believe the press.
You can look at the following to judge whether or not a school should be on your shortlist:
- Ofsted rating: how much government inspectors feel the school has met certain criteria.
- Results at age 11 / age 16: obviously this will depend on the ability of the pupils, which can vary between schools.
- Measures of progress / 'value added': possibly a more useful gauge of the teaching.
To give you an idea about the curriculum, these are examples of some of the topics my twins (Y9) have studied this year in their core subjects:
English language: creative writing, persuasive writing.
English literature: literary analysis of Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, The Merchant of Venice.
Maths: ratio & proportion, probability, data handling, algebra (simultaneous equations), geometry, basic trigonometry.
Physics: energy (formulae for calculating kinetic energy etc), velocity and acceleration, specific hear capacity & specific latent heat.
Chemistry: atomic structure, types of bonding, groups in the periodic table, balanced chemical equations, neutralisation reactions, exothermic & endothermic reactions.
Biology: cell structure, organisation in plants and animals, enzymes, types of transport in and out of cells, digestive system, heart & circulatory system, communicable and non-communicable diseases.
TheThirdofHerName, Our workplace is in High Holborn. I was looking at Hampstead, Barbican areas primarily. Barbican for City of London school for girls. Are there other locations I should consider with outstanding schools? Do people pick home first or pick school first? Seems like a conundrum.
You’re very unlikely to get a y9 place in a top-flight academic private school like city or south Hampstead, as they will be full. The same goes for selective state schools like He rietta Barnett.
But kids of all abilities do well in mainstream comprehensives like parliament hill, fortismere and acland burghley, all of which are much more likely to have places come free for in-year applications.
Where are you moving from in the US? Best advice is to cast a wide net and be prepared to have them at different schools if needs be. Most private schools are academically selective so if you are coming this summer, you have missed exams for occasional places. Maybe try Northbridge House which goes all the way through. Your yr 9 can move for 6th form from there or stay on and your yr 6 won't have the pressure of diving into 11plus exams.
Are you looking for a year 9 place starting in September? Or a year 9 place now?
The issue will be that you cannot apply to a state school until you have an address so that is why many people relocating from abroad end up having to go down the independent route.
Looking for Year 9 in September for my daughter. Year 3 for my son. Thanks for all the tips. I don't have a strong preference for American curriculum.
You have missed the boat for applications to selective independents for this September. So Year 9 City is out.
Would also be tricky to get state school places until you have a definite address.
So you're probably best off looking at independent schools that go all the way through? International schools might be easier to access as they will have higher levels of pupil turnover. So the American schools are good suggestions.
If you then wanted to move the kids later on you could. State school places do come available at various stages - but y7 is the key change year when kids transition from primary to secondary. In the Independent system there are more options - with years 4,5,7,9 and 11 all being possible transition years depending on which school you are targeting.
Hampstead is a lovely place to live BTW
You are best advised to block out a couple of days and go on a massive phoning campaign. Subscribe to the good school’s guide, print out maps with circles showing transport times and start where you want to live but be flexible and roll out from there. I just helped someone looking for year 6 and year 9 places in west London and it is tough. Most occasional places were released in March to avoid losing a term’s fees and so filled in April. New schools are a good bet as they are still filling places (I only know about ones in Chelsea/Fulham but perhaps there are some in north London) and otherwise it is just the luck that you phone just after someone else has abruptly released a place unexpectedly. Don’t hang about - schools close for the summer in three weeks so you have very little time.
Have your children done any standardised testing (here CAT tests ( it the same thing as the us ones!) or NFER are the typical providers). If so these can be very useful for quickly indicating to schools whether your children will fit their profile. The years you need are quite good ones- no looming exam hurdles so that is helpful.
Give the time pressure you might also want to consider paying for a consultant
@Michaelahpurple Thanks for the recommendations. What are some good schools in Chelsea/Fulham? I will start on the phoning campaign now.
you are not going to get from Hampstead to High Holborn in half an hour, I don't think. How well do you know London? Are you coming from a similar city?
If you are relocating through an employer I would advise you ask for both a relocation consultant and also especially a specialist education consultant who can help you especially at such short notice. Note that many of the private schools will be finishing the year in the first week of July.
What sort of area do you want to live in? Green and leafy? Urban. Suburban? Do you want coed or are you OK with single sex schools?
With Girls most change schools at age 11 which is good news for you as spaces may have opened up due to relocation.
All girls private consider Francis Holland, Queens College, More House(Catholic). City, south Hampstead, Queensgate.
Coed Latymer Upper, Portland Place, Northbridge House, Forest school
Some of these like Forest and Northbridge house have their own junior schools.
State the local education authority has to find you school places. These don’t need to be at your nearest schools or at good schools just schools. The good news is much of London has a fluid population so even though when you look on the right move school checker it says oversubscribed this is for the main entry points not in year admissions
Just thought of another. Fulham Prep has just opened a senior school so may well have space for both kids
Umm Hampstead to High Holborn is about 25 minion public transport
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