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Don't think I want our kids to have a UK education any more

(60 Posts)
feesh Sat 01-Mar-14 18:34:22

I couldn't decide where to post this, but I figured you lot might be more understanding and less defensive grin

We live in the Middle East and since we moved here, have had two gorgeous little kids. I am starting to think about where they should go to school, even though it's a couple of years off yet.

I always kind of assumed we'd go back to England at some point, probably before they start school, mainly because we don't get an education allowance here, but also because I have elderly parents and I never planned on staying an expat forever.

But the more I read about the UK education system on Mumsnet, the more depressed I get and I don't think I want to put our kids through it. I know some schools are better than others, but it's more the general principles of education now that I'm struggling with, such as :

- Ridiculous amounts of homework for primary school kids - when are they supposed to play, socialise, develop hobbies?
- Ofsted and their arbitrary ranking of schools and how league table obsessed everyone is
- Segregating kids according to ability in PRIMARY school! I think it's terrible. I was a G&T child, but we were never put in sets that young and I just have happy, fun memories of primary school without there being any pressure, which I think helped me to see that learning can be fun and enjoyable.
- Exams at primary level (SATs). I don't agree with this at all.
- Weird stuff they learn nowadays such as phonics and number bonds (this is me just being an old biddy and thinking "Well I didn't learn that and it didn't do me any harm" I freely admit!).

Anyone else thinking similarly? And if so, what do you plan to do about it? I would be interested to hear other views on the issue.

SouthernHippyChick Mon 03-Mar-14 15:08:50

It's not perfect but i appreciate the teacher training, the resourcing, the breadth of the curriculum and the oversight there is compared to where we've been. And it's "free"!

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 03-Mar-14 15:16:53

OP I am overseas and have had the conundrum of which education system to choose. The things that I find so depressing about how education is delivered in England are:

- The idea that parents can't make the right choices for their kids (what to pack in their lunch boxes, whether they should be off school on a certain day or whether they can take an additional day holiday etc)

- The crazy system of how to get into a good school which seems totally unfathomable and against the spirit in which it was designed (e.g. you pay for a very expensive house super close to a good school or take your chances…)

But I think the education itself is pretty good compared to other systems which seem either rather too rote learning or conversely, too little academics.

No system is perfect I guess - and within each system there are better and worse schools. But if I am honest it is one of the reasons I'm not keen to come back to the UK.

SookyLaLa Mon 03-Mar-14 15:17:48

oh sorry Goodness, I didn't see your comment about healthcare! I am actually in two minds about that. I'm in London and I can say honestly my experience with GP, hospitals etc has been horrible - I do resent having to pay towards the NI when I get such shit service. I do hear though outside of London it works well so perhaps its just unfortunate for me.

Don't get me wrong, I would hate to live in the US and need medical attention for example, it's great how healthcare is available to all. But I have a friend who in the last 12 months has introduced me to two of her friends who have come over to the UK to give birth and then gone home. Obviously they are British as they have NI number, but if you are not actively paying into the NI then I don't think you should be able to use it. Although I'm not sure how they could police that...

Regarding schooling, the other options for us is either back to Australia or to Ireland. My DH is Irish and he says they have a very good education system. I'm really not that fussed by it all, I have looked at Ofsted reports for local school because I feel like a bad parent if I don't but I really feel it's a combination of the school, the parents input and time with their DC, and of course the students ability. If my DD left school and got an apprenticeship for example I'd be happy enough with that (even though DH and I are both tertiary educated and deep down just assume she will be too!).

SavoyCabbage Mon 03-Mar-14 20:30:54

The TA comment was about the fact that there is often little additional help within the school itself. My dd had poor fine motor skills and therefore poor pencil control. I think if she had been at school in the UK the natural progression of things would have been that TA would have helped my dd and the other little boy in her class with this. Sat with them and given them some extra help maybe. My dd's teacher wouldn't have had time to give my dd additional support. So you have to pay for it. Which of course only works if you can afford it. And if you give a toss.

Also, dd would have had the opportunity to do activities that improved her fine motor skills at a school in the uk. Threading, play doh etc, none of which happen in any school I have worked at in Victoria.

Obviously I did do that stuff at home, but she mostly preferred wrestling and training tigers in her spare time.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 03-Mar-14 20:35:07

Yes they'd definitely do that in my daughters reception class. They actively do.

shellybr Tue 04-Mar-14 07:55:38

we are in Perth and find my sons school excellent. I have one in Year 2 and 1 in Kindy. In both Kindy and preprimary they do heaps of activities to enhance their fine motor skills. So it must differ from state to state. They use playdoh all the time too.

SookyLaLa Tue 04-Mar-14 08:31:14

Oh how very clever of her Savoy, you must be so proud. DD is scared of crocodiles at the moment, wrestling and training tigers really is quite brave.

blueshoes Tue 04-Mar-14 08:37:47

One thing UK schools don't do well is languages. If putting your dcs in a different environment will allow them to pick up a useful language, that is a big plus.

Pupsiecola Tue 04-Mar-14 11:14:34

I agree blueshoes. Drives DH dippy that they're learning French. Especially given that they've come back from overseas and are beginners at it when their peers aren't. So they feel a bit lost. And DS1 is continuing with his Mandarin which he really enjoys.

TheLeftovermonster Sun 09-Mar-14 20:42:46

We moved back to the UK from Dubai a few years ago, and I couldn't believe how poor the kids' new UK school was, compared to the Dubai one - and they supposedly follow the same curriculum!
It was not my first choice of school, tbh, and I have since found a better one. The thing about the English curriculum is that it can be delivered in different ways, which is great in the case of some schools, while others can get away with teaching the bare minimum and ticking boxes. Hence hysteria over league tables, school places, etc.

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