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Moving back to the UK and primary school

(7 Posts)
Jo2508 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:11:09

Hi, I'm new to mumsnet and hope that someone can give me some advice. I've been living in the Netherlands for the last 5 years and am moving back to the UK next year. My daughter is 8 and has been at a Dutch school since she was 4. We are an English speaking family at home, but she is completely bilingual.
We are going to be based in either Surrey or Sussex, but won't know which for at least 3-4 months. I'm trying to work out whether it would be better to move before the end of the school year here or to wait until the summer. I've spoken to some parents from the British International School here, and to some friends who have moved back to the UK from other countries, and most of them have said it may be better to move over Easter, or even later towards the end of this school year. This is because they think that it's not so overwhelming to start a new school year as (possibly) the only new child in the class, and that coming into a class during the school year makes it a more positive experience. I also don't know how feasible it is to get a school place in the middle of a year?
I guess in my daughter's case, there will also be the issue of her English writing/spelling and possibly reading (although she reads in English pretty fluently) being lower than her age group, and it would be great to know if anyone has any advice or experience of this and maybe how to start working on that now to minimise any difficulties.
Any replies gratefully received! Thanks a lot x

An0therName Thu 11-Oct-12 21:26:50

getting a school place is a bit of a matter of luck whatever time of year - although at your daughters age I think there is more flexiablity in class sizes - I moved my DS for the last half term of school year and that did work well - he was also not worring about the new school over the holidays.
I would work on her english writing and spelling - there is a living overseas section and it might be worth having a look there or posting as sure there are quite a few people who have done it - have a look at the various moving schools threads on this section on how the system works

Bellie Fri 12-Oct-12 18:35:05

are you planning state or private? This will make a big difference in places and obviously where you want to buy a home.

Jo2508 Fri 12-Oct-12 21:05:41

Thanks for your replies, good to hear that what I've heard about moving during the school year is reflected in your experience.
I will definitely work on her writing and spelling, there's also the issue that Dutch schools don't really give homework until now, and even that is only one piece of maths a week, so I think there's going to be a big difference there. Definitely going state school, can't afford private so I guess that will make it more difficult to get a place. I don't know whether it's worth looking into specific areas/schools yet though as it's just too early to know exactly which area we're going to be based. I suppose I could start researching, but don't really know where to start!

mummytime Fri 12-Oct-12 21:17:05

I wouldn't panic too much. UK schools (state) are quite used to children joining from other countries, even with very little/no English at all. Not all schools give primary school age children lots of homework, my DC's one has a no homework policy for example.

Jenny70 Sat 13-Oct-12 17:25:39

My Dd switched schools with only 3 weeks of the year to go. Worked great, she met the kids, activities were fun wind down stuff... and this year, no hassles at all.

So we found startind mid-year great (even at that late stage).

Jo2508 Wed 14-Nov-12 12:53:35

Thank you, I"m sure switching towards the end of the year is better than starting new at the beginning of a new school year. Now I have the problem of the apparently chicken and egg situation - can't apply for a school unless we have a permanent address in the UK and we won't have that until just before we move (as we will be renting). I have been told by the local council (Horsham) that we can only apply once we have our rental contract with an address, and that even then, that won't guarantee us a place at one of the schools I have identified as ones I would like to apply for. They said that it will only take 10 (working days I assume, therefore 2 weeks) for our application to go through, but I'm still unclear what happens if we don't get a place in any of the schools we put down.
Does anyone have any advice about this? Some friends have advised putting down a false address, but of course I am reluctant to even think about doing this and I wouldn't be able to provide proof of (false) address anyway!

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