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Visitors from abroad joining your children at school

(38 Posts)
ILoveAFullFridge Sun 04-Nov-12 08:19:18

My cousin is thinking of coming to stay for a few weeks next autumn, and we were wondering whether her dc could join mine at school during that time.

They would be in Y5 and Y6. The older ones (twins, currently in Y5) already have a decent standard of conversational English, and the youngest one is not far behind.

Has anyone ever done this? My cousin says it's not unusual in her country, and I recall it happening in school a few times when I was a child, but is the Head going to think I'm crazy when I ask her about it?

ContinentalKat Sun 04-Nov-12 08:26:22

I would go for it! It would be a great experience for all children involved.

We have had a Swedish visitor at our primary and have ourselves visited primaries abroad. All of these visits were one day visits and great fun for all.

The only problem with longer visits is that integrating them into the school's daily routine will mean extra work for the teachers involved, and I am sure there are insurance issues to think about as well.

I would definitely talk to the head, it's too great an opportunity to miss!

SavoyCabbage Sun 04-Nov-12 08:26:28

It definitely happens in our school in Australia but stuff is so relaxed here. In the uk you will run into problems I expect with LEAs and visas and class sizes.

JellyBelly10 Sun 04-Nov-12 08:29:27

I'm sure the school would be more than happy for them to visit and that their presence for a few hours might be mutually beneficial to both them and the British children, but surely they can't actually attend school full-time for several weeks? The school will have legal adult/child ratios to adhere to which might be skewed by these children being there apart from anything else. I don't think schools can just have children attending short-term without them being properly registered by the local authority etc.

WofflingOn Sun 04-Nov-12 08:34:30

I've taught in schools in England where it wouldn't be a problem, in my current school it would be OK for a few days but no longer due to class sizes and different attitude of SLT.
Only way you will know is to ask the school in writing, so they have time to think it through.

Himalaya Sun 04-Nov-12 08:41:36

I remember this happening when I was a kid, but things were more easy going then. There are probably 101 reasons to say 'no' now.
Go in and chat to the head?

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 04-Nov-12 08:41:46

Thanks for raising these extra issues. Clearly it's not a completely bonkers idea. I shall talk to the Head. Having foreign visitors for a fortnight could be very enriching for the school, I think, and if she's interested then there are always s.

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 04-Nov-12 08:42:13


30ish Sun 04-Nov-12 08:45:30

This wouldn't be allowed to happen in my school due to class size, adult ratios etc. Also, it might effect school trips and planned activities. Autumn term us a very hectic one too. I think it's a bit cheeky to ask for them to be allowed to go to school for a few weeks tbh. A visit i could understand. Perhaps find someone to mind the children instead of expecting schools to use their limited resources.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 04-Nov-12 08:48:51

This happened at me secondary school. My pen friend came to lessons for a week. I think the paperwork now to sort it would be loads and the teachers maybe not too impressed but no harm in asking.

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 04-Nov-12 08:50:14

It's not about finding free child care! I find that quite insulting. It's about cultural and educational enrichment. Of course I would help out in any way possible to make it easier for the school. I could, for example, volunteer at the school to help with the adult:child ratios.

Ouluckyduck Sun 04-Nov-12 08:50:27

We've done this with a visiting child from Germany, for three days. The Head was not happy when I asked and initially said no when I asked "for insurance reasons", but the bursar who knows all the legal stuff said it's not a problem. Unfortunately you will get a not very welcoming attitude here and in RL to this kind kind of thing, in my experience other countries are far more welcoming and relaxed and see it as a positive experience not a burden.

bruffin Sun 04-Nov-12 08:50:32

My dcs primary had one or two visitors for a few weeks.

MumToTheBoy Sun 04-Nov-12 08:54:40

I wasn't allowed to take my own ds to a disco at my school (not the one he attends) as he wouldn't be covered by the insurance, so I'm sure he same will apply in this situation.

Ouluckyduck Sun 04-Nov-12 08:59:07

The bursar at my dd's school pointed out that schools have visitors in all the time for all sorts of reason - while they are normally adult visitors tha doesn't mean that child visitors can't come in. For our visiting child we just filled in the same form you fill in for any other child - contact details, medical information, and that was it. No other paperwork required.

ivykaty44 Sun 04-Nov-12 09:02:37

I know this happens in Birmingham when the Christmas market come to town in November - the stall holders bring their children with them until 23 December and put them in the local schools for the month, I guess there must be places.

HedgeHogGroup Sun 04-Nov-12 09:40:19

It happens all the time at my school. We welcome everyone in whether they're with us for short or long periods.
Sometimes it does feel like we're free childcare but we know being with us is best for the children.
Just don't take them out for days here and there, its annoying when you've put yourself out in this way for them to take the p* and screw up your attendance figures with random days off!

Bonsoir Sun 04-Nov-12 09:43:34

The daughter of a (French) family I know here in Paris went to stay with a family in England last June/July and was allowed to go to the local village school with the daughter of the family she was staying with. I think it depends on the school. Just ask!

expansivegirth Sun 04-Nov-12 10:13:58

give it a go with the headmaster - but first get all the relevant information you can in place re insurance etc. do you think any of the admissions people on here might have an idea? the only time i've ever asked the head for anything out of the ordinary i researched it well enough so i was able to answer every problem he put up in the course of the discussion.
my kids went into a friends US school once, admittedly only for half a day - but everyone loved it (and were very small at the time, under the age of the rest of the class).

Mutteroo Sun 04-Nov-12 10:16:11

You can but ask?

I joined my German cousin in her classes at university and had such a giggle, especially in her English class. Apparently my accent is outstanding!

Mathsdidi Sun 04-Nov-12 10:28:45

We have a German visitor every year for a term at my school. They just fit in with the rest of the kids.

I would speak to the head and see what she says. She might be keen to have them in for the whole time they are with you or she might be happy for them to visit for a couple of days, or she might only be able to accomodate them for an afternoon. It isn't a crazy idea, it's a lovely one, but it is definitely the school's decision.

clam Sun 04-Nov-12 10:29:20

I think it will entirely depend on the Head. I can think if some who'd be open to the idea and others who'd give an outright 'no.'

That said, slightly different scenario but around 25 years ago, a former pupil from the class was back visiting the area and came in to spend the day with his former classmates. Lovely idea in theory, except he spent the whole time chatting with his mates and they were far more interested in him than what we were meant to be doing, so it ended up being really disruptive. But that was in the days before Ofsted and targets and so on, and things were more relaxed. I suspect that Heads might be a little reluctant nowadays, even allowing for the suggested cultural/educational enrichment factor. Don't forget that most schools have a varied cultural mix already.

Savonarola Sun 04-Nov-12 10:33:50

I think it will come down to the attitude of the head. Some will be obstructive and throw every bureaucratic reason at you (most of these can actually be worked around); some will welcome the idea (and will solve the admin).

DS school has an exchange with a French school, which involves pupils spending time at each others school. One of our local primaries takes in the children from a travelling fair for 2 weeks every year.

StripyShoes Sun 04-Nov-12 11:20:56

My cousin came over from oz and was allowed to join a local school for four weeks.

Definitely ask!

socharlotte Sun 04-Nov-12 17:49:42

My friend wanted to do this with German speaking cousin aged 6 or 7 with very little English.The school would only agree to a half day.

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