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returning to UK primary schools...a good idea?

(6 Posts)
aardvark5 Thu 11-Feb-16 11:22:05

My family (me, husband, three children 7, 5 and 3) have been happily living in Germany for the last 3 years. My eldest is in his 2nd year in a German primary school and my middle in his last year at Kindergarten. Unfortunately, it looks as if we'll have to return to the UK in the summer and put them into years 4 and 2 (the youngest is fine, she'll just go into Reception).

I've been hearing a lot of horror stories in the media and over Facebook about the pressures being put on our primary children. I looked at the 2016 model KS1 and KS2 English SATs papers and was rather shocked - I'm a secondary English teacher and have taught A Level Language students who wouldn't pass that test.

So - is it all just media hype or are your children feeling the pressure? Are the schools just keeping their heads and going about business as usual, or is there a noticeable step up in the heat? It's going to be a difficult move as it is, would you drop your kids into the UK primary system at the moment? I'd be grateful for your experiences!

Euphemia Thu 11-Feb-16 16:55:42

There is no UK primary system - I assume you're talking about England?

NynaevesSister Thu 11-Feb-16 18:18:34

Well your question is an odd one. Did you copy and paste from an ex pat forum? It is just that we don't really have any choice. If you're not in the 7percent that manage to send your kids private, and you can't homeschool, then that's your only option.

My son is in year 6. We've had a really good experience as he goes to a marvellous school where the teaching staff work hard and the teaching is robust but the pressure is kept off the kids.

However I am from NZ and I hate the system here. I hate the homework and the lack of play and creativity and the way they have to start when they are 4 even though compulsory school age isn't until they are 5. I hate that parents here buy into all this and worry when their three year olds aren't reading yet.

But I can't send him to school in NZ so there's no point angsting over it. We went with the school we thought really looked after the children and put them first.

Nicknamegrief Thu 11-Feb-16 18:27:02

Some of it is hype and some of it is true in my experience. The type of parent you are and how you deal with things will make some difference to how the 'system' affects your child.
I do have my concerns and am a school governor which gives me an opportunity to say/try and do something.
A lot of it is do with the headteacher, the teacher and so on. Having experienced a lot of schools (army family- my oldest went to 6 primary schools), it does vary.
But like the OP said, it's not like you have a much of choice.

aardvark5 Thu 11-Feb-16 19:10:00

Thanks for your replies. Sorry, Euphemia, yes, you're right, I do mean the English primary system.

I have a friend from NZ who complains relentlessly about the German system lacking creativity. Nice to hear that you found a good school. I think I probably need to stop reading the press stories and go and talk to a few schools.

MissWimpyDimple Thu 11-Feb-16 21:48:50

I know the German and English system fairly well.

There is definitely a more laid back approach in Germany but they give a lot more homework!

Your biggest issue could be your middle child, to go from kingergarten to year 2 will be a huge step. The other children will have had 2 years of formal teaching and most will be able to read fairly well. You might want to look into helping him with that.

Oh and stop reading the daily mail hmm

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