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Schools in the UK

(73 Posts)
user1482278771 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:18:26

Greetings all!
My apologies in advance for my lack of knowledge on the subject. We are Americans and will be moving to the UK in late 2017. We have the option of living anywhere there, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
We are searching for cities that have good schools that are not oversubscribed. We also prefer Christian faith (state?) schools if this is possible, Catholic, C of E, etc, all of which would be fine. We prefer to have prayer included in school as well as mass or service, but again, I am not sure how this works over there. Here in the US, we have to pay for a Christian (private) school. I understand religion is taught in most if not all schools within the UK...?
Also, we will be without a vehicle, for the safety of mankind smile So any place that has good transport, buses are fine, and/or walking distance to schools, shops, etc. Nothing rural. (Have I eliminated all choices here? smile Scotland, Wales, England, we are open to all. We would just like to be able for our children to attend a school where the student:teacher ratio isn't astronomical and where we don't have to fight for a spot just to attend. Thank you so much!!

HeCantBeSerious Wed 21-Dec-16 00:22:59

Pretty sure you're shooting for the moon there! Which bit is the priority?

HeCantBeSerious Wed 21-Dec-16 00:24:16

"Normal" student teacher ratio for primary is 1:30, but it can go higher. Good schools are popular. Popular schools don't have fewer pupils.

Middleoftheroad Wed 21-Dec-16 00:25:03

I'm confused as Catholic and C of E schools are very different! Which one do you practise?
If you are prepared to pay for education in the UK then you can select one that suits your needs.

user1482278771 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:25:48

I think our priority would be student:teacher ratio, not oversubscribed...Sorry, I know we asked for a lot smile

HeCantBeSerious Wed 21-Dec-16 00:26:59

You're not going to get below 1:30 without going very rural. (Island in the Outer Hebrides rural.)

user1482278771 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:27:47

The C of E and Catholic schools would be different, obviously. But we are open to both...

HeCantBeSerious Wed 21-Dec-16 00:29:35

They prioritise those from the specific religion though.

user1482278771 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:29:53

HeCantBeSerious-Thank you for your help! Geez, 1:30 seems insane! Is that just 1 teacher??! ;)

user1482278771 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:31:04

Ah, I see. That makes sense. Whew. We are in for a challenge!

HeCantBeSerious Wed 21-Dec-16 00:33:25

Yes. And then teaching assistants depending on age of the children/special needs statements etc.

There's a shortage of school places and teachers in much of the UK. State education is a demanding and increasingly thankless area to work in. As a result most schools are underfunded/underresourced and at capacity (or above).

nottinghamgal Wed 21-Dec-16 00:34:52

Are you prepared to pay? How old are the children?

nottinghamgal Wed 21-Dec-16 00:36:25

Regular state school will at primary level (up to 11) have some level of worship such as songs and prayer. Also more at Christmas, there are quite a few catholic and CofE SChools but in nice areas they tend to be over subscribed as lots of them are good schools.

Astro55 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:37:58

Have you looked at the Isle of Man? Lots of smaller schools with little classes - lots of transport and nothing that far away

USofAMum Wed 21-Dec-16 00:38:24

HeCantBeSerious-I have been reading about that as well. That is such a shame.
nottinghamgal-Hello! We were honestly hoping to find a state school...This may be a task too great, I can see now... :/

Astro55 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:38:43

Also - id look at Cardiff or Bristol !!

USofAMum Wed 21-Dec-16 00:39:39

Astro55-Thank you!! I will add Isle Of Man to the list smile

Rockingaround Wed 21-Dec-16 00:41:01

Hi - with catholic schools you generally need to be Catholic, with CofE you have to - I think - be regular church goers, with a confirmation letter (from clergy). A regular state school teaches awareness and acceptance of all religions, holding none precedent. I would find a church you would like to be part of first, then go from there ...perhaps one with similar practices to your own.

nottinghamgal Wed 21-Dec-16 00:41:29

It might not be but it's hard when you want to not do rural as a lot of rural schools have slightly smaller school classes.

I'm biased as I work in a private school. We have classes of up to 20 but you do have to pay for that and it's about £3500 per child per term.

Rockingaround Wed 21-Dec-16 00:47:31

I'd look at Hertfordshire and surrounding areas if I were you, especially as you don't drive, there is quite a good melting pot of people there but not as diverse as London which is where we live, meaning that fighting for school places which prioritise religion is ny-on impossible, unless you can pay (a lot) to live next to an outstanding, religious school.

Crumbs1 Wed 21-Dec-16 00:49:51


PhilODox Wed 21-Dec-16 01:03:27

If you look at the new 2016 performance tables, many of the top 1000 schools were in fact small village schools with 10-15 in a year. Of course, it does mean that classes will be mixed, two school years together, but small schools overall. These English village schools are also mainly CofE schools (not all, of course). Where will you be working? Some industries won't be available in some areas.
Houses in England are very small, so unless you're coming from NYC, I'm afraid you may be in for a shock. I'll not mention prices/rents

PhilODox Wed 21-Dec-16 01:05:48

You also don't say what ages your children are.
I'm a bit dubious about how religious you can he if you don't mind whether it's mass or service! hmm

USofAMum Wed 21-Dec-16 04:16:56

Hi, PhilODox! Thank you so much for the info! Our children are aged for primary school.
As far as religious, well, we currently visit a local non denominational church, while one child attends a Baptist school, and the other Catholic. Our thoughts: Not only are the children taught about Jesus, but it also broadens their minds and interpretations, not to mention the understanding of different ways of worship. We are simply not fussy about religion and feel it is extremely important to teach Christian values. So while a C of E and a Catholic school may vary greatly, we would be happy either way.
In the states, religion has been removed from all public schools, therefore we must pay for a Christian education if we desire one for our children.

Mondrian Wed 21-Dec-16 04:59:51

Do bear in mind that moving to a certain area does not necessarily guarantee a place in your chosen school even if you are within their catchment area. Furthermore there are deadlines for school applications meaning that you need to be living in that area when you apply, so if you move in summer you probably won't get into your no 1 pick as its more than likely over subscribed.

You also need to look a little further down the line, what happens when kids progress to secondary? You need to choose an area that also offers good secondary education.

As a side note cost of housing in a good school catchment area is 20-30% higher that surrounding areas so at the end of the day going private affords you the option of cheaper housing.

Buckinghamshire & Hampshire have good education levels with matching house prices.

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