South African Schooling vs UK Schooling

(12 Posts)
LesleyA Mon 20-Nov-17 12:50:59

Hi I wonder if there are any mums from South Africa living in the UK who could advise me on how their kids found the level of difficulty of school work in comparison to SA. We are considering moving to the UK in August 2018 and my daughter who is 9 is struggling at school and I'm concerned the work is even harder in UK. Also will the kids have started French? Thanks, LesleyA

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LesleyA Mon 20-Nov-17 12:54:15

Another thing... my daughter is on Ritalin LA, and while I understand the negative effects, the positive performance and improvement in her work has been amazing since being on it. I heard its very difficult to get a doctor/psychiatrist to prescribe it. Is that so? Does anyone know what I will need (letter from her current doctor). Thank you

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MurielsBottom Mon 20-Nov-17 13:02:09

Hi, I do not know anything about the south african school system, however most primary schools offer one European language, where I live it is French or spanish and usually started in KS1.

Your daughter will be put in a class at school according to her age rather than ability and the teacher will assess her progress and offer support if she is behind or in front of her peers. (This is the theory, how well it works in practice varies from school to school). So you don't need to be too concerned about the level she is working at as a good school should be able to keep her working at the expected levels.

sallythesheep73 Mon 20-Nov-17 13:36:39

If you go to this website you will be able to see what your child should be able to do at what age and gauge whether or not they will be behind / ahead etc.

LesleyA Mon 20-Nov-17 14:01:04

Thank you so much I will do that. Thats just great (curriculum). MurielsBottom (hilarious name) would it be true that the Ofsted schools listed as good and outstanding are most likely the most nuturing/supportive? Also do you know, as I see many are oversubscribed, whether they just take the kids that are keeping up/advanced.


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Ca55andraMortmain Mon 20-Nov-17 14:07:37

I think it's likely that the biggest change for your daughter is likely to be in the school's culture. Most UK state schools are less formal than she might be used to and she might encounter more disruptive behaviour. It's not a given that this will happen but it was certainly my experience when I moved from SA to the UK.

Ca55andraMortmain Mon 20-Nov-17 14:10:33

To answer your question, state schools can't discriminate based on ability- if there is a place available for your child in your catchment school she will be given it. I'm in Scotland and here we don't check/ask about academic ability at all when allocating places (we obviously would look at her previous school records, work etc once she had a place so we would know how best to support her learning)


BubblesBuddy Mon 20-Nov-17 16:03:34

It may not be the case that an Outstanding school has the best support for all pupils. I have a feeling you may not have much choice so try and look to see how well a school will integrate your child into the curriculum and expectations of the school.

My DDs did a term exchange visit to SA in our year 9 (aged 13) and found some subjects very different but others less advanced. It’s swings and roundabouts really at secondary age.

French will be introductory only at primary and secondary schools will refresh the basics when they arrive there aged 11. I know several SA families who relocated here and slotted in perfectly with a bit of effort. Sometimes English is behind for Africaans speakers for example.

I know the SA senior schools can be very formal and rather strict. It is less formal here and definitely fewer punishments! The emphasis is on good teaching and every child making good progress so your child will be assessed and gaps in knowledge identified. I think it’s easier to come here for primary education first rather than leaving it later.

When you are told which schools have vacancies, go and have a look around, speak to teachers and especially the Special Educational Needs Coordinator and the Head about the Ritalin. As far as I am aware it is available here, on prescription, after medical and psychological assessment. If you have already gone through these hoops in SA, you can possibly go to your GP (local doctor) with that information. Good luck with your move. Any area identified yet?

teaandbiscuitsforme Tue 21-Nov-17 05:42:11

About Ritalin, I have taught with a few South African colleagues and they have all commented on how frequently Ritalin is prescribed in SA. One even said that 3 boys in one class of 20 needed it to calm them down! There is a very different approach to it in the U.K. Thats not to say your DD won't get, obviously it completely depends on her personal situation but I'm pretty sure she would have to go through some assessments to maintain her prescription.

You will need to find a school that is very good for additional needs though so that may be a priority.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 23-Nov-17 16:08:57

We have experience of this. The school system here is a different school year so that's one thing to check and depending on where you are moving to, if you're moving in Aug, the school year will start very soon after (Sept) so you'll need to have worked with the LA well before you move.

Most primary schools will have started French but only at a very basic level so I wouldn't worry about that. Depending on the area / school, I think there will be a step up academically. Teaching is less formal here than SA and there is certainly not as much excessive discipline as in SA.

BubblesBuddy Fri 24-Nov-17 00:21:02

One of my DDs was given “Hard Labour” as a punishment in SA. Her knickers were not folded in her drawer in her dorm. What she was asked to do would not have been acceptable here. The older girls had way too much power and enjoyed using it and bullying the younger girls. South Africans appeared to tolerate it. There were lots of other incidents she witnessed that were unacceptable.

LesleyA Sun 26-Nov-17 19:24:25

Thank you everyone for your input. I thought I had received a couple of replies and that was that...but logging on this evening I see so much more info thank you! I'm completely torn - my daughter is in a very nuturing school in SA and if it wasnt for the economic and crime situation I wouldnt want to move her at all. I agree I think it would be better to come while she is in primary so she is familiar with the culture/way of doing things. Will reread all the input. Outside London - in a little village would be great although as Ive done that in my 20's and 30's I'm keen to try life in a place like Stroud. Any opinions on that?
Thanks again for input.

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