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Help! Moving from California with a DS entering Year 11.

(86 Posts)
SaturdaySunday Fri 03-May-13 20:16:28

We are moving over this summer (July/August) and my DS is 15 but will turn 16 in mid-September this year. This puts him entering Y11. We cannot afford to go independent so will be finding a state school.

I had some idea that the secondary school thing there would be hairy, but from another thread am learning just how complicated it really is.

Our son is very bright and performs well on standardized tests but had a rough start as a freshman here this year. Consequently, his transcripts are not stellar and I am assuming he will have to work his butt off since he will be behind the other students in the GSCE. Initially I thought he might be able to start fresh at Y10 but am learning that is not an option in the state system. Again, we can't afford private school.

Any tips on navigating this? It's incredibly hard to figure this out so far away... any thoughts or ideas are appreciated!

IrritatingInfinity Fri 10-May-13 17:01:33

My four children have been educated in the US (and Canada) and the UK and we have not found a difference between the work ethics of students in each country. There were plenty of lazy kids in each country and plenty of hard working ones.

(I would imagine we might have found harder working kids in some Asian countries though) smile

I suspect you have been unlucky in the UK school that your kids went to. Perhaps if they had gone to a grammar school they would have had a more positive experience as your kids are clearly bright and hardworking students.

I have always understood that the US education system does poorly when compared with other first world countries and that numerous studies that have confirmed it. The UK consistently ranks higher that the US for high school education levels, including maths. Here is a recent and reputable study I also understand that the US education system is particularly poor at ensuring that disadvantaged children succeed at school when compared with some other developed countries. Not that the UK is great in this respect.

I agree that the Honor Roll system can work well. I think my kids benefitted from it and I think it did motivate them to work hard. Two of my kids were moved up a year as they were ahead of the other kids, especially in Maths and English and in grade 7/8/9 (ish) my eldest was put in maths classes at his selective private school in the US with children two grades older and he was still top of the class -- we always thought it was partly because he had had a strong introduction to maths in the UK.

IrritatingInfinity Fri 10-May-13 17:02:27

Forgot to say my last post was in reply to AndreaDawn. smile

AndreaDawn Sat 11-May-13 15:20:40

IrritatingInfinity......I hear what you are saying but unfortunately Grammar schools are few and far between and we don't have one in our vicinity.

Our experience of the US education system was a fantastic one, we were lucky enough to be in a great ISD and our teachers right from Kindergarten up thru High school were brilliant and dedicated. We have not had the same experience here and we do have a pretty good secondary school by British standards, but it is still no match for what we had in Texas and does not even come close! In year 10 and 11 here, my daughter was doing Math that she had done way back in grade 5 in the US and in all the other core subjects, the learning and teaching was leaps and bounds above what they do here. Reading, writing, spelling and grammar are studied far more extensively, bad spelling was not acceptable in our Texan ISD, so in my experience, the US standard was much higher than your state school in Britain. smile

IrritatingInfinity Sat 11-May-13 18:29:42

I know that there are plenty of great US schools. However, the point I trying to make was that overall the US education system is no better than the UKs. On an anecdotal level there will be a million instances where one system is better than the other but overall there is little difference.
The OECD, Programme for International Student Assessment conducts huge impartial studies comparing students in many developed countries. The US and the UK are very similar. In the last batch of tests in 2009 the UK did slightly better at maths and science while the US did slightly better at English.

Having educated my kids at a number of schools in a number of countries I know that it is perfectly possible to be at a brilliant school but get an awful teacher, or an awful class. It can also work the other way around. It is hard to generalise.

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 11-May-13 18:38:57

You may find that he finds GCSEs like math(s) and English language comparatively easy. My DD is in 8th grade in the American system, we are relocating to UK this summer (but she will continue her education in an American international school at eyewatering expense). I bought her some GCSE practice books in maths, as she is supposed to not be very good at maths (despite scoring 87% in her MAP tests hmm). She rattled through the standard level one, telling me that she had "done this stuff" in 6th grade and made a good fist of the higher level one. Ditto English language. So depending on how academic your son's current school is, he may not struggle at all. We are transferring DD2 (6th grade) to the UK system, and I don't think she will have a problem.

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 11-May-13 18:42:11

Just saw that AndreaDawn said the same thing about the maths.

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 11-May-13 18:54:06

Also agree with IrritatingInfinity re there not being that much difference between the two systems. But there can be vast differences between schools, the work ethic and results in both countries - DD1's current school is academic and hoofs out kids at the end of 9th grade who aren't going to make the grade academically.

IBMOM Wed 17-Jul-13 13:23:23

You may be able to afford a Private American school if you sacrifice your lifestyle. If you are coming over because of your DH employment then I'm sure he is paid well as an expat. Yes your DS education may not be covered. Downsize the type of house you rent, do not do any holidays and sacrifice whatever you can and give him the education he deserves. After all, you coming here to the UK is your decision and not his! Sorry to be harsh but you may not know how many parents do that kind of sacrifices for their kids. My children attend an American school in London and I know plenty of parents who are paying the fees by sacrificing their comforts and lifestyle. Hats off to them! Also as your son's university entrance will depend mostly on a GPA , how are you going to achieve this once you go back from a system which does not do that. His work here will not be comparable and will not be converted in a way that does him any favours. You really will be messing with his life if you go ahead with this. So sad to even hear that you were considering such an option.

luxemburgerli Wed 17-Jul-13 14:12:58

If the OP is an academic family, I assure you it is entirely possible that the DH is not paid all that well! Probably doesn't even get a relocation payment, or any help with visas etc. You really are on your own...

mummytime Wed 17-Jul-13 14:20:38

Also plenty of US universities recruit from the UK, and don't seem at all bothered about the lack of GPA when I've spoken to them.

lljkk Mon 22-Jul-13 07:48:34

....OP disappeared months ago...

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