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How likely is it that my son will get a school place in a private school in Y9 or Y10 coming from abroad?

(28 Posts)
QuintShhhhhh Sun 09-Aug-15 22:44:02

If we leave London and he leaves his private secondary school behind.

If we realize that leaving was a mistake? Is there any chance he will get a place without having sat 13+ ?

Ladymuck Mon 10-Aug-15 07:38:25

I think that this would be not only a school specific question, but even a cohort or pupil specific question I'm afraid. Moves happen at year 9 and year 10, and a school such as Whitgift offers a 14+ option, but it is obviously easier to get in if you are very academic or scholarship level for co curricular etc. Moves at year 10 are tricky in either sector to be honest, and socially this is a very tricky time to move too.

AnotherNewt Mon 10-Aug-15 07:43:41

Year 9, chances are very good - lots of schools gave a main entry point at the start of this year and there's sometimes a bit of change during the year as well.

From year 10 onwards it gets harder because (I)GCSE courses have started.

Where are you thinking of moving to? If you're in London and He doesn't want to be, how far away are you prepared to consider? Full or weekly boarding? What (roughly) went wrong with the current school (ie what do you/he want to avoid)? What things do you want in next school?

castlesintheair Mon 10-Aug-15 08:38:07

Has he got a place at the school? If so can you ask his school to hold the place for you? We did this with DS and they held it for 2 years and have since extended it. They did ask him to sit the 13+ but that was purely to see where he was, not to reclaim a place. Lots of movement in London.

QuintShhhhhh Mon 10-Aug-15 08:45:43

He is in a south west London selective (not superselective) and we are considering moving to Norway. He just finished Year 8.

We are currently on holiday here with my family, and he is keen to start school here. He will be in a good school with his "old" cohort from his previous school (he did 3 years in school here some years ago).

Of course we cant base the entire move around his school situation, there are so many factors. But his schooling is a sticking point.

I worry that he will be at an educational disadvantage if we move. That his current education is much better than the education he will get in Norway.

But plenty of Norwegians go on to uni and have happy and successful lives!? At least in Norway they do....

And then there is my youngest son, who just finished Y5, and has y6 and final year at his current school to look forward to, along with exams and interviews for private secondaries. Moving to Norway now will be a one way ticket! I cant see how he will get a secondary school place in the private sector if we were to come back and he has not sat 11plus or anything. Schools here are far behind the uk in primary, they usually catch up during secondary.

But I am not sure I can manage living in the UK much longer. It is now more than just missing home and my family, it is my health too. I dont want to be a woman without a purpose, at home feeling ill with asthma and allergies, chronic sinusitis, if there is an alternative. It is my life too! I also count.

I feel this is a situation where I am putting my childrens education and and my health on the weight scales. But, it is not like I suffer terribly. People have it much worse than me. It is just that the difference in how I feel in myself in London and in the north of norway is massive. I stop taking medicines each time I go home. In London I use inhalers, and need to take antihistamines from March till August, and they make me feel sleepy and out of sorts.

But with my husbands long working hours, the school run, not having friends and family, not having other work than a very part time job that I cant leave and that is keeping me from full time work for our own company, and some freelance work, I feel very isolated and alone. Everybody thrives but me!

My husband has suggested we move, that he works out his current one year contract and then he joins us. The kids are excited. But I feel i should value their education more.

Davros Mon 10-Aug-15 10:00:21

I am a die hard Londoner and absolutely love it here. But my god, reading your post I think there is no choice, you should move. Everyone will be fine and life will be so much better for you and therefore for everyone. Or is it possible to drastically improve things here? Pay real attention to your health, join in some community groups, do voluntary work (all sounds a bit like putting a plaster on a wooden leg!)?

basildonbond Mon 10-Aug-15 10:38:09

If you move now you can't move back again (it would be far too disruptive) so you need to be really sure

You would be liable for next term's fees - is that a factor? But presumably you're thinking of state education in Norway so that would be offset fairly quickly

Clavinova Mon 10-Aug-15 10:47:17

If the kids are excited and your dh is happy then moving seems the obvious choice especially if the cost of school fees are under consideration as well (I think you were looking at state schools as an option in previous posts). There are many less selective private schools on the outskirts of London which would mean an easy commute into town for your dh if you return.

castlesintheair Mon 10-Aug-15 11:33:36

I also think you should move back home quint. You have been talking about it for ages. Your DC will be happy and that is half the battle with education imo. And yes of course you can come back, there are always options - see my earlier post. I think once you get away from the SW London school hysteria (and I say this as a Londonder who loves the place) you will realise there is nothing more important than health and happiness. Besides which, your kids are clever enough to get into selective private schools, they speak languages, they have you as a parent, they will be fine, indeed they will flourish I am sure, anywhere. Go for it.

LIZS Mon 10-Aug-15 11:48:25

Oh dear quint, it seems as if your dilemmas are never ending. You could ask his current school whether he would be priority for a place should you return . I know others who have kept places during temporary trips but pretty sure they continued to pay in the interim. Realistically year 9 is the start of gcse syllabus teaching and important in the decision as to which subjects to take forward. Dc school also has a small intake , mostly boarders from abroad, at y10. If a school is used to accommodating expat and overseas based families they may be more cooperative with late assessments. Could your ds2 take pretests this coming year for a potential deferred place (Epsom for example).

castlesintheair Mon 10-Aug-15 11:59:01

DS's place at selective London school is being held indefinitely (he's year 9 equivalent) and we are not paying for it. I've got a friend in a similar situation to us whose son (same age) also has an open place at another super selective, and not paying. So it does happen.

I'd get your DS2 to sit 10/11+ if you are concerned, but really, I wouldn't worry.

mummytime Mon 10-Aug-15 14:25:06

Not again...

QuintShhhhhh Mon 10-Aug-15 19:08:30

Full of wisdom as usual, mummytime! wink

This is a problem you run by uprooting once, or twice, when all you want is to let your roots settle.

Before we moved to Norway the first time we were all happy in the UK. I had resigned myself to my health issues, and thought I would have to spend the rest of my life being ill so much, and chew antibiotics like candy. When we lived in Norway I was well, no antibiotics, I lost weight, was able to exercise, but did not connect the dots. It was only when we were back in London again and I started getting worse, worse than before that I began to see the links. My hayfever has gotten worse and worse, and since I was diagnosed with Asthma last spring, been dependent on inhalers. I dont need them here.

If I was thinking only of myself, we would have been back here like a shot. It is only the kids schooling and dhs job that has grounded us in London.

But ds1 has not been entirely happy in London either. He is doing well in school, but he still has friendship problems. I like to pretend he is doing really well. But, I had to take him for counselling last spring, and to see a psychiatrist. I feel better equipped to raise my children in peace and calm in a culture I understand and know, in a smaller community, and with a large network of family and friends. Here we can take our fishing rods, and our tents, and hike out, and just chill by a river, or lake, or the sea. Just us or with family and friends. Both my boys are calm and happy, no nervousness, anxiety or tantrums when we can engage in such activities.

Last week ds1 and my niece (20) went on an overnight mountain hike just the two of them. The following day my uncle took us all out fishing on his boat. The new school does not have regular PE, but offers mountain hikes, fishing, kayaking and tenting under outdoors pursuits rather than games. School finishes at 3pm, and he will have plenty of opportunity to join the local handball team and keep up kickboxing. In London I cant get him to join any sports, he says it is too competitive, everybody is so good, he does not feel welcome, etc.

I am so worried that starting again here will lead to another disappointment and more problems.

summerends Mon 10-Aug-15 19:58:08

Quint if I remember from before you were considering an international school in Norway to leave options open for later. Is that still a possibility?
The move won't resolve problems with friendships and inner contentment but it does sound as though the style of life plus access to your family are better suited to you all now. Nothing is irreversible and it will strengthen some of your roots even if not all.

QuintShhhhhh Mon 10-Aug-15 20:03:49

I am not sure about the International School to be honest. The facilities are poor, the head lack ability to do risk assessments and recently lost an entire class in the mountains as she sent the class with two new teachers (both new to the town and from the other side of the world), neither of them local and neither of them with any outdoors or map reading experience.


LIZS Mon 10-Aug-15 20:03:58

Is it worth reviewing some of your threads from your previous life there. Iirc there were a number of issues which drove your move to London, some of which may have faded from memory over time. Fwiw my asthma symptoms were triggered by persistent cold temperatures.

QuintShhhhhh Mon 10-Aug-15 20:28:57

The old issues are fresh in memory, but many won't apply any more. Like my mum, our double taxation issues, my dad is more independent, my niece lives with him, etc. The children bullying ds1 will be in a different school, different friendship groups. There will be some problems everywhere though...

mummytime Mon 10-Aug-15 20:42:09

The real problem is - your DS only has, what 6 more years of school. He has already gone from the UK to Norway to the UK. And you are not even just talking of moving him back to Norway, but if it doesn't work of moving him back to the UK again!
School is a very brief part of any child's life, and you seem intent on keep moving him. In fact the same thing was discussed during the last year.

People have suggested to you before that London is not the whole of the UK, maybe there would be somewhere you could live that would both help your health and give your son some stability. Or maybe you should investigate a boarding school. But your son needs stability, that is why the Government helps support the children of people in the armed forces.

Please give your son a little stability.

EustaceandHilda Mon 10-Aug-15 23:12:12


I don't know the backstory (and it sounds like there is one smile ) but you sound a little bit "grass is always greener". Things obviously weren't perfect in Norway or you would not have moved. At your sons' stage of education I would a) consider boarding if possible or b) leave it until they have finished A levels and move then. Your asthma must be a hard thing to deal with but people do deal with it here. Being a "woman without purpose" is a different issue - you'll possibly take that with you.

Also a boy who like fishing now might well in a few years time be longing for cabs to parties etc. (I simplify but you see my point) .

Only you will know but in truth I would probably get my boys through education and then once it is done , DH and you, go where you like.

I tend towards giving your sons stability.

Also as I understand it , you are on holiday at the moment. Even I have gazed longingly at a ruin in Italy and thought how perfect life could be grin

Just a view and please understand I don't know you and you will know what is best , but you asked on an open forum and from what i have understood - that is my view.

I wish you all the very best of luck whatever you do.


QuintShhhhhh Tue 11-Aug-15 00:04:44

I do appreciate all viewpoints and thoughts! smile

Not sure I agree that uprooting the kids to pack them off to boarding school or moving somewhere else in the uk to somewhere we know nobody and have no network is providing stability. We cant afford boarding school at 30k plus per child, thats one thing, another is that any move will be unsettling, so why move somewhere totally unknown? London is hard enough for foreigners to settle in, at least it is multicultural - we have no British friends - not for the lack of trying! I can imagine it would be harder to integrate into the lake district or south Devon!

I am not planning on not settling here, I will do all in my power that any potential move is smooth, and hopefully we will all be happy for ever and ever.

We were thinking of waiting until the kids are out of education and the youngest in Uni, but I worry that mid fifties will be too late to get my health back on track.

I am so sick of being lonely. I quite literally have nobody in the UK, and it is really eroding my life and my self esteem. You'd think 20 years in a country would mean you felt at home and had a network? I am not good at making friends, I am awkward in English, but eloquent and able to speak sense in Norwegian. Most days I dont speak to a soul while the kids are in school, unless somebody dial a wrong number.

We thought returning to the UK was best for everybody, but for me it has become a nightmare. I lost all the friends and the entire network I had before moving. When we returned to the same school, people who had been friendly before barely nodded when we came back. Not that I expected to be welcomed like a queen, but maybe a "hello how are you?" People were frosty. I gave up going to events in school, and volunteering for stuff. I was just doing my bit alone in silence while everybody else were chatting and ignoring me. Now ds2 has only one more year in primary, and when he is off to secondary there is even less parent/school involvement.

We derailed our lives when we moved to Norway the first time around. If we had not gone, things would have been very different. I wish we had not gone. I am just trying to find a way of returning happiness and stability to myself and our family.

outtolunchagain Tue 11-Aug-15 07:52:24

Quint you have ms we're your own question , you have been agonising for a long time over going home , you have a chance to do it now and for your own happiness and that of your family I think you should go .

Life is not a dress rehearsal , you cannot keep putting life on hold , you need to try to grasp happiness where you can .No solution is ever perfect but it seems self evident to me that you are not happy in London

outtolunchagain Tue 11-Aug-15 07:52:59

Sorry that should say " you have answered your own question"

summerends Tue 11-Aug-15 09:31:14

Quint from your posts here you are very good at expressing yourself in English so you may just be unlucky or lacking in confidence in RL.
My family (not my DCs) have had a dual country existence and it is difficult sometimes to feel complete and settled independently of location even when bilingual because of having different perspectives and experiences. However I think you need to go for the best balance now for the four of you taking into consideration that holiday feelings and family reunions may bias the viewpoint.

Takver Tue 11-Aug-15 17:06:48

You sound like you're in a real bind, and it's so hard to step back and look at things dispassionately. It's worth remembering that 90% of British school pupils don't get the sort of education you're describing. I strongly suspect that Norwegian schools will be at least as good if not better than the average British rural state school - and yet dc from there get on perfectly well and happily in life! (Plenty even go to what MN would consider 'good' universities grin )
I do also really sympathise with the problems of living in a foreign country, no matter how well you speak the language and how much you love the country, it just isn't the same. And London is enough to make anyone ill . . .

Takver Tue 11-Aug-15 17:07:33

Indeed, surely if you decide to come back to the UK in the end, your dc could go to non selective State schools. They really aren't that bad, honest!

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