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How To Prepare Your International Child For Education In England

If you’re planning on moving to England with your family, then it will be in your best interest to know how the school system works for your child, and what you need to do to prepare them. Here’s a guide to get you started.

The Different Types Of Schools Available

What you may not know about England, is that there are actually quite the number of different schools for children to choose from. This doesn’t just mean location based, most of the time you will have different options to apply to for the children.

For example, there are independent, state or international schools to begin with. The independent school are schools that are not funded by the government, and charge their own fees to parents, rather then rely on tax payments. The schools will still need to be inspected by educational organisations such as OFSTED, in order to see they are offering a good service.

Usually, these independent schools will have better quality equipment and facilities, as they have the financial backing to get the best. Interestingly, they don’t need to follow the national curriculum, instead having the freedom to set their own, as well as their own admission criteria.

State schools, also known as comprehensive schools, are schools that fall under the governments ruling. This means they are funded by the government, and all will follow the national curriculum.

There are a few different examples of schools that fall under this bracket. There are community schools, which are run by the local council. Foundation schools, which have more choice and freedoms when it comes to how they run. Academies are more popular in recent years, and are mainly run by a governing body, away from local councils.

There are also faith schools, which whilst still around, aren’t as popular as they used to be. They mainly are similar to the other schools, but with more of a focus on religious studies. 

The most common of schools around, aside from community schools, are grammar schools, which are run on student merit. Meaning that they will need an entrance exam in order to qualify for admission. 

These schools will usually be in every city in the country in some form, so it’s worth having a look at the area you’re planning to move to, to see if the school that interests you falls into that catchment area.

Give Them Extra English Lessons

There are plenty of different ways in which a child can learn English before school. If they have no basic knowledge of English then they will get very little from normal schools, and will need lots of tutoring just to catch up.

What you can do, is enrol them into an English language summer school. These specialised schools are often separate to main schools, and offer unique courses. You can enrol your child into Skola, a school which offers children English lessons alongside other activities right in the centre of London. If you’re not around in the summer, then you can help your child all year round via online lessons.

Another bonus, is that many schools such as these actually offer both child and parent dual teachings, so you can both learn together if applicable. Commonly, it is just the child that requires the basic introduction to English.

These extra lessons will put your child and children into a position where they can at least understand the lessons in school and be able to learn in other areas of school, such as maths and science.

How Kids Are Assessed And Taught

When it comes to educating young children in the country, it is done through five different stages. They are early years foundation stage (ages 3-5), key stage 1 (ages 5-7), key stage 2 (ages 7-11), key stage 3 (ages 11-14) and finally key stage 4 (ages 14-16).

These different key stage groups are broken down into different year groups, ranging from reception all the way to year 11. When a student gets to the end of each key stage year, they will take part in an exam test, and are usually expected to reach a certain amount in order to progress, if not, they will have to retake the exam.

Visit Schools And Locations With Your Child

It is crucial that before you enrol your child into a school, that you at least visit the location with them, in order to see if it’s a good fit for both parties. You will find that some schools will have specialisations, such as IT or sport, that might benefit your child.

It’s also a great way for your child to see if they like it themselves, as that is one of the most important things. It’s also a great way for the school teachers to meet your child, and tell them about the school themselves.

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