International Schools such as Southbank and Dwight School London teach the International Baccalaureate. The International School of London teaches the IB and also offers mother tongue programmes for International students.
The ACS Schools, TASIS and The American School in London teach the American curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate.
With an estimated 400,000 French people living in London, the French Schools are heavily oversubscribed especially the Lycée Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington. Such demand has meant they have opened a new campus in Wembley, the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill.
French families should look out for schools registered with AEFE and CNED. AEFE is a national public agency under the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France that assures the quality of schools teaching the French national curriculum outside of France.
CNED is a French public institution under the oversight of the department of education dedicated to providing distance learning material.
There are a wide range of International schooling options now available to expatriate families in the UK. They can be a great option as they often have a higher turnover of students and therefore are able to offer greater flexibility regarding admissions.
These range from International schools offering the International Baccalaureate to specific nationality schools e.g. French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish and Norwegian.
Often the American Schools will accept other nationalities and may have an International Baccalaureate program to suit. They are mostly run under the supervision of their respective Governments and are state subsidised, and as such they normally give priority to their own foreign nationals.
Nationality Schools are sometimes the most obvious answer for expatriate families as texts are imported from their Home Country for core subjects. A curriculum similar to that found in their Home Country is offered leading to a relevant qualification in preparation for Higher Education.
However, if your child has not yet started school in the UK the British system may be appealing and will not be as costly as the International and Nationality Schools.
Private schools (also known as Independent Schools) charge fees to attend instead of being funded by the government. Pupils do not have to follow the national curriculum. All independent Schools are required to register with the government and are inspected regularly.
Independent schools vary in size, facilities and philosophy towards education. Entrance into many schools is determined by examination and/or personal interview. In some instances, several years advance notice for admission can be required.
Full time education is compulsory in the UK for children between the ages of 5 and 16 and as such they are entitled to a free place at a state school. Most state schools have to follow the national curriculum. Children are likely to attend the school nearest to their home.
Applications for entrance to these schools are usually dependent on confirmation of a local address before being considered and so it is important to have your Tenancy Agreement ready. Some grammar schools will require applicants to do well in an entrance exam.
It is possible to read online the Ofsted inspection reports for schools in the local area to see how they are rated and it is also worth checking the schools league tables which include exam results.
The London Schools Atlas is an innovative interactive online map providing a uniquely detailed and comprehensive picture of London state maintained schools, current patterns of attendance and potential future demand for school places.
A primary concern for any family moving to the UK is the education of their children. The decision must be based on considerations that might not be relevant in other situations.
The opportunity for a child to live and attend school in a foreign country can be a challenging but rewarding experience; living overseas and meeting people from different cultures is in itself an educational experience.
Parents are therefore under a lot of pressure to make the right decision, and when the whole schooling system is unfamiliar it can be somewhat of a minefield.
There are 3 systems of schooling available in the UK:
- State maintained schools (no fees)
- Private schools (fee paying)
- International schools (fee paying)