UK SCHOOL SEARCH



(source: All Saints Catholic School)

One thing England has no shortage of is schools! Searching for a school here is absolutely overwhelming.

One resource, for a minimal fee, is The Good Schools Guide (www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk). Independent Schools Inspectorate (www.isi.net) is an excellent detailed and free resource on private schools. Government agency, Ofsted, has school information posted as well.

Here are a few questions to consider:

1. Do you want a coed or single-sex school?

Single-sex schools are very popular in England. A boys school may have recess more often and may be more understanding if a boy has a hard time sitting behind a desk all day. Co-ed schools are also common.

American and International schools are usually co-ed.


2. Do you want your children to attend the same school?

The age span of a school varies greatly. English schools usually cover a small age span, while American and International schools may offer preschool to high school.

3. What type of school would you like to attend?

BRITISH STATE-RUN SCHOOLS are usually not an option. The best ones are full (in the London area).

INDEPENDENT BRITISH SCHOOLS come in many varieties, such as religious, single sex, co-ed. 

Pros
Who can resist the idea of your child in an adorable school uniform with a darling accent? The tuition is less than American or International schools. And it is the authentic English experience. Long vacations in the spring and a first-rate education.

Cons
Children start school a year earlier than in the US, which could feel as if your child has skipped a grade. Most schools insist students stay with their age group. Schools may require tutoring in French, musical instrument, math, and English to catch up to classmates.

Standardized testing is everything, including the future direction of your child's schooling in England. Schools are pressured to 'teach to the test'. Homework loads are heavy.

Schools usually are released in mid-July, which could be difficult if attending US summer camps and 4th of July celebrations in the US. School resumes in September.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS Depending on the school, a standard American curriculum or International Baccalaureate Program (IB) may be followed. School is released in June.

Pros
International schools can be the happy medium between British and American schools. Student body is diverse and international. Special attention is given to new students and families. Schools may educate all grades, allowing the whole family to attend the same school at the same location.

Cons
These schools can be pricey and due to the nature of the school, student turnover is high. Thanksgiving and other US holidays may not be observed. Some students may not speak English well, which may add challenges for teachers. The campus and student body size may seem overwhelming large to new students.

AMERICAN SCHOOLS follow an American curriculum and school calendar (including Thanksgiving).

Pros
Perhaps this is one of the easiest options with the least amount of disruption to your child's schooling. Like the international schools, parent involvement is welcome here, and extra effort goes toward making new students feel welcome. Typically all school grades are on campus, and school releases in June.

Cons
Similar to international schools, these schools can be expensive, have high student turnover, and seem overwhelmingly large. A presence of guards may be unnerving (or comforting) to students, which is also seen at international schools. There may be less student diversity than found at international schools.

*These are just my opinions from my personal experience. You can hire professional advisers to assist with finding a school.
All photos are my own unless otherwise indicated