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State Education?

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I have a friend (South African citizen) who has a tempestuous marriage to a British citizen. They relocated back to the UK about 2 years ago and have 2 children aged 14 and 16 - who can't get british passports as she (the wife) wasn't born in the UK herself  but has received the passport by descent. He has been told by the wife that as the kids are not British citizens they are not entitled to state education - he is there fore spending thousands and thousands of pounds in private school fees. I just wanted to check if this is indeed the case or is he being taken for a ride by the wife (who is an extremely pampered and spoilt princess - but that is a story for another day!). 

Many Thanks

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My understanding is the state school system is free if legally resident (holding correct visa/indefinite leave to remain) in the UK. TBH he could find information on it all himself easily enough. 

I found this on an ex pat website

State-funded schools in the United Kingdom

State schools are provided by the government at no cost to British citizens and foreigners legally living in the UK. These schools are effectively funded by taxes. 

There are various types of state-funded schools in the UK, including comprehensive schools, grammar schools, voluntary controlled schools and free schools. Most are non-selective comprehensive schools, but there are still 164 selective grammar schools in England and a growing number of free schools. 

The standard of education at state schools varies considerably. Some offer excellent teaching and facilities, while other schools continue to perform badly in terms of the academic results of their students every year. Generally, the better state-funded schools will be found in more affluent areas.

Expats should consult the school's Ofsted (Office of Standards in Education) report to find out about the quality of teaching and facilities at a particular school as well as how the students at the school are doing academically. 

Admission criteria vary from one school to the next. Most of the popular state schools will base admissions on a particular catchment area, and expats should be aware of this when deciding where to live in the UK. While international students are treated equally to British students, some schools will be reluctant to offer places to those that have no long-term plans to remain in Britain. Grammar schools will require students to pass an entrance exam called the 11+.


And this from a migration website


There is no charge for state school education. However, parents are required to cover the costs of uniforms, sports wear, school trips and any extra-curricular activities like music lessons.  Should you be on low income, you can request help with any costs that stem from your child's education, with advice on how to do so available from the local education authority or Citizens Advice Bureau.

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