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Homesick1

Returning to UK with grade 8 student

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My family & I are returning to the north east of England in a few weeks & I wanted some advice about the education system there. My daughter has attended a private school in Queensland since prep. She’s 12 & in grade 7 but will be going into year 8 in England. We could afford to send her to a private school in England but it would be a huge stretch & she has a family friend who attends the local state school, so she’s pretty adamant that she wants to go there. My concern is that I’m not sure of the quality of education in British schools, especially after Covid. Plus, I’m worried about her being bullied for her strong Aussie accent.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has had experience with kids of this age integrating into the British school system after living in Australia. 
Could you also let me know how easy/ difficult they found it to make friends & adjust to the culture? 

Edited by Homesick1
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Most returnees I've spoken to have been really positive about the British system and the support that their kids have received in order to catch up. I doubt her accent is going to generate more than a slight interest, schools are very multi ethnic places these days. She will probably need some help catching up not only because she going into an older year but also because Australia is generally behind UK even at the same year level - it'll be things like maths, mainly.  If she's got a friend there to start with that's going to be a help to her getting into the peer group. 

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Check the Ofsted reports and ratings of the school.  Whilst it’s not everything, it’s a good indication whether the school is descent or not.  Maybe become a member of the local town/village Facebook page and ask people what their thoughts are on the school.  Your daughter may want to be with her mate but it would be a shame to have put her through private school for her to end up in a dump.  In general you won’t have a problem with the British education system, we turn out plenty of intelligent and capable young adults.  I doubt Covid will have effected the quality of teaching.  Kids are all back at school now and had structured online lessons during lockdown.  I doubt the accent will be a problem.  If anything it will be a novelty that will be history within weeks. 

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1 hour ago, Tulip1 said:

Check the Ofsted reports and ratings of the school.  Whilst it’s not everything, it’s a good indication whether the school is descent or not. 

Schools rated Outstanding can go well over 10 years without an inspection. In that time a lot can happen and I have seen schools that have that rating but are far from Outstanding. It's worth keeping that in mind.

 

OP - I wouldn't worry about the accent thing. There a kids in schools from all over the world (and country!). She won't stick out as much as you think.

Edited by JetBlast

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14 minutes ago, JetBlast said:

Schools rated Outstanding can go well over 10 years without an inspection. 

Really? That’s not good.  It says online it’s about every four years.  Either way, the school website will tell you the date of the last inspection which is helpful.  You’re right that a lot can happen in even a short space of time.  That’s why it’s good to look at results (SATS/GCSE’s) as you’ll see the last years figures and word of mouth like local parents (Facebook page idea) can be helpful. Gut feeling on your visit is good too.  

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1 hour ago, Tulip1 said:

That’s why it’s good to look at results (SATS/GCSE’s) as you’ll see the last years figures

I wouldn't go off the 2021 results. It was the teachers who determined the grades (due to COVID). The same year the UK recorded record GCSE results across the country. Funny that....

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18 hours ago, Homesick1 said:

My family & I are returning to the north east of England in a few weeks & I wanted some advice about the education system there. My daughter has attended a private school in Queensland since prep. She’s 12 & in grade 7 but will be going into year 8 in England. We could afford to send her to a private school in England but it would be a huge stretch & she has a family friend who attends the local state school, so she’s pretty adamant that she wants to go there. My concern is that I’m not sure of the quality of education in British schools, especially after Covid. Plus, I’m worried about her being bullied for her strong Aussie accent.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has had experience with kids of this age integrating into the British school system after living in Australia. 
Could you also let me know how easy/ difficult they found it to make friends & adjust to the culture? 

In the end it's all going to be down to your youngsters personality and temperament. Does she make friends easily, does she get upset if people make fun of her? 

Moving to the North East of England you can expect she's going to cop a bit for her accent and being the new kid. Hopefully she can cop it sweet and maybe have a few choice remarks back.

My youngest has autism and had more than his fare share of bullying. Luckily he stuck up for himself, whacked a couple of kids, got suspended for a couple of days and bullying stopped.

I know it's not as easy with girls, their bullyiing can be more subtle and more cruel in a way but if your daughter is insisting to go to the local state school with her friend, that's a step in the right direction. If her friend is part of a good social group already that might help.

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