close menu

Struggling to choose the right UK school for your child? We can help

by Leanne Shrosbree | Oct 08, 2018
  • Once you’ve made the decision to move your family to the UK, the next big decision you’ll need to make is where to send your children to school. As any parent knows, choosing the right school is serious business. To help make the process of choosing a school easier, we’ve put together a quick guide on the education system in the UK and what your options are as someone moving there with children.
    School-girl

    Types of schools in the UK

    The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to send your child to a state-funded school or a fee-paying one. One of the biggest benefits of sending your child to a state-funded school is that you won’t pay a cent towards school fees as they are free of charge to British and non-British children.

    Grammar schools are state-funded secondary schools with specific admission criteria. Applicants are usually required to take a common entrance exam. How well a child performs in the exam will determine whether he/she will be accepted at the school. Independent or private schools charge a fee to attend as they are not funded by the UK government. These schools generally follow their own curriculum.

    How UK schools are structured

    In the UK, the school year generally runs from early September to mid-July the following year. There are four main phases in the UK’s education system. These are:

    • Primary education (key stages 1 and 2)
    • Secondary education (key stages 3 and 4)
    • Further education
    • Higher education

    It is compulsory for all children in the UK to attend primary and secondary education. After the age of 16, education is optional. Children are required to start primary school in the year that they turn five years old and secondary school at the age of 11.

    It’s not compulsory for children to attend pre-school in the UK. However, as of 2010, all three- and four-year olds are entitled to receive a minimum of 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. In January this year, government statistics revealed that 94% of three- and four-year olds in the UK had been enrolled in some form of pre-school.

    At the end of each key stage (at age seven, 11 and 14), students take Standard Assessment Tests. The most important test is taken at age 16 when students take their national exam, also known as the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). Once students have completed their GCSE, they can decide if they want to continue with their education, or finish school and join the working world.

    Have a question about moving with your family to the UK?

    Getting your child into a school

    The admission criteria for each school is different and is often guided by the school or local council. There are many factors that will determine whether your child will be accepted, such as whether your child lives in the school’s catchment area. There are other factors too, including whether a child:

    • Has a sibling who attends the school
    • Is from a particular religion, as is the case with faith schools
    • Does well on an entrance exam, as is the case with grammar schools
    • Attended a feeder primary school

    How to go about finding the right school for your child

    You can find a lot of information about a school by visiting the school’s website. In the UK, schools are legally required to make information about their admission criteria, curriculum and behaviour policy available on their website.

    What’s more, the Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) regularly publishes reports on how students are performing academically at schools. Ofsted is a government body that makes sure that schools are safe and regulated as required by the government. This information can also be found on a school’s website.

    Want to apply for UK visas for you and your family?

    Once you’ve decided on a school, here’s how you apply

    You will need to submit your application the year before your child is due to attend the school. Generally, applications open at the start of the autumn term, however, these dates can vary in each local council area. It’s best to check with your local council before the new school year begins to avoid missing the deadline.

    There are two ways you can apply. You can apply online or by using your council’s application form.

    Start your new life the easy way

    We understand that moving overseas with a family is stressful, so here’s how we can make life easier for you. We designed our 1st Contact UK Family Relocation Package to make every aspect of your move more convenient. With this package, you’ll be provided with all the information and guidance you need for you and your family to get settled in the UK, stress-free.

    We’ll help you set up your UK bank account and NI number. What’s more, our relocation experts will be on hand at every step, should you need assistance at any point in your relocation process.


    With 12 years’ experience in the industry, we understand exactly what it takes to make the UK your new home. Send our 1st Contact team an email for assistance with relocating your family to the UK.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

    • Australia-look-see.png
      Everything you should do on your look-and-see visit to Australia
      Aug 12, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Porto cityscape
      10 reasons to move to Porto, Portugal
      Jul 29, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Oxford-street
      Everything you ever wanted to know about applying for a UK Tier 2 (General) visa
      Jul 18, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Australia skyline
      Landed a temporary job Down Under? Get an Australian working holiday visa
      Jul 08, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • sydney-australia
      Australian visa processing times: How long you’ll wait for approval
      Jun 27, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • British passport and citizenship approved
      British citizenship and indefinite leave to remain: Why you need to know the difference
      Jun 25, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • seven-corners-image
      The importance of purchasing travel insurance with a Tier 4 UK student visa
      Jun 13, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • kangaroos
      Two new Aussie visa routes for skilled migrants
      May 23, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Passport-stamp
      25% of UK spouse visa applications are refused every year – make sure yours isn’t one
      Apr 02, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Mother, daughter and grandmother
      Australia’s new five-year parent visa – another way to bring your parents Down Under
      Apr 01, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
     
     

    South Africa

    Cape Town

    Regent Square
    Doncaster Road
    Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120

    Durban

    25 Richefond Circle
    Ridgeside
    Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8843

    United Kingdom

    Croydon

    One Croydon
    12-16 Addiscombe Road
    Croydon CR0 0XT +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

    Australia

    Melbourne

    9 Yarra Street
    South Yarra
    VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

    We use cookies to provide the best website experience for you. Using this website means that you agree to this. How we use cookies.