Welcome back, Weekend Warriors – hope plans for that international relocation to London are going just swell. As I continue with tips for preparing for a London relocation, I thought I’d round out the topic I covered most of this week – UK schooling if you’re moving to London with kids or perhaps moving here to teach in the UK.
Earlier this week, I discussed international schools and their benefits over American or UK schools in England, but today I thought I’d expand on my previous post, “Relocating to London with Children: The Quick ABCs of British Education.” I’m a school teacher, and even after teaching in the UK a brief time, I still have a hard time understanding the local educational system—I can’t imagine how you must be feeling if you haven’t even made your London move yet!
So, in that earlier post, I’d already addressed public vs. private schools, school uniforms, grade levels, GCSEs, and A-levels. Today, I’ll more specifically discuss the differences between UK state schools.
State schools alone offer a smorgasbord of options, primarily based on who exactly manages them and owns the properties. Among the mainstream state school options are:
- community schools – Local authority-owned and run; closely tied with community, so may offer its facilities and services (like childcare and adult learning) to such.
- foundation / trust schools – Owned and run by a self-governing body, or perhaps owned by a charitable institution; a trust school develops a charitable trust with an outside charitable or business partner.
- voluntary-aided schools – Usually religious/”faith” schools, but admission is open to all; run by its own governing body, though a charitable/religious organization usually owns the facilities.
- voluntary-controlled schools – Similar to above except local authority-run.
The UK also has about 3,000 specialist state schools. These schools work within the National Curriculum, but also enhance education through their particular specialty: arts, business and enterprise, engineering, humanities, languages, math (or “maths” as they call it in the UK) and computing, music, science, sports, technology, applied learning, and special educational needs. These schools have private-sector sponsors as well as receive government funding.
This is only the half of it, folks. Please join me next Saturday as I continue with a brief primer on the range of UK state schools if you’re relocating to the UK with a family or as a teacher and not going the American school or international school route. London Relocation’s services also include talking you through London neighborhoods and doing a school search, so don’t hesitate to call us toll-free, Skype, or fill out one of our web forms.