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Applying to a UK Secondary School from Abroad

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 1 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Children Career Break School

Some people think of career breaks as a time to put your life on hold, relax and reflect on your future. While that may sound romantic, it's certainly not true when it comes to your children - or your children's education.

Your child's schooling will continue no matter where you are, unless you are travelling abroad on a career break for only a short period of time. In some cases, that means you'll find it necessary to apply for a secondary school place from abroad.

The first rule of thumb is: don't panic. Applying to secondary schools from outside the UK is a lot easier than you might think. Helping your child decide what their interests are is crucial, as is making sure they are prepared in the subjects they want to pursue, or in which they may be tested on their entrance exams.

This may mean seeking out a tutor - or tutors - familiar with the English curriculum. Keeping your options open and applying to several schools is also important, in case you aren't successful with your first choice.

Points to Consider Regarding Schools Back in The UK

Once you have decided on a state vs a private school, there are still choices to consider. A myriad of different types of state schools exist, from community schools to faith schools to voluntary-aided schools. Look on-line at www.gov.uk for additional information.

If you want your child to attend a comprehensive in your local area back home, find out directly from the school itself if you are in the catchment area, if there is a school place lottery, etc. Some schools may require you to reside in the area for six months or more before applying for a place, so don't expect to move house and have your child start school the following day.

Grammar schools have their own testing for secondary transfer. You can usually find out on-line when they will be held, as most schools and/or education authorities have their own websites.

If you'd like your child to attend an independent selective school, h/she may have to not only sit exams, but also have an interview or audition in person, especially if you want a music or drama place. Be prepared to fly back home with your child unless other arrangements can be made.

Considering sending your child to a boarding school back in the UK? There are numerous educational consultants who, for a fee, will help you decide which school you want and how to secure a place. Look on-line for information.

If You Decide on a School Abroad

If you want to continue living abroad and are considering enrolling your child in a British secondary school, or the equivalent, do your homework early as places are usually limited. British schools abroad on the whole perform well - get information from the British Embassy or Consulate in the country you are living for advice. it's also a good idea to check with the school in advance to decide whether or not your child will benefit from tutoring before enrolling to meet the school's standards.

If you want your child to study in a state school in the country you are located, check out with schools back home how this could affect them in future, and learn what you need to do to ensure your child's progress will match his or her peers when you return home.

Going on a career break abroad needn't mean putting a temporary stop to your child's education. Not only will attending a school abroad help enrich your child's schooling overall, but it should actually help him or her achieve more upon returning to the UK. Most secondary schools consider experiences abroad a plus, and it should make getting into secondary school even easier. Just make sure you do it right.

Helping your child get into the right secondary school is a minefield for most parents, whether you are on a career break abroad or not. But if you leave yourself plenty of time, investigate all the options available and take your child's own needs, wants and abilities into consideration, you will definitely increase your chances of making the right choice.

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