Best International schools in London and schools teaching in French part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Before we get to know about the best international schools available in London and the international schools that teach in French, we would like to provide information related to the education system in London.
As expats belong to the most likely category of people who search for this information, the general details related to the education system (schools) would be helpful for them.
Education System (schools) in London:
The education system in London is renowned and not only the students of the UK but the students from all around the world prefer attending school in London.
All the activities related to the schools, colleges, and universities are administered by the Department of Education as well as the Department of Business – Innovation and Skills.
Local Authorities (Las) are responsible for the administration of Public Schools (aka Independent Schools) and State Schools.
The regulation of State Schools is done by a Local Education Authority, and they receive State funds. State schools can be Comprehensive schools or Foundation schools or Grammar schools, or Free Schools.
Free Schools are set up by parents living locally and are administered by organizations similar to Foundation schools.
Comprehensive schools are secondary schools that select children regardless of academic attainment or aptitude, whereas Grammar schools select students through the 11 plus exam.
Independent schools or Public schools are private schools that charge fees from students.
After the completion of a compulsory period at 16 years, all the students must pass the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exam.
After they pass this exam, they will become eligible for attending a college or a Sixth Form Centre (in Public schools or State schools) for passing the A-Levels.
In general, students choose 3 subjects to pass for their exams and receive grades, where an ‘A’ grade will be considered as the highest grade.
Around 90% of the students are studying in State schools, but one should not blindly opt for a State school before conducting some research about the school.
The education system is divided into the following as per the age of an individual.
- Nursery: (below 3 years)
- Pre-school Nursery: (3 to 4 years)
- Primary Education: (4 to 11 years)
- Secondary Education: (11 to 18 years)
- Tertiary Education: (more than 18 years)
Nursery – children aged under 3 years are allowed to attend nursery schools, and as these are private schools, they can be very expensive.
On average, the costs may be around £50 to £120 per day depending on the location of the school.
After selecting the particular number of days in a week, which can be from one to five days, you cannot be able to change them, however, you will be allowed to swap the days on certain occasions by paying extra fees.
Nurseries will expect you to pay 12 months a year regardless of the days when your child takes a day off or falls sick. You can stop sending your child to a nursery while providing notice at least 1 to 3 months in advance.
Timings may differ depending on the school but the general school timings for most nurseries are from 8 AM to 6:30 PM, while some schools are open from 9 AM to 3:15 PM.
All the nurseries located in London are regulated and inspected thoroughly, and the respective reports are available on the official website of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).
Children having an age of around three to four years (sometimes two years) are offered 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year, which is usually provided as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks.
Children having ages of around 5 to 16 years are offered a free place at a state school depending on the availability.
All the maintained schools in England are necessitated to follow the National Curriculum, which consists of 12 subjects, while the main subjects are English, Mathematics, and Science.
These core subjects are deemed mandatory for all students of ages between 5 to 18 years.
Primary Schools – Education is mandatory all over the UK for pupils of age between 5 to 18 years, and educations should be pursued at a school or a professional center (training).
After 16 years, students can continue their secondary studies for the next two years (sixth form) and many students opt for A-level qualifications.
Otherwise, students can choose from qualifications and courses including International Baccalaureate (IB), Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications, and the Cambridge Pre-U.
Nowadays, state schools and independent schools are known by the name of “Academies” and handled by private organizations, and the funding for these schools is done with the help of state funds.
After the end of the 6th year, all students have to take mandatory National Curriculum Tests (which are known as “SATs” or “Standard Attainment Tests”), which is upon the end of Key Stage 2. The core subjects are Science, Literacy, and Numeracy.
Secondary schools – Students of primary schools are usually expected to move on to secondary schools by the age of 11 years.
In some particular areas, there will be a three-tier education system where an intermediate middle level exists for the students of ages between 9 to 13 years.
Students are expected to pass GCSE exams during the final two years of Key Stage 4, or else, they can opt for attaining alternative qualifications like GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification).
The Key Stage 5, which is known as The Sixth Form, is when the student comes to the age of 12 and 13 concerning the schooling system.
While students are in the period of their secondary education, they prepare for their A-level examinations during the last two years of their education.
Private schools – There can be some higher standards of education offered through private schools. Whereas some other schools might also offer the same standards while requiring additional fees.
In order to make sure about the school that is perfect for your child, it is suggested that you must visit the school and know about all the rules.
If you are a prospective parent, then you should know that most schools allow prospective parents to visit their schools, yet you must make an appointment before you visit a school.
While you are choosing a school for your child, you should ask the following questions.
- Whether the school has any particular facilities and/or necessary (qualified) staff for taking care of the special needs (in case your child has any).
You should also enquire about the programs available for gifted or talented children, or if there are any special programs for children with disabilities.
Additionally, it is beneficial to know about all the types of programs offered by the school to every type of student.
- If your child has been born and brought up overseas, then you should know about the requirements along with the availability for such children.
- Find more information about the staff in that school regarding how they teach, availability of teaching staff, stability of the teachers, and any other details about the teachers or other staff members.
- All work and no play make your child a dull boy, and therefore, you should also find out about all the extra-curricular activities available for your child.
- You should also research the exam results of past students as schools having students with higher marks in exam results indicate the success of the school.
Fees – The fees might vary depending on the school you choose, and you can also opt for occasional grants or scholarships. Students who are considered to be worthy are eligible for grants and scholarships, and you can find more details regarding these by contacting the school you choose.
In order to provide you with an idea about the average fees, we have presented the following information.
- Pre-Prep: £3,000 to £7,000 (2/3 to 7 years)
- Junior/Prep: £5,000 to £8,000 (7 to 11/13 years)
- Junior/Prep: £7,000 to £12,000 (7 to 11/13 years) boarding school
- Senior: £7,000 to £10,000 (11/13 to 18 years)
- Senior: £11,000 to £16,000 (11/13 to 18 years) boarding school
While you are joining your child into a school, you must also find out about additional fees related to school uniforms, instrumental instruction, or any other type of fees.
In most cases, private schools have their shops (affiliated shops), which sell school uniforms or any other necessary school supplies.
Boarding schools – Boarding schools in London may offer all-boarding, flexible boarding, or weekly boarding. In most boarding schools, there will be a dormitory, refectory, and a study hall.
Students may also be allowed to return home during the weekends or stay at the school during specific periods only. Even though most boarding schools declined during the 90s, it seems that they have been picking up the pace recently.
International Baccalaureate (IB) – Most commonly known as the IB, the International Baccalaureate is comprised of age-specific programs and is offered by most private schools in London.
There are four types of programs available in IB, which are as follows:
- Primary Years Program (PYP): 3 to 12 years
- Middle Years Program (MYP): 11 to 16 years
- Diploma Program: 16 to 19 years
- Careers-Related Program: 16 to 19 years
There is no specific necessity for students to complete the PYP and MYP programs in order to pursue the IB Diploma.
Having discussed the education system and how schools in London operate, we will now discuss the best international schools available in London.