Category : Relocation

Top Girls’ Schools in London


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Girls Schools in London offer an excellent academic education.   Living in London, or relocating here?  

Many education experts believe that girls’ only education is best for girls.  This will, of course, depend on your daughter and the best environment for her.   To help with your choice,  see five of our top picks below:

Central London

City of London School for Girls city of london school for girls

A rising star, City of London School for Girls gets an of average 30% of its pupils into Oxbridge.  Plus its location in the heart of the City, and opposite the Barbican centre, enables girls to access the lifeblood of the capital’s cultural and academic life.

For high-achieving girls, from all backgrounds and walks of life (23% receive some form of assistance with fees), this school also excels in Sport, Music and Drama.  If your daughter is super academic, put this school on your list.

 Queens College  

Queen’s College is on the up. 110

One of the school’s key attractions has been the focus on each individual girls and the encouragement of every pupil to tread her own path.  But now, the academic results are rising with a record number of girls gaining Oxbridge places.  The warm, friendly atmosphere, small classes  and excellent pastoral care make this one of our top picks for London families.

North London

 South Hampstead High School

Part of the excellent Girls Days School Trust (GDST), which manages 24 all girls’ schools in London and the wider UK, including Kensington Prep.   Fantastic academically, pupils thrive both intellectually and emotionally and excel in Music, Art and Drama.   Teaching is first-class and results are outstanding with top 10 university destinations including Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol and UCL.

North London Collegiate

Regularly topping the league tables, North London feels  less like a traditional British public school  and more like an outstanding, but unpretentious state girls’ grammar school. north london collegiate

 

It is able to select from the cream of North London’s clever girls and to attract the very best teachers.   In 2017, 45 girls were offered places at either Oxford or Cambridge, with 100% of students who applied receiving offers from Russell Group institutions. In addition, 17  pupils received offers to study at Ivy League US universities.

West London

 St Pauls’ Girls School

st paul's girls' school

Parents hope for a place at Bute House Prep School, as a high percentage of Bute House girls gain places at St Pauls’. Renowned for its outstanding academic results and highly liberal ethos (there are few rules and no uniform, for example), 41 girls were offered places at Oxbridge in 2017.  Moreoever, Music, Art and Sport are very strong with over 100 extra- curricular clubs and societies enabling girls to explore their individual interests.  A top choice for very academic girls.

Do you need specialist advice on finding the best school for your daughter?  Our experts can help.

Please contact us to book a consultation. 

 

For more on girls’ schools, read our blog post Here on the merits of an all girls’ education 

 

 

Best Private Schools in London, Marylebone


marylebone village

For families living in or relocating to London, there are a wealth of educational opportunities.  As part of our London schools series, we have reviewed a selection of key schools in the Marylebone district:

Marylebone

This lively, residential area in central London has a friendly, village feel.  It is home to several independent boutiques and quality restaurants.   It also benefits from some of London’s best private schools:

Queen’s College110

A warm and welcoming school on Harley Street which admits girls from aged 4-18.  Queens College does not have a hothouse atmosphere but is academically strong.  Arts are outstanding and many girls go on to prestigious London Art Foundation courses, as well as to top universities.  Music and drama thrive.  And perhaps most importantly, because Queens College is a small school, every girl is known to staff and valued as an individual.

The schools admits girls at age 4 or age 11.

Wetherby Senior School

A young school, founded in 2015, Wetherby Senior is the latest of the Wetherby Group of schools.  It offers a traditional British school boy’s education, married with an international outlook.

wetherby senior

Still growing, the school will reach a maximum of 600, thus retaining an intimate atmosphere.   Pastoral care is excellent and academically, the school offers a strong curriculum including Latin, German, French and Spanish.

The school is academically selective at 11, 13 and 16.  For 13+ entrance all boys sit the Common ISEB pre-test in year 6 which is followed by an interview.

Wetherby’s global cohort reflects its central London nature.  Boys comes from families of many nationalities including UK, Russian, USA and Chinese and all are full-time UK residents.

When the first set of A level results come out, boys are expected to gain places at top UK and US universities.

Sylvia Young Theatre School

sylvia young theatre school

With alumnae including Rita Ora, Amy Winehouse and Billie Piper, the co-educational Sylvia Young Theatre School is the destination of choice for many young London performers.

Sylvia Young started the school in 1981, and has ensured that is as strong academically as vocationally.  The stage school runs on Thursday and Friday, leaving the rest of the week for the traditional academic curriculum.  The school aims to find work for the children (there is an agency downstairs).  Fees are from £4400 a term and the school offers several scholarships.

Admissions to Sylvia Young are made on the basis of a child’s performance in auditions, academic tests and school reports.  Most children enter at aged 10 or 11.

Please contact us for expert support with applications to schools in Marylebone and throughout London.

To read more about education in different London districts, please read our blog on which 

London schools and areas to consider when relocating to London.  

Moving from the American to the British education system


UK US flags 2

Relocating from the US to the UK?  Moving between education systems can be stressful for children.  Despite the differences between the American and British education systems, students can move successfully from one to the other.  Planning carefully is the key to a smooth transition. 

  1. The Early Years

The difference between the two early years approaches can be a culture shock for younger children. 

For children from aged 4 upwards, the mainstream UK system is focused on learning to read and write at a young age.  primary school children Children start school aged four in the Reception class, although some schools now offer more flexibility with a starting age of five.  Alternatively, you can opt for a Steiner or Montessori school in the early years, both of which offer a gentler approach and teach reading later:  the Steiner system does not teach children to read until they are seven.  These schools are mostly private.

In contrast, in the US system children are eased into academic studies, and there is a strong emphasis on socialisation in addition to fostering basic English and maths skills.  From kindergarten to Grade 3, children the academic foundations which are further developed during Grade 4.

2. High School:  Assessments and Testing

As the US and UK have a shared language, it is often assumed that the education systems in the two countries are broadly similar.  Children moving from US to UK schools need to be prepared for the fact that the UK has more nationally-assessed Bennett-Education-Table_12146_t5 US UK equivalent school years 2018exams to contend with.  In the US, although children are assessed at the end of every school grade, the examinations are not national and for the most part, have little bearing on their progression from year to year.  The standardized tests in the U.S. tend to be state mandated instead of federally mandated.  In New York, many high school students take the “Regents” exams which test the core subjects- but the exam system will vary from state to state.  Therefore, GCSE and A level exams are a culturally different experience for US children.

3. Generalist versus Specialist 

In addition, the US system is more generalist whereas the UK is more specialist.  In US schools, as in the French Baccalauréat, students have more opportunity to study a wider range of subjects for their High School Diploma.  There is more focus on sport, music, drama and art and as a result, a move to the UK can seem restrictive at first to US students.  Mathematics in both countries is also taught very differently and this must be taken into consideration when settling a US family into a UK school.

Culturally, children in US schools tend to be praised more- which is a positive attribute.   Children who have previously studied in the US system should be prepared for the fact that recognition of achievement in UK schools can be less effusive.

Finding a school that is willing to support the student’s adjustment, academically, emotionally and socially, is vital.   Please contact us for expert support with applications to schools in London and throughout the UK.

Read more about American schools in London. 

See our key points to consider when choosing a London school.

Featured Boarding School: Gordonstoun


Gordonstoun 2018

Nestled deep in the Scottish countryside, the caring and supportive environment at Gordonstoun is  different to the strict, bootcamp image of former years. 

A key feature of the school is its excellent pastoral care, with staff who make every effort to support the students.  In addition to providing a strong academic programme, Gordonstoun makes provision for students with Autism and other differing needs.   Pupils whose first language is not English take GCSEs in their native language, as well as the traditional GCSE subjects.

The expeditions or “expeds” are a central feature of this boarding school’s life and groups of Year 12 students travel independently to the West coast of Scotland.  The Round Square Programme, founded at the school, gives students unparalleled opportunities to volunteer to work in one of Gordonstoun’s life-affirming projects.  These include caring for disabled children in a Romanian orphanage and helping villagers in Thailand to build much-needed water tanks.

gordonstoun boat

Gordonstoun’s 80 foot boat, complete with its own crew, enables pupils to sail for periods of up to five days, learning how to cook and to manage life at sea.  Few schools can offer this opportunity- and students told us that these sea voyages created bonding experiences with their fellow classmates

The headmaster, Titus Edge, feels that the skills students develop in self-reliance, teamwork and resilience help them to manage their academic work and to perform better in exams.  We left with the strong impression that Gordonstoun’s holistic approach gives students a resilience and an understanding of the wider world which equips them well for life beyond school.

For expert support with applications to boarding, international and UK schools in London and throughout the UK, please contact us 

 

International Baccalaureate or A level? 5 key points to consider


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For relocating families already following the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, an IB school in the UK offers the perfect transition.   Leading IB schools in the UK include Sevenoaks and Oakham.  If you choosing between IB and A level, read our tips below:

The key differences between IB and A Level

These images are copyright of Ursula Kelly Photography. Under the copyright act of 1988 it is a legal requirement for all images used to be credited to the author. Therefore Images online & in print must be credited to Ursula Kelly photography. www.ursulakellyphotography.com.

The IB offers a greater breadth of subjects.  It is divided into six groups: language, second language, individuals and societies, mathematics and computer science, experimental sciences and the arts.  In addition, pupils complete an extended essay, follow a Theory of Knowledge course (TOK) and participate in the CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) programme, which encompasses sport, arts and community work.

Are you a specialist or an all-rounder?

This broad spread of the IB will suit pupils who don’t want to drop from 9 or 10 GCSE subjects down to 3 or 4 A level subjects.  So if you are an all-rounder, not a specialist, this will be best for you.  If, however, you are desperate to drop some of your GCSE subjects, perhaps Maths or French, and to study only three subjects in depth, then you are a specialist.  In this case, A levels are best for you

Weaknesses of both IB and A level

With the IB, all six subject groups must be completed. tutoring-and-mentoring

The fundamental weakness of the IB is that one weaker subject can drag down an entire IB score. So a low result in an area of the curriculum that a student is not very interested in could have a poor impact.  Conversely, we could argue that the weakness of the A level is that it can mean students specialise too soon and regret this later.

Your free time 

The IB is much more time consuming.   Although most IB subjects are not studied in the same depth as A level, there are more of them.  Some students relish this extra time pressure but others would rather spend their time enjoying their hobbies such as drama, music or sport.

So perversely, the IB exam system designed to create a broader education can sometimes narrow down your free time.

 University options-  UK, US and Europe  

Both IB and A level are accepted in all UK and European universities.  education-programmesIt is true the European universities are more familiar with the IB as a qualification, but they also accept the A level.  US universities are also happy with both and have the additional entry test of the ACT or SAT which all applicants need to complete.

So which one is for you? If we go by UCAS statistics, the vast majority of schools and students are opting for the A-level. But there is no doubt also that the IB can be perfect for certain individuals: genuine all-rounders who enjoy the broader IB curriculum.  Our advice: think carefully about what would best suit you as an individual. Please contact us for expert support with applications to both IB and A level schools in London and throughout the UK.  

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