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The British State System

Local Education Authorities

The LEA's are a powerful body and set down their own rules of procedure. In some cases they will insist on each entrant and their parents speaking to an Expatriate Advisor who will interview the child and then decide on which schools they will advise and those with available places.

In some areas the family may be required to speak directly with the schools and the LEA will only become involved if problems arise finding a place. In this circumstance, there may be a conflict between the LEA pupil target numbers for a particular school and the organizational strategies within that school. This can result in the situation that another child cannot be admitted without the appointment of another teacher.

Other authorities will insist on parents dealing directly with their Admissions Department and one should be aware that the LEA Admissions Teams understand the different strategies parents are prepared to utilise in order to obtain places. Admission Teams simply adhere to legislation and the constraints imposed upon them.

Parents need to be aware of the type of schools which exist, what their admissions policies are and to whom one should actually be speaking. An Education Consultant will be invaluable in guiding parents new to an area.


Pupils Requiring Entry to Education at 15

In the UK the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination is taken after a 2 year structured course that generally commences in "Year 10" at the age of 14.

This structure does not allow, by its very nature, a child to start in the system unless they enter at the beginning of the GCSE programme. It is not unknown for a 15 year- old pupil to join at the beginning of the programme by placing them "out of year" with the 14year old candidates. This obviously has a cumulative effect and although, in some cases works well, can be both academically and socially disruptive for others.

Parents may, however, decide to seek out a State School , which offers the International Baccalaureate of which there are a number. The current government's intention is that all State Schools should offer the IB by 2005 however this has yet to be fulfilled.

If there is no possibility of a State IB School or the child starting at the beginning of the GCSE programme, then the parents must seriously consider what is in the best interests of the child and it may be that they decide to make interim arrangements for the child to continue their current educational programme.


The Future

The Government has announced that from September 2004 every 3 year old will be entitled to free State School Education for part of the day. In those areas that currently provide education for 3 year olds in the State Sector some 62% of eligible children are already in the system. Whilst the statutory age remains at 5 years, places for the 3 year old will become the norm.

As in all levels of education desirability and availability of places will be in conflict.

The education of every child is important.

The State System of Education can certainly provide satisfactory solutions, but an awareness of its idiosyncrasies, some of the challenges facing a family newly arrived in the UK and exactly what professional support is available, will ultimately pay dividends.