Many people move to the UK to offer their children a better future and finding a school where they are happy and cared for is important.
Keep in mind that you are in a foreign country and the schooling system here works differently and it may take some time to get used to.
The schools and teachers are very focused on the students and they want a smooth transition for your son/daughter.
When are they ready?
Once your child turns three, they are entitled to free education. It is not compulsory yet, but you can apply for placement. There are three slots in the year when children are enrolled:
September 1, January 1, and April 1. Your child can start in the first slot after their third birthday. They will be awarded a morning or afternoon slot.
Most children start school full-time in September after they turn 4. All children must enter full-time education once they reach compulsory school age. This is on 31 December, 31 March or 31 August following their fifth birthday – whichever comes first.
Key Stage 1 – 5 to 7 years old
Key Stage 2 – 7 to 11 years old
Key Stage 3 – 11 to 14 years old
Key Stage 4 – 14 to 16 years old (GCSE’s)
Key Stage 5 – 16 to 18 years old (A Levels)
Key stage 1 and 2 are usually done at primary school and key stage 3 and 4 at secondary school.
At the end of KS4, learners have completed their GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) the equivalent of GR10 in SA. They then have the choice of moving to KS5 to complete their A levels, the equivalent of GR11 & GR12 in SA. When A levels are achieved the students will be able to apply for higher education or university.
Finding a school
You will apply for placement in your area using your council’s application form. https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-primary-school-place. You can research the schools in your area and apply to those you deem suitable.
There might not be openings, so you might want to apply at a few schools and then take it from there.
Types of schools
Infant School – between the ages of 4 and 7
Junior School – between the ages of 7 and 11
Primary School – between the ages of 4 and 11
Secondary School – between the ages of 11 and 18
Sixth Form – between the ages of 16 and 18
Schools are rated in this country by Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). This is an organisation that is monitoring standards in schools by regular inspection and there are 4 Ofsted ratings so this will give you a good idea if you have approached a good school or not. https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/
Grade 1 – Outstanding that provides exceptionally well for the needs of its pupils and prepares them for the next stage of their education or employment at the highest possible level.
Grade 2 – Good school that provides well for the needs of its pupils and prepares them effectively for the next stage of their education or employment.
Grade 3 – Requires Improvement is not inadequate but neither is it satisfactory.
Grade 4 – Inadequate with significant weaknesses and is failing to prepare its students for the next stages of their lives.
You can also visit www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk for more information on schools.