For those who dream of a happy future for their children, we have prepared practical information about preparing for admission to a British school and answers to the most pressing questions - what exactly to do for admission and when to start preparing for admission to a British school.
The very first step in preparing for the move is to assess the child's level of English language proficiency. If the child speaks English at an average level, then 6-12 months of intensive classes should be enough to confidently declare the level above-average, the minimum required for admission. If the level is lower, then a year is most likely not enough. Ideally, it is recommended to study English carefully for one and a half to two years. And although in the school itself, surrounded by native speakers, the child will learn English by leaps and bounds, it is worth remembering that his main tasks at school are to get used to new conditions and master the school curriculum together with children from English families. . This means that the child will feel much more confident if English becomes his convenient language of communication even before arriving in England.
Thus, the first stage of preparation should be an intensive study of the English language: attending language courses and private lessons. It is recommended to provide an opportunity to communicate with native speakers for 3-6 months. You can hire an English-speaking governess or organize Skype lessons, which are becoming especially popular as a convenient and more economical option. Lessons with a native speaker will help the child learn to understand the British accent and improve his pronunciation, enrich his vocabulary and, most importantly, learn how to use English in everyday life. During the summer holidays, you can send your child to a children's camp in England. This will allow you not only to improve your language skills, but also to get acquainted with British culture and everyday life.
Next, you need to understand, and what kind of school does your child need at all? In England, children go to school not at 6-7 years old, as is customary in our country, but at 4. The first "preparatory" stage is called a preparatory school and lasts for 3 years. At this time, children learn the basics of the English language and mathematics, the basics of humanitarian subjects, as well as "learn to learn". At the age of 8, children go to primary school, where they study for 3-5 years. The program includes 12 compulsory subjects and several electives. At the age of 11-13, education begins at a secondary school, which in England is called a secondary school. At the age of 14, children begin a two-year preparation for the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams, followed by another two-year A-Level program. After passing the A-Level exams, you can enroll in a university or college. At what age to send a child to study in the UK is a very individual question, since it completely depends on the characteristics of the child and the financial capabilities of the parents. Many experts believe that the optimal age to start studying abroad is 10-13 years. Parting with your family in early childhood is a serious test for a baby, but it is not easy to start learning immediately from a complex exam course. Very often, children who came to study in England at the age of 10-12 years, after some time speak English as their native language, quickly assimilating new knowledge and a British accent. In addition, such children will have enough time to prepare for university. For each level of training, appropriate entrance requirements and tests are assumed.
The next step is to make a list of schools that the child will try to enroll in. At this stage, it is better to contact specialists: there are a huge number of schools in the UK and official ratings and statistics will not give a complete picture and answer which school is most suitable for you. In addition to such publicly available criteria as the academic performance of graduates and the cost of tuition, each school has many hidden advantages and disadvantages: the conditions of placement of students, unique features of training, the number of students in the class, the choice of electives and clubs of interest, the number of foreign students and their geography, the availability of language classes for foreigners, etc. There are a huge number of pitfalls in this issue, and choosing a school turns into solving a complex puzzle. Never choose a school for advertising and information on the Internet, expert knowledge is really needed here.
Thus, the third step is to consult with a specialized agency, preferably located in the UK, whose specialists can personally visit schools and collect information. So, in order to have reliable information, our specialists themselves regularly communicate with teachers and staff and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of educational institutions. Our work on choosing the right school for you begins with a detailed conversation about what you expect from the school and what are the characteristics, school results, character and interests of your child. After consulting and testing via Skype in English, our specialists will compile and send you an e-mail list of schools (at least five) that we recommend to you. This report includes information about the admission requirements and contact information for each of the schools. Then the preparatory work for admission begins: joint visits to schools, preparation for exams and interviews.
After you have chosen a school, at least a year (and for the most popular schools even earlier) before the start of training, you must register and apply, although sometimes places appear before the start of the school year. The competition for boarding schools reaches 5-10 people per place, so your child needs to start preparing for entrance exams and interviews in 6-12 months (depending on the chosen school). The help of the agency and experienced teachers is especially important when preparing for an interview, which is conducted by every self-respecting school. The child will feel more at ease at the interview after getting acquainted with the basic questions and practicing with a teacher who knows the procedure well. If these stages are completed successfully, two issues remain to be resolved: the choice of a guardian, whose presence is required by UK law if the parents live in another country, and obtaining a visa.
Of course, the process of entering a British school requires investment of time and money, but the result justifies the means: the education received in the UK opens up many opportunities for a successful career and life.