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Hello and Advice re A Levels

Hello and Advice re A Levels

Old Oct 10th 2012, 11:11 am
  #16  
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Originally Posted by Red_Wine_Fairy View Post
I hope you don't mind me butting in with my experience.

My child moved here (Europe) aged 15 and had, frankly, a semi-miserable time, education wise. He has just returned, aged 20, to live in the UK and study there, never having really settled into the education (both international school and state education) here.

You have to base your move on what suits the whole family. There is more to a family than one child. Three of our children settled right in here, and the eldest (thinks he) didn't. I do feel, as all mothers do, a degree of guilt that he (acted like) he hated it here. He didn't - in fact, last week he even decided that he'd consider moving here to do his Bachelors degree as the 9000 per year in the UK (not counting food/accom) just isn't worth it !!!! Not least because of his *cough* views about English girls compared to continental girls.....


More importantly: if your English child has no formal school leaving qualifications from 'anywhere', then the relevant education in England will be free of charge. I know this because my son isn't paying for his course (pre-degree year). You should also be able to claim family allowance up until the age of 19 if in fulltime UK education (unless that's changed recently?). Your child will be able to take all GCSEs at college.

I really think that one thing the expat experience has taught all of us who've left the UK for some time is that time doesn't matter when it comes to education. So what if they only get their GCSEs at 17 or 18, or their A levels at 20 or 21? In the other 99% of the world, this isn't a big deal at all (hell, most Dutchies stay 'student' until they're around 25-27). It seems to me that the UK is the only place that moves kids up to the next year come hell or high water - in that way, the rest of the world doesn't 'shame' them for repeating a year, or moving a year ahead if exceptionally smart.


*Edit* my son has had some inconsistencies when moving home (which might not affect your child too much if you're all returning). One is the difficulty in opening a bank account there. Your child's first mission will be to get their NI number - this will be vital, especially if they hope to get a little part time job. They will already be in-the-system if your child was born here - they just need to go to a jobcentre with their old addresses.
The other is renting: it seems some 'halls of residence' type accommodation in the UK doesn't like to offer any goodwill now: you either have parents with an owned/mortgaged property (that they'd claim against if the student defaulted on rent) or you pay the full accommodation fees upfront as any non-EU student would have to. Hopefully this won't even be an issue as you'll be with her, and resident for more than 12 months by that time.
Thank you for your reply and the info about NI number. I was aware I'd have to get one but not sure how to go about it. Google has been working overtime lately!! No worries about a bank account. We set one up when we were in the UK this year and have a savings account that was set up by grandparents when she was born. Quite a bit of interest has accrued but not in the last few years LOL

Interesting reading about your son as well. It's good to hear all experiences
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Old Oct 10th 2012, 11:50 am
  #17  
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Originally Posted by bellarina View Post
Hi everyone

Thanks for your replies and insight

My daughter wants to do English, History and some sort of media discipline if they do those for A level. I need to look up the subjects available. If she can't do anything within media she's looking at German.

I believe History comes under Humanities in the UK now - a bit like S & E in Australia. Is that right? Can you do separate subjects that come under an umbrella subject?

To answer WeBlue yes my daughter is very focused on working hard. She is in 2 Academic Extension Classes at school (English and S & E) and was offered the German Academic Extension but we felt that 3 would be too much. I thought 2 would be hard work but she thrives on it and is more than happy. She was told she could stop at any time if she struggled but that hasn't happened so I don't have any issues about her having to knuckle down with A levels.

I'm still confused about the GCSEs. Do you need 5 at A-C grades to go on to A levels or not? Maybe I'm not reading the Govt website corrrectly.

Thanks again
There have been people who have returned to the UK without GCSEs and their children have been allowed to go straight to A levels. Have you got a school/s in mind? If so, get in touch with them and ask what they think. There are lots of families moving around the world and most schools seem to know what they're doing and how to help kids adapt.

History is a separate subject at GCSE and A level. I know at some schools in the lower years it's taught under the humanities umbrella, but not all. She'll be fine with English (lit or language?). I'm afraid I don't know anything about media subjects as they're not offered at our school.

My eldest is doing German and if your daughter was offered extension she obviously has ability which would stand her in good stead for A level (my daughter has ability in languages and after GCSEs she spent the summer teaching herself Spanish GCSE in order to take it at A level and is now looking at languages for university). An A level in an MFL is well regarded by universities and is considered a 'facilitating subject' (as are English and History) which means most degree courses are open to them.

Does she know what she wants to do at university? If so, have a look at some of their websites which will show you if particular subjects are needed at A level which is useful.

I have one daughter doing A levels this time, one doing AS and one starting GCSEs so I'm in the middle of it all atm. It's a steep learning curve!

Re the national insurance number, have a look at the directgov website when you're back in the UK. They sent my daughter a form to fill in and a couple of weeks later she received her number.

Good luck!

Last edited by CEM; Oct 10th 2012 at 11:58 am.
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Old Oct 10th 2012, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Originally Posted by bellarina View Post
To answer WeBlue yes my daughter is very focused on working hard.... I don't have any issues about her having to knuckle down with A levels.
Good to hear. There were fun distractions like exchange weeks to Europe and clubs/dances, and there was very little oversight of which students came to lectures (no mandatory attendance rules). That freedom was new to me as a parent, but my child seemed to handle it easily, & if it's the case at your daughter's new school, it sounds like she'll handle it too.


Originally Posted by bellarina View Post
I'm still confused about the GCSEs. Do you need 5 at A-C grades to go on to A levels or not? Maybe I'm not reading the Govt website corrrectly.
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
There have been people who have returned to the UK without GCSEs and their children have been allowed to go straight to A levels. Have you got a school/s in mind? If so, get in touch with them and ask what they think. There are lots of families moving around the world and most schools seem to know what they're doing and how to help kids adapt.
Yes, as CEM says it usually depends on the school. My child had no GCSEs either. He brought his previous school transcript & had to sit a short exam at the sixth form. Each school is different but many/most schools have experience of students coming from other countries' education systems.
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Old Oct 10th 2012, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Originally Posted by bellarina View Post
Hi everyone

I'm new to the forum so hello.

We are considering a move back to the UK and have a daughter who will be 16 at the time of moving back.

I know this isn't the best time so have been going through our options. We are all happy to be moving back especially my daughter and also know we will more than likely have to pay for education.

So the options are

1. Stay in Australia until daughter has completed year 12 and got a WACE score.

2. Daughter completes year 10, we move to UK in Jan/Feb while she does a course of some sort for a semester then starts 6th form college to do A Levels in September.

3. Daughter does 2 terms of year 10 in Australia, leaves in July then repeats year 10 starting in September to take GCSEs in UK then goes on to A Levels.

Option 2 is our preferred option atm but I am wondering how year 10 cert translates to GCSE grades.

Option 1 would probably be best but because of personal reasons we would prefer not to stay in Australia for another 3 years.

Option 3 seems a bit 'messy' but was just a thought.

We are very flexible and I'll take all advice on board.

TIA
You Daughter should be fine for A levels, she could also choose Btecs etc. We took our youngest (16 at the time) to 3 6th forms he was interested in and sat down with the teachers and talked through our Sons options for his chosen career path I must say the Colleagues were really good, they went through everything with him and also put my mind at ease (our Son had just started his year 12 in Aus and was Studying for 5 Tee's so I was anxious that our move would not spoil his education) I need not have worried, he choose his subjects (even completed 3GCSE's at the same time) and two years later he was offered places at 3 Uni's and he decided to defer his place until next year as he wanted a year to earn some money first and help with his Uni fee's. Please try not to worry so much (I say this all the time, I know it's hard as I worried myself sick lol and now wish I could of had a quick glance a couple years into the future to save me the stress etc) Good luck
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Old Oct 14th 2012, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Thanks everyone for the advice. It doesn't seem quite as daunting now

It's so good to hear success stories. My daughter is as keen as ever to go back to the UK and we did have a look at a couple of A level courses offered at colleges. Nothing on media on the ones we looked at so it's looking like the sujects are English, History and German. By coincidence I did English Language, History and French for my A levels.

To answer the English Lang/Lit question - it's a mixture in the Extension Class here. My daughter is wading through Shakespeare atm and hates it - I found it boring at school too

Anyway, I've definitely got more of my own homework to do on this so thanks again for the information
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Old Oct 14th 2012, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Originally Posted by bellarina View Post
Thanks everyone for the advice. It doesn't seem quite as daunting now

It's so good to hear success stories. My daughter is as keen as ever to go back to the UK and we did have a look at a couple of A level courses offered at colleges. Nothing on media on the ones we looked at so it's looking like the sujects are English, History and German. By coincidence I did English Language, History and French for my A levels.

To answer the English Lang/Lit question - it's a mixture in the Extension Class here. My daughter is wading through Shakespeare atm and hates it - I found it boring at school too

Anyway, I've definitely got more of my own homework to do on this so thanks again for the information


She'll have a great time, as long as she doesn't mind writing essays!
Good luck to all of you.
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Old Oct 15th 2012, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Hello and Advice re A Levels

Originally Posted by bellarina View Post
Thanks everyone for the advice. It doesn't seem quite as daunting now

It's so good to hear success stories. My daughter is as keen as ever to go back to the UK and we did have a look at a couple of A level courses offered at colleges. Nothing on media on the ones we looked at so it's looking like the sujects are English, History and German. By coincidence I did English Language, History and French for my A levels.

To answer the English Lang/Lit question - it's a mixture in the Extension Class here. My daughter is wading through Shakespeare atm and hates it - I found it boring at school too

Anyway, I've definitely got more of my own homework to do on this so thanks again for the information
Hi you can do Btecs in Media (equivalent to A levels) I did not really appreciate Shakespear when I studied at school but nowadays I really appreciate Shakespear
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