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Moving back to UK with teenage son

Moving back to UK with teenage son

Old Jul 7th 2019, 3:36 pm
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Red face Moving back to UK with teenage son

I am considering moving back to the UK from NJ, USA to be closer to my elderly mother. I am both a USC/UKC. My 15 year old son was at first quite excited by the idea of living in the UK but now is a little apprehensive. I am also now worried about how disruptive this adjustment might be for him. I would hate for this to hurt him academically. I welcome any wise words from anyone else who has gone through the same. Also any information on schools would be helpful. Maybe my timing is off?
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Old Jul 7th 2019, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving back to UK with teenage son

Originally Posted by fmari View Post
I am considering moving back to the UK from NJ, USA to be closer to my elderly mother. I am both a USC/UKC. My 15 year old son was at first quite excited by the idea of living in the UK but now is a little apprehensive. I am also now worried about how disruptive this adjustment might be for him. I would hate for this to hurt him academically. I welcome any wise words from anyone else who has gone through the same. Also any information on schools would be helpful. Maybe my timing is off?
My son, dual UK/US, was born and grew up in the US and is now successfully adapting to uni in the UK. I had been to the UK with him, to stay with family etc., almost every year of his live after the age of 5 so he was somewhat familiar with the culture and liked it. Going to uni there was his choice.

Is your son at all familiar with the UK? Socially, he should really have no issues. He will sound American and exotic and that might actually ease things for him.

Also, in terms of education, the late teen years can be tricky. If he is 15 now, he is likely to be going back to the UK right when everyone else is taking their GCSEs and he may well not be prepared for that, most likely, either in terms of curriculum or exam type unless he has been in an international school here, or if he is only just 15 and would be starting mostly right at the beginning of the GCSE syllabus. If he is clear about what he wants to study at a higher level, then it might work to go back to the UK after GCSE year and right at the beginning of an A level syllabus so that he can do the full two years, but as you know UK kids have to specialize much younger so if he has no clue at all as to what subjects he's interested in at the higher level, and which he would drop, that might also be trickly. Might be worth looking at schools with a large internatinal intake so that they are used to thiis sort of thing. If he is very academically minded, and you are confident that he will be motivated to study and do well quickly, then it might not matter.

Also, I am assuming you are a UK citizen by birth and that your son has automatic British citizenship by descent and that you have got his passport and everything.

Last edited by Lion in Winter; Jul 7th 2019 at 4:15 pm.
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Old Jul 7th 2019, 4:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving back to UK with teenage son

I would email schools in the area you are looking to move back as they will be the best people to give you advice on how to best transition your son into the UK school system. Depending on your son's date of birth he's going to be Year 10 or Year 11 in September. If he will be Year 11 then he would need to go back a year to Year 10 so that he won't miss the first year of his GCSE courses. If he is Year 10 in September but you are worried that he might take a while to adjust then you could also ask in that case about the possibility of him going back a year and starting in Year 9 which would give him a chance to get used to the UK system without having to also hit the ground running on his GCES courses. I can't remember who it was but there was someone on here who did that and said it worked out well.

If he is in a good school in NJ then I think he'll find he is on par with his UK peers, he'll probably find in Math that it's a mix with him having done some topics not covered by his equivalent Year in UK yet and vice versa because they seem to do things in a different sequence. History, obviously he's going to have done much less UK history and much more US history but it shouldn't be a much of a problem. A good UK school should be able to support him through the transition so I would put a lot of effort into researching the schools to make sure there are some good ones where you move to and that they would have space for him. The schools websites are good for giving you a feel of the school, the GCSE and A'level subjects they offer and often a pdf of the syllabus of each subject, info on extra curricular clubs, sports, music etc. Also checking out the school FB and Twitter accounts can give you an idea of what they are like.

There are International schools in the UK that follow the US curriculum but they are very expensive so not a viable option for many!

Once you have some schools in mind you can compare their results, pupil numbers, etc, etc.
www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk

On this site you can look up their Ofsted report, bear in mind how recent the report is or isn't.
www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted

Helpful for school ratings, catchment areas etc.
www.locrating.com

Mostly private schools but they seem to be adding reports on state schools all the time.
www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk

It is a tricky age to be moving a student but I think can be done successfully, however if you decide to go for it you are going to want to get on with school research etc. very quickly to minimize the impact on his education. Bear in mind that the schools will be closing soon for the summer holidays so I would get emailing and phoning prospective ones for advice and info on spaces immediately!!!

If you give your son info on which city/town/villages you are looking at moving to he could he help with the school research.

If you search on the forum you will find lots of threads discussing moving teenagers and there is lots of good info in them.

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Old Jul 7th 2019, 4:53 pm
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Default Re: Moving back to UK with teenage son

I really appreciate all the responses and thank you so much for all the information provided. I am going to create a checklist and follow up on all suggestions made.
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Old Jul 7th 2019, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: Moving back to UK with teenage son

I don't know if this would be of any relevance but I forgot to mention that depending on the area of the UK you are considering you might find some of the High Schools will be Grammar schools which means their students had to take the 11+ test and get a qualifying score to join in Year 7. However, they do admit students at later years but your son would need to take a test similar to 11+ it's usually the CAT which is basically 11+ for older age range. If your son is in approx the top 25% or so of his class he'd be a good candidate for Grammar. If this was of interest I'd definitely recommend him getting some online practice tests, buying some test books as it's not like any other test.

Rightmove and Primelocation will also show the schools in the area of any houses you are interested in buying/renting.
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Old Jul 8th 2019, 11:05 am
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Default Re: Moving back to UK with teenage son

Just to add to the above, these days a lot of schools do GCSE's over 3 years, not 2. So even if he'll be Year 10 when you head back, you may find he's missed the first year of his GCSE's anyway, depending on the school.
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Old Jul 8th 2019, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving back to UK with teenage son

We moved back last July after 13yrs in canada with a 15yr old who turned 16 in the September. He went into yr11 . We found that the school were very accommodating for him and helped him adapt to gcse.he had to do the main corse subject's maths ,English, science. But no second language which allowed him free periods to study main subjects. You have to apply through the education department at the council with 3 school choices, then its a waiting game to what school has places.A heads up, we applied in the July and didn't hear until the week the schools were going back.
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