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Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Old Jun 20th 2013, 8:56 am
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Default Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Obviously it is pretty much impossible to make broad generalisations -- there are great schools and terrible schools in each country -- but I was curious to hear from any parents on this forum about the differences they have observed in US schools and UK schools.
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 11:51 am
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Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

From my personal experience I've found that the UK school my kids went to for reception, Yr 3 & Yr 4 was considerably better with regard to teaching the basic skills of reading, writing and math. The emphasis was on getting a solid foundation to build upon and the kids were put into smaller groups based on ability. The kids all had one on one reading time with the teacher at least 2 or 3 times a week, they also started learning French in Yr3. They had little or no homework other than a daily reading log and maybe one work sheet over the weekend about once a month. Her reception class in the UK had 30 kids 1 teacher and a classroom assistant. Her Yr 4 class had 34 kids.

My eldest daughter did 1st & 2nd grade then 5th grade onwards here in NY (shes just finished 10th) The elementary school here she was so far ahead she was moved up a grade, the emphasis was less on the reading writing and math but more on "teaching to test" and a broader curriculum based on American history. Her 1st grade class had 21 kids and the teachers are not allowed to seat the kids based on ability so the smart kids don't get challenged. Homework was given daily at least 2 or 3 work sheets and a minimum of 20 minutes reading was expected. There was no one on one with the teacher everything is taught as a whole class not even smaller groups. Language starts in 7th grade.

Her HS experience here in my opinion is more challenging than yrs 9 and 10 in the UK having looked at what her friends in the UK are now doing and trying to remember back to what I did. She did an AP course in 9th grade, is taking 3 languages and is planning to take another AP course in 11th grade. There is a large amount of homework 3+ hours a night sometimes more (school ends at 2:30 though). Her schedule is full she has chosen to not have a lunch period for the past 2 years to accommodate the 3rd language, this is not uncommon at least half her friends chose to skip lunch to add another academic subject to their schedule.
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

My daughter's US school has started a scheme aimed at pushing standards up. They were already one of the better schools in the district. I was surprised to see that they are teaching critical thinking skills and data gathering/rewriting at age 6/7, as well as the usual three Rs.
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

My kids' schools in the UK seemed to be much better funded, eg. interactive whieboards, musical instruments, trips, but I know Califormia is very low on the national league for school funding. Wider range of subjects taught in the UK and in a less slavish way. Here it is read 2 pages of the textbook, have a test, repeat. I also preferred the system for parents' evenings, I finally realized that here you are meant to make an individual appointment to discuss concerns with the teacher.

Can't really understand the need for pep rallies etc. but some kids like the razzmatazz stuff depending on their personality.
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

I'm not sure how it compares nationally (and as states go, Illinois is a bit on the shite side ...) but so far it seems that my son (now 14 and about to start high school/9th grade - or 4th year, as I would have called it ) has been a little bit behind what I would have been doing at the same age in school.

For example, we'd started French and Latin by age 11/12 (1st year) but my son was only just starting to mess with long multiplication/division. Maths/science was quite a bit behind actually.

He has, at least in middle school, thankfully had teachers that go beyond just teaching to the tests though, mostly in English and science, so I think he has learned a little more through them than through the actual curriculum and I have got him into all the cool physics stuff I like, so he learns a bunch from me as well.

Having said that, I think high school will get him caught up. They've recommended he gets put in advanced English, Algebra and Biology (usually they start you on earth science or some other pop-science bollocks, rather than a pure science, even if it is only Biology), which looks to be a good start.

Did I mention in his 7th grade state tests, he scored in the top 2% in science nationwide. (Smug mode).
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

I'd be interested to know what the system for special needs are.. My daughter is currently attending a UK school. My husband (her dad) is in the US and we hope to join him once he's sorted himself out and got a job. So in a few years. But my daughter has learning difficulties. The school she is at over here is fantastic, she has speech and language 3 x weekly, extra math and english x2 weekly. I also just got a letter to refer her to the Occupational Health Therapist to see if there is anything else going on. I do worry when we move to the US that she might not get as much help and I will probably have to supplement. But by that time we are hoping to have her up to her age group, so if most children would be put forward, maybe she will be at the right level. She has a 18 month developmental delay.
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