Guest Minerbird

Going to UK - teenagers & GCSEs / A-Levels???

    Recommended Posts

    Guest Minerbird

    Hi there,

     

    Is there anyone here who has returned to the UK with teenagers of GCSE or A-Level age? Hubby (Australian) and I (Brit) are wondering how we would go if we moved to the UK with our kids (currently aged 12, 11 and 9) in fourth year of secondary school (i.e. half way through GCSE course), or at age 16 without any GCSEs or equivalent (because there are no exams at age 16 in Aus).

     

    I tend to think that you would not be able to sit A-levels if you had no formal qualifications at age 16. Hubby says "nah, they'd have to take it into consideration that you've come from Australia". Who's right?

     

    Cheers :smile:

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Guest Adelaide_bound

    In my experience it depends if you want your kids to go to an alright school, or are happy for them to go to a dump. The places I've taught in that really don't care a jot about the kids, and only care about the statistics will happily admit kids into 6th form whether they have the required grades or not, including from overseas, and whether the children will cope with the courses or not as its money for them and hopefully statistics on their league tables (well, it will be, because they will guide your children into what works for the school, not nec. what is best for your kids).

     

    You've got no chance of getting them into a good school though if they come back at 16 without the right bits of paper - not only will it be oversubscribed, because its not compulsory schooling they don't have to take anyone, and therefore they don't take kids unless they have the right bits of paper. If they are coming from overseas and have records from their aussie school, references, and seem like bright kids you may be lucky and get them in somewhere not too bad, but as I say, in my experience you will be left with the dross schools at A level. Nowadays however, a lot of places don't just do A levels but a whole host of Level 2 (same level as GCSE) and Level 3 (Same level as A level) qualifications for their post 16 students. I would imagine most schools would probably ask your children to do level 2 qualifications to start with, perhaps alongside AS levels, and maybe put in for an early assessment for those (there are generally 3 assessment cycles every year, in Jan, March and then May where they can take the exams, depending on the subject - some have them in Nov as well), so they get their Level 2 bits of paper in a few things, and then can go on to take their AS levels for the rest of the year, and then onto A levels in their final year. Or they may say, take some Level 2 qualifications in year 1, take AS in year 2 then take the A levels in year 3, so they finish a year later.

     

    It really depends on your kids, and the specific school they are going to go to in the UK. It really doesn't look good for teaching and education in the UK at the moment though - one of the main reasons for us moving is because I would never ever educate my children here in the UK, that's how bad I think it is having worked in both Primary and Secondary for a number of years now. They are shaking everything up, and there are talks about 'making the exams harder', who knows if that will happen or not, but if it does imho it means the first couple of years of them 'being harder' will penalise those students who will get 'worse' grades on paper than the previous year on year dumbing down.

     

    If your kids are bright (and by that I mean bright, not just you are their parents so think they are fab) GCSEs really aren't very hard, the only issue with moving mid GCSE years is the coursework element and the amount of time that takes, but if they are bright they will handle it and the school will probably lower the amount of GCSEs they are taking - as long as they have the basics, after 18 no one cares if they've got art/PE/Media studies GCSE anyway, so they are a bit of a waste of time anyway. If they aren't academic, they may find they struggle with GCSEs coming in half way, especially if they are only used to Aussie schooling - I've had students come over from Oz and it takes them a bit of time to get used to the different way of doing things here, quite naturally. You could get a tutor, and speak to the school about really only taking the bare min. of GCSEs in that case - like I say, as long as they have Maths, English and Science no-one cares about the other GCSEs. The school would probably make an allowance for going onto post 16 qualifications with them at that school then as they know the history (but speak to your intended schools about that as well, ie what happens later on?).

     

    Finally, don't chose a school on the Ofsted report, seriously. It means nothing. I have taught in so called 'outstanding' schools, and they were the pits, with miserable staff and children. I have taught in 'failing' schools, who have made wonderful progress for the children, the children are happy and learning, the staff enjoy being there. (I've also been in outstanding schools that are fab, and failing schools that I couldn't wait to get out of lol). Ask other people, but above all visit the school yourself. The vibe you get is the biggest single thing that will tell you if you want your children in that school or not.

     

    If it were me I would look into MYB and IB, which is portable across the countries, is a better educational qualification imho and will still give them the same opportunities at university should they wish to go.

     

    Sorry to sound so negative, this is something I really am very passionate about, all be it in a cynical way I'm afraid, and obviously its just my opinion on things, but hopefully it will at least give you something to think about.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Guest Minerbird

    Dear Adelaide-Bound,

     

    Thanks so much for your very detailed reply which is informative and well thought-out.

     

    You do kind of reiterate what I was thinking, which is that moving mid-GCSE course would certainly not be ideal due to the coursework. I think with the ages of our kids the best thing to do would be to go int he next 18 months or not go at all.

     

    Best of luck with your move over here. It is a lovely place, and I certainly prefer it to VIC.

     

    Miner :smile:

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Hi there,

     

    Is there anyone here who has returned to the UK with teenagers of GCSE or A-Level age? Hubby (Australian) and I (Brit) are wondering how we would go if we moved to the UK with our kids (currently aged 12, 11 and 9) in fourth year of secondary school (i.e. half way through GCSE course), or at age 16 without any GCSEs or equivalent (because there are no exams at age 16 in Aus).

     

    I tend to think that you would not be able to sit A-levels if you had no formal qualifications at age 16. Hubby says "nah, they'd have to take it into consideration that you've come from Australia". Who's right?

     

    Cheers :smile:

     

     

    We returned to the UK after my daughter had completed Year 12 and had her SACE. The decision to return to the UK was made halfway through her Year 12 but we told her after she had finished passed (big shock but she was overjoyed!). Not sure how it would work if you moved over before completing SACE. We contacted NARICs to obtain the equivalent UK qualification to SACE and this was certified as 'A' level, which I don't think is actually the case as I believe the UK A Level is a high standard then SACE.

     

    On our return we contacted our local college who invited her to an interview where they examined her SACE Certificates and subsequently offered her a place doing the A levels she had chosen. They checked her previous results against her chosen subjects to ensure she was a suitable candidate. Taking just anyone onto their courses doesn't help their statistics as their failure rate increases. She has since fantasically well and is considering a Business Studies degree.

     

    In my opnion, saying that all UK education is bad is like saying that all Australian education is great - just not true. My daughter was educated in the UK until the age of 13 when we moved to Adelaide. She got good grades in Adelaide but I don't believe the education is overall any better than the UK. There are some fantastic schools and teachers in the UK just like any other country and they don't get the recognition they deserve. Having seen both sides, I know the system could be improved, but I know which one I prefer.

     

    I would make some enquiries with the area you would be moving to and ask what the best timing would be for your children. If you can find out what the options are you can then make your decision based on that. Good luck.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now