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Moving from the UK to SC


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Moseleymom June 4, 2013


Hi. We are relocating from the UK to SC in the next few months and need to understand the differing Grades. My child is 14 and currently in Year 10 which I believe differs from your 10th Grade.What tips would you give for international admissions? I have seen a couple of schools, but I imagine there will be a gap to bridge with the difference in curriculum, pace and teaching methods. And perhaps tests?? I'd really appreciate your advice. Many thanks in advance.

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momoffun June 17, 2013


I currently live in South Carolina but was born and raised in the UK. First, I would check out the schools very carefully here in SC. Check all of the ratings of the school especially test scores, courses offered, extra classes and activities offered. Check out the policies and what their believes are eg: mission/goals/core values etc. Check classroom sizes. This is very important as I have heard of classrooms being very large. Also see if they have a culturally diverse student population this may help your child adjust and fit in easier. I really have to say this and I hope this is helpful. Although we speak a common language there are times when the southern culture is mind boggling. At times I catch myself saying we are actually in the year 2013 and not 1948. There is a cultural difference. But, come and enjoy you will have a great time. Please feel free to email me I will be glad to help you in anyway I can. I understand how it can be difficult it can be moving to a new country.

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TeacherParent June 16, 2013


I wouldn't anticipate gaps per say. Spelling could be an issue as American spelling and British spelling differ - you might want to explain just that to his new school and new teachers - many Americans are unaware that we spell our common language differently.
At 14 he could be in 8th or 9th grade. I don't think our curriculum is paced faster than yours and there are few standardized teaching methods here but that traditionally teaching here has emphasized memorization and equated memorization with learning. We've been slowly moving away from that.

One large difference is that the U.S. does not give national tests as do many other countries. We have no equivalent of what I think you call your 'O' tests. Our government does not subsidize university cost in any way similar to the way it's done in the U.K.

If you're enrolling him in what we call public school (government schools), there's very little admissions process. Does South Carolina have 'choice'? The Internet would tell us that. If it does not, your son will go to the school in the district where you choose to live.

Speaking with people at your new job is a very good way to find out what people regard as the better schools in the area.

Welcome to the States!

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rosmith1 June 16, 2013


We moved from a British international school to public school in Ohio when my daughters were entering 2nd and 9th grade. In the British system, this is equivalent to year 3 and year 10. Because of how the two different curriculums are structured, my daughters were ahead in some areas, but not all and not enough to skip an entire year. You will find US high school very different from GCSEs and A Levels. Your student might be ready for honors classes in some subjects. But don't underestimate the stresses of adjusting to this new school and culture. It might be helpful to have a class or two that are on the easier side. Extracurricular activities are a great way to make friends and get involved, so you will want them to have time for that and not be so swamped with homework that they don't have time.

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dlallen1955 June 9, 2013


South Carolina also has several fine charter schools which are tuition-free because they are state-funded schools just like the neighborhood school down the road. Charter Schools usually have a special focus: fine arts, math & science, agriculture, etc. depending on the school's charter and area of emphasis. Many of these claim to be accelerated. Test results and scoring are found here on GreatSchools so you can do a comparison and read community reviews of the school. These schools are usually smaller, have classes around 20 students, and a more structured format. Have your child tested for level of achievement. Chances are your child would be placed in an advanced grade-level at least one grade higher than age would suggest. My philosophy is, "If you can finish school sooner--DO IT--and get on with life."

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MagnetMom June 7, 2013


Hi Moseleymom,

Typically kids start kindergarten at 5, and first grade at 6, so a 14 year old is typically entering 9th grade. But the more legwork you can do now, the more likely his transition will be smooth.

First, talk to the HR people at your new employer and see if you can get information from currently employees with kids with a similar age. Find out what they're learning. Find out what the options are there.

Use GreatSchools to find schools that interest your child and definitely contact the schools to know what you can do this summer to help conquer that bridge. http://www.greatschools.org/find-schools/

Your child will not have a language barrier, per se, but it will be a challenge. But what a unique experience and I wish you well!



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