Differences in Foreign School Curricular
It is important to consider – if you are placing your child in a foreign school – the differences in the curriculum offered by such a school.
Obviously the most important reason for this is if your child has already been schooled in a school in the United Kingdom and therefore making the transition from the UK curriculum to a foreign one can be nothing short of a culture shock.
Foreign schools do cater for a student attending from abroad, should they be there only for a short time or for the duration of their schooling, but it is important to consider that in doing so there are marked differences, which can sometimes cause problems and leave gaps in your child’s education.
Differences in Foreign School CurricularOne distinct stumbling block can be the language barrier. In about 75% of foreign schools English is taught as a second language, thus making it difficult to communicate with British students who are unfamiliar with the local dialect. There are schools that do teach English as a first language but you should be aware that these are more than likely to be categorised as private schools and will therefore incur tuition fees.
Whereas in schools in the United Kingdom the curriculum centres around English, Mathematics, Information Technology and Science-related subjects, the curricula of foreign schools does not operate in this manner and indeed from country to country the curriculum taught and the subjects incorporated vary greatly.
Ex-Pat SchoolsYou may find in certain countries, such as Spain, schools branded as ‘Ex-Pat’ Schools, which are run by English speaking people – more than likely they have relocated to those countries from the United Kingdom. Placing your child in such schools can be difficult if there are long waiting lists so if you are planning to live abroad it is a good idea to check for these schools in the area you are moving to and also discuss with them the curriculum they offer.
In the main they will run in accordance to the United Kingdom’s National Curriculum but will also – by the law of the country in which the school is based – have to offer subjects relating to their curriculum and local culture. These subjects will most likely be in History, Language, and Religious Education to encompass the many different aspects of living in another country.
Examinations and TestsAgain, as the curricular varies, so does the manner in which examinations and tests are taken in relation to the subjects taught within them. For example, whereas most schools in the United Kingdom have their students take examinations in the months leading up to the summer hiatus, schools abroad may not. This is also an important factor when considering a move abroad especially if your child is heading towards that stage where it is necessary for them to sit such exams.
You can find out more information about the varying curricular offered by countries abroad by contacting their consulate who will be more than happy to provide you such information and can even go as far as to recommend schools for you within a particular country or region.
Also you must be aware that although it is right of every child to have an education – just as in the United Kingdom local education authorities have guidelines to adhere to when allocating places – so do the governing bodies in any country you may be considering moving to. Again speaking to the consulate will provide you with a wealth of information to help you on your way.