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Placing a Foreign Student in a UK School

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 5 Dec 2019 | comments*Discuss
Local Education Authorities Lea Foreign

We have already looked at how to place our children in schools abroad and how to help them fit in once they have made the transition to a foreign school but it is worth noting that the reverse can apply as foreign students are now becoming commonplace in our schools in the United Kingdom.

This can happen because a family has come to the United Kingdom in relation to employment or because they are wishing to seek Asylum in the United Kingdom. Whatever the case every child is entitled to an education and as such every attempt is made by the schooling system and the Local Education Authorities to make sure that places are available for any foreign student wishing to seek an education here.

Differences to be Aware of

For the most part the principle is the same for those families wishing to relocate to the United Kingdom as it would be for those families leaving the United Kingdom for foreign climbs. Although in saying that there are some noticeable differences.

The main difference being that we – in the United Kingdom – teach our children in English as our first language with foreign languages such as French German, Spanish and now in some schools Mandarin – bringing up the rear in language stakes. This, just as it is British children moving abroad – a stumbling block that needs to be overcome for any foreign student to gain a reasonable and satisfactory level of education.


Just as with British children, it is important and a good investment of time, for a foreign family to visit and select a list of schools that would appeal to their individual child’s needs should that be a course of action open to them. Obviously if the family are seeking asylum in the United Kingdom then a visit before hand is a lot less likely and it can sometimes be a lottery in terms of finding a place for their children. Local Education Authorities will help with this as best they can in conjunction with the Foreign Office and British Consulate to their country of origin.

It is also worth noting that foreign students will fall under the same system of criteria as British children when it comes to the application process for a specific school. Their applications will be determined not so much on the merits of where they are from – in relation to country – but where they are living in relation to the distance from the schools of choice etc. This is the same for all children and indeed the same applies for any benefits that might be obtained; school meals, financial assistance for travel and uniforms etc.

If you are from a foreign country and wish to place your child or children in full time education in the United Kingdom it is worth noting that there may be – in some schools – a rudimentary series of aptitude tests that may need to be taken – in order to gauge the level of your child’s learning to date, especially if they have already been in education in your home country. This may also include a basic test as to how they cope with the English language that – as we have already discussed – is the first language in our schools.

Some schools do teach in other languages as a first choice language but these schools it is worth mentioning – have limited places available and normally have long waiting lists. This also applies to specific religion schools such as those that teach Hinduism and other religions practiced mainly abroad.

In conclusion it is not impossible to place your child in a United Kingdom school if you are from abroad but there are certain stumbling blocks that have to be overcome so if you are relocating to the United Kingdom from abroad and have the time to do so, it is a worthwhile endeavour to take the time to find out what your child’s best options are.

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Hi, We will be moving to UK (Leeds) from India in January and have 2 kids of 11 years old.I am interested to join them in state funded school. Please advice how easy or difficult it is to get admission. Thank you
Sh - 5-Dec-19 @ 5:37 PM
Hi, My daughter is 16 in Oct 2020, we intend to bring my daughter in June 2020. I want her to complete high school in the UK I am from Mongolia. She is currently in Grade 10 in home country.And what are the requirements? Thank you so much.
Puujee - 5-Dec-19 @ 1:21 PM
Hi, my son will be coming to join me here in uk next year and he is 16 yrs old..will he be able to find placement as year 11 here? Or is it possible for me to find him a placement now for next year so that it will be ready by the time he arrives? Thank you so much for replying in myquery.
Ria - 24-Nov-19 @ 11:40 PM
My son comleted 5 years on 22-09-2014. We r relocating from India this Jan 2020. Will my son can get admission in schools in current term and in which class ?
Mannan - 23-Nov-19 @ 11:12 AM
Hello, I want my 16 year old daughter complete high school in the UK.We are from Russia. She is currently in Grade 10. How does she apply being a citizen of Russia? And what are the requirements? Thank you so much. Evgeniya
Evgeniya - 18-Nov-19 @ 9:40 AM
Hello, We are moving back to the UK from Dubai. My son is currently studying A Level in a British curriculum school. He is currently doing year 13 with both AQA Oxford and Cambridge board examinations. We are planning to return to the UK and have him complete his A form in the UK. Can he complete year 13 in the UK? We will be in Central London, Maidavale and looking at Saint Augustine for his school choice. Please advise if transfer from Dubai to UK is possible and if he can complete year 13 I’m the UK. We don’t want him to miss a year. Thank you for your time and assistance.
Waldo - 18-Nov-19 @ 8:27 AM
iam in grade 8 and doing olevles means in o1s iam and further iwant to study in uk.for a tier 4 general please tell me qhat can i do how i apply my visa
ameera - 16-Nov-19 @ 9:40 PM
Hi. I’m 17 years old and I just moved to London last week. I’m from Spain and i finished ESO (high school) there. What can I study here in London? Please advice me.
mlch - 14-Nov-19 @ 9:53 AM
i am studying in england for now and i am planning to move to india after my year 10 gcse.which year will i be in india?
ellery - 13-Nov-19 @ 12:50 PM
Good Morning I'm coming to London to look for work with my 6 yr old daughter and 11 yr old son, what state funded schools can I apply for and what visas would I have to get for all three of us for the long term stay. Please advise accordingly. Thanks. Plus I'd be living with my cousin she will care for us.
shan - 12-Nov-19 @ 1:50 PM
Hi Iam currently looking for a school for my granddaughter who will be joining me in the uk she is 13 turning 14 in January.pls advice
Khonas - 5-Nov-19 @ 3:36 PM
Hi I'm Andrew I will be moving to UK next and I want to come complete my school there. How do I apply and what are the requirements. Please advise.
Andrew - 30-Oct-19 @ 8:05 PM
We are from South Africa and will move to UK next year. My son is currently in Grade 7 and turning 14 in December. It seems to be a year behind England. Will he be able to start with year 9 in Sept 2020 if he is turning 15 in Dec 2020?
Carien - 28-Oct-19 @ 9:11 AM
Hi my name is Genevievi my son is 13 yrs and my sister wants him to go to school in uk fromzambia ..my sister lives in the uk
Genevievi khaitano - 22-Oct-19 @ 3:23 PM
I am a Malaysian, would like to send my 11 years old son to study in Uk. How to apply, what are the requirement, please advise. Thanks
BK - 21-Oct-19 @ 7:20 AM
Hi We just moved to UK and I’m 15 year 4 month old and got admission in year 11. I’m unable to cope up with the subjects as there’s hardly any time left for gcse and few subjects were complete ingear 10. Can I start at school in year 10 instead of year 11 and then next year start year 11. Please guide.
Hims - 20-Oct-19 @ 11:46 PM
Hi I would like to transfer my sun which is 9 years old from Italy to UK, what I need to doo?
Freddie - 15-Oct-19 @ 12:48 PM
My little girl will turn 12 yests old in December she comes from Romania and does not speak English. How do I find the right school near where we live? Given that the school year has already started, could she attend classes or have to wait for next year? Thank u! Have nice day!
Georgiana - 15-Oct-19 @ 6:17 AM
Hello I am pavi I live in spain my daughter is two years old now I want to her study in UKcan she get study visaand also it is possible that I will be able to get a visa for her care
Pavi - 2-Oct-19 @ 6:04 AM
Hi I am from Israel and looking for a easiest way to arrange a school for my son almost 16 y/o for a next year. He speaks English perfect . Could be any plase. Thank you.
Ilan - 19-Sep-19 @ 7:57 AM
I'm 17years old Grenadian but live in Nigeria. I'm in my SS3 which is my last grade for high school here but will be relocating to London next month what school do you think is the best for me please?? I can speak English fluently. Thanks
Geraldine - 18-Sep-19 @ 12:26 PM
My son is 12 years old. I want to study him in Abroad. I don't have money. I want to know that can I study in England in 8th grade. And again I want to know about scholarship. I am from India. Thank you
Shan - 5-Sep-19 @ 9:57 AM
Hi, we are moving to UK from Spain this week. We also have the school for our daughters, but we are quite worried with the situation with our oldest daugther. She is turning 14 in September, she just finished 2º ESO (Year 9 in UK) and she should be placed in Year 10 now in UK (3º ESO) in Spain, but since in the UK entry stages vary from Spain, they are enrolling her in Year 9, which is the course she already did in Spain. Is there any possibility to move to Year 10? How we should approach this with the school? Thanks a lot.
Jordi - 29-Aug-19 @ 5:35 PM
Hi i am Kelly just want to ask you my child born uk and when 13 years old move to usa and study there now 19 want to come back uk but do overstay usa what I need to do
Kulwant - 24-Aug-19 @ 4:42 AM
Hi, I have my 13 yrs old stepson moving from Spain to London. speak only Spanish I'm searching how to get and apply for the right school, please
Fouad - 19-Aug-19 @ 6:56 AM
Hi we want to move to uk we are from Madeira Portugal , but I'm a little worried with my 11 year old son he is a special boy , he have special teaching and he doesn't speak English .. he just passed for his 5 gree like he takes more time to learn . And I don't know what to do
Cristy - 16-Aug-19 @ 2:05 PM
hi,i am bringing my kids to uk and they don't speak English ,they only speak Spanish.is it possible for them to learn English very fast?i am a bit worried
glo - 14-Aug-19 @ 12:14 AM
My 16 years old daughter from Greece will come to stay with me .I leave in Harrow. She wants to go to a college and then to a university.What is the best option for her ? What about applications and dead lines ?She will come early September andshe has medium level in English . Please advice because I don't want to loose her academic year. Thank you in advance
Irene - 8-Aug-19 @ 4:40 PM
Hello I want to bring my brother to london from Greece he is 15 year old and I want to find a public school to place him so that he wouldn’t need to repeat a year. My parents come here so I have to take him can you help me with that? I am 22 I’ve been in london for a month and working full time but I live in a room..
Mrika - 7-Aug-19 @ 1:34 PM
Hello We are planning to move to UK Would like to know the schools and their fees and admission procedures for our son who is in 10th cbse He is fluent in English and studying French as second language and good in his academics Thanks in advance Sheetal
Sheetal - 27-Jul-19 @ 3:57 PM
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