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Placing a Foreign Student in a UK School

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 1 Feb 2018 | 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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I am married to a Russian lady with a nine year old son. He speaks some English and is taking English lessons. His first language is Russian of course and can understand English if it is spoken slowly. How can I find a school to accomodate him as he will be living in England from the summer onwards. That would put him starting school in the September intake. Any one had the same problems, and how did you overcome them?
Kibbs - 1-Feb-18 @ 7:11 PM
Hi, I'm currently 15 and will be completing my grade 10 in icse board and I've even complete GESE 9th grade, exam by trinity college of London and I would like to join grade 11 in London can you tell me the procedure and fee structure and also the subjects I have to study there.
Deevena - 23-Jan-18 @ 1:36 AM
HI! i am 16.I was born in Bangladesh and studied in Bangladesh as well. MY school in Bangladesh wasnt an English medium one but i stood first in my entire area(thana) in the major exam called Junior Scholarship Certificate(jsc).Though i have an Italian citizenship for my father,i spent my life in Bangladesh.Now its been 5 months we have come here and i am attending a sixth form college for my GCSE although i should have been in a school . But because of me being over 16,they wouldnt enrol me in a school.I have come here with my family only for my education and one thing is i havent stood 2nd in my entire life. But now i am worried about the fact that there is only 4 months left before my exam and at the same time i want to do the best. But to be realistic,you cant expect an A* from a student who is extremely new in this country and also not from an English language based school.It took 2 months to understand the British accent for me.Although i am getting B's in science and A's in maths and the worst D's in English, i am stil not happy with my grades.I know that i have the abiliy to give something special to every school i have attended so far but this coming late in london and getting only 9 months instead offull 2 years is misjudging me.Education system should be changed for the students coming from abroad.They should get an equal chance too.After all theres nothing to lose.Stil spending hours and hours on my studies.Btw i want to be an aeronautical engineer.THANKS ALL.If theres any tips for me dont hesitate to let me know!!
Asif - 20-Jan-18 @ 7:37 PM
I am working in the UK and my family would soon join me. My children are of age 8 and 12 they don't speak English well and I am wondering what I should expect when I apply for them here. How schools would examine there competency in education and language.? And do they downgrade the level at which they are at present ?
Sagar - 20-Jan-18 @ 7:52 AM
Hi. I would like to move from Nigeria to the Uk in Summer for a while. I have 2 daughters, they are 5years old and 7years old. Is it possible for them to get admitted into primary school in Uk ? I only want them to get the best education they deserve. Thank you
Bebe - 17-Jan-18 @ 9:32 PM
I hold dual citizenship for UK and Australia and have children how have Australian citizenship. We are currently living in Australia but would like to spend a year in the UK. Are the children able to attend a school in the UK?
Ju - 15-Jan-18 @ 7:24 PM
I am from India.my child now became in sixth grade.but I now realise it was too many late to get a proper future for my child.I am now hopeless.
Ayus - 7-Jan-18 @ 9:55 AM
We are sri lankan but my son born inItaly, He is 11 years old ,and he is studing english.I would like tosend my son to take education in UK ,and he can achieve his dream thanksManojini
Manojee - 3-Jan-18 @ 2:58 PM
Hi, I am a Nigerian citizen and I want my daughter who is 15 to continue her education starting next year in UK. would it be possible for her because we are not citizens of UK?.
blesin - 21-Dec-17 @ 4:26 PM
Hi!I’m Durga from Malaysia.I’m going to be 16 2018.I want to continue my studies in London when I am 17 in 2019.So,I have to continue my studies in high school isn’t?so what are the procedures for a foreign student to go to a high school.
Durga - 19-Dec-17 @ 6:12 AM
Savi - Your Question:
Hi ,My daughter is now 14years.We are planning to move UK on employment.Just I want to know What is the admission criteria for UK school ??

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here , if you are planning on sending your child to a state school. The admission to an independent school is more tailored to each school, please see link here .
GetTheRightSchool - 18-Dec-17 @ 1:57 PM
Hi ,My daughter is now 14years.We are planning to move UK on employment..Just i want to know What is the admission criteria for UK school ??
Savi - 17-Dec-17 @ 12:37 PM
Hi everyone, I am from Egypt and I am living in Egypt. I have a boy two years and a girl four years. I wish to educate my children in the UK but I have no other reason for me to move to UK. Do you think it is possible for me to come to UK just for that reason. I can afford living without having to work. Can you please tell me what to do.Thanks .
Nino - 3-Dec-17 @ 2:00 PM
Please my baby will be 1 year in April but I will like her to start school in UK. her nursery to university level. How possible is it. And I will like to stay with her because its her early stage of life. Thanks
clare - 28-Nov-17 @ 10:22 AM
Deea - Your Question:
Good day, can you tell me what documents I need to transfer a student from Spain to the UK. Thank you.

Our Response:
You can see more via the British Council link here , which should help answer your question.
GetTheRightSchool - 6-Nov-17 @ 10:03 AM
Hi I'm from india having two kids at the age of 13, 8 and iam planning to do their further schooling in london so plz guide me .
uma - 6-Nov-17 @ 5:43 AM
Good day, can you tell me what documents I need to transfer a student from Spain to the UK. Thank you.
Deea - 5-Nov-17 @ 12:44 PM
I would like tosend my son to take education in UK and he can achievehis dream Thanks
John - 26-Oct-17 @ 8:36 AM
Hello. I am an eu citizen and have 4 girls (10,7,4,18 months) their english is very very basic. We will be moving to the u.k begining of april this year. What are your recomandations in general more specificlyfor a type of schooland howcan theyfit in with very little english. With whom can i acquire this information . Thank you
dafnalaron - 25-Oct-17 @ 8:36 PM
Hello . I am an eu citizen and have 4 kids (10,7,4,18 months) their english is very basic. I am going to move to the u.k in the middle of the school year . What are your recomandations for us. And who do i contact to get more information or to regesture. Thank you
dafnalaron - 25-Oct-17 @ 8:11 PM
Hey I'm a 14 year old from India I want to move to UK and work in others house doing the odd jobs and study in UK
Khakchang Tripura - 21-Oct-17 @ 5:26 PM
Hi i am saira and I am 14 years old and I am from pakistan I need a admission in right school plzz contact me I wish and my dream study visa in uk plzzzzzz
Mano - 8-Oct-17 @ 10:25 AM
Hi I am a British citizen and living in Manchester wants my nephew to study in uk high school,he lives in Pakistan please guide me will he be able to get admission in UK he is 17 years old. At the moment he is doing his GCSEs second year.
Non - 7-Oct-17 @ 6:07 PM
I wood love to school and work in UK.
Timz - 7-Oct-17 @ 1:43 PM
Bobby- Your Question:
Hi I'm Bulgarian and have 3 underage kids at the age of 16 , 15 and 9 and I wish to move them to London where they will stay with their senior brother who lives and works there. They speak fluent English. I need to know all the required documents and what time of the year they have to be there to enrol in the school programme. I would appreciate if detailed information is send to me.Thank you

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which will help answer your question.
GetTheRightSchool - 25-Sep-17 @ 2:45 PM
Hi I'm Bulgarian and have 3 underage kids at the age of 16 , 15 and 9 and i wish to move them to London where they will stay with their senior brother who lives and works there. They speak fluent English. I need to know all the required documents and what time of the year they have to be there to enrol in the school programme. I would appreciate if detailed information is send to me .Thank you
Bobby - 23-Sep-17 @ 11:45 AM
Hi. I am a UK passport holder from Hong Kong. My spouse is a Chinese with a daughter aged 6 from her previous marriage. We decided to move to UK and stay. Is it possible for her daughter to study in UK schools for free?
mktong2002 - 17-Sep-17 @ 1:24 PM
Hello .me and my daughter are eu citizens We want to move in january to london uk and my 7year old daughter speaks fluently english .i am asking if it is possible for her to go to schoolwithout any trouble
da - 15-Sep-17 @ 10:11 PM
Hello, I am about to be 18, my father and I prefer me to finish High school in London. I only need one last year of high school and graduate. Is this possible ? Please I need your help. Thank you !
Souka - 25-Aug-17 @ 4:54 PM
Hello, mi brother is 16 year old is from France, he don't speak one word of English. My dad want him to finish school in London, do you think that will be possible and can you tell me what is the procedure
Stephi - 20-Aug-17 @ 12:13 PM
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