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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi-- My husband will be starting a medical device company in the UK and we'll need to move from San Francisco to either London or Oxford to do so. Most of the early work will be here in California but by January, he'll be spending most of his time there. Is it feasible to move countries in the middle of the school year? If so, what are your recommendations for schools to investigate? Our kids are 7/9 (2nd grade and 4th grade). My cursory websearches show that you cannot enroll in state run schools without being there and so I assume this means that we'll be looking at independent schools.

Also, where? Oxford and London are both feasible for my husband's work and since we live in central San Francisco, we're considering Oxford since it will be a big change. What pros/cons do you see with this?

Thank you for your help!
 

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Hi-- My husband will be starting a medical device company in the UK and we'll need to move from San Francisco to either London or Oxford to do so. Most of the early work will be here in California but by January, he'll be spending most of his time there. Is it feasible to move countries in the middle of the school year? If so, what are your recommendations for schools to investigate? Our kids are 7/9 (2nd grade and 4th grade). My cursory websearches show that you cannot enroll in state run schools without being there and so I assume this means that we'll be looking at independent schools.

Also, where? Oxford and London are both feasible for my husband's work and since we live in central San Francisco, we're considering Oxford since it will be a big change. What pros/cons do you see with this?

Thank you for your help!

You don't mention what visa your husband will have to start this venture.

Are you all British?

Where is this company going to be based?
 

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Will you be staying in the UK through the end of the children's schooling at age 18 and/or beyond?
 

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If school fees aren't a problem, then private (independent) prep schools will have the flexibility you want. There are lots of such schools in both cities, and except at the very top, getting a place mid-term shouldn't be a problem. Fees are higher in London, around £16,000 a year, and in Oxford around £13,000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We will be applying for the tier 1 entrepreneur's visa. We meet the requirements and will start that process on Sept 1. We are all US citizens. The company will be in either London or Oxford. We currently have an address and desk in London.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Will you be staying in the UK through the end of the children's schooling at age 18 and/or beyond?
I doubt we'll be staying that long-- we're not looking to move permanently. We'll be keeping our home in San Francisco. We expect 3-5 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
School fees will be a challenge and I'm trying to assess if we have a choice. Can you share the names of the schools that have mid-term flexibility in Oxford? My web searches have come up with nothing. In London, the international schools (including American school) do have regular mid-term admissions.

If school fees aren't a problem, then private (independent) prep schools will have the flexibility you want. There are lots of such schools in both cities, and except at the very top, getting a place mid-term shouldn't be a problem. Fees are higher in London, around £16,000 a year, and in Oxford around £13,000.
 

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School fees will be a challenge and I'm trying to assess if we have a choice. Can you share the names of the schools that have mid-term flexibility in Oxford? My web searches have come up with nothing. In London, the international schools (including American school) do have regular mid-term admissions.
I had a good look at schools on the Internet and when my partner came over for an interview I arranged with the school I liked for him to go view. The head teacher and secretary were great. We applied on the council website online back in South Africa and the school must have okayed my daughter joining. As they even sent us the enrollment acceptance to our South African address. She joined just before the April break and settled fine. New school terms start in September here.m
 

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If he's based in London then you are looking at a long and expensive commute by train or tube. Oxford is a busy city but there's lots of towns and villages not too far away. It all depends on the exact location.
 

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I doubt we'll be staying that long-- we're not looking to move permanently. We'll be keeping our home in San Francisco. We expect 3-5 years.
Speaking as someone who moved to the UK at the age of 8, and started in British schools but ended in an American one, you should probably stick with an American school. This will involve less of a transition in both directions.

The British school system starts a year earlier than the U.S. system and moves faster, so that Year 11 (10th grade) is the equivalent to the last year of US high school. Your children will be behind in maths, as it's called in the UK, and your older child will be behind in French. They'll be in Year 3 and Year 5 unless their birthdays are in September-December, in which case they will be in the prior year. I remember my sister, who was nearly 7 at the time, struggling to memorise her times tables (multiplication tables), as the rest of her class had mastered this already.

On a positive note, research has shown that changing schools mid year is easier on kids than coming in at the beginning of the school year. The classroom routine is set, and a newcomer is treated as something interesting, so they tend to get special treatment. It's also better for kids to drop into a new routine right away, and start making friends rather than sit around a new house all summer without friends worrying about the new school scene. (The latter I have done.)

Research has also shown that moving during the teenage years is very difficult. We came back the the U.S. when I was 14, and my sister 12 1/2. I found it to be very difficult to adjust; my sister did better. We had few memories of living here having left at 3 and 4 1/2, and had only visited four times. So you'll need to think about the timing of your return to avoid that pitfall.

Good luck with the school search. My parents were advised that schools were good when in fact they were so-so, and this resulted in our changing schools twice. It seems that people are loathe to speak ill of schools. Or perhaps they just don't know...
 

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Hi, at ages 7 and 9 your kids should settle well in new schools. If you want to save the cost of independent schools I would recommend Oxfordshire over London. The primary schools in villages surrounding the city of Oxford will be friendly and welcoming to you all. These are all worth looking at, dependant on your budget. Nettlebed, Chiselhampton, Clifton Hampden, Great Milton, Great Tew, Abingdon, Henley-on-Thames, Little Haseley, Witney, Bladon, Cumnor, Dorchester-on-Thames, Minster Lovell, Drayton, Milton, Long and Little Wittenham, Stoke Lyne, Sutton Courtenay, Stratton Audley, Hethe, Cropredy, Ewelme. All lovely places to grow up.
 

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I'm enjoying this thread as we are in a similar situation.:D

We are moving temporarily from the SF bay area to the UK with a 7 and 10 year old mid-year. We will go to school one month here in the States, then travel to the UK and start up after the first quarter ~mid-October 2015 at a state school. I've been doing quite a bit of research and looking forward to the adventure, I believe the kids are just the right age for the transitions. My wife and kids are French Citizens so no visa worries there, and I am going on an EEA permit, although I'm working on getting my French Citizenship in parallel.

We are moving to Edinburgh, Scotland. A bit lower cost, and seems like a great place to visit for a year or two. Keeping our home in the bay area, and plan to move back in a year or two.

--
SharpE
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
cool--good to know that you will be in a similar situation. How are you managing schools? do you feel confident that the kids can get into a school in Britian, wherever you settle? If it was just me and my husband, I'd wing it. The schools look complicated to me. Thanks for piping in!
 

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cool--good to know that you will be in a similar situation. How are you managing schools? do you feel confident that the kids can get into a school in Britian, wherever you settle? If it was just me and my husband, I'd wing it. The schools look complicated to me. Thanks for piping in!
My understanding is that primary school is a requirement in the UK, like it is in the USA, so the government is required to provide space for your children.

We understand we will not have complete control over which state-school they are placed, as they will look for which schools have the most space left. We plan to move into a flat for a week or two and visit the schools in the area and apply for an opening in our preferred catchments first. We want to be within walking distance, if possible, so based on the school they are placed we will then focus our flat hunting to that area.

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SharpE
 

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You need to look at 'OFSTED' reports for schools you are interested in. Don't bother to read the whole thing - just look for schools that are rated 'good' or 'outstanding' and avoid anything under 'special measures' Applications are all done via Local Education Authorities (Counties) and are a bit complicated but it is much easier once you are over to start talking to individual schools. Just ring the office and they will fill you in on what space they have, you might be best to get one child into a favourite school and then you will have 'sibling preference' to get your other child in as soon as there is a place. I have friends who did this and are glad it worked out.
 
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