For expats moving to Reading with children, making the right choice when it comes to picking a school is a top priority as this will play a significant role in ensuring a successful transition into expat life. Factors that will affect the choice of school include the child’s previous schooling experience, academic ability and English language capability.
Most government-funded schools in the UK and some private schools base admission on catchment areas, so it’s important to consider schooling options before deciding where to live. Private schools and international schools with boarding facilities offer greater flexibility.
Typically, the academic year in the United Kingdom starts in September and ends in July, with the main breaks in December, March/April and July/August.
State-funded schools in Reading
State schools are provided by the government at no cost to British citizens and foreigners legally living in the UK. These are effectively funded by taxes. The standard of education at these schools varies considerably, however. Some offer excellent teaching and facilities, while others continue to perform badly in terms of the academic results. Generally, the better state-funded schools are found in more affluent areas.
Private schools in Reading
The UK has a tradition of private schools (also called independent schools). These generally follow the British national curriculum with a wider range of subjects, while others are starting to offer students the opportunity to study for the International Baccalaureate. The standard of teaching is generally good and class sizes are small. However, fees are usually high and parents should also budget a substantial amount for extra expenses such as uniforms and stationery.
International schools in Reading
International schools are a popular option for expats families living in the United Kingdom. They follow different curricula from across the globe and often allow students to continue studying their home syllabus. As such, they’re good for those who don’t plan on living in the UK in the long-term. But fees are hefty, so expats considering this option should try to negotiate an education allowance into their employment contracts.
While there are no international schools in Reading, London isn’t far away and it boasts the widest selection of international schools in the United Kingdom. Many of these offer boarding options, which is good for those that don’t want their children to have to commute to the capital every day.