London, United Kingdom Report of what it's like to live there - 02/28/21
Personal Experiences from London, United Kingdom
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
Parent of 3 children at the school
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
2017-2021, grades K2-9 inclusive.
3. What years did you live here?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes, many many many choices. This school was closest to our housing and had a good reputation and followed the American system which my kids were used to.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
Yes, very straightforward and clear, though they have long waiting lists and can't always admit all qualified applicants.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Very good. Our ASL welcome family were much more helpful than our Embassy sponsors. They answered questions before we arrived and showed us around once we got here.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Very good, weekly newsletters, regular emails, a detailed website with dedicated pages for each teacher. Also everyone from teachers to administrators is very responsive to questions/concerns.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
After-school activities, and, if you're with the Embassy, field trips. It's cheap for elementary (maybe $50 a year) and a lot for middle/high school ($500-600)
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
They send kids to the best schools in the world, not as familiar with non-elite U.S. schools.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
Some after-school care, but not every day, and based on signing up for activities, they definitely assume people have nannies or stay at home parents.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes, enormous for lower school and upper school. The librarians are absolutely geniuses.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Lower and middle school get devices assigned, different teachers use them differently. HS is bring your own, but they don't have to be fancy (though a lot of kids have fancy ones)
5. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Pool, gyms, limited fields on campus, a huge outdoor facility about a 25 minute drive away.
6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
7. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
Yes, AP classes, no IB
8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes, no homework in the lower school, middle school escalates, my 8th grader had about 90 minutes most nights.
9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
All of them, all middle schoolers play and sing and do drama, performance oriented, low pressure.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
11. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Minimal, and not good at all, in my experience they fixate on even minor differences to the expense of paying attention to the kid as a whole.
12. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
A long long list. My kids have done horseback riding, ice skating, fencing, robotics, fabric art, ceramics, rock climbing, self defense, swimming and soccer... Probably others too and there are many other choices.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Very very well. There are very few British kids at the school, the vast majority are expats and there doesn't seem to be bullying.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
Not that any of my kids have noticed
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
For my three kids I'd give it an A+, a B, and a D. We really wish we had sent the little one somewhere else, he didn't fit the ASL mold and was pretty unhappy, but it was amazing for my oldest and more than fine for the middle one.
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
ASL is a great school, it reminds me a lot of a very good U.S. public school. There are some extremely rich and famous people with their kids in the school, but it's never a big deal and the kids don't pay much attention (though in high school my daughter is starting to notice that some kids have shoes and bags that cost more than her computer). The school does best I think for kids who are bright but not very gifted and not atypical in any way. For an average/bright typical kid, I can't imagine a better place.