London, United Kingdom Report of what it's like to live there - 09/03/11
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?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
4 & 6
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
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?
B: We had to wait 3 weeks before we heard any feedback on whether our kids were accepted or not, and that was a little stressful, otherwise it was a fairly easy process.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A:There are students assigned to help the new students get around the school as well as coffee mornings for new parents to come meet each other.The school has taken every opportunity to lend support.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The school is very organized in every grade level.My children's class sizes have not exceeded 17 childen.They are given more independance than I expected in middle school, which has been a blessing and a curse all at the same time.Organzied children love the freedom while unorganized children seem to misplace everything and not turn things in on time.But overall, it has been wonderful.
2. For the following attributes, down to the next blank box, grade your experience at the school on a scale of A (excellent) to F (unacceptable/terrible) and provide comments:<br><br>Overall fair and equitable treatment of all students and families:
A:Everyone is treated equally, no matter what your background is.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A for lower school.I have been updated constantly, which is great. C for middle school.If you don't contact the middle school teachers, they will not contact you at all.If your child is struggling with things, you will not learn about it until the report cards come out.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
We are personally not experienced with these programs but have heard wonderful things.
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
B: There are some after school activities my children would like to participate in, but the late bus is not provided for them to come home so they miss out.They choose other activities they are less interested in that do have late bus options instead.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
A: The teachers really do care and help out in every way possible...especially in the lower schools!
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
B: Lots of homework that sometimes seems like it is just something to keep the kids busy.I have a special needs child and thankfully his teacher has been willing to adjust things for him.My middle school child seems bogged down quite a bit with homework.
8. Administration-parent communication:
A: They send out newletters to keep you informed of what is going on.
9. Teacher-student communication:
B: It truly depends on the teacher.If s/he is willing to listen and your child is willing to talk then it could be wonderful.
10. Academics, answer the following questions "yes" or "no" with an explanation if appropriate:<br><br>Are there any classes or subjects where students are not appropriately challenged?
No: We have not had any issues with this.In fact, my son was bored in his math class so they moved him to a more challenging class immediately.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
Yes.My 4th grader receives Occupational therapy.ACS accommodates for many different special needs!They are FABULOUS!!!I would highly recommend this school for their ability to help special needs children.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
Absolutely.My child does not like to be pulled out of class so they have made it possible for him to receive therapy in class.They have been wonderful in meeting his needs.
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Yes, everything is offered here.In the lower school they offer limited foreign language courses, but that expands in the upper levels.
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
Yes.In the Upper school there are mandatory field trips the children have to go on that are not covered in the fees.Our company did not cover these fees and it cost us upwards of $400 a year if only one child was going.Wehave asked that they include these fees in the tuition and so far it has not happened.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
maybe chess or debate for 4-7 grades...it might be offered in the older grades.
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
Yes and they have loved them.
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
We haven't experienced any.You just need to remember that there are kids/families from all over the world at this school and their ideas of interactions and greetings are different than ours.Once you understand and accept that, it gets easier to move forward.
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?
A: Great support systems set up.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
A: Can't complain
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A: My children loving using MAC's and have asked us to buy one.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
B: We don't get a lot of feed back about PE, but my children seem to enjoy it.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
A: smaller classes, which we LOVE.
6. 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?
A: My children are younger, but we have had information sent home in a packet outlining all the options.
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes and No.It really depends on your child and their capabilities.I think my oldest has had a lot of homework but he has been able to deal with it appropriately.My youngest has not.He has been overwhelmed on several occasions.
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A: There are more options Middle and high school, but still a fair amount in lower school.
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
11. 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?
Yes. It varies according to grade level, but some examples are: basketball, soccer, football, sports coach, cooking, theater arts, dance, music lessons...
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes.It is completely up to you whether you give out your number or email address for get togethers, but people are friendly and love to get their children together with friends.
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.
There has been a little bit of bullying/teasing but it gets taken care of immediately.This school is not tolerant of behaviors like that.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
They are extremely accepting of everyone and will help in every way possible!
2. Greatest challenge?
If you live in central london the commute can get long if you hit traffic.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Absolutely!We love this school and will be sad to leave it!