General Information

Andrew Malcolm and Ed Harris from the CEAS team have produced podcasts providing educational information for families posted to the USA and Washington DC. They “aim to provide UK military families with information about local educational systems, school and the range of opportunities to explore in local areas”.

The US schooling system is very different to that of the UK, and whilst many UK children thoroughly enjoy their time in a US school, there are several considerations to take into account, depending on where you are being posted and the age of your children.

US Schooling consists of Elementary school, Middle school, and High school. In the US, state-funded schools (known as state schools in the UK) are called public schools and privately-funded schools (known as public or private schools in the UK) are referred to in the US as private schools. They charge a fee for attendance and are often governed by a local board. 

The school year in the US is generally shorter than in the UK because there are fewer mid-year holidays and a longer summer break. The school year is typically 36 weeks long, and usually consists of two 18-week semesters, rather than three terms (as in the UK).

The control and governance of US schools is very different from that of UK schools. Unlike in the UK, there is no national curriculum, therefore schools do not prepare students for national examinations such as GCSEs or AS/A levels. In high school, students work towards a high school graduation diploma, although there are alternative options available in some schools.

Although the federal government provides funding and national standards for schools, authority over public (state-funded) education rests primarily with individual state departments of education. As most policies are set at state and local levels, the curriculum can vary from state to state and even between school districts within a state.

Many UKBC families utilise local public schools, however you do have the option of utilising a private school. There is MOD funding available for private education, between 2/3rds and 100%, depending on circumstances. Read the specific Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten (age 4-6), Schooling (age 6-18)and High School (age 14-18) pages for more information.  

Contacts

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the information on these pages you can contact the Education team below.

You can also contact The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS). CEAS is a tri-service organisation funded by the MOD. It was established to provide information and support to Service families and eligible MOD civilians on all aspects of the education of their children in the UK and overseas.

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2021 @ 8:43 am

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