Schooling (age 6-18)
Public (state-funded) school places are allocated by address, and you will need to find a property within the catchment area of a school for your child to be guaranteed a place there – there is no appeals process to this.
If you wish to have your child educated privately, there are no geographical restrictions to be taken into consideration. Private schools do not have catchment areas and will accept children regardless of where they live. The MOD will fund 2/3rds of the tuition fees and any other claimable expenses. You will be responsible for paying the remaining 1/3rd.
Many parents of children aged under 14 choose to send their children to a state school. If you have children 14 and up, please read this page for more considerations.
It is worth researching the schools in the area you will be moving to:
- The website of the local school district is a good place to start.
- www.greatschools.org may also be helpful, as this shows both test scores and parent reviews for schools.
- Once you arrive in country, you may wish to visit some schools in person. Schools are usually happy to offer new families tours and you can arrange these yourself by contacting the school directly.
When enrolling, you will need to provide proof that your child meets the school’s vaccination requirements.
- Once you have your accommodation confirmed, you will need to visit the school in person in order to enrol your child, taking along a copy of your lease as proof of your address. For this reason you will be unable to enrol your child in a public school prior to securing accommodation.
- If you choose to send your child to a public (state-funded) school, you can claim the cost of certain expenses, such as mandatory text books and annual supply lists, from the MOD. Other expenses, such as uniforms, lunches and snacks, field trips and after school clubs will be personal expenses. Please see Public School Claims for a detailed list of admissible and non-admissible fees and for guidance on how to make a claim.
- Once you have chosen a school, you must complete a Form 500 (Approval in Principle) (one per child) and forward this to the Healthcare and Education Department. This will provide the department with your chosen school’s details, including the name and address and proposed costs. Please note that this form does not generate payment of tuition fees or any other claimable expenses.
- After the department has received this form, you will be able to claim back any allowable expenses at your rate of entitlement. Please see Private School Claims for a detailed list of admissible and non-admissible fees and for guidance on how to make a claim.
Private schools often have more challenging curriculums than public (state-funded) schools and if your child cannot keep up the school may recommend additional tutoring after school. This is not a claimable expense. Certain expenses, including uniforms, lunches and snacks, field trips, after-school clubs and year books are not claimable and will be personal expenses; therefore these should be taken into consideration when choosing a school.
If you have not yet arrived in the US but have already decided upon a particular private school that you wish to send your child to, you are strongly advised not to sign any contracts before you arrive in the country. If you have not yet seen the school it is best to wait before making a binding financial commitment, because a school that may sound like a good fit when you are in the UK may not be when you see it in person. You can inform the school you will complete the paperwork in person.
In addition, the MOD will not pay any fees (for tuition or for a holding deposit, registration, application or enrolment fee) until you arrive in the US to take up your posting, though this can be claimed later.
If you choose to apply before your posting date, personally paying any required fees, the MOD is not liable for any costs or financial commitments that you may have made to the school if your posting is cancelled or you decide you no longer wish to send your child to the school.
If your child will be attending a public (state-funded) school, 99% of the time you will either live close enough to the school for your child to be able to walk there safely, or they will be transported there, at no cost, on the yellow school bus.
If your child will be attending a private school, you will be responsible for transporting your child to and from school. Any costs associated with transporting your child will be a personal expense.