Richmond has a variety of schooling options for parents to choose from, including public, private, charter and international schools. New arrivals in the city can enrol their children at any of these. Those who pick public schools will likely have their choices limited to the neighbourhood they decide to settle in. Private and international schools tend to have better facilities and teacher-to-student ratios, but often come at a hefty price.
Public schools in Richmond
The city of Richmond governs and operates 28 elementary schools, nine middle schools and eight high schools. Public schools accept students based primarily on their catchment area, so new arrivals with children should think carefully before settling on an area or suburb.
Parents also have the option of sending their children to public charter schools in Richmond which, despite being publicly funded, function independently of government regulations. Such schools, therefore, have more flexible academic programmes and curricula than traditional public schools.
Charter schools have grown in popularity over the past decade due to the perceived flaws of the traditional public schooling system. But they sometimes have quality inconsistencies, and many have been closed down in the past for failing to maintain adequate standards. That said, they usually offer a higher standard of education than traditional public schools.
Private schools in Richmond
Many newcomers and expats opt to send their children to private schools in Richmond. These schools have complete control over their curricula. Therefore, parents should familiarise themselves thoroughly with an institution before enrolling their children. Although private schools often come with exorbitant fees, they offer quality education in terms of small student-teacher ratios, specialised programmes, religious instruction and same-sex classrooms.
International schools in Richmond
Several schools in Richmond offer the International Baccalaureate Programme. These are ideal for families who aren't planning to be in the city for an extended period or whose children are moving from an international school in another country. International schools will provide a more familiar environment, an expat community, and continuity with their previous curriculum.
International schools typically have steep fees and space limitations, so parents should start the application process well in advance.
Special-needs education in Richmond
Virginia’s laws stipulate that if a child has a learning difficulty or physical disability, they are entitled to additional support through the public school system. Federal law further states that all children are entitled to free and fair education, including anyone with a disability.
Parents new to Richmond can rest assured that their children with special needs will receive sufficient support. Not only are there many dedicated special-needs schools, but both public and private schools are also mandated to have structures in place to support children with various developmental, behavioural and physical disabilities.
The priority is always to have a child integrated into the mainstream school system, and only once it is established that their issues are too severe will they be referred to a specialist facility.
Tutors in Richmond
Tutoring has become highly popular across the United States, and Richmond is no exception. Tutors can be a valuable resource for several reasons, including for students who require help in specific subject areas or to learn English or prepare for university entrance exams, or for students who need some help to build confidence in a new school environment. Often, the first reference point for a private tutor would be to arrange one directly through the school or on their recommendation. Otherwise, parents should look online. Some established companies in Richmond include studyBuddyJ.com and WyzAnt Tutoring.
►For a more detailed overview of the America school system read Education and Schools in the USA
Are you an expat living in Richmond?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Richmond. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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