As with many other aspects of living in the Channel Islands, the education system differs from one bailiwick to the next. As such, expats will need to carefully consider the exact location of their new home before deciding on schooling options for their children. That said, there are a few common aspects.
Compulsory schooling throughout the Channel Islands is from ages five to 16. Most students choose to continue with their A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate, which are accessible through various post-secondary schools. Public schooling is free of charge from ages three to 18.
Schools in Jersey and Guernsey generally follow the same curriculum as in England and offer excellent educational standards.
Public schools in Channel Islands
Public schools in Guernsey
Public schooling in Guernsey is known as the States Maintained Education System. All schools in this system are free to attend. Catchment areas determine acceptance into schools in Guernsey, so parents should consider this when deciding which part of the island to live in.
Guernsey has fewer than 20 primary and secondary schools, two of which are Catholic. Expats wishing to send their child to a Catholic school must submit a baptismal certificate with their application.
To get an idea of the quality of each school, prospective parents can view individual school reports on the Guernsey government website, which also has lots of information.
Public schools in Jersey
Public schools in Jersey, also called 'government schools', are either free (non-fee-paying) or partly funded by the government (fee-paying). Though attendance at fee-paying schools incurs tuition fees, these are much lower than at private schools. As in Guernsey, catchment areas apply.
There are 27 non-fee-paying primary and secondary schools in Jersey, while the selection of fee-paying government schools is small. Most primary schools also have a pre-school section.
In 2019, the Jersey government instituted a rating and assessment system for all government schools. This is known as the Jersey Schools Review Framework (JSRF). The results for each school are available on the Jersey government website.
Private schools in Channel Islands
Private schools are known as 'independent schools' in Jersey and are called 'private/grant-aided' schools in Guernsey. Most of these schools are single-sex and teach from a Christian, Catholic or non-denominational perspective. Due to the small size of Jersey and Guernsey, options for private schooling are limited, with each bailiwick having just a handful of private schools to choose from.
Special-needs education in Channel Islands
If parents think their child may need extra assistance in school, they can request an assessment from the local council.
Children with special educational needs will have an individual plan drawn up by the council. This plan will specify a particular school for them to attend, be it a mainstream or specialised school, which is obligated to give the child a place.
Tutors in Channel Islands
Tutors can be helpful for expat families in several situations. Children from abroad may need a little help catching up to the local curriculum or benefit from extra English language lessons if it isn't their mother tongue. Parents concerned about their children losing their ability to speak their native language while in the Channel Islands should consider hiring a tutor to help maintain fluency.
►See Moving to Channel Islands for an overview of the country
Are you an expat living in Channel Islands?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Channel Islands. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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