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 take into account the exact location of their new home before considering schooling options for their children. There are a few common aspects, however.

Compulsory schooling throughout the Channel Islands is from ages five to 16. Most students choose to continue with either A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate, which can be obtained through the 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 high standards of education.

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 can be attended free of charge. Attendance of schools in Guernsey is determined according to catchment area, so this is something to consider when deciding what 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 will need to submit a baptismal certificate along 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 useful 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 does incur tuition fees, these are much lower than one would find at private schools. As in Guernsey, catchment areas apply.

There are around 30 non-fee-paying primary and secondary schools in Jersey. Most primary schools also have a pre-school section. The selection of fee-paying government schools is small.

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). Presently, only a few schools have been assessed as the government works to initiate the programme, which will expand over time. Results for each school, along with other important information, can be found 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 having just a handful of private schools to choose from.

Special-needs education in Channel Islands

If parents think that their child may need extra assistance in school, they can put in a request for their child to be assessed by 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. The named school is obligated to give the child a place.

Tutors in Channel Islands

Tutors can be helpful for expat families in a number of situations. Children from abroad may need a little help with catching up to the local curriculum or may benefit from extra tutoring for the English language if it isn't their mother tongue. Parents concerned about children losing their mother-tongue language skills while in the Channel Islands should consider hiring a tutor who is a fellow native speaker and who can help maintain fluency.

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