The education system in the UK can be flexible to individual needs - especially when students enter with non-UK qualifications, so while all of the following is factually true, for any age group it is worth discussing your individual case with the school or university.
Every person is a special case, and it never hurts (and costs nothing!) to ask questions about your specific situation.E
- Until the age of 16, education in the UK is free and compulsory for all children. Children who turn 16 in 2022 usually start or finish their last year of secondary school (Secondary School).
- Children born between 01/09/2006 and 08/31/2007 must enter the last (11th) grade of secondary school in the 2022-2023 school year. Useful resource explaining this stage of education: https://bit.ly/39Okl9f
In addition to compulsory education. Or if you are thinking about university?
If you or your children are 18+, there are several ways to continue your education or gain work experience.
Requirements for Ukrainians to enter the university and what are the following routes open to Ukrainian youth:
The Ukrainian certificate of " a higher secondary education" (certificate of complete secondary education) is not sufficient for admission to bachelor's programs. Equivalence of Ukrainian school education to the requirements for admission to the UK on the example of typical universities is here: https://bit.ly/3wKnMoZ
- Pass A-level exams- having studied in the “sixth form” — hese are the last 2 years of school, immediately at the secondary school "Secondary School", (similar to the last 2 years of school in Ukraine) or having studied in college, the same 2 years ( comparable to a vocational school) - these routes are free
- Pass the A-level exams after the end of the “foundation year” - 1 year. It's a private education, it's expensive, but it saves a year. What is “foundation year”: https://bit.ly/3MRcJ48
- If you have completed the 1st year at a Ukrainian university, you can be accepted for an “Undergraduate” bachelor's degree (admission to the first year of the university) in the UK. These applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, summarizing your training, experience, and education to determine whether you qualify for the chosen course. Contact a specific university for more information on admission.
- “Sixth form” is more suitable if your child is closer to 16 years old. The child is more likely to be accepted, and the educational process is closer to school. Colleges are more appropriate if your child is under 18 years old, including when they are finishing/finished their last year at a Ukrainian school.
- Language — Most international students, including those who have completed A-levels in the UK, must pass IELTS with a score of 6.5. https://bit.ly/3NrlTo4
Will my child "lose 2 years"?
- Ukrainian and British approaches to education are very different. First of all, in the British system more attention is paid to independent, critical thinking, work with presentations, "soft skills" - social skills. Acquiring these skills is essential for successful learning. In addition, at A-level students specialize in 4-5 subjects, acquiring in-depth academic knowledge in them before entering the university, in contrast to the broader approach in Ukrainian education.
- NB: People aged 18+ who complete non-special education such as Sixth form or college are eligible for Universal Credit https://bit.ly/3z0vP3I
Further education in the UK is a privilege, not a right. While scholarships and student funding are available, residents of England and Wales pay university fees (generally up to £9,000 a year, not including housing and meals). Residents of Scotland have free education, but housing and meals are still paid.
UK government statements have confirmed that Ukrainian students living in England will pay "home fees" (i.e. the same fee as English students) https://bit.ly/3MFgXvQ while students living in Scotland, will not pay tuition https://bit.ly/3MLL592
Both of these applications are announcements only, no practical process has been started yet, so each applicant will need to contact the university to confirm if the 2022-2023 academic year will be available to them. Both announcements also state that Ukrainians will have access to student funding (to cover living expenses), however the process is also not published. If/when funding is found to be equivalent to funding for UK students, it will be in the form of a loan.
Some Scottish universities have already added details on admission, recognition of previous qualifications and financial support.
You can see the first examples:- University of Aberdeenhttps://www.abdn.ac.uk/news/15965/- University of Strathclydehttps://bit.ly/3HaaW8l
List of universities that offer tuition grants and scholarships to refugees: https://star-network.org.uk/access-to-university/scholarships/list/
Important: The deadline for most grants and scholarships for the 2022-2023 academic year has already passed. Given the high cost of living, we strongly recommend considering universities closer to places where you already have housing (especially if you live with a sponsor for free).
Important: Full-time attendees of a higher education institution such as a university are generally not eligible for Universal Credit https://bit.ly/3z0vP3I.
Applying - There are 3 “deadlines” for applying to UK universities and UK students apply through a system called UCAS. You can check the timing here: https://bit.ly/39JYaAS.The main application deadline is January, however many universities continue to accept applications from international students after this date. Contact the university you are considering and check with them.
What are the alternatives to university?
There are many reasons not to go to university or to postpone it. Together with the reasons British students face: high cost including debt after graduation, irrelevance of many degrees to today's job market, academic education is not the preferred mode of study for everyone, 17-18 years old (too early age to choose a career) - Ukrainian parents and young people will face the following:
1. Uncertainty over whether housing fee status for Ukrainians will remain in place2. It is not known how long they will be in the UK due to the events in Ukraine3. Missed Grant Deadlines for Most Scholarships
We strongly recommend that you consider alternative options. Many of them combine education, gaining work experience and earning a living wage.
Apprenticeship combines work and education for young people over the age of 16. The apprentice is paid at least the minimum wage, enjoys all the benefits that all other employees of the institution/company/business enjoy, and upon graduation receives a degree equivalent to a bachelor's degree (no student debt!) All industries offer apprenticeship - from IT to carpentry, from social work to engineering. Best paid apprenticeships: https://indeedhi.re/3yUSGhq
Everything you need to know about apprenticeships: https://bit.ly/3PzxS4T
When is it a good option?
If you are considering staying in the UK for a long time or staying here permanently. Then you can consider professions with favorable conditions for immigration to the UK (for example, medicine and related disciplines)
Example: Medical apprenticeships: https://bit.ly/3PyIC3o
Studying at a desk for the next 3-4 years is not attractive - both you and your child prefer hands-on learning.
Example: Graphic design apprenticeships advertised on a national job site: https://indeedhi.re/3LFjogB
Entry level workEntry level jobs exist in many industries and do not require a degree.
When is it a good option? If you are still thinking about university but it will take you a year to apply for grants and scholarships, improve your English and save money.
Other alternatives. Read more here, many alternatives lead to a degree: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/applying-for-university/alternatives-to-university