Settling In


Education in the U.K. is divided into: primary, secondary, further and higher education. Compulsory education lasts for 11 years between the ages 5 to 16 years. During this time children must receive full-time education that is suited to their age, ability, aptitude and special educational needs. Most pupils transfer from primary to secondary school at age 11 years. However, a system of middle schools also exists where pupils are transferred from primary school at either age 8 or 9 years, then onto secondary education at age 12 or 13 years. Most secondary schools in England and Wales are comprehensive; these do not operate a selective entrance system. However, in some parts of England, a grammar school system also operates whereby pupils are usually required to pass an entrance examination based on their ability.

As a result of the Education Reform Act 1988, four Key stages to education were established. Pupils are assessed by National Curriculum tests at the end of each Key Stage. Having completed GCSEs, pupils have a choice of whether to continue with further education at school or college or to undertake employment.

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For information about English language courses:

Health Care

Like the health care system in Israel, National Insurance (NI) is payable by everyone working and covers the cost of health care (known as the NHS or National Health Service). Contrary to the U.S. system, England has a completely integrated and socialized system. There is also a private system of health insurance, doctors and hospitals.

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You will need to get a National Insurance number, which will require a number of forms of identification including: passport, a letter of appointment or a letter from an agent stating that you are seeking employment, proof of address (lease agreement, council tax bill, or telephone bill). You will eventually receive a credit card sized National Insurance Identification.


Houses in the UK are usually small and the rental asking prices are invariably high. North of London properties are usually cheaper and the tube allows for living outside of London. The initial rental outlay is also extraordinary: Advance payment of at least 6 weeks deposit plus one months rent, a non-refundable holding deposit (£150 usually), a reference check (usually £15-£25) – calling references back home, a tenancy agreement (cost £80-£1000), an inventory check on the house (another £80-£100) after moving in to make sure everything is in order, a TV license by law (about £150.50 a year-as at June 2018).

As at June 2018, the average UK house price is around £226,000 and rising. In London the average price for a house is £680,000. Base interest rates for homeowner mortgages are low: between 3.5-3.75 per cent and the average homeowner in the UK spends about 30% of their net salary on their mortgage.

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Britons can pop across the English Channel and be in Paris or Amsterdam within four hours or go on week-long hiking adventures in the northern highlands. The Brits also invented the bed and breakfast weekend featuring tea and scones in the afternoon. The array of accessible national events that take place each year is unique to Britain.

The traditional Oxford/Cambridge University Boat Race is held in London on the River Thames in late March; the FA Cup final takes place in May; and the world’s most prestigious lawn tennis championships, takes place at Wimbledon in late June, the classical music festival- Henry Wood Promenade Concerts – (“the Proms”), from July to September.

Other annual events include the six-week Dance Umbrella, the London Film Festival, and the Soho Jazz Festival.

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