Schooling and University in the UK

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Higher education:


The UK has a long history of welcoming international students to its universities and colleges. In 2010 there were 1.8 million full-time undergraduate students in UK higher education including over 400,000 international students. The number of international students studying in the UK has been increasing at the rate of about 8% per year.


In 2010, there were 90,000 Chinese students here in the UK ,a 27% increase from 2009. Figures for 2011 are likely to show a similar rise.


Institutions of learning in the UK are extremely keen to attract more Chinese students and this can only serve to improve the learning experiences on offer. Furthermore, the growing number of Chinese students means that Chinese studying here should have no sense of isolation, while at the same time learning about a new culture in a foreign country.


UK qualifications are recognised and respected throughout the world and come with the added advantage of giving graduates a strong command of the English language.


Courses in the UK must meet strict academic criteria. Many universities and colleges provide international offices, international student societies, planned social activities, academic support, counsellors and advisers to make international students feel welcome and supported while studying in the UK.


Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK are generally shorter than in other countries (standard courses last around 3 years) which can help to keep the cost of tuition fees and living expenses down. International students typically are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays so as to further assist with affordability.


English proficiency:


Universities and colleges should tell you what standard of English, both written and spoken, you need for the course that you're considering. For Chinese and others whose first language is not English, most universities will require a qualification in English or to take a specified test in English. The admissions office or international office of the university where it is proposed to study can provide details of which English language proficiency tests are acceptable (an example is the IELTS testing system).


There are very many course providers for English language training. For example, "Cambridge English Exams" are accepted by almost all UK universities and colleges as proof of English language skills. They are also accepted by the UK Border Agency for Tier 4 student visas. They can be taken in 2,500 centres in over 130 countries.


Other entry requirements:


Minimum entry requirements for undergraduate courses can be found out by checking the university or college website, or contacting the university or college for a prospectus.  In addition to qualifications, universities or colleges are also likely to consider your wider suitability for your preferred course before making an offer of a place.


In order to apply for a visa to come to the UK to study, universities and colleges will need to see the required qualifications for entry before the applicant can go ahead with the visa application. One of the first steps is to check that the qualifications held are recognised in the UK and that they would be considered by higher education institutions as being suitable for entry into UK higher education.




Course fees vary considerably between institutions and also depend on the type of course to be studied.  Arts degree courses usually range between £7000 (70,000 Yuan) to £9000 (90,000 Yuan) per year while science courses could range from £8000 to £22,000 (220,000 Yuan).  Clinical courses such as Medicine and Dentistry typically start at £18000 (180,000 Yuan) (pre-clinical), rising to £30,000 (300,000 Yuan) (clinical).  The cost of post graduate courses is similar to undergraduate courses, but with the potential to be slightly more expensive at the upper end.


Secondary Education for children in UK private fee-paying schools:


The high quality of British independent education is known and respected worldwide. It attracts many thousands of overseas children from across the globe.  Many of these schools are now offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) qualification as well as traditional British secondary school qualifications. The IB qualification is increasingly accepted and respected globally for entry to universities.

More than one third of pupils in UK private schools (as registered with the Independent Schools Council (ISC)) are from a foreign country, giving these schools a very international atmosphere. Furthermore, for the 2010/11 academic year alone, there were 10,900 newly enrolled foreign students, 36% of whom were from Hong Kong and China.


Independent school fees in the UK typically cover course fees, accommodation and some extra-curricular activities. Fees vary from school to school and are at the discretion of the UK institution. The minimum fee will be £8,000 (80,000 Yuan) per year and fees for pupils staying overnight at schools accommodation (‘boarding’) will normally exceed £20,000 (200,000 Yuan) per year and could be up to £30,000 (300,000 Yuan) for top tier schools.

As mentioned on the Visa and Residency pages, under 18’s proposing to study in the UK will need a Tier 4 visa.


All under 18’s will need to have a guardian to look after their interests in the UK if their parents remain resident abroad. Sometimes this can be UK-based relatives of the child. Otherwise, there are many guardianship organisations with registered families and guardians who can perform an accredited guardianship service to overseas students and who must comply with strict welfare standards. At Golden Roof, we have contacts with a number of accredited guardians. Alternatively, the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students (AEGIS) can provide further information.