Difference between UK and US curriculum
All children need to have reached the age of 3 years by 31st August for the UK curriculum and in most US curriculum schools, 4 years. US schools tend to admit children later though this is not always the case and you will need to check with the individual schools on this point.
The schools following the UK curriculum generally follow the UK Department of Education syllabus which is applied to all state schools in England and Wales. The US curriculum is different in that there is no US wide curriculum other than for the 3 main subject areas covered by the Common Core Standards. UK curriculum schools will offer public examinations for all students at the ages of 16 and 18. These exams are set by a number of Examination Boards and the same exams are sat by students in the UK and internationally at the same time.
US curriculum schools are not obliged to offer any specific public tests or exams (though many good schools will do so) and can issue a High School Diploma at the end of grade 12 which should allow students to enter College. The key point to ensure with any US curriculum school is that it is (or is in the process of) accreditation with one of the major US accreditation agencies. In Dubai, the KHDA has mandated that all US curriculum schools must be accredited by NEASC. This ensures that US based organisation inspects and verifies the standards of the schools and ensures that the High School Diploma is valid for College entry.
In terms of the day to day, the US curriculum is often regarded as less academic than the UK curriculum with a greater focus on Sports, Arts and extracurricular activities. However, many of the world’s best universities are in the US, so there are clearly US curriculum schools that are equally academic. In Primary School, the teaching methods and focus on the basics is very similar between both the UK and US curriculum. If you are not sure which to choose, we would advise that you visit schools of both types and base your decision on what you see and which school you feel would best suit your child.
You can find out more about the different curricula by searching in the Guides section on Whichschooladvisor.com.