Skip to main content


Relocating your family requires serious thought and assessing schooling options deserves careful consideration. Here our education consultant gives some key pointers to a family looking to leave Hong Kong and return to the UK.

Boy sitting on baggage carousel | The Good Schools Guide21 August 2020

Q: I am keen to relocate my family back to the UK from Hong Kong due to uncertainty around the current political situation but I have no idea of the educational landscape. I have a table tennis mad 7 year old girl and 14 year old bookworm boy. Where do I start?

A: You’ve come to the right place. We work with a large number of families from all over the world who for different reasons want to live and educate their children in the UK. In recent months, we have had a growing volume of enquiries from Hong Kong for understandable reasons. Hong Kong families are often at an advantage compared to families from many other countries in that the level of written and spoken English is generally high.  There are several things to consider before you make the move. First and most obviously your immigration status. This might be straightforward if you are a British citizen but for people without an automatic right to live and work in the UK you may need to investigate your status and visa options (our team can advise on this).

Once you have determined whether your family is eligible to live and study in the UK, the next question will be where to settle. Many families choose London and its environs on account of work and international connections, however there is much to be said for moving further afield, particularly north where independent schools are more affordable and you can find good and outstanding state schools with space. Please do keep in mind that you can’t apply for a place in a state school unless you have proof of residence and house prices vary wildly between different areas in each city as well as countrywide. This can make planning from a distance complicated as you will be unable to secure a place in a state school until you are living in the UK.

The situation is different with independent schools however, and you are likely to have more choice (there is sure to be a school which would cater for your table tennis enthusiast daughter as well as your bookish son). One unfortunate consequence of the current pandemic is that schools are finding themselves with spaces to fill as families decide they can no longer afford school fees, or are forced to move out of expensive areas to release equity. This is good news for families looking for places at short notice however and independent schools are used to interviewing via skype and conducting any testing from long distance.

The important thing to remember is that there are lots of options available. One of the attractions of the educational landscape in the UK is the breadth of provision and different kinds of school, state and private, single sex and co-ed, religious and secular, boarding and day and everything in between, as well as international.

Do you want help from The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants?

Our expert education consultants can provide your family with one-to-one help on all of the issues raised in this article and many more. If you would like to find out more about our services, visit the Education Consultants homepage or to speak directly with one of the team email [email protected] or call 0203 286 6824

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles

  • Special educational needs introduction

    Need help? Perhaps you suspect your child has some learning difficulty and you would like advice on what you should do. Or perhaps it is becoming clear that your child's current school is not working for him or her, and you need help to find a mainstream school which has better SEN provision, or to find a special school which will best cater for your child's area of need. Our SEN consultancy team advises on both special schools, and the mainstream schools with good SEN support, from reception through to the specialist colleges for 19+. Special Educational Needs Index

  • The Good Schools Guide International

    Corona Virus As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, The Good Schools Guide International offers the following guidance:  Determine the global situation and that of individual countries on government mandated school closures by accessing the UNESCO information on this link:   For updates on the medical situation, go to  the World Health Organisation website at  If you wish to contact one of our GSGI listed schools to discover their current status or any plans for alternate learning strategies, please go to our database to find email and phone numbers for each school If your company makes you brexit, The GSGI should be your first…

  • Uni in the USA... and beyond

    The British guide to great universities from Harvard to Hong Kong. We tell you how to choose, how to apply, how to pay.

  • Schools for children with performing arts talents

    At specialist music, dance or performing arts schools, the arts aren't optional extras. They’re intrinsic to the school curriculum. Students are expected to fit in high level training and hours of practice alongside a full academic provision. It's a lot to ask any child to take on, but for those with exceptional performing ability this kind of education can be transformative.

  • Finding a state grammar school

    There are currently around 163 state funded grammar schools located in 36 English local authorities, with around 167,000 pupils between them. There are a further 69 grammar schools in Northern Ireland, but none in Wales or Scotland. Almost half of these are in what are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston, with only a few grammar schools. Grammar Schools further reading

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,200 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

The Good Schools Guide manifesto for parents