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Old 18.01.2016, 06:39
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LAUSANNE - public schools VS private schools

Hello everyone,

During summer I am going to move to Lausanne with my family - my boys will be 11 and 14 years old (I guess 7 and 10 Harmos). They speak French (we were living before in Neuchatel), but last 3 years they were learning in English and would like to continue bilingual education and find friends in international community). However, French (nor either English) is not their mother language and Switzerland is consider as our home country (my husband works for an international company).

Which system would you suggest: private or public?

- PRIVATE SCHOOLS: would have English (probably the language of further education, like university); but I have heard some very negative opinions (kids don't learn too much, a lot of issues with discipline) plus - it costs a lot (A LOT!).

- PUBLIC SCHOOLS: the level is not equal, so I would appreciate any recommendation about specific schools (as far I've heard a school in Pully is good - but I don't know is about cycle moyen or d'orientation?); I would prefer if my boys learn rather English than German as a second language - is it possible? Does it matter to which schools they go if I think about a good lycee in the future? My idea is first to find a good school, than try to find an apartment in the neighbourhood.

- GOOD HIGH SCHOOLS in LAUSANNE - if we stay longer in the city (highly possible) I would like my boys to go to a good high school - which lycee is bilingual? which are criteria for receptions? does it matter which elementary/secondary school they come from?

I would appreciate any suggestions - I feel like I am at the crossroads at the beginning of my journey ;-)
Kisses from tropics,
Mag
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Old 18.01.2016, 10:58
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Re: LAUSANNE - public schools VS private schools

There are quite a few flaws in your way of thinking.

Read also this thread: education "tracks" in grade/high school

- It's not you choosing a good lycée, it's the lycées choosing students with good grades.
- International schools can be very different from each other, from a gated reserve for the world's richest brats to perfectly normal schools for students with working parents.
- Students don't choose between English and German, they have both.
- Public school not having equal level is a huge flaw: There are several kinds of schools for different kinds of education and not all are high schools preparing specifically for university studies. The difference is not about level but about the nature of education.
- There are two main factors deciding which school students end up in: Grades and their level in languages including the local one.
- If your children never had two second languages in their education, transfer into Swiss public school is tricky.
- If the goal is to study in an English speaking university like in the UK, US or Australia, coming from the Swiss public system will make the applications difficult and they will only recognize the Maturité. The English speaking world know the IB far better and applications are dealt with by the school, which is a help you don't want to miss.
- If the goal is to study in Switzerland, local language and grades in lycée (maturité) is the key. Your children have to be accepted in a lycée in the first place.
- There are quite a few schools, international and private, around Lausanne, you might consider looking in Vevey or Coppet, Morges etc on both sides of Lausanne along the lake.
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Old 18.01.2016, 11:21
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Re: LAUSANNE - public schools VS private schools

Excellent post. Sadly, it is the worst possible age for your children to move back into the Swiss system. They may well speak French quite well- but for Lycée they need to have proficient academic level- eg excellent grammar and language manipulation skills, comprehend more academic concepts in all subjects and be able to express themselves in an 'academic' manner, both orally and in writing- reports, compostion, minor essays, etc.

So in your case, due to their age and if you can afford it, an International School (private) maybe better- but not if your children intend to go on to study at Uni in Switzerland. In this case, it would be better for them to go back a year in the school system and work really hard at improving 'academic' French as a priority, then go on.

Where have you been in the meantime? This may have a bearing on the decision too- as the UK system is so vastly different.
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Old 18.01.2016, 11:59
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Re: LAUSANNE - public schools VS private schools

Wonderful and very honest answers - thanks a lot for that!

However, it's not solving completely my problems. Let me clarify:

- we were living before in NEUCHATEL, my sons made 3 years in a private school and 3 years in a public one. At the time we were leaving Switzerland they were very good with French, as their whole education was in this language before (and bilingual in the private school). I have noticed a big difference between style of teaching in these both schools.

- I am not thinking necessarily about British universities, but more about English as International way of communication: many high schools in Europe, Asia, Canada, not mentioning US and Australia, use it. I just think it opens much more doors. It is also possible than WE MIGHT BE SEND in the future by my husband's company somewhere else again - and there is much more schools with English than French. But we also might stay in CH - hm... forever? And pay for private education forever?! Oh, no! ;-)

- last 3 years we've been living is Asia, where my boys are doing National Curriculum of England, CAMBRIDGE programme and going to have final exams this year (I hope good notes will be recognized by Swiss system). As far, they are going very well.

- I know that it's not me choosing a lycee ;-), but I think if my boys go now to good schools it will help them later "to be CHOSEN" ;-) Living in NE I could easily say which primary schools are good and which (and the same area of living) is better to avoid - which of course doesn't mean that every students from these schools have closed doors in their further education.

- my boys in Neuchatel didn't have English at school, only GERMAN - but maybe because they were too young.

- anyway, I have to start looking for an accommodation, end at least my younger son, which will be in ecole primare 7Harmos will have to be ACCEPTED in the nearest school (or I'm wrong?). Why not than to choose a good one? And what about the older one? (10Harmos)

I'm wondering if it works if I send them for one year to a good, bilingual private school and later continue education in a public school? What do you think about it?
- which private school would you than recommend?
- still, which public schools would you recommend?
- maybe I could/should contact a public institution responsible for education for advice?

Kisses from Indonesia :-D
Mag.
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