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Old 26.04.2011, 13:07
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13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

Hi All. I am hoping that someone might be able to advise me on where I stand with my 13 year old daughter and our local schools.

At present she is at bi-lingual school in Basel but as our children's education is not financially supported by my husbands company we are struggling to continue to finance this and come August will have to look at transferring her to local school in Oberwil (our two younger daughters are already in the local school system).

However, when I rang the local Secondarschule they told me that they couldn't accommodate her as she doesn't have sufficient knowledge of German (she had done no German prior to our move here in January of this year) and they do not have any systems in place to assist her with learning the language. I know that the local Primarschule and Kindergartens do have facilities for teaching German to children for whom it is not their mother tongue as my other children are in these systems.

My question therefore is can the schools refuse to accept her into the local system or do they have to accommodate her in some way? I have heard that sometimes you can go to schools in neighbouring Cantons if you cannot be accommodated by your own Canton but that this has to be agreed quite high up in the Education Department.

Any help that anyone can give would be much appreciated -at the moment I am going out of my mind with worry about how we are going to continue her education when we can't afford the fees for Bi-Lingual School.

Many thanks
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Old 26.04.2011, 13:16
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

Who did you contact? I would write a letter (in German, or have it translated) and address it to Monika Naef.

I would also not present your case as not having enough money anymore to keep your child in bi-lingual. Just state she is done there. Finished. She needs to be reinserted to complete successful integration, just like your other two children. Ask Ms. Naef how you can be helped in this and present you own plan how you will help your child simmultaneously, so she can be in the local school (local activities for the entire family, kids clubs, language tutoring a few times a week, etc.).

Good luck!
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Old 26.04.2011, 13:19
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

As far as i know school attendance is mandatory in Switzerland so they will have to accomodate you in one way or another. It may be that they have to pay for her in another gemeinde if they dont have the facilites. I would try to get some legal support through one of the associations helping immigrants.
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Old 26.04.2011, 13:25
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

Go and have a word with the local Schule Amt. An individual school is the wrong place to start.

Are you in Oberwil bei Zug?

If so go and have a word with these people. Schulamt Zug Aegeristrasse 7.
They were very helpful when I went. I did the usual trick of speaking my best German. They soon switched to English!
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Old 26.04.2011, 13:28
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

I guess the problem is closer to her present education. She is now entering the secondary school, from where on you (her) have to decide if she wants to pursuit a higher education or enter the workforce by apprenticeship. It's a rather defining period and due to her lack of German, this may really put her in a bad starting position... I know that there are introduction classes for earlier (primary) years of schooling, not sure if they are that well prepared in secondary..

She definitely has the same right for schooling as everybody else, but it's certainly not the easiest position... Are you certain that she said "impossible"? May be better to inquire in writing or pass by the office personally to make sure there are no misunderstandings there.
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Old 26.04.2011, 17:46
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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Go and have a word with the local Schule Amt. An individual school is the wrong place to start.

Are you in Oberwil bei Zug?

If so go and have a word with these people. Schulamt Zug Aegeristrasse 7.
They were very helpful when I went. I did the usual trick of speaking my best German. They soon switched to English!

Thanks for this but we are in Oberwil, Baselland - presumably they must have something similiar so I will search and try and find some information.
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:01
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

You should take this up with the Gemeinde. As has been pointed out, children have a right to education. When we arrived in Binningen - just up the road from you - we first went to the Gemeinde to get the schooling sorted out. Schooling is dealt with centrally, rather than by the schools individually.

The Gemeinde will deal with whatever assistance she requires. For example, the law allows for Oberwil to fund your daughters education at the bilingual school. Of course, allowing doesn't mean it will happen, but the Gemeinde is under an obligation to educate your daughter. They have to come up with solutions.

So don't panic!
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Old 26.04.2011, 20:17
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

I think the normal route for school placement is through the town's school administration offices, they take care of assesments and placements in any of the available and appropriate schools, as well as all extra courses and therapies that may be needed. They are the ones who can sort this out for you as your child has a right to, and an obligation to be, educated at her age.
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Old 26.04.2011, 21:36
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

Notallthere has said it all.
It's a legal obligation to educate both for the parents and for the school.

Though.... I would try every way possible to keep her in the bilingual school for her own equilibrium.
It's a big sacrifice for the parents.
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Old 26.04.2011, 21:53
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

There is a legal obligation, but only until 15 (so, of course, they can't refuse a 13 year old)

Tom
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Old 26.04.2011, 22:03
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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There is a legal obligation, but only until 15 (so, of course, they can't refuse a 13 year old)

Tom
Really ? I thought the legal obligation was until the end of 9th grade regardless of the age.
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Old 26.04.2011, 22:21
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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Really ? I thought the legal obligation was until the end of 9th grade regardless of the age.
Perhaps, but it comes to the same thing unless one has been sent back.

Tom
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Old 27.04.2011, 00:48
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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However, when I rang the local Secondarschule they told me that they couldn't accommodate her as she doesn't have sufficient knowledge of German (she had done no German prior to our move here in January of this year) and they do not have any systems in place to assist her with learning the language. I know that the local Primarschule and Kindergartens do have facilities for teaching German to children for whom it is not their mother tongue as my other children are in these systems.
When you first moved here in January, did you not look into the local options for her then?

My experience with my clients in Kanton Aargau, is that a 13 year old will in most cases be placed in an intensive German language program, but these are not available everywhere. There is one in Baden, for example. If you live in Baden, attendance there is a given. However, if a family lives in a different village, then I have to request that the local school pay the school fees in order that the child can attend the intensive German language class in Baden. So far most villages have agreed to pay this as they cannot offer what Baden can and they realize this.

Some villages feel they can offer the child intensive German on a local level while they attend the regular class at school. They feel it is better for the child to be with their peers. The age range of the class in Baden is quite large, which is socially perhaps not ideal but the goal is to bring the child's German to a level to allow them to join the appropriate level class as soon as possible.

You need to speak to someone in the department of education at the cantonal level. They can recommend a solution, and I am sure there is one.
Good luck with this.
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Old 27.04.2011, 06:40
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

A friend of mine was in a similar situation and they placed her son into the 'Real schule' because that was where the intensive language programmes were - after 6 months his progress was so good, they offered a place into Sekundarschule, but she declined (wisely I think) because in Sek there was no intensive language support. He will have finished his second year at the Realschule this year and it looks like he has the option of going into a stream which will give him the choice of university or apprenticeship - the only 'catch' is that he is now 15 going into year '7' - but in the scheme of things that is not their worry - he's a very good 15 year old student, and he'll stick it through I think, with the longer goal in mind...the spread of ages in the swiss system seems to broaden as the get older - I've not met anyone yet who didn't do at least one extra year in the 'school' system yet, and all our apprentices have done 1-2 years post school training, before choosing their 'career path'...
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Old 27.04.2011, 16:23
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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When you first moved here in January, did you not look into the local options for her then?

My experience with my clients in Kanton Aargau, is that a 13 year old will in most cases be placed in an intensive German language program, but these are not available everywhere. There is one in Baden, for example. If you live in Baden, attendance there is a given. However, if a family lives in a different village, then I have to request that the local school pay the school fees in order that the child can attend the intensive German language class in Baden. So far most villages have agreed to pay this as they cannot offer what Baden can and they realize this.

Some villages feel they can offer the child intensive German on a local level while they attend the regular class at school. They feel it is better for the child to be with their peers. The age range of the class in Baden is quite large, which is socially perhaps not ideal but the goal is to bring the child's German to a level to allow them to join the appropriate level class as soon as possible.

You need to speak to someone in the department of education at the cantonal level. They can recommend a solution, and I am sure there is one.
Good luck with this.
When we initially looked at moving we didn't really consider local schools for her as we thought it would be too hard to her to pick up the language so Bi-Lingual school seemed to be the ideal compromise. However, financial reasons aside, this looks now to have been the wrong decision and I am really beginning to wish I had looked at the local situation from the start. Although Oberwil doesn't have an intensive programme for older children apparently Bottmingen/Binningen does so maybe that would be where she would end up going?

I have to say that I when I enrolled the younger two in local school we didn't speak to anyone at the Gemeinde - I just e-mailed the local school and asked to go along and visit them - they sorted out entry for my 10 year old to Primarschule and my 6 year old to Kindergarten without me having to do anything else!

When the children are back at school next week and I have some time to myself I will go along to the Gemeinde Office and ask them who I need to speak to about the situation.

Thanks for your advice
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Old 27.04.2011, 16:29
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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A friend of mine was in a similar situation and they placed her son into the 'Real schule' because that was where the intensive language programmes were - after 6 months his progress was so good, they offered a place into Sekundarschule, but she declined (wisely I think) because in Sek there was no intensive language support. He will have finished his second year at the Realschule this year and it looks like he has the option of going into a stream which will give him the choice of university or apprenticeship - the only 'catch' is that he is now 15 going into year '7' - but in the scheme of things that is not their worry - he's a very good 15 year old student, and he'll stick it through I think, with the longer goal in mind...the spread of ages in the swiss system seems to broaden as the get older - I've not met anyone yet who didn't do at least one extra year in the 'school' system yet, and all our apprentices have done 1-2 years post school training, before choosing their 'career path'...
Thanks for the information - I am really beginning to think that our initial decision was perhaps not right (although taken for what we thought were the right reasons). I am not too worried if she has to drop back a year or so as I don't think educationally it would do her any harm - although her height (she is 5'10" at 13!!) is already a problem as she is considerably taller than most of her peers and if she is dropped back a year she would stand out even more! In the grand scheme of things perhaps not a huge issue but when you are only 13 being different to your peers can be quite a problem.

I will speak to the Education people at the Gemeinde and see what they say.
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Old 27.04.2011, 16:51
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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... Although Oberwil doesn't have an intensive programme for older children apparently Bottmingen/Binningen does so maybe that would be where she would end up going?...
My daughter is nearly 14 and at Spiegelfeld (Binningen) - I'm sure that she'd be delighted to help your daughter integrated, if that's the school she'd go to. She's helpful like that. Don't know where she gets it from though.
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Old 27.04.2011, 17:21
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

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My daughter is nearly 14 and at Spiegelfeld (Binningen) - I'm sure that she'd be delighted to help your daughter integrated, if that's the school she'd go to. She's helpful like that. Don't know where she gets it from though.
I'd be careful. She got her last friend deported.
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Old 27.04.2011, 18:46
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I'd be careful. She got her last friend deported.
Thanks for making me laugh with this one!!
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Old 27.04.2011, 20:57
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Re: 13 Year Old daughter refused a place at local school

I know this has been said already, but it is REALLY improtant that you contact the Education dept, or those reponsible for education in the Gemeinde with CURRENT knowledge. There has been a huge overhaul of the education system, and it does include a school being able to refuse entry on basis of lack of language skills....for example a child beginning primary school will not be able to attend unless they have attended one year of kindergarten in German/Swiss German. There have been several information evenings, but I have only been to the ones referring to pre-school aged children (not much help, sorry!), so make sure you find someone in authority who knows the new regulations and provisions to make sure you get all help possible.

Best of luck
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