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Old 22.05.2012, 13:28
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

The main thing 'ex-pats' need to be aware of right from the start is that the acquisition of German/French/Italian (local language - High German) is absolutely PARAMOUNT for success + a basic knowledge of a second national language. All efforts have to be put into this -and a very positive attitude to learning the language from parents and the whole family helps too. Extra private tuition can really help too.

The second is that children are setted/selected to be part of a whole class, where kids will all be more or less at the same level (so no good being excellent in maths and science, if your French/German is not up to the level, not just orally but in writing too. This is often very difficult to understand from Brits for instance - as they are used to a system where kids are setted individually per individual subject. And at a higher level, take so few subjects- unlike the Swiss system (similar to the Scottish one) where all subjects are continued, with an emphasis on some, depending on the type of Bac/Matura (sciences, or lit/languages, etc). We had 6th Form students (16+) at my school in the UK who would arrive with practically NO English and could still do very well- studying IT, maths, physics, chemistry - as they did NOT need to study English or a foreign language, history, etc (apart from achieving a C for English GCSE (exam at 15/end of compulsory schooling) which they could do besides A'Levels with extra support. This is NOT the case here in CH.

And also that a move between the ages of 9+ and 18 is extremely difficult, for reasons stated.

Last edited by Odile; 22.05.2012 at 14:10.
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Old 22.05.2012, 13:46
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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Just to show how different cantons assess 6th year kids. In canton Fribourg, they have to sit the PPO exam in April (Préparation pour orientation, I think), similar to the old 11+ in the UK. This is a series of 4 papers in French, Maths, German, and Environment (covering science, geography, history etc) over 2 days. The results of this exam is combined and compared to their continuous assessment of the preceding 2 years and determines their placement in CO (Cycle d'Orientation i.e. years 7-9). CO is divided into 3 categories; Pre-gymnasium (PG), Général (G), and Exigence de Base (EdB). In order to get to PG, they should achieve a 5.5 in French and Maths and get at least 5s in the remaining subjects. However, if they fall short on the exam, the assessment will also take into account the previous 2 years' results. This is so not to disadvantage good students who simply had a nightmare PPO (as happened to one of my younger daughter's best friends this year, she still got to PG).
The 3rd area of assessment is their overall behaviour and attitude to work in class in general; therefore kids who are on the border between PG/G/EdB, but have shown to work diligently and behave well will go to the upper grade.
Having said all that, our eldest only achieved a 5 in French PPO (always her poorest subject, even though she was born and grew up here), but had excellent results in the other subjects, so her teachers had no hesitation in putting her into PG.
Another factor is how the child works for the rest of the year; in some cases, results until the end of year 6 may pull the child up a category (or drag them down ).
Overall, Fribourg seems far less rigid than other cantons in this respect and this was a concious decision made 2 -3 years ago. however, our own experience is based entirely on a single primary school and 2 sets of teachers. I have heard of another school where the year 5/6 pupils went through 5 or 6 teachers over the course of the 2 years and all consequently had lower than average results. This was taken into consideration for CO and most pupils ended up where they rightfully should.
This is very similar to how it works in Neuchatel too.

They have two sets of exams (one in November and one in may) in French, Maths and German which count for a third of the overall marks and they need an A to go to MAT. They have this really weird way of marking here and the marks are given as a 'stanine' and a 7, 8 or 9 is needed to get an A.
The second third is made up of the marks overall throughout the year in all subjects. They need a 15 overall in French Maths and German (but can compensate a 4.5 in one with a 5.5 in another) and an average of 5 across all the other subjects to be granted the A status.(to get a 5 they have to have over 90%)
The third part is the teacher's input. They have to do a project throughout the year involving research (internet and library), a written report and a presentation. This whole project is carried out at school so no parental input is allowed.They are assessed on this plus their whole attitude and behaviour throughout the whole year across the whole range of subjects. They are given a grade of A, B or C.

They need AAA (or possibly AAB) to get into MAT.

As things stand on the class results alone at the moment there is only one boy who will be going to MAT (maturité). The rest of the class are destined for MOD (moderne) or PP (preprofessional). There doesn't seem to be any kind of quota and they seem to be pretty much fixated on the marks. Maybe the teacher assessment is where they can influence the numbers?
Ours son's class average is dragged down by some rubbish marks in sport and although he has excellent results in all the other subjects (despite being pathologically lazy) on paper he is not good enough because his average is not above 5.

We will wait and see what happens when the exam results come out in June and we have the teacher's assessment. There's not much we can do about it in any case except encourage him to get good marks in the remaining tests.

Having said that they have been at grwat pains to point out throughout the year that it always possible to move up to MAT later and as both are in the same school the friends issue doesn't really make a difference.

I personally think that it's better to be in an environment where you can work hard to get really good marks and move up (if you choose) than to be constantly struggling to keep up if they're in the higher stream (which can be terribly demotivating for kids)
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Old 22.05.2012, 13:47
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

Another odd thing I heard at the weekend; I was chatting with a couple of (non-Swiss) friends who are both English teachers, one of whom is trying to break into the Swiss public school system (easier said than done, seemingly). They were discussing the whole secondary school grading structure and the relative merits of public vs. private gymnasium. One said she had been talking to a professor from ETH, who said he would always favour students from Bern public schools above those from private schools, even if the private schools had a better reputation. We debated why, and concluded it was his way to support the public school system. We couldn't think of any other valid reason .
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Old 22.05.2012, 17:33
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

But how relevant would a professor's views be? My understanding is that the Matura is the Matura, regardless of whether it is earned in a private or public gymi, and all state universities must admit students with a matura ( except for courses with space restrictions such as medicine). Any views to the contrary?
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Old 22.05.2012, 18:08
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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Another odd thing I heard at the weekend; I was chatting with a couple of (non-Swiss) friends who are both English teachers, one of whom is trying to break into the Swiss public school system (easier said than done, seemingly). They were discussing the whole secondary school grading structure and the relative merits of public vs. private gymnasium. One said she had been talking to a professor from ETH, who said he would always favour students from Bern public schools above those from private schools, even if the private schools had a better reputation. We debated why, and concluded it was his way to support the public school system. We couldn't think of any other valid reason .
I suspect the reason the professor would prefer the student from public school over private, is that the students that went through public school, had to have put in real graft to get the grades needed to go all the way through the school/ Gymnasium/Uni system.

Going private has the smell of "buying" your way into university, which, for the students of public schools and it seems, to the professors as well, is unfair, as they didn't make the grades leading up to it, to get there.

Not my own opinion, but I know my daughter felt this way regarding buddies of her own, with parents well off enough to go that route, she felt quite cheated and that all her own hard work was cheapened by it.
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Old 22.05.2012, 18:53
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

I'm afraid you've 'hit' the spot Twinklestar. Here in CH private schools have been very rare until recently. They were either for the sons and daughters of rich Diplomats and the few bankers/business people we had here. Or for the sons and daughters of rich Swiss people whose children DIDN'T MAKE THE GRADE TO GO TO MATURA/BAC. When I grew up here, all the kids went to the same school, rich, poor, in between right up to the end of secondary school. I knew a couple of kids who went to private school/boarding before 16, and that was only because they were uncontrollable and parents sent them to be disciplined, and one was the step son of an industrialist who couldn't stand him. Post 16, nobody went to private school if they'd made the grade. Some of my friends went to crammer/boarding/finishing school- and everybody knew that the paper they got at the end was a very diluted version, and with kids having been prepped, sat on, greatly helped (remember that in CH exams are marked internally - not sent out to be marked anonymously as in the UK).

So it is very likely that private diplomas/achievements are still seen as 'below par' by many (rightly or wrongly).

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Old 22.05.2012, 19:48
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

Odile, I can understand the logic behind this but (a) do you think this view may have changed in recent years given the increased resources available to many, smaller family sizes abd global jobs market etc. and (b) are Swiss Universities obliged to accept a Matura as meeting their requirements, reagardless of the school attended or can they differentiate between private and public?
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Old 22.05.2012, 20:07
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

I have no idea. I was a teacher in the UK for a very long time, and only recently returned to CH. I live back in the area where I was born and bred now (been back 3 years) - and I only know of ONE child in the whole valley who goes to a private boarding school- although he went to the local school up to aged 15. College St Maurice where he is has an excellent reputation actually. I imagine that it depends whether the Private school/college has a programme and Abitur/Matura/Bac which are State approved as being of equivalent level. It is however difficult to judge- as said above, as exams here are marked internally and not anonymously as in the UK - so perhaps prone to some manipulation?!?

In the UK, there is a strong selection for the best courses before Uni entrance. The UCAS system means that students have to apply about 10 months in advance - on the strength of their GCSE (exams at 15/16) results and predicted grades given by teachers on their results so far, a letter of recommendation by the teacher and a letter of motivation by the student + achievements outside school (music, sport, clubs, etc). A totally different kettle of fish. Students then receive offers by the Unis they've applied to (or not!), often with a minimum grades required clearly stated- so students who do get to Uni should in principle be of the calibre required for the course. To get to vet school, you need all A grades + voluntary experience + be all rounded and show achievements outside school, etc. etc.

In Switzerland, in principle, any student who passes the BAc/matura can apply and go to Uni- even if they have scraped through. And then the massacre happens in the first year - where the majority will fail to make the grade and continue beyond. Almost impossible to compare the 2 systems. So yes, in principle, any student who gets though can be admitted to Uni for the first year, providing the course/exam is approved. Sorry for long reply - and I'd be very happy to stand corrected of course, as I am not a Swiss education specialist.

A reminder btw, that there are many STATE boarding schools in the UK - where only accommodation and care are to be paid- and not the education. Could be a solution for some who cannot afford private here and have kids struggling with the academic system here. I used to teach at such a school and our boarding facilities were grand. www.sbsa.org.uk

Mine was close to East Midlands airport for holidays/visits and the odd week-end home- with brilliant staff and activities. A sports college linked to a famous sports university, with a huge array of subjects at GCSE and A'Level.
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Old 23.05.2012, 17:12
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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http://www.vd.ch/themes/formation/sc...commandations/

There you go - you can even read it in English if that's easier for you! It specifically says: 'Above all, the placement of children of foreign language background in special classes or the repeti- tion of a school year only on the basis of a lack of mastery of the language of instruction is to be avoided'.

This is very interesting for you given the comments they're making about 'do a yr in VSG, then you'll move up' - that sounds a LOT like they're admitting she's of VSB calibre and that it's only her French holding her back. Is this the case? What's her German mark at the moment?

If you can get the school to say they recommend VSG based on giving her French an extra yr to mature, then you can point them at this.

Alternatively, do consider that they may be right, and that it might actually be best in the long run for her to take that extra year. When we were there, my kids were fluent and passing, but still performing below their potential as they simply didn't have the same vocabulary and relaxed mastery with the language as the others. It all depends on where you see her long term educational future, I suppose.
Hi kodokan,

Sorry it took a day to get back to you. Root canal set me back a day. But the information you've furnished is very helpful and much appreciated! Txs!

Her German scores are not fabulous, as she started the year with two 4s, then moved gradually from 4.5s to 5s and now 5.5s this spring. Overall, she's up to 4.9 since January but in the fall her average was 4.4. I am hoping that the marked improvement will be something they consider. She says that because she has to start with the French and translate into German makes it harder for her, but not as hard as it used to be.

Ultimately, I think a year in VSG wouldn't be awful, certainly. And some of the responses to this thread here helped me feel more positively. Then yesterday she came home with a 6 on a difficult math test and I see how determined she remains. Either way, I'm proud of my girl fighter!
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Old 23.05.2012, 17:18
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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I imagine that it depends whether the Private school/college has a programme and Abitur/Matura/Bac which are State approved as being of equivalent level. It is however difficult to judge- as said above, as exams here are marked internally and not anonymously as in the UK - so perhaps prone to some manipulation?!?
Hi Odile,

A bit of a correction, which makes the professor's opinion even more surprising. Students in Swiss private schools must take a federal exam - offered two times a year in three locations in the country - in order to receive a Federal Swiss Matura diploma. These exams are administered and marked externally to the private school, and it is possible for students who are not in school to self-study for the exams.

The federal government recognizes the matura programs in cantons that meet agreed upon standards, and at this point, each canton has at least one federally-recognized matura program. Students in cantonal schools take matura exams created and administered by their own teachers, and in some cantons each teacher of a subject (e.g., history) can make their own exam so that even students in the same gymnase are not sitting the same exam.

Swiss universities and the two federal technical universities accept anyone with either a federal matura or a federally-recognized matura, though as you point out, many students do not pass the first year. Some UK universities, on the other hand, do not accept Swiss federally-recognized cantonal maturas as a valid qualification for their courses, possibly because they feel that the cantonal system is less rigorous or more subject to possible manipulation.

Hope this helps.
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Old 23.05.2012, 17:28
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

Thanks - as said it is a long time since I did my schooling in CH and my Bac in 69! Surely, as when I was a kid, there are some private schools which do not have a Bac/Matura, but some sort of Diploma that won't be on par. One such school when I was a youngster, where some of my girl friends went to who didn't make the grade for the Gymnase- was Iseltwald - a finishing type school to teach them to be good housewives and ladies! The only reason I finally buckled in and started to do some hard graft, was because I was threatened with Iseltwald - I'm sure I would have run away! Or have all the similar 'institutions' disappeared now? If they still exist and advertise for ex-pat/foreign clients/students, I wonder how clear they make it that their so called 'Diplomas' are not worth the paper they are written on and will NOT allow access to Uni here in CH or indeed anywhere.

I read last year that home study/home schooling is illegal in CH - but I suppose it is for the compulsory education stage only, up to 16. (I coach several students who home study with CNED on the French side).

Last edited by Odile; 23.05.2012 at 17:46.
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Old 23.05.2012, 17:33
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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Surely, as when I was a kid, there are some private schools which do not have a Bac/Matura, but some sort of Diploma that won't be on par. One such school when I was a youngster, where some of my girl friends went to who didn't make the grade for the Gymnase- was Iseltwald - a finishing type school to teach them to be good housewives and ladies! The only reason I finally buckled in and started to do some hard graft, was because I was threatened with Iseltwald - I'm sure I would have run away! Or have all the similar 'institutions' disappeared now?
Oh, I am sure you are right and some of these schools still exist, but the diplomas from those schools will definitely not get a student into a Swiss university.
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Old 23.05.2012, 18:46
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and sage advice.

I'm going to go ahead and schedule this meeting with my daughter's teacher and director to discuss her overall performance and argue our case that she be considered for VSB.

I suspect the players will be the main teacher, the director (who seems to have an especially close alliance with this particular teacher), my husband and myself. My guess is that they will state all of their reasons for why VSG would be the best place for her and underline that she can always repeat 7th a year later in VSB.

And we will point out her incredible progress, excellent motivation and work attitude, etc. And they will be very nice and we'll be very nice and they will still recommend G. Maybe if she pulls off a neat row of 6s in the next two months they'll reconsider. I don't know.

What I find hard to understand here is the lack of any apparent overseeing body to all of this decision-making regarding the futures of our children. There are many inconsistencies in my daughter's school as to who gets selected where. We know of one child with a 15 average in French, German and math who is scheduled to go to VSB and another with a 15.5 being recommended for VSG, for example. Different teachers seem to be drawing the lines in different ways and each teacher's word seems law.

The school says they base their decisions not just on grades, but on subtle things like the child's attitude and work habits and so forth. Fine, but I see no checks and balances in the system. To a room full of engaged and motivated parents they tell us that each child will be judged on an individual basis and with the child's best interests in mind. Yes, but what if the teacher is just not crazy about a given child for whatever reason and that child is receiving grades that put them between G and B?

Do any of the wise educators/ parents out there on EF know if there is a committee, board, etc that a parent can meet with if they don't find the school's placement of a child appropriate and they have already met with the teacher/director? I think there is a next step but I've never had a clear explanation of this process. I'm not the only parent at our school faced with this challenge and it would be incredibly helpful to know more about the process. Thank you!
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Old 23.05.2012, 18:50
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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I am hoping that the marked improvement will be something they consider.
Oh, don't 'hope' - they'll simply look at her average marks just like they do with everyone else, that she's only been here a couple of years, and will err hugely on the side of caution... unless you make a 'fuss'.

I oddly found that standing up for the kids and being firm seemed to make the teachers respect us more, so don't worry that it'll backfire. (And hey, she's leaving that grade anyway :-) If you truly, truly feel that VSB at this stage is a better option than VSG for a year then upgrading*, then lay out your reasons very firmly and clearly - the rapidly improving scores, social benefits of not changing and so on. It'll be easier to do this if you can get the justification for their decision first, of course.

If it's a grey area, they'll take the path of least resistance, which currently is to put her in VSG. So your job is to make 'oh, for heaven's sake just put her in VSB now and be done with it' the path of least resistance, ie, they'll do it to make you go away!

Edit: crossed replies with you. I think you're bang on right about them smiling, listening politely, and then going their own way anyway. I think in your shoes I'd be doing exactly the same thing, not because I thought it'd work, but because I'd want to demonstrate to my child that I did everything I could. I'd also try suggesting a VSB trial - that she's happy to be placed there on probation, with a review after the first semester. Mention that of course she'll fly through English, enabling her to spend that extra time and effort on French and German compared to the other VSB kids.

But I'd also be preparing my child that the system is what it is, it's not a judgement on her lack of effort, and that there are lots of positives about playing a long game and redoubling 7th.

But, as mentioned before, I really do think it's a numbers game - how many of her class are already going to VSB, how many kids usually go each year? If the seats are already allocated now, they can't/won't be able to change their minds, regardless of how convincing your argument is.

Either way, I hope you get a good outcome, and that she continues to fight and try hard.

*My son didn't get that far, so I don't know how much of a jump there is from 6th to 7th grade work. At some point, they'll have to actually give the kids a piece of blank paper and have them write stuff, rather than just filling in the verb endings on a worksheet - that probably happens at 7th? It'd be worth having a good look at the curriculum online, and perhaps getting a couple of workbooks in French AND German - places like Manor sell the ones for the Swiss curriculum rather than the French one - to see if she could comfortably cope with a potentially big step up.

Edit: my reply crossed yours. I think you're absolutely right, that they'll smile, listen politely, and then go their own way anyway. In your shoes, I'd still do it anyway, if only to demonstrate to my child that I believed in them and tried everything possible to make it happen. Try suggesting a VSB probation until Christmas - point out that she will of course fly through English, so can spend that extra time and effort improving her French and German compared to the other VSBers.

But I'd also be preparing my child that the system is what it is, that it's somewhat unfairly not a reflection on her hard work and recent good grades but is just timing (as they've largely decided this by Jan of 6th grade, so all the places are gone), and that there are positives to redoubling 7th to ensure she gets the very best Matura she can in the long run.
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Last edited by kodokan; 23.05.2012 at 19:12. Reason: crossed replies
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Old 23.05.2012, 19:00
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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I read last year that home study/home schooling is illegal in CH - but I suppose it is for the compulsory education stage only, up to 16.
Not quite correct. It is illegal in some cantons, legal in others if the instructing parent is a qualified teacher, and legal in yet others providing you follow the same curriculum at the same level as the public schools.

In Vaud, for example, it's not only legal but anecdotally the authorities are quite benign towards it. I home schooled my kids in Switzerland from April to October last year, to transition them towards the US curriculum they were moving to. I wrote a letter deregistering them from the school system and explaining this, and there was no problem at all - no-one visited or asked me to prove this. I've heard that Vaud will let it ride for a couple of years for people who're clearly 'passing through', but will otherwise require you to teach the same stuff as in the schools. People on other discussion boards - there's a Yahoo one for Swiss homeschooling - report positive inspections providing they're making the right efforts to integrate, engaging tutors for French, putting their kids in local clubs, etc.
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Old 23.05.2012, 19:08
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

Thanks for that. Can't find the link just now, and have to go out - but I remember quite clearly that a new law was passed last year to disallow home-schooling at the national and not Cantonal level. Will try and check this out with suitable link tomorrow.
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Old 23.05.2012, 19:37
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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Thanks for that. Can't find the link just now, and have to go out - but I remember quite clearly that a new law was passed last year to disallow home-schooling at the national and not Cantonal level. Will try and check this out with suitable link tomorrow.
Ooh, interesting... yes please, would like to know about that. Had a quick squint on the Yahoo group and no mention there, nor on the Swiss homeschooling org, Bildung Zu Hause site (unless it's in the German bit, which I can't read: http://www.bildungzuhause.ch/en/home.html)

There was this case in Basel earlier this year which was heading off to some federal court in Lausanne (http://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/basel/...cken-118785985), but I can't find an outcome mentioned yet.

(Sorry Scarsdale, will stop derailing your thread with homeschooling chat now! Although I suppose there's a sort of synergy; it was certainly at the back of my mind that if I was ever thoroughly dissatisfied with the school/ my kids had an awful teacher/ they were 'wrongly' streamed, I had a get-out...)
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Old 23.05.2012, 21:31
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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Ooh, interesting... yes please, would like to know about that. Had a quick squint on the Yahoo group and no mention there, nor on the Swiss homeschooling org, Bildung Zu Hause site (unless it's in the German bit, which I can't read: http://www.bildungzuhause.ch/en/home.html)

There was this case in Basel earlier this year which was heading off to some federal court in Lausanne (http://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/basel/...cken-118785985), but I can't find an outcome mentioned yet.

(Sorry Scarsdale, will stop derailing your thread with homeschooling chat now! Although I suppose there's a sort of synergy; it was certainly at the back of my mind that if I was ever thoroughly dissatisfied with the school/ my kids had an awful teacher/ they were 'wrongly' streamed, I had a get-out...)
No problem. I homeschooled my oldest back in the States for a while, and my sister is a steadfast homeschooler. So maybe we are picking up on each other's homeschooling vibe.

But this particular kiddo of mine would consider homeschooling with me cruel and unusual punishment.

So is there any course of action that I can take if they don't like our graph demonstrating the beautiful upward trajectory of her grades throughout the year? For instance, isn't there someone at the cantonal level or something like that whom parents could talk to if need be?

This whole system needs more oversight, if you ask me, and these decisions shouldn't be exclusively in the hands of middle school teachers. I feel for the parents and the kids and it seems to me that the parents should get together and talk about this some.

Boy, I'm a trouble maker sometimes.
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Old 23.05.2012, 21:45
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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No problem. I homeschooled my oldest back in the States for a while, and my sister is a steadfast homeschooler. So maybe we are picking up on each other's homeschooling vibe.

But this particular kiddo of mine would consider homeschooling with me cruel and unusual punishment.
I get you - I'm pro homeschooling generally, but I personally wouldn't have homeschooled my kids in Switzerland for any length of time, partly because I just couldn't pull off covering the curriculum in French and German, and partly because there just isn't the infrastructure, groups, classes, etc to make it fun and social for the kids, and I wouldn't want it to just be me and them all day, every day.

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So is there any course of action that I can take if they don't like our graph demonstrating the beautiful upward trajectory of her grades throughout the year? For instance, isn't there someone at the cantonal level or something like that whom parents could talk to if need be?

This whole system needs more oversight, if you ask me, and these decisions shouldn't be exclusively in the hands of middle school teachers. I feel for the parents and the kids and it seems to me that the parents should get together and talk about this some.
Sorry, not that I ever discovered. I had an interesting chat once with another mum at school, a Swiss lady who used to be a middle school teacher. She told me the 'teachers' conference' to discuss placement is, as you'd expect, a total farce - what actually happens is that the child's teacher decides and the rest of them just sign it off, because they've mostly never even met that child.

I like the idea of your graph. That would be a very strong visual, with a continued dotted trend line going up into the future.

I think, if they propose VSG, I would as politely as possible keep asking why. It doesn't sound like they could fault her work ethic - arguably she's working MUCH harder than a Swiss child to get to this level so quickly - and your graph would rebut the grades argument. That only leaves 'because we always do it that way with foreign children' and 'because we've used up all the places for this year', neither of which they'll actually admit, so the trick is to keep batting down the work ethic and grades lines and make them uncomfortable enough to give in.
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Old 23.05.2012, 22:29
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Re: Contesting school placement for 6th grader

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Do any of the wise educators/ parents out there on EF know if there is a committee, board, etc that a parent can meet with if they don't find the school's placement of a child appropriate and they have already met with the teacher/director? I think there is a next step but I've never had a clear explanation of this process. I'm not the only parent at our school faced with this challenge and it would be incredibly helpful to know more about the process. Thank you!
I realize that this is probably scandalous to suggest in Switzerland, but you could try to contact Anne-Catherine Lyon, the elected head of education in canton Vaud. I recently heard her talk for expat parents at the Lausanne CVCI, and one parent raised a question about her son, who repeated a year when he arrived, and was now being told that to get into VSB he would have to repeat another year after doing a year in VSG. Mme Lyon was very sympathetic and told the parent that she would contact the school about the situation.

This parent obviously had the advantage of being able to ask a question in a public forum, but maybe someone else here knows if such a thing is ever successful.
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