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I have been living in Basel since May 2006. I have 3 children 5yr old Boy and 2 girls 10 and 12 years. When we moved here we had the difficult choice to make as regards school. I decided that we would try an International school for a couple of years and then move the kids to local schools. We decided on the Swiss International school as it offered a Bi-lingual programme. I was not happy with the services offered and the morale at the school was awful. My children did learn a little german but not as much as we hoped as they are immersed rather than taught. It did however allow me and them to make some valueable friends which has made the move easier. The ISB is mainly English speaking with a lot of Americans. The facilities are far better and the education system they run is internationally recognised compared to the SIS which was running the English Curriculum, no good if you plan on being here for a long time! We moved our children to local schools which has been a success so far. My son is in the Kindergarten and does not start formal education until he is 7 years, he loves it and he seems really happy with his swiss friends. My daughters have both had extra help with German offered by the local schools and both seem to be coping well. The only problem with the Swiss system is that the kids have strange timetables. Kindergarten finishes at 12ish and the other kids come home for long lunch breaks, so if you are thinking of working the International school would be better. Sorry this is so long but I wish I had been able to have some help from another mother when we moved, I might have done things differently. All I can say is a lot of parents moved their kids from the SIS to the ISB or local schools last year. But, I also have friends that are satisfied with the SIS it depends on your expectations. Hope this helps. Also my kids have not given English up they still have English lessons at a local English School for 2 hours a week, so there are lots of options.
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Hiya, I agree totally. We looked at the ISB too and although we were very impressed we felt that after some consideration that a local school to where we are living was more important to us as we are planning on staying here long term and the ISB is for more short term families. Our daughter is now in an integration class in a local school and is already reading, writing and understanding a fair amount of german and we have only been living here 4 weeks! We are very impressed with the local school and all the activities and trips that they do. Our daughter is very happy there and is learning all aspects of Swiss german life, culture as well as the rest of the world.
We also never had anyone to help us with info etc. But we do feel we have made the right decision, the same as you.
It is a personal decision at the end of the day for each family.
Good luck with your choice. Sarah