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Old 21.03.2015, 14:48
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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We know that they will get into another non denominational school due to being on the waiting list from two weeks old so giving up on that is a major concern.
What do you mean by non-denominational? Here I'd say at best they public schools are Christian non-denominational, mean that while religion is not thought in school, the ethos is most definitely Christian.

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I suppose I'm really asking as a mum asking for her children's future rather than my own.........something I have only just realised.
Nobody can answer that question for you. My daughter is very much into graphic design and there is no doubt in my mind that if we lived in Ireland she would have far more opportunities that she has here... my son on the other hand is the brains of the family and will go on to college, so I'd say he has about the same opportunities here as in Ireland.

For kids who do not excel at school, I'd say Switzerland probably offers them a better opportunity in that there are a wide range of apprenticeships that they could pursue. And at least for the moment there is still a broad economic base to provide them with employment, at least for now.
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Old 21.03.2015, 14:54
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

My advice is to look into more detail at the Swiss education system as it is very,very different. At least for the German speaking area and differs by Kanton.

In terms of:
Age they start formal learning-reading,writing and maths (6 not 4)
Length of school day. This increases as they get older. My child is 10 and she currently does:
Monday 7.55 -12.00 then 13.45 to 15.30
Tuesday as for Monday
Wednesday and Thursday 7.55 to 12.00
Friday as for Monday.
In kindergarten age 4, she did 8.30 to 11.50
Provision of lunch at school (varies). If not the child comes home for lunch
You don't get to choose/apply as to which school your child goes to.
Sport is something done outside school at clubs (children do Turnhalle-gym in school and sometimes swimming)
Your 4-5 year old is expected to learn to walk alone without their parent to kindergarten.
Your child will have classes in High German when they start school. In kindergarten they speak Swiss German, although this is changing.
How children are assessed for secondary school varies from Kanton to Kanton. Generally they are streamed at the age of 11 or 12.

Please PM me if you have any questions
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Old 21.03.2015, 15:03
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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My advice is to look into more detail at the Swiss education system as it is very,very different. At least for the German speaking area and differs by Kanton.
Thank you for that. Do people live in certain Kantons in order to get into a particular school and then move if necessary to a different area once their child is attending?

Is it really so difficult to get into uni? Streaming at age 12 sounds like London Tech schools. Can this be changed at later on?
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Old 21.03.2015, 15:21
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Thank you for that. Do people live in certain Kantons in order to get into a particular school and then move if necessary to a different area once their child is attending?

Is it really so difficult to get into uni? Streaming at age 12 sounds like London Tech schools. Can this be changed at later on?
No. It doesn't work like that. If you move flats then your child has to change schools to where you have moved to. The Kanton is like the county and the Gemeinde is like the local district if that helps.

It is very difficult to know which are the best schools as there is no published data. It is word of mouth. Even then it is really down to the individual class teacher and their ability.

The system is set up to stream only the brightest and most motivated pupils into gymnasium then University. Most Swiss are happy to be in the middle as they can start earning a good wage at 18 instead of going to university. They get good training vocationally instead.

Where we are in Basel, we have three streams P (progymnasium and university) E (the middle) A (the least academic). If say your child does well in E they can move up. Generally they will need to repeat the year when they move up. They can stay in the same school if there is a place but if not they will move to a P class in another school.
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Old 21.03.2015, 15:31
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

That system sounds like so many kids will be at a disadvantage. Regardless of how bright they are, kids need to be encouraged to aim high. Are the numbers limited in universities? I'm trying to figure out why this system is preferred?

We will not be in a position to afford private tutors/grinds or fees for an International school so it seems like the education system can be added to the list of cons.
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Old 21.03.2015, 15:48
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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That system sounds like so many kids will be at a disadvantage. Regardless of how bright they are, kids need to be encouraged to aim high. Are the numbers limited in universities? I'm trying to figure out why this system is preferred?

We will not be in a position to afford private tutors/grinds or fees for an International school so it seems like the education system can be added to the list of cons.
Depends how you look at it.

I tend to agree with you. that every kid should have the chance to go to uni and get a good career.

That said, here in Switzerland unemployment is low and kids come out with apprenticeships in IT, accountancy, tourism, woodwork etc etc and have jobs. Compare that to the UK, where all kids are aiming for uni but many either stop with GCSE and A-levels which are not much use for getting a job, or come out with non-vocational degrees which don't get them a job.
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Old 21.03.2015, 16:04
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Another way of looking at it is that, apart from the kids who go to a Gymnasium (or whatever it's called depending on where you live), it's the ones who really want to who go. If a child doesn't go to Gymi but does an apprenticeship instead there are other pathways to university or to a specialist college, just as in other countries there are different pathways.

I think the issue here is that the system is so different for school-age kids that we struggle to get our heads around it, so used are we to the idea of direct entry for anyone who wants to.

I used to work as a careers counsellor in a university in Australia and I had so many kids (19, 20, 21) coming to me and telling me they wish they'd chosen a different course or had waited before going to university. For the great majority their choice had been based on what their parents thought they should do. I'm not saying they would all have made the best decision given free reign but it's definitely food for thought!
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Old 21.03.2015, 16:06
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

"Your 4-5 year old is expected to learn to walk alone without their parent to kindergarten."
This certainly does not apply to all areas in Switzerland. The TCS recommends a child being accompanied till the age of 7 as their brain has not developed sufficiently to cope with traffic until then.
There's no way in hell I would have let my kids go anywhere alone at that age. There is a "pedibus" system with a nominated adult that walks a bunch of kids to school here.

Managing the transition is down to your attitude about tackling changes & choosing to accept it as a positive adventure rather than a negative upheaval. If you want to be integrated into local community, learning the local language is essential. Kids pick it up incredibly quickly as it is a "natural" thing here to be at least bi-lingual. I personally think joining a local school is much better for them if you are planning on being here long-term. From what I have seen segregating them in an "International School" keeps them as outsiders to a certain extent.
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Old 21.03.2015, 21:01
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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"Your 4-5 year old is expected to learn to walk alone without their parent to kindergarten."
This certainly does not apply to all areas in Switzerland. The TCS recommends a child being accompanied till the age of 7 as their brain has not developed sufficiently to cope with traffic until then.
There's no way in hell I would have let my kids go anywhere alone at that age. There is a "pedibus" system with a nominated adult that walks a bunch of kids to school here.

Managing the transition is down to your attitude about tackling changes & choosing to accept it as a positive adventure rather than a negative upheaval. If you want to be integrated into local community, learning the local language is essential. Kids pick it up incredibly quickly as it is a "natural" thing here to be at least bi-lingual. I personally think joining a local school is much better for them if you are planning on being here long-term. From what I have seen segregating them in an "International School" keeps them as outsiders to a certain extent.
Not in Zurich. i was told by my sons kiga teacher to stop walking my son to Kindergarten when he was 4 years old. "no freaking way!"
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Old 21.03.2015, 21:19
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Exactly. The Swiss German area expect the children to learn to walk alone at Kindergarten. I re-call another mum being told off by the kindergarten teacher for not letting her child walk alone. I realise it is probably different for the French speaking part-as you see from my location I have experience of both and a local neighbour in Valais drives her kids to school. The OP is asking about Zurich so I have fedback what is expected in the Swiss German area.
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Old 21.03.2015, 23:13
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Dear OP,
120k perfore taxation is not much at all for a family of 4. You need to keep in mind rent, insurance and the overall cost of living. Also, you would have to renounce a job and most likely won't be able to join the work force that easily here in Switzerland. Furthermore, you need to keep mind, if your husband would get sacked, he would be able to claim roughly 80% of his previous salary from unemplyment, whilst the expenses stay the same. Now, it is definitely doable and certainly a good experience to live in another country but you need to face the reality, that life in Switzerland isn't cheap and you probaly won't have the same quality of life that you're currently enjoying in Ireland.
I agree with this somewhat OP, however I think 120k is a good salary and you will live comfortably on it if you are in any way frugal or able to do a monthly budget.

You say in your OP that you would hate the idea of not being able to work. Here, I completely agree with lost. My wife and I were both working in Ireland, but here in CH, if you have kids, then it becomes very tough.

If you think creche fees are bad in Ireland, then you don't even want to know here. Other options like "spiel gruppe" are just glorified alternatives where the kids won't even learn much, if anything.

I'm here since last September with my wife and two kids. Being honest, the hills ain't always greener. I don't see a future for us here long term. Or even medium term.
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Old 21.03.2015, 23:33
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

This book might help you make a decision about the Swiss education system
http://www.helloswitzerland.ch/-/the...stem-explained
We came from the UK system and found the Swiss system very different.
Pros
Small class sizes, they really get the basics of German and handwriting embedded with the kids. Interesting projects e.g. My son enjoyed learning about mushrooms in a hands on way. He enjoyed the independence of walking to school alone. If your child needs help, speech therapy etc the school will provide this for your child.
Cons
No way to express a preference about the school your child attends. Rigid teaching style imo. Some kids are round pegs in square holes. Bullying is a problem in Switzerlands schools. Some schools deal with it well, others not so much. Teaching quality varies.
Other things to cosider
Kids are streamed aged 12ish into the different levels and schools. It's easy to move down. Not so easy to move up. Talking from a UK perspective your child has to be in the top levels for their qualifications to be recognised in the UK if a parent was to move back.
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Old 21.03.2015, 23:34
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Welcome to the Forum. You talk a lot about the impact on yourself and your children, but what about your husband? I think someone else mentioned this, but if he came here on a trial basis while you and the kids stayed in Ireland, would he be able to return to his old job? Is this sort of an all-in leap you'd have to take or could it be done in steps?

I can't offer much practical advice, but maybe get in touch with member Pixie B or read through some of her threads. She was in a similar situation and might have some encouraging words for you.

It's never an easy decision uprooting your family and there are so many variables to consider. What turns out to be an amazing experience for one family can be a total nightmare for another. Best of luck!
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Old 21.03.2015, 23:35
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The down side, is the Swiss bureaucracy…
Go to Italy from time to time, the concept of Swiss bureaucracy quickly fades.

Tom

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It's also likely that pension is NOT paid on the full salary, so the OP should not assume it is, cut off is about 87k IIRC for second pillar as far as the law is concerned.
Wrong, it's 126k.

Tom

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"Your 4-5 year old is expected to learn to walk alone without their parent to kindergarten."
This certainly does not apply to all areas in Switzerland.
Where doesn't it apply?

Tom

Last edited by 3Wishes; 22.03.2015 at 18:55. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 21.03.2015, 23:46
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Go to Italy from time to time, the concept of Swiss bureaucracy quickly fades.

Tom
Surely the italians are far too busy drinking coffee and looking cool to have bureaucracy
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Old 22.03.2015, 00:13
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

The education system varies from canton to canton, for example in ticino there is not this early selection, you are just required a minimum vote (or do exams) to get into university-oriented schools, but about 30% just drop out in the first year and choose other paths so i don't believe there's such a big difference in the end.
Anyway whatever you children will do, even after doing an apprenticeship with vocational high school diploma you can go to university with a 1 year transition programme where you basically have to catch up ( http://www.edudoc.ch/static/web/bild..._bildung_e.pdf ), if not there are the universities of applied sciences where only people with work experience get access, and other tertiary level schools for radiology tech, biomedical laboratorists etc. for example.
Here you can see the differences by clicking on the cantons: http://www.edk.ch/dyn/11550.php
Everyone gets every chance, and for those rare cases that turn around completely only later on there are possibilities too it's not written on stone, what is crucial is well-informed parents and good guidance with the help of the school counselor.

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Old 22.03.2015, 01:06
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Wrong, it's 126k.

Tom
Thats the limit of salary used for unemployment insurance, nothing to do with legal minimum pension payments.

I just checked the no's from Jan. 1, 2015, it's between CHF 24,675 and CHF 84,600, i. e. maximum CHF 59,925)

Therefore the max an employer ever needs to pay for an old codger is 5393.25 CHF which is a long way from 30K mentioned earlier.
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Old 22.03.2015, 01:24
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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If your employer is adding 25% in salary that is most unusual, the highest they ever have to pay is 9% for old codgers, 6% is paid for most employees. Normally pension costs are split between the employee & the employer, the employer has to pay at least 50% by law.

It's also likely that pension is NOT paid on the full salary, so the OP should not assume it is, cut off is about 87k IIRC for second pillar as far as the law is concerned. By the time insurance costs are deducted the savings element is substantially reduced.
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Thats the limit of salary used for unemployment insurance, nothing to do with legal minimum pension payments.

I just checked the no's from Jan. 1, 2015, it's between CHF 24,675 and CHF 84,600, i. e. maximum CHF 59,925)

Therefore the max an employer ever needs to pay for an old codger is 5393.25 CHF which is a long way from 30K mentioned earlier.
I think you're mixing up the pillar 1 and 2 schemes here. For pillar 2 there is a minimum but no no maximum and each employer pays whatever they agree with their employees. Beyond age 50 12% - 14% of gross income is quite normal.
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Old 22.03.2015, 01:36
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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I think you're mixing up the pillar 1 and 2 schemes here. For pillar 2 there is a minimum but no no maximum and each employer pays whatever they agree with their employees. Beyond age 50 12% - 14% of gross income is quite normal.
I am not mixing up anything, I am quoting what is legally required to be paid, the employer is required to pay at least half, very few employers pay 100% of the pension. There is no requirement to pay pillar 2 on the full salary, potential employees should be aware of this & not assume pension contributions will be paid on full salary.

Pilar 1 is for earnings below CHF 24,675, Pillar 2 is LEGALLY required for earnings between CHF 24,675 and CHF 84,600.

Does your company pay 12-14% or just 6/7% with you paying 6/7%, out of interest how much of that 12-14% is actually invested rather than insurance premiums?
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Old 22.03.2015, 10:36
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Surely the italians are far too busy drinking coffee and looking cool to have bureaucracy
Try going to the Agenzia Entrate to get a Codice Fiscale (something that one should be able to get online) and see how long it takes (if they don't ask for more paperwork).

Tom
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