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Old 14.04.2011, 12:43
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Local v International School

Hello All

Not in Switzerland yet, but considering it very carefully. If I move, it will be in or around Gland. I have a young son and am considering options for him, as his settling will make everything so much easier. He has a reasonable knowledge of French, but I can't get a feel of what the local schools are like, both in terms of standards and general care.

Can anyone offer any opinions or advice on this? All help gratefully received in this difficult decision making time!!

Thanks guys.
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Old 14.04.2011, 12:54
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Re: Local v International School

Depends on your intentions. Will you move here permanently or are you only going to be here for a year or two?

Being here permanently might speak in favour of state schools, especially if your little one already speaks a bit of French, although non-native kids seem to be frighteningly good at picking up the local lingo in record time. Also, you wouldn't have to pay for the schooling (unless you decide to put him in after school care which costs a bit). The local schools also have the advantage of having the local kids in the classes so it's easy for your child to see his new friends outside of school because they probably live round the corner or even in the same apartment block as you.

If you are here temporarily you might want to look at international schools but I don't have any experience of them (apart from what I've read on this forum) so perhaps others can offer some additional input.
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Old 14.04.2011, 13:32
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Re: Local v International School

this topics pretty much been done to death already.

International schools are eye wateringly expensive, with lots of 'hidden' fee's, fine if your company is paying, not so fine if you are.

take a look at some of the threads linked to the bottom of this one.
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Old 14.04.2011, 14:28
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Re: Local v International School

Thanks for your reply Sandgrounder.

And thanks for your helpful input Bigblue. I know what you mean about it being "done to death" but nothing that I've read actually helps put my mind to rest. I would like him to go to local school to fully get to grips with the language, but how welcoming are the local kids to foreigners? Especially ones with a bit of melanin in their skin- we don't have the blue eyed blond haired bit, and I don't want that to be an issue- It isn't where we are at the moment, but I have seen it and the massive impact it has had on him. Shame you see that in little kids, but they pick it up from somewhere along the way.

We're in Belgium at the moment, and the local school is perfectly fine, though lacks any modernity. He sits and learns handwriting almost all day every day. That's got its positives, but I would like his education to be more rounded. A bit more of the "love for learning" attitude would be amazing. I know about the state of international schools, and would rather not at this point, but don't know enough about the public ones to be able to compare. What is the approach of the teachers as a whole? I know it's generalising, but really would love to get a feel for the system.

Thanks
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Old 14.04.2011, 14:29
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Re: Local v International School

Also, if people know about good local schools in or around Gland/rolle that I could research that would be brilliant!
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Old 14.04.2011, 14:54
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Re: Local v International School

Swiss standards of schooling is good in my opinion, but they learn to read much later than children in the UK. As for general care, note that local schools release their children to go home for lunch (some communes provide school lunch programmes for working parents). International schools have lunch programmes as a standard. Also depending on the school, the children have school only four days a week or they may have one or two half-days. For young children I believe this is the same for certain international schools. This makes life rather difficult for dual working parents.
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Old 14.04.2011, 15:14
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Re: Local v International School

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He sits and learns handwriting almost all day every day. That's got its positives, but I would like his education to be more rounded. A bit more of the "love for learning" attitude would be amazing.
Thanks
You didn't mention what age your son is, but if younger than 6, it is likely he won't do handwriting or other formal learning in the local school here until 1ere primaire (age 6 by 30 June). The enfantine years (age 4 and 5) are more like organised play. They also generally don't have regular hours the first enfantine year either, it is a gradual introduction to school.
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Old 14.04.2011, 15:26
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Re: Local v International School

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Also, if people know about good local schools in or around Gland/rolle that I could research that would be brilliant!
Be aware that once you move here and have an address, that will determine where your son is schooled, assuming you opt for the local option. You cannot pick or choose, it is very rigidly enforced. Even in my local commune there are 3 primary schools, if I were to move less than a km down the road, my youngest would have to change schools.

You could research before you moved, but I don't think it would make much difference, the schooling and curriculum are very similar between schools, and generally a high standard. Important things like individual teacher qualities are not something you would be able to gauge on a flying visit.
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Old 14.04.2011, 23:06
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Re: Local v International School

So...you just have to hold your breath and dive in. Hope for the best? There does seem to be a large element of pot luck involved, but the general consensus is that everyone who has sent their kids to local public school has been happy??
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Old 15.04.2011, 12:46
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Re: Local v International School

Choose a International School, local schools are poor and there teaching methods are archaic with too much time off within the school year.
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Old 15.04.2011, 12:51
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Re: Local v International School

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Choose a International School, local schools are poor and there teaching methods are archaic with too much time off within the school year.

work for an international school do you?
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Old 15.04.2011, 12:55
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Re: Local v International School

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Choose a International School, local schools are poor and there teaching methods are archaic with too much time off within the school year.
A note to the OP. Although 'reputation' (red or green blobs), number of posts, subject of previous posts, thanks count, groans count etc. don't mean all that much on here, it's never a bad idea to check folk out before you take their information at face value. This guy lives in Zürich and has a little red blobbie next to his name which might well mean that he enjoys winding people up.
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Old 15.04.2011, 12:56
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Re: Local v International School

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Choose a International School, local schools are poor and there teaching methods are archaic with too much time off within the school year.
SOBEIT the troll returns
Do you have any experience with either?
My kids both go to local school and are getting on fantastically well, thank you very much.
On the other hand, my sis-in-law has worked for a number of International schools (not in CH mind) where the staff are more concerned about keeping little Jimmy's rich parents happy than they are about teaching little Jimmy himself.
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Old 15.04.2011, 13:05
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Re: Local v International School

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SOBEIT the troll returns
Do you have any experience with either?
My kids both go to local school and are getting on fantastically well, thank you very much.
On the other hand, my sis-in-law has worked for a number of International schools (not in CH mind) where the staff are more concerned about keeping little Jimmy's rich parents happy than they are about teaching little Jimmy himself.

same here, couldn't be happier with our local school, for short term stays then the international schools seemed ok, but for long term then (imho) not a chance.
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Old 15.04.2011, 13:18
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Re: Local v International School

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So...you just have to hold your breath and dive in. Hope for the best? There does seem to be a large element of pot luck involved, but the general consensus is that everyone who has sent their kids to local public school has been happy??
Being able to change schools depend very much on where you live. In my area both schools have to agree.

While the Swiss schools have their challenges, I've no regrets putting my three kids through it, and my eldest starts Swiss university in September.
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Old 15.04.2011, 13:20
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Re: Local v International School

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Choose a International School, local schools are poor and there teaching methods are archaic with too much time off within the school year.
You have no idea about what you are talking...
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Old 15.04.2011, 14:15
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Re: Local v International School

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Hello All

Not in Switzerland yet, but considering it very carefully. If I move, it will be in or around Gland. I have a young son and am considering options for him, as his settling will make everything so much easier. He has a reasonable knowledge of French, but I can't get a feel of what the local schools are like, both in terms of standards and general care.

Can anyone offer any opinions or advice on this? All help gratefully received in this difficult decision making time!!

Thanks guys.
Had the same dilema myself in January when I arrived with my 3 daughters. After careful consideration we decided on local schools for the youngest two (10 and 6) and Bi-Lingual International school for the eldest (13). While things have not been easy for any of them I would say that the help and support (including intensive language tuition) given to the girls at local school has been far superior to that offered by the International School - so much so that we are currently considering moving the eldest out of International school and into the local system.

I know the assistance available varies from region to region and Canton to Canton and even from school to school but if you are looking at staying long term I would definitely say give local schools a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised at what they can offer you and your son and it will give him a chance to make local friends.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 15.04.2011, 15:05
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Re: Local v International School

It is fairly simple.

Short term - international

Long term - local

Re melanin, why do you assume that an international school would be better?

You've also not mentioned how old your child is, which would make a big difference to how quickly he'll integrate. Swiss schools around Basel are very geared towards ensuring language is not a problem for foreign children, with additional (free) language classes.

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Being able to change schools depend very much on where you live. In my area both schools have to agree.

While the Swiss schools have their challenges, I've no regrets putting my three kids through it, and my eldest starts Swiss university in September.
Hey NAT - you forgot to mention the subject!
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Old 15.04.2011, 17:38
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Re: Local v International School

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It is fairly simple.

Short term - international

Long term - local
Not quite. Our school is close to EPFL and Uni of Lausanne, so each year we have a number of kids whose parents are on a one-year academic sabbatical from the US. They're usually aged up to 11*, come into the school for just one year, and every one of them has had a great time learning French through play and crafts, coming home for lunch, experiencing a new culture. They're usually a little ahead of their Swiss peers academically due to curriculum differences, so can have a coasting year, and it's quite easy for the parents to keep them up with a little Maths and English for the return integration.

*There was a 13 yr old once, which didn't work nearly as well - she was sent to a 'welcome' class in the nearby town and was very socially isolated as there was no common language for the class and no community feel. Worth plugging through if you're moving for ever, but obviously knowing it was only short-term, she just shut down.

So, I'd say:

Primary: local school regardless of timescale, simply for community feel and having friends in the same street/ play area.

Secondary: local school for long term, international for short.

And remember that unlike having the children in the first place, this is not an irrevocable decision. Local school not working out after 6 months or so? Fine, switch them to international. Heck, in Vaud you can even pull them out on the spot and homeschool them until an international place comes up. So try not to agonise toooooo much (although I remember just how hard it is to take that advice ).
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Old 15.04.2011, 18:34
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Re: Local v International School

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Not quite. Our school is close to EPFL and Uni of Lausanne, so each year we have a number of kids whose parents are on a one-year academic sabbatical from the US. They're usually aged up to 11*, come into the school for just one year, and every one of them has had a great time learning French through play and crafts, coming home for lunch, experiencing a new culture. They're usually a little ahead of their Swiss peers academically due to curriculum differences, so can have a coasting year, and it's quite easy for the parents to keep them up with a little Maths and English for the return integration.

*There was a 13 yr old once, which didn't work nearly as well - she was sent to a 'welcome' class in the nearby town and was very socially isolated as there was no common language for the class and no community feel. Worth plugging through if you're moving for ever, but obviously knowing it was only short-term, she just shut down.

So, I'd say:

Primary: local school regardless of timescale, simply for community feel and having friends in the same street/ play area.

Secondary: local school for long term, international for short.

And remember that unlike having the children in the first place, this is not an irrevocable decision. Local school not working out after 6 months or so? Fine, switch them to international. Heck, in Vaud you can even pull them out on the spot and homeschool them until an international place comes up. So try not to agonise toooooo much (although I remember just how hard it is to take that advice ).
What's a welcome class? Do the one year kids go straight into regular Swiss schools?
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