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Old 28.05.2017, 13:15
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school for a 15 year old from UK..

Hi Guys

I am a single dad and my 15 year old daughter normally lives in UK with her mum and she is now finishing Year 10. For those who are familiar with the British system she is finishing the first year of her GCSE.

I am thinking of bring her here to live with me and go to school from next September. I don't think I can afford the international school (30-40k CHF per year right?). I am thinking of the Swiss schools. She is doing really well in school in UK, top marks and her is also taking German GCSE. She is here with me right now for for a week (half term. Questions:

1. How easy or tough would it be for her to fit into the Swiss schooling
2. Is there a way that she can try out the system for a day or two while she is here on holiday?
3. Will she lose a year or so to fit in the system here?
4. Is the Gemeinde the place to suggest schools for her?

Of course, there will be social and human aspects, like separation from her mum and friends, although I can send her to visit her during school holidays and she is quick to adapt and make new friends. Another aspect to this is that her mum seems to be struggling with life, job keeping, finances etc and this could be a good solution.

Many thanks.
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Old 28.05.2017, 13:19
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

Very tough at that age! Does she speak German/French etc at all? Fluently?
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Old 28.05.2017, 13:41
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

Is your daughter planning on going to university? If so, where is she considering?
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:09
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

Mandatory schooling only goes to Grade 9 here, so she would have to enter Gymnasium or a Fachmittelschule to continue her schooling (finding an apprenticeship position would probably be very hard). Whether she can manage that in German is hard to say. What may work is a bilingual Gymnasium E/G. So at least not all subjects would be in German. I would find out where the bilingual Gymnasiums are located and contact the principal directly to discuss this. How does your daughter feel about it?
http://www.bi.zh.ch/internet/bildung..._KtZH_2010.pdf
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:25
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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Very tough at that age! Does she speak German/French etc at all? Fluently?
She speaks some German and French, not fluent but I would say intermediate levels (she has these as school GCSE subjects)
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:26
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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Is your daughter planning on going to university? If so, where is she considering?
Yes she is definitely considering university and is thinking about doing medicine. She is open minded about which university or country.
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:27
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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Yes she is definitely considering university and is thinking about doing medicine. She is open minded about which university or country.
Then let her finish her school in the UK. Now trying to get into gymi is next to impossible and that is what she needs to study medicine.

Or pay for an international school.
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:34
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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Yes she is definitely considering university and is thinking about doing medicine. She is open minded about which university or country.
In that case you and she need to take a long, hard look at what a move to Switzerland would do to her prospects.

Completing secondary studies within the system one hopes to study to tertiary level is generally the more efficient route. When evaluating an application, the student's accomplishments are better understood within one system.

If she wishes to study at a UK university, what would a year or two in Switzerland accomplish, how would it benefit her chances of acceptance to the university of her choice?

Be aware that Switzerland has a Numerus Clausus in place for medical studies.
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:36
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

Many thanks for the info. Sounds like the bilingual Gymnasium is the way forward and the one in Kusnacht is fairly close to us (we are in Uetikon). I might give them a call on Monday. Is this the way forward for getting university entrance (Swiss or UK)?

My daughter loves Switzerland and loves learning languages. I think she will struggle for at least 6 months to a year to catch up with her current German. She told me yesterday that she wished we did this earlier as she is already in the middle of her GCSE. Also she will have a big life change in terms of being away from her mother that she loves and is so used to. However, I know that she is adaptable and quite resilient.


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Mandatory schooling only goes to Grade 9 here, so she would have to enter Gymnasium or a Fachmittelschule to continue her schooling (finding an apprenticeship position would probably be very hard). Whether she can manage that in German is hard to say. What may work is a bilingual Gymnasium E/G. So at least not all subjects would be in German. I would find out where the bilingual Gymnasiums are located and contact the principal directly to discuss this. How does your daughter feel about it?
http://www.bi.zh.ch/internet/bildung..._KtZH_2010.pdf
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Old 28.05.2017, 14:48
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

Yeah it would have been better one year before, some private schools offer a gap 10th year in preparatory schools focused on languages and some math.
Don't worry too much about "losing" a year, male swiss students will lose one for military/civil service and many girls do a travel/language learning gap year after high school.
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Old 28.05.2017, 15:03
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

Personally, I wouldn't do it to her. She will have begun the serious full-on prep for GCSE exams all through year 10 and next year there will be a big push on exam practice as the UK system has yet again changed where results are now based on exams only and no longer backed up by course work. How is she going to feel when her friends are collecting their exam results in Summer 2018 and she hasn't finished secondary school?

You should really allow her to at least get her GCSEs completed before bringing her to CH. She will have more options if it doesn't work out for her in CH.

Options and choices she needs, not to be cut off at the knees..

What are her thoughts?
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Old 28.05.2017, 15:14
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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Sounds like the bilingual Gymnasium is the way forward and the one in Kusnacht is fairly close to us (we are in Uetikon). I might give them a call on Monday. Is this the way forward for getting university entrance (Swiss or UK)?
I think that's a case of hearing what you want to hear. What I'm hearing is that she would be much better served finishing out her education in the UK system or at an international school.
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Old 28.05.2017, 15:42
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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You should really allow her to at least get her GCSEs completed before bringing her to CH.
She will have more options if it doesn't work out for her in CH.
She will have more options... in the UK.

Is there a cut-off point is for the UK system of doing GCSEs?
If your daughter tries out life and education in Switzerland, and finds it doesn't work out, is she free to return to the UK - permit/nationality-wise?
Swisstree's post made me think that you should research whether, if your daughter did spend a year or two trying in Switzerland, and then returned to the UK, she would (or would not) have completely "missed the boat" for UK GCSEs.
I'm guessing that there is still some way for her to complete GCSEs, later, but you should find out, for sure.

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How is she going to feel when her friends are collecting their exam results in Summer 2018 and she hasn't finished secondary school?
This, too, is an excellent question, and the answer depends on her personality, scholastic ability and her diligence.

If she is easily embarassed, and compares herself a lot to her peers, and would be unhappy if they finished school before her, then perhaps she should stay in the UK.

If, on the other hand, she is disciplined and motivated to work hard at school (also taking extra lessons as needed) , and if she feels enthusiastic about the chance to live in Switzerland and to be exposed to German and French (since you say she loves learning languages) and all sorts of new experiences, she may be willing to risk the experiment... even if, in the worst case - please with eyes wide open - it would mean she'd finish her UK schooling (if she went back) later than her former class-mates.
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:02
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

If she wants to do medicine it may also be better that she goes to a UK university to study that. The rules change from time to time and you also need to bear in mind what your/her status will be post-Brexit.

These are the current regulations which changed in November 2015.

"How is medicine different?
The number of places on human medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine courses is limited and changes from year to year. Students wishing to study medicine have to take an entrance exam.
https://www.ch.ch/en/how-apply-university/

"Council Recommendation of universities on the admission of foreign applicants to medical studies in Switzerland of November 19, 2015

1. With regard to admission to medical studies, the following foreign applicants are treated the same way as Swiss candidates:

a) nationals of Liechtenstein;

b) foreigners resident in Switzerland or Liechtenstein;

c) nationals of a Member State of the European Union, Iceland and Norway, which have in Switzerland a stay under the EU / EFTA marked "gainful activity" and may justify a professional activities closely with medical studies (Article 9, paragraph 3, Annex I ALCP..)
d) children, whatever their nationality, nationals of member countries of the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein in Switzerland if they have a residence permit as a member the family of an EU / EFTA citizens (article 3, paragraph 6, Annex I ALCP..);

e) foreigners domiciled in Switzerland whose parents are resident in Switzerland;

f) foreigners living in Switzerland who are married to a Swiss citizen or whose spouse is established in Switzerland for at least five years or in possession of a Swiss work permit for at least five years;

g) aliens domiciled in Switzerland holding a Swiss work permit for at least five years, respectively those domiciled in Switzerland whose parents have a Swiss work permit for at least five years;

h) foreign domiciled in Switzerland with a Swiss maturity certificate or maturity cantonal certificate recognized throughout Switzerland (according to the Federal Ordinance of 15 February 1995 fe-recognition of maturity certificates gymnasiale and the Rules of CDIP of 16 January 1995 on the recognition of certificates gymna-Siale maturity) or a professional maturity certificate completed by a certificate of additional tests (according to the Federal Ordinance of 19 December 2003 on the recon-naissance certificates of maturity professional for admission to Swiss universities);

i) children whose parents have diplomatic status in Switzerland;

j) refugees recognized by Switzerland."

https://www.swissuniversities.ch/fil...%C3%A4nder.pdf

https://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/...edical-school/
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:04
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

If the OP's and his daughter's motivation is simply to be exposed to life in Switzerland, that can be accomplished via a 'gap year' after completeing her UK studies.

She is in the middle of a program - what do you accomplish by cutting it short, why the need for a move now? What do you think she will gain that could not wait until she has finished her GCSEs?

Hand on heart - do you really think that whatever 'good' she might take out of a year or two in Switzerland worth risking her academic future? Gambling with a young person's educational options at this stage is, IMO, shortsighted.

Switzerland will still be there when your daughter has finished her program. Why not wait?
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:06
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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She will have more options... in the UK.

Is there a cut-off point is for the UK system of doing GCSEs?
If your daughter tries out life and education in Switzerland, and finds it doesn't work out, is she free to return to the UK - permit/nationality-wise?
Swisstree's post made me think that you should research whether, if your daughter did spend a year or two trying in Switzerland, and then returned to the UK, she would (or would not) have completely "missed the boat" for UK GCSEs.
I'm guessing that there is still some way for her to complete GCSEs, later, but you should find out, for sure.
Some UK schools are now beginning GCSE prep in year 9 with the selected books/subject choices for final exams in year 11. If she doesn't finish her GCSEs 2018 and returns to do the exam at a later date/ year, she will have to start from scratch with a different selection of study material and slot into a class who have already begun their schedule of prep/study work.

If she is planning on doing a medical degree and is a bright and hardworking girl, then she should be allowed to confidently collect a decent bunch of GCSE grades, put them in her back pocket and take it from there.. Swiss Gymis will then have a better handle and a more accurate measurement of her abilities if she is to slot successfully into the CH system.
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:11
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

EDIT: crossed with Swisstree's post.

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She is in the middle of a program - what do you accomplish by cutting it short, why the need for a move now? What do you think she will gain that could not wait until she has finished her GCSEs?
The opportunity to go to school in Switzerland, and get a Swiss school-leaving certificate. If she waits any longer, she will be too old for the Swiss school system.

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Hand on heart - do you really think that whatever 'good' she might take out of a year or two in Switzerland worth risking her academic future? Gambling with a young person's educational options at this stage is, IMO, shortsighted.
Yes, that is why the father should find out whether or not she would, in fact, be "risking her academic future". He and she need to know whehter, if she interrupted her UK schooling, she'd be able to pick up where she left off, if she returned to the UK later.

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If the OP's and his daughter's motivation is simply to be exposed to life in Switzerland, that can be accomplished via a 'gap year' after completeing her UK studies.
No, not necessarily. Switzerland will still be here, but if by then she has turned 18, she may not be allowed to come to live with her father "just like that", permit-wise.
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:15
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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If she is planning on doing a medical degree and is a bright and hardworking girl, then she should be allowed to confidently collect a decent bunch of GCSE grades, put them in her back pocket and take it from there.. Swiss Gymis will then have a better handle and a more accurate measurement of her abilities if she is to slot successfully into the CH system.
When you say "take it from there", do you mean she should try to get her UK GCSEs recognised in Switzerland as equivalent to a Swiss Gymnasium? As a university entrance? Or do you mean she might have a better chance of being admitted to a Swiss Gymnasium if she has already completed her UK GCSEs?
That might be a question for Mr. Happy to ask the Küsnacht bilingual Gymnasium when he calls them on Monday (or better still, in an appointment, with his daughter's grade sheets, and during which she can speak German to the teacher/interviewer).
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:23
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

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When you say "take it from there", do you mean she should try to get her UK GCSEs recognised in Switzerland as equivalent to a Swiss Gymnasium? As a university entrance? Or do you mean she might have a better chance of being admitted to a Swiss Gymnasium if she has already completed her UK GCSEs?
The latter - to get into UK university you need to complete your A Levels, a further 2 years of study after GCSEs in a 6th form college.

It is the same with Gymi, no? You attend Gymnasium after secondary school has finished and final exams completed? GCSEs are more or less the equivalent of those Swiss secondary/high school exams. Or does the selection exam take place earlier?
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Old 28.05.2017, 16:29
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Re: school for a 15 year old from UK..

There are no final exams at the end of 9th grade in Switzerland. But yes, A levels are more or less the equivalent level to the Swiss Matura ( end of Gymnasium exams). You won't be admitted to a Swiss University with just GCSEs.
Selection to Gymi usually happens a year or more before the end of secondary school. But that doesn't mean it is not possible for the OPs daughter. They sometimes will make exceptions. However, a boarding school in the UK may be another option to consider?
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