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Old 23.08.2019, 03:41
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Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Dear all,

Brand-new to this forum and so grateful for all the useful info. My family will be relocating to Basel from Boston end of the year for my husband's new job, and I unfortunately can't visit/tour schools before as I'm expecting. We have an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old we plan to send to an international school. I've read all the related threads, but the latest feedback on ISB/SIS/Academia seemed to be from 2017 and I wonder if you have new thoughts on the schools today.

What have you chosen for your kids and why? What works well for you and what doesn't? It could be that my American concerns (how much time kids spend outside/playing/being active) are moot in Switzerland. Nonetheless, with an active 10yo bold who needs lots of activity and stimulation, I'm curious. Do some of the schools seem for accommodating than others? Is communication with admin/teachers better at some than others? ISB's 2 locations concern me a bit as my kids would be at separate schools after one semester; SIS feels tighter/closer-knit; Academia seems newer but not necessarily a bad thing, just not as much info out there.

Finally, did you choose to live near the school, and is that helpful to you and your kids socially? (If you have specific neighborhood to recommend based on schools you chose, I'm all ears there, too!)

Anyway, any input and experiences very much appreciated! And I hope to meet some of you in the winter in Basel.

Thank you.
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Old 23.08.2019, 07:01
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Send them to local schools and give them the chance to learn German properly.


Local schools are just as good and they cover all your points above, more than adequately.
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Old 23.08.2019, 07:44
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Today only, personally, I happen to agree with you that in many cases the local schools provide a wonderful opportunity and I observe that at least some folk coming from abroad don't realise that.

However, OP seems to have already made up her/his mind, for whatever reasons, about wanting an international school for her/his children. Fair enough.

OP, you say you've read threads [about international schools], and just in case you missed - and might still be interested in - the most recent of many, over the years, discussion of the pro and contra of:
  • international (which are always private and fee-paying),
  • private (which are fee-paying and may be but are not necessarily international) vs
  • local, government, free schools, and are interested in that debate, here's the link.
here's the link:
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...l-schools.html.

I hope for you that someone will come along soon, with recent info on the international schools in Basel.
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Old 23.08.2019, 08:22
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Whichever school you choose won't be a disaster. The schools each have their own strengths and weaknesses. My kids were all at local school and have done very well, but I do often come into contact with kids from the private schools.

You don't need to live very near to the schools as the north-west of Switzerland has a regular, reliable, frequent public transport network, especially around the city of Basel. I know kids who travelled from Hofstetten to the ISB every day.

maps.search.ch has a route planning function for trams/buses/trains.
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Old 24.08.2019, 17:45
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Thanks so much, all, and @doropfiz for the link - hadn't seen that one and it was helpful. It's true, for a variety of reasons I won't go into on a public forum, we're going for an international school, so I'll keep looking out for feedback from families who've had the ISB/SIS/Academia experience, and hope to also learn a bit more about neighborhoods where families might "convene" to make out-of-school socializing for both kids and adults easier. Great to hear once again, though, that that Swiss school system works so well for so many families Thanks again!
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Old 24.08.2019, 19:15
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

One of the factors I think is worth considering, when sending a child to a private school, is the time they will spend travelling. Not only do the hours of their commute to school add up but - since the children at the international schools come from a wider catchment area - so, too, does their travel time to visit friends.

I hear you clearly, that you're not considering government school. You have your reasons, fair enough. I mention it again only because the government school children, for the most part, do not have long commutes, and this gives them more free time, whether to spend on sports and arts, or with friends, or just chilling at home.

Therefore, I'd recommend that you try to live, if at all possible, near the international school you choose. In Switzerland, with its excellent public transport, "near" doesn't necessarily translate into geographical proximity, but into convenient, reliable, quick public transport routes with not too many changes.

Depending on the atmosphere where you've lived before, that may sound scary, but here it is completely usual (and safe) for school-children, from Kindergarten onwards, make their own way to and from school.

In general, parents to not shuttle their children by car. The parents travel with the children on the bus or tram, up and down, for the first few weeks, diminishing the extent of the accompaniment and support in stages, and soon the children can do it on their own. Some schools organise the routes, teaching the children to increase their safety and their social skills by knowing that at stop x or route-intersection point y their classmate Anna will be embarking, and that on the way home Alex has to get off the tram at stop z.

In some cities, the children can get a pass for the public transport for only the route to and from school, in others the pass is for the whole city. I think (but am not sure) that you will be able to choose. The latter enables them to get to music lessons and go swimming, etc. and visit their friends, freely. Alternatively, you can buy individual day-cards for those days.

Here's a map of the routes and, on the right, the timetable.
https://www.bvb.ch/en/fahrplan/liniennetz/

Last edited by doropfiz; 25.08.2019 at 06:15. Reason: typo and grammar
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Old 25.08.2019, 16:35
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Most (all?) international and private schools offer van shuttles as an additional service for parents who want it. Regardless, a quick search in google shows that the 3 schools are centrally located within Basel-stadt. One by the Rhine; one north of it, and one south of the rhine, so this doesn't seem to be much of an issue.
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Old 25.08.2019, 21:27
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Re: Choosing an international school in Basel: ISB, SIS, Academia?

Thank you once again. We're currently fortunate enough to live next door to school, so we definitely see the benefits and are looking for a short commute, but as you say it isn't necessarily about how many blocks away it is but possibly about how many stops. That's why I'm hoping to figure out what other Int'l School families opted for We're leaning toward SIS for the tri-lingual aspect. Cheers!
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