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Old 14.09.2021, 12:15
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Language support in Zurich sekundar?

Dear all,

Me and my son (11 y.o.) are thinking relocating in Zurich in the nearest future (probably January 2022), as per my new job…
Right now we live in the French part of Switzerland and my son speaks perfect French although it is not his native language and we speak another language at home. He doesn’t particularly like languages and I am puzzled about what is going to happen to him if I put him in the Swiss German public school.
Another point to consider: he is in the 8H grade (Biel school) which correspond to 6 grade in Zurich school. Next year, if in Zurich, he is supposed to enter sekundar schule or Gymnasium (which he obviously won’t attend because of the exam in German)..
My question is: if they accept him in sekundar schule, will he have separate German classes (language support) that would help him with integration? I have heard different opinions about Zurich. Anyone has the experience?

The other path to consider is the Lucee français de zurich, but it’s a lot of money…
Thanks a lot for tips
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Old 14.09.2021, 12:28
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Re: Language support in Zurich sekundar?

It really depends on the local town where you enrol and what they offer.

In our town/area (Adliswil-Horgen) they have an intensive language programme that the kids attend for 6 or 12 months before switching to the local school.

If you are serious, then ramp up his German lessons now - add some extra classes or courses, and ask his German school teacher to recommend some extra work that he can do....

Is is very different when a language is the 'core language of instruction' or when it is taught as an extra subject, or is just in the background...

My kids learnt very thorough and technical High German at a bilingual Montessori Primary school. but English is their first language. For the eldest, French is her third and Swiss-German her fourth langauge. For the middle child, Swiss German is third and French is a distant fourth, and for the youngest, English - High German and he was minimally confident in Swiss German and French is an uphill battle - he also has an official diagnosis of dyslexia which makes it more complex. The school was somewhat surprised how fluent his High German was and then how reluctant he was to speak Swiss German - but that is a reflection of him learning "School German" and not 'background Swiss-German'.

Each child has their own language story - you definitely need to consider your son's interests at this age - if he is on track for Gymnasium in French, I would certainly not set him back to German Sek... unless the decision for the whole family is really strong and you have substantial funds to compensate for a lot of challenges.
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