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Old 22.10.2021, 10:27
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Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

Hi all, just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for schools in Bern or Biel. The kids are 1st and 4th grade, and I’m looking for information about schools. Any areas/ schools to avoid and, alternatively, any recommendations.

We live in Australia and school ratings are publicly available, but I couldn’t find anything similar about schools in Switzerland.

We’re interested in public local schools, not private.

Thanks.
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Old 22.10.2021, 10:44
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

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Hi all, just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for schools in Bern or Biel. The kids are 1st and 4th grade, and I’m looking for information about schools. Any areas/ schools to avoid and, alternatively, any recommendations.

We live in Australia and school ratings are publicly available, but I couldn’t find anything similar about schools in Switzerland.

We’re interested in public local schools, not private.

Thanks.
No such school ratings here. Schools are generally of high quality.

Hopefully others who live in those areas will also chime in to give you some further advice on good areas to live in.
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Old 22.10.2021, 11:56
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

Do you prefer french or German as the main language of teaching?
Both options are available in Biel and in some parts of Bern.
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Old 22.10.2021, 12:17
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

You don’t choose your public schools, one will be assigned to you based on a number of factors, but location and availability being the key. It could happen that your kids will go to different schools.

All schools are of equal quality and will teach the same curriculum (within each canton)

Education will be in the local languages, if you prefer English look to the international (private) schools.
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Old 22.10.2021, 15:10
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

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It could happen that your kids will go to different schools.
I believe the local council will do its best to place siblings in the same school but, of course, depending on the situation, there's no 100% guarantee.
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Old 23.10.2021, 01:10
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

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Do you prefer french or German as the main language of teaching?
Both options are available in Biel and in some parts of Bern.
German for the school, although I don't mind living in an area that is mixed/bilingual.
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Old 23.10.2021, 03:24
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

Yes I am aware that the Swiss school system is great, but a lot still depends on the principal, teachers, and environment. I have seen some statistics a while back about different schools and the percentage of kids going on to higher education, and there were significant differences (but I can't find them anymore). However, this is not to say that one school is better than the other, only that their focus may be different.

Has anyone got any experience living, and sending the kids to school in Nidau by Biel or Längggasse-Felsenau or Loraine in Bern - or anywhere around these areas?
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Old 23.10.2021, 11:07
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

I know all three of those areas but have not lived in any of them.

I have a cousin that lives in Nidau and sent her children to the local (german) school there; both are also fluent in french. Nidau is not a bad choice. It's fairly middle class, with its own town centre (in the middle ages it used to be the major town of the region) with good shops and restaurants, yet is very close to Biel. In Biel itself you need to be more selective where you live but I've never warmed to the city. Perhaps someone who actually lives there can give better advice.

I used to live in Bern and Both Längasse and Lorraine are good choices but by no means the only ones. The Breitenrein quarter should also be on your list; it's the up and coming younger neighbourhood. The Marzili is also a good choice being next to the river's recreational area and only 5 minutes walking distance to the centre.
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Old 23.10.2021, 11:15
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

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Yes I am aware that the Swiss school system is great, but a lot still depends on the principal, teachers, and environment. I have seen some statistics a while back about different schools and the percentage of kids going on to higher education, and there were significant differences (but I can't find them anymore). However, this is not to say that one school is better than the other, only that their focus may be different.

Has anyone got any experience living, and sending the kids to school in Nidau by Biel or Längggasse-Felsenau or Loraine in Bern - or anywhere around these areas?
You will always get a poor teacher in any school system, but there is very little difference between schools. What is different though for some expats is that the Swiss system delivers a large dose of reality! And that reality is that the majority of kids are not suited to go on to college or university. Accordingly the Swiss system provides many other paths for young people to follow. Here pretty much every job requires a qualification beyond compulsory education, that will involve 3 or 4 years of part time education as well as on the job training. And that will include general subjects such as math, languages etc as well as profession or trade related courses.

My son finished in university this summer, so we have been through the whole cycle in Kt Bern with him and it is a grueling exercise, which not only requires brains, but incredible commitment to long hours of study etc., which often had me wondering if it was really worth it. But he is a very determined guy and once he is committed to achieve something he usually finds the strength to carry on. Some of his classmates were weeded out because of their grades, some dropped out either because of a lack of commitment or because it was too much physically.

My daughter, having seen what her brother was going through, decided it was not for her and opted for an apprenticeship in multimedia design. She is in the final year of the course now and in addition to courses on graphics, photography, video production, web design etc, she had English, French, German, math and business subjects. Unlike college, they also have courses in how to find employment, manage money etc….

I would have no hesitation in saying that my daughter is better prepared for life as a young adult than my son.

Swiss parents have high expectations of their education system and a ‘bad school’ is not a concept here. But getting a good education and going to college are not the same thing.
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Old 23.10.2021, 12:20
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Re: Areas with great public schools in Bern or Biel

Adding to what @Jim2007 wrote, schooling in Switzerland also expects and requires a lot of commitment from the parents. I don't know of any Swiss parents that don't spend a lot of time actively supporting their kids with school work.
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