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Old 20.06.2011, 18:42
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International school wait lists

Hello,

Has anyone had any experience with wait lists at the international schools in the Vaud region?

We are going to be moving over in August and where we end up living will depend on which school we can get into. I realize we should be able to get our son (7yr old) into a local school and will consider that option if need be, but for now (since the company is paying) we are concentrating on the international schools.

Our family was given rather short notice for our relocation so we didn't apply to any of the schools till April and with that ended up on the wait list for all 5 of the schools to which we applied.

What I have heard is that many people apply to multiple schools and come August spaces begin to appear. So, for example our son was 25th on the wait list at the International School of Luasanne. Is that way too far back? Are the wait lists somewhat flexible (if you will pay we'll make room)? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 20.06.2011, 19:07
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Re: International school wait lists

Aim for the local state school, stay on the lists until a space becomes available. At that age, depending on how long you end up stating, State school may well be a more rewarding option. If you try to do this the other way around, you may end up with no choice at any of the schools and having to commute to the nearest school with a place. Act sooner rather than later.
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Old 20.06.2011, 19:35
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Re: International school wait lists

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Aim for the local state school, stay on the lists until a space becomes available. At that age, depending on how long you end up stating, State school may well be a more rewarding option. If you try to do this the other way around, you may end up with no choice at any of the schools and having to commute to the nearest school with a place. Act sooner rather than later.
It is supposed to be a 3yr assignment so, not short, not long. We are planning a pre trip in July and will visit the prospective schools and areas and see where we stand. I'll have to do some more research on what I need to do to reserve a spot in the local school.
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Old 20.06.2011, 20:05
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Re: International school wait lists

All schools will be closed in July- so perhaps not a good time to assess them.
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Old 20.06.2011, 20:17
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Re: International school wait lists

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I'll have to do some more research on what I need to do to reserve a spot in the local school.
Nothing at all - you'll be allocated to (usually) your nearest school once you've decided where to live. Assuming you stick to the usual incomer areas - the lakeside strip from Geneva to Lausanne and inland for a few kms - then whichever school you end up in will almost certainly have experience of a non-French speaking child arriving, and will possibly have other English speakers on the playground too. All the expats I know in this region have been somewhere between satisfied and delighted with their local school experience.

Children can start at any time, so don't fret if you miss the start of the school year (Monday 22nd August in Vaud).

Alternatively, homeschooling is also legal in Vaud, so that could be an option whilst you wait for a place to come up in the international school of your choice. I'd go for the local school as first choice, though, as your son will make local friends and pick up some French even if it's something you only do for 6 months (I suggest NOT mentioning this to the school and maybe not to your son...). Another poster on here put her 7 and 8 yr old children 'temporarily' into local school this past year, and they've been so happy that when places came up in an international school, the children voted firmly to stay in their local one!
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Old 20.06.2011, 20:32
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Re: International school wait lists

Thanks for the tip, definately would have been better to visit while classes were still in session but, unfortunately, our schedule did not permit. A couple of the schools have summer camps (not sure if they ran into July, will have to double check) so hopefully we can get a little insight into their operation. We may just have to find a place to live then wing it.


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All schools will be closed in July- so perhaps not a good time to assess them.
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Old 20.06.2011, 20:34
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Re: International school wait lists

I second Upthehatters2008 recommendation.
But if you decide to go with the Int School of Lausanne, here are my 2 cents: the ranking on the waiting list is not too relevant: my daughter was placed 20th in January 2011 and I received a call in April with a place offer (we didn't take it). There are some sponsoring companies and if you work for those you get bumped up on the waiting list (not our case).
Hope this helps.
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:34
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Re: International school wait lists

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I second Upthehatters2008 recommendation.
But if you decide to go with the Int School of Lausanne, here are my 2 cents: the ranking on the waiting list is not too relevant: my daughter was placed 20th in January 2011 and I received a call in April with a place offer (we didn't take it). There are some sponsoring companies and if you work for those you get bumped up on the waiting list (not our case).
Hope this helps.

We are not one of the sponsor companies, but i believe a sizable presence (not that that counts for anything). Our big concern is with the picking up and moving and arriving with maybe a week of acclimation time before school starts and then aside from new home, new school, no friends.... then they don't even speak the same language (plus my son had spanish in 1st grade this year and he emphatically declared it his least favorite class... ) might just be too much for him. I know kids rebound fairly quickly but it seems like a lot.
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:49
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Re: International school wait lists

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Our big concern is with the picking up and moving and arriving with maybe a week of acclimation time before school starts and then aside from new home, new school, no friends.... then they don't even speak the same language... I know kids rebound fairly quickly but it seems like a lot.
Staggeringly quickly. We did exactly this with my then just turned 8 yr old - arrived halfway through the Easter/spring holiday, so he had exactly one week before school started back. Fortunately a week is an aaaaaaaaage for a child that age, so he seemed frankly relieved to get back into the school routine and meet some new kids.

Does your son like football (soccer)? Mine didn't, which was a shame as it's an instant 'in' around here that requires no language skills. He still found his place, though, in the general running around pretending to be zombies/ pretending to fall off their scooters sort of games. It's impossible from our previous Anglophone background to understand just how normal it is for kids to turn up here unable to speak the language. It's so, so common - the other kids are used to it and somehow find a way to be friendly, and I've yet to meet a teacher who hasn't at least enough English for communication (and they're often fluent).
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:55
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Re: International school wait lists

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We are not one of the sponsor companies, but i believe a sizable presence (not that that counts for anything).
...IT DOESN'T

One more piece of information - if you decide to go into the private system and then - say, in a year from now - decide to switch to public, your child will need to pass an entry exam that includes German and French language testing
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Old 20.06.2011, 22:02
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Re: International school wait lists

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...IT DOESN'T

One more piece of information - if you decide to go into the private system and then - say, in a year from now - decide to switch to public, your child will need to pass an entry exam that includes German and French language testing
Not at 8 yrs old, he wouldn't! For starters, the local schoolers wouldn't have started German by then.

Testing from private to local only applies for secondary-aged kids, to know which stream to allocate them to. And I'm not sure it applies for non-French speakers coming from international schools anyway; I think they would be treated like any other incoming foreign kid. Even a secondary-aged kid wouldn't be tested for French, fail abysmally and then be dumped in the bottom stream without language support - even older teenagers past the age of compulsory schooling can do a one-year 'welcome class' in Lausanne to enable them to move onto further education or an apprenticeship . Vaud is really quite humane and helpful about these things, as it's such a cosmopolitan area.

Edit: just remembered there are a couple of kids in my son's school who transferred in from international. They were at ISL for some years, but when their father's contract localised and the expat school allowance ended, the family moved them into the local school. They were around 8 and 11 at the time, and treated exactly like the foreign kids that had just arrived in the country: the younger one was placed in the correct grade for his age, whilst the older one was dropped back a grade to give him the best chance to get really fluent prior to streaming for secondary.
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Old 20.06.2011, 22:06
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Re: International school wait lists

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Our big concern is with the picking up and moving and arriving with maybe a week of acclimation time before school starts and then aside from new home, new school, no friends.... then they don't even speak the same language (plus my son had spanish in 1st grade this year and he emphatically declared it his least favorite class... ) might just be too much for him. I know kids rebound fairly quickly but it seems like a lot.
Having moved several times with kids around that age I would be much more concerned at moving with 7-8 weeks of hanging around before school starts - much better to drop them straight into things and then there is no time "without friends" in the new location. By far our easiest move was when we arrived at 1am on the Sunday morning and they started school on the Monday!

Good luck!
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Old 20.06.2011, 23:02
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Re: International school wait lists

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Staggeringly quickly. We did exactly this with my then just turned 8 yr old - arrived halfway through the Easter/spring holiday, so he had exactly one week before school started back. Fortunately a week is an aaaaaaaaage for a child that age, so he seemed frankly relieved to get back into the school routine and meet some new kids.

Does your son like football (soccer)? Mine didn't, which was a shame as it's an instant 'in' around here that requires no language skills. He still found his place, though, in the general running around pretending to be zombies/ pretending to fall off their scooters sort of games. It's impossible from our previous Anglophone background to understand just how normal it is for kids to turn up here unable to speak the language. It's so, so common - the other kids are used to it and somehow find a way to be friendly, and I've yet to meet a teacher who hasn't at least enough English for communication (and they're often fluent).
Thanks, that is very reassuring to hear. He does play football (sort of, he can be a bit passive at times) but start up a game of tag (or zombies) and he'll be right there with the best of them.
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Old 20.06.2011, 23:27
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Re: International school wait lists

at his age he'll be fine! we've been here 2 years and it's been way easier to adjust for my son than we thought. at this point i'd concentrate (hard!) on finding a place to live, as good apartments are hard to find around here. get the little one a scooter and he'll be happy as pie alongside the all the others!
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