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Old 11.05.2012, 23:11
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Public International Schools

I have the opportunity to transfer within my company to Switzerland. We have two girls, 9 and 12, who only speak English. As we cannot afford private education for two children we are wondering if there are any public English speaking schools in or near any of the major centers. As transport links to the city we would be moving to are very good we are flexible in terms of location as the children's education does have priority.

Is there anyone who can give us advice?
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Old 12.05.2012, 00:42
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Re: Public International Schools

Please read my posts on local schooling. It's been very mixed for us. Excellent on one hand for my son and bit difficult but hopefully worth it for my daughter. Hard one to crack I'm afraid. Best of luck.
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Old 12.05.2012, 08:40
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Re: Public International Schools

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I have the opportunity to transfer within my company to Switzerland. We have two girls, 9 and 12, who only speak English. As we cannot afford private education for two children we are wondering if there are any public English speaking schools in or near any of the major centers. As transport links to the city we would be moving to are very good we are flexible in terms of location as the children's education does have priority.

Is there anyone who can give us advice?
Welcome to the forum, as far as i am aware Public English schools don't exist in Switzerland, so local schools are your only option. Where will you be based, that will help us to help you.
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Old 12.05.2012, 09:26
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Re: Public International Schools

Is there a way to try to get your company to pay for at least a part of an International School? I am a teacher at an International School and I know a lot of families that have been able to negotiate at least part of the education to be paid.
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Old 12.05.2012, 09:36
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Re: Public International Schools

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We have two girls, 9 and 12, who only speak English. As we cannot afford private education
I see two possibilities:
- you make education fees a requirement to accept the move in the first place (if you can);
- you send your children to public school, they learn German in one or two years to an academic level of their age, you and they accept the cultural fact that they will have to take French seriously for their academic career and that repeating a year has no negative impact in anyway if it is explained positively to the student and the goal of it is explicit. If their academic level permits it, choose a Gymnasium (kind of high school) with a bilingual curriculum (there are a few ones with German-English international baccalaureate and a few more with bilingual German-English Swiss Matura/maturité).
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Old 12.05.2012, 13:52
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Re: Public International Schools

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Welcome to the forum, as far as i am aware Public English schools don't exist in Switzerland, so local schools are your only option. Where will you be based, that will help us to help you.
My company is based in Neuchatel, but as I said we are open as to where we would be moving to. I am a native German Speaker but the rest of my family only speaks English, I will have to refresh my French for work anyway so it doesn't really matter whether we move to the Swiss / German or Swiss / French part of the country.
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Old 12.05.2012, 16:53
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Re: Public International Schools

Hi lissydoll and welcome (soon) to Neuchatel. There are no public international schools in Switzerland, nor indeed in Neuchatel. There is a private English school, St Georges, or the normal state schools. I'd say your 9 year old will be fine in normal schools, and will be able to pick up enough French before the sort of equivalent of the 11+- but as Faltrad says, she will need expert support to get her grammar up to scratch, as well as speaking, to get into the academic stream.

The problem will be for your 12 year old, as it is just about the most difficult age to move. Could you arrange for her to have fairly intensive French lessons asap to help her transition. Again as Faltrad says, if you can't get financial support to send her to St Georges, it would be best if she goes back a year - which she just won't notice with the move, to give her more time.

There are lots of explanations re differences between the 2 systems here on EF - well worth the read. Pm me if you want to discuss any particular aspect. There is another EF member near Neuch with a boy who is well integrated in the local school system - and she may well agree to discuss this with you. If you'd like me too, I'll ask her to get in touch.

If it can be of any help, I am a native FRench speaker from Neuch, with a UK Degree and 30+ years experience if French/German/English teaching.
(NOT looking for work, but happy to help when I can- including intensive courses, with or without food and accommodation).

Faltrad, Neuchatel is definitely FRENCH speaking, not German. Although German will have to be learnt as a second language.

Last edited by Odile; 12.05.2012 at 18:52.
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Old 12.05.2012, 18:24
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Re: Public International Schools

Quote:
Hi lissydoll and welcome (soon) to Neuchatel. There are no public international schools in Switzerland, nor indeed in Neuchatel. There is a private English school, St Georges, or the normal state schools. I'd say your 9 year old will be fine in normal schools, and will be able to pick up enough French before the sort of equivalent of the 11+- but as Faltrad says, she will need expert support to get her grammar up to scratch, as well as speaking, to get into the academic stream.

The problem will be for your 12 year old, as it is just about the most difficult age to move. Could you arrange for her to have fairly intensive French lessons asap to help her transition. Again as Faltrad says, if you can't get financial support to send her to St Georges, it would be best if she goes back a year - which she just won't notice with the move, to give her more time.

There are lots of explanations re differences between the 2 systems here on EF - well worth the read. Pm me if you want to discuss any particular aspect. There is another EF member near Neuch with a boy who is well integrated in the local school system - and she may well agree to discuss this with you. If you'd like me too, I'll ask her to get in touch.

If it can be of any help, I am a native FRench speaker from Neuch, with a UK Degree and 30+ years experience if French/German/English teaching.
(NOT looking for work, but happy to help when I can- including intensive courses, with or without food and accommodation).


Hi Odile, thank you for this helpful post. We are going to start with intensive French lessons so the girls will be able to communicate before we even get there. They have the entire summer holidays to do this. We will then continue private tuition once we are there.
I do agree with your suggestion for the 12 year old to go back a year to help with the transition. It would also be good to have the girls in the same school for a period of time to help them adjust to everything.
What is the situation with actually enrolling the girls? Is there a deadline for this or do they accept new students on relatively short notice?
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Old 12.05.2012, 18:29
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Re: Public International Schools

I have no idea about the actual process of enrolling. We've only recently been back (I was born and bred here, OH from UK and now retired) and our kids grew up in the UK. It depends too where you are going to live, in Neuchatel itself, or in one of the many villages in the area. Again, one of our members here has recently been through the whole process- so if you would like me to ask her to contact you, pm me.


Mailing Address:
St George's School in Switzerland, Neuchâtel Campus
rue Sainte Hélène 50
CH-2009 Neuchâtel

Tel: +41 32 724 19 40
Fax: +41 32 724 19 41
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