German School Richmond

(17 Posts)
Roastchicken Sat 24-Jan-09 13:56:49

I'd love to find out any feedback on the German School in Richmond. DH is German (I'm not) and is very keen for the children to be fully bilingual. He would like to send them to the Deustche Schule (DSL) so that they learn to read and write in German as well as in English. My German is not good so we speak mostly English at home, though he speaks German to the children. We've been for a tour and the facilities look wonderful. However, I've a few questions.

1. Do any children there move back into the English system for secondary? We may want to just do the primary years, and move back to the British system. If so, how difficult is it to get into a good English school?

2. How much mobility is there in the elementary school? I know that it is higher than in most schools, but the schools wouldn't give a percentage. Do 10%/25% etc leave each year? If so, how do the children cope?

3. Given that the schoolday ends so early what do children of working mums do?

4. Are there many children where only one parent is German who intend to remain permanently in the UK, rather than go back to Germany?

5. How high are academic standards?

Any feedback welcome. Thanks

annasmami Sat 24-Jan-09 17:26:06

We are in the same position as you, Roastchicken, in that we are raising our 2 children (4 and 6) bilingually in German and English, living in UK.

Like you, we considered the German school, either for a few years or longer and, like you, we liked the location and facilities etc. I also know several families who have children there.

However, we decided against sending our children there for the following reasons:

1) A lot of pupils at the German school are only there for 1-2 years as the families are relocated back to Germany (otherwise most German families would probably send their children to a UK school), so friendships get broken up often.

2) The transfer from the German to the UK system is NOT that easy. The UK primary/preparatory schools prepare children for secondary school exams etc, what the German school can't do.

3) We wanted our children to feel at home here in the UK and have 'local' friends and roots here (I speak of my own experience, having been to an International school).

And 4) we hope to be able to raise our children bilingually without sending them to a full time German school. Ours go to the German Saturday School, watch lots of German tv/dvds and we spend lots of holidays in German speaking countries. I am encouraged by my 6 year old's fluency in both German and English, so hopefully our approach will continue to be successful.

Roastchicken Sat 24-Jan-09 19:42:10

Thanks Anna. I guess that is what we had feared. The school were very reluctant to be drawn on what the turnover of children was.

Can I ask at what age did your children speak both languages equally? Our eldest is 3, and her English is much better than her German. She understands it well, and can recite lots of german nursery rhymes but when DH talks to her in German, she usually answers in English. He's concerned that if we continue like this, the children will not be bilingual.

We did do a trip to the Samstagschule but DH is afraid that having to go to school on Saturday may put them off German for life!

AussieLou Mon 26-Jan-09 10:35:23

I am a nanny for some children who attend the German School. Everything annasmami said I agree with. The most difficult thing I found was the staggered finishing times. Can really stuff up your day if they finish at different times and they have no AG's. I have found that they do not cater really to non german speaking parents. A lot of the families are bilingual but notices come only in German so it can be difficult for the non german parent. LOTS of homework compared with English schools. Lots more pressure too I think. Not as much sport as English schools though. High turnover of kids. I know that at least 3 have left year 1 since september. They are trying to introduce the IB which will be a bonus for th older kids wanting to stay in the UK for uni. Year 1 is very different to year 1 in the UK. No playing, arty stuff. Lots of school work which has it good and bad points. The kids I look after are all bilingual and speak more English at home then German (becuase I speak only high school level German) but they enjoy it.They would rather stay here then go back to Germany for school.

annasmami Mon 26-Jan-09 13:11:11

Roast, my dd started speaking both German and English clearly since she was about 3-4 years, while my ds is now 4 and is still mixing both languages a little. He also often answers back in English when asked in German. That seems to be a common phenomenon amongs bilingual children - they learn to understand the language (passively), then start to talk (actively).

I think the most important thing is to be consistent (e.g. one person one language) and supplement this with dvds, books, holidays in the minority language. You could also get a satellite dish to receive German tv stations - Kika is very popular with us!

Going to German Saturday School has so far not put my two off German - in fact they really enjoy going. The younger classes sing, play games, eat snacks and play outside a lot, while my 6 year old does learn to read and write but has never had any homework.

I think that as long as you give your children enough German exposure, they will grow up bilingually while at a UK school. And you could always send them to Germany later on as part of an exchange programme or part of their secondary schooling.

TynaM Wed 17-Feb-10 21:29:49

Hi, I'm a 24 year-old female student. I was born in Poland but grew up in Germany since I was 3 and came to England 3 years ago. Therefore my strongest language is German. I used to work as a nanny for a bilingual family with the same "problems". Even though their children do speak German at home it has rather turned into "Denglish"... They for instance are not sure whether or not they are going to move back to a German speaking country at some point in the future. Their concern was, that either way their two children (both primary school)would not know how to read and write in German.
Because I have a little yet unqualified background in teaching and am good with children they approached me to organize a German after-school club.
It's been going for over a year now and I teach two separate groups of kids.I can certainly see big improvements! They can all read and write in German now (with the odd spelling mistake) and first of all have a positive approach to it!
They have even improved so much that they easily read whole chapter books in their free time.
As I grew up bilingual myself (German and Polish) I know exactly how the interest in keeping up with your native language decreases very quickly once you enter primary school. I wish I had not lost interest in Polish when I was younger as my Polish language skills have suffered quite a bit from it.

A second language is an enormous benefit in life and it is a shame when the born-with opportunity is wasted.

In my classes, they meet other children with similar backgrounds and friendships have developed between the children and their parents.
My priority is learning spelling, reading and grammar in a FUN ENVIRONMENT with little homework for revision.

If you don't want your child to go to the German school but also want it to learn basics in German without the typical school-feeling I would recommend this as an alternative.
It's just an idea, but I would like to hold lessons in the Kingston area(as the other one is in North-West London and I live in Kingston now...) or offer private one-to-ones. I can get plenty of references!!! If you are interested, for group sessions I charge 10 Pounds per child. Private tutoring depends on age of child and duration of the lesson.
I enjoy teaching children and believe to have a thing for getting the language across in an effective but playful way.
Simply reply to this message on this forum.

Thanks!
Tyna

Romanarama Thu 18-Feb-10 11:23:25

Have you thought of getting a German au pair OP? Could be a solution, and people on this site speak very highly of German au pairs too.

mangocrumble Wed 05-May-10 10:09:07

Hi Tyna, my daughter is 5, speaks German well and I'm interested in your lessons, which sound great. To keep her motivated and having fun with German we need more 'outside input'. Do you ever give lessons during school holidays?

kimba6 Tue 18-May-10 23:00:04

Hi, We are moving to London in August and we visited the DSL which looks nice but I have been trying to find out what people think about the school and there is no information.

Are children happy studying there? Are parents happy with the teachers? Is there this German attitude to let children solve their problems alone or is there guidance from teachers?
Do you know someone who stayed in the school for a couple of years and then moved to another English or International schools? What do they think about the DSL?

I would appreciate any information as I need to decide between this one and another English speaking one.

Many thanks,
Kimba

letssee Thu 01-Jul-10 00:23:25

annasmami,
what's the German Saturday School like? Do bilingual kids really only speak German there? What if they switch to English? How big are the classes? Is it a mix of school & play atmosphere? Thank you for sharing your ideas

Lati1001 Sat 16-Jul-11 00:13:30

hello. i wanted to know if you still give lessons. please email me letham ad gmx.de or send me a message. we are very interested in.

apfelstrudel2000 Sun 26-Jan-14 11:19:40

just read your message. I would be interested in classes as well. could you reply if you are still offering lessons.

apfelstrudel2000 Sun 26-Jan-14 11:20:16

just read your message. could you contact me if you are still offering the classes.

freddiemum Tue 08-Apr-14 21:11:23

Tyna! I just read your message. Would be very interested in lessons for my 3-yr-old; do please bring me up to date on places & availability!

Kind regards,

Sophie

mgadringer Tue 10-Jun-14 10:02:04

Hi Tyna,
could you please also let me know about the lessons you are planning in Kingston.
Many thanks,
Martina

ephpa95 Mon 16-Jun-14 15:57:25

A friend sent his children to the German school in Richmond. It is a good school with a really involved community. Also, the fees for their private education are considerably lower that what you will pay for an equivalent British private school. As in any school you really have to go to the school and speak to them. You'd do the same for an English school, because, honestly, the websites and brochures don't tell you much either. Btw, a German/English school (primary) has opened up in SE London:
Judith Kerr Primary School, 62-68 Half Moon Lane,Herne Hill,
London SE24 9JE

MultipleMama Mon 23-Jun-14 21:00:45

We are sending ours to an International school simply because it incoperates both languages from an earlier age (my 3yo starts in Aug), and I feel they'll benefit more and learn to use more than 1 lanuage effectively. DH is German so wants them to be proud of their heritage but not lose their English volcabulary either.

We did think of sending them to a German school but they start later and have less resources than an IS has.

Good luck in whichever you choose.

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