International or local school?(16 Posts)
It depends where you are. Here, the local schools are overcrowded and underfunded, I would not put my dc's in one. But dh and I both teach, so our children go where we work.
We went local as there was no international in the area and felt learning the language would be quicker at a local school. However, times have changed and in many European countries there is a real issue with funding so depending on location international might be better. DS did well in local school from 10 - 18, fluent in the language and now at Uni in UK studying European Languages.
Our DD has always gone to the International school that DH is teaching at. When we lived in switzerland, I was investigating local schooling for her. We moved before she would have started.
the only reason for that was the quality of education she was getting. She had been at an outstanding school in Thailand and was at least a year ahead of her peers. More probably.
She was bored and, I decided that she'd be better off improving her German rather than learn to read and write which she could do very well.
My DCs are in a local school (no international option and we probably couldn't afford it anyway!). I speak the local language but certainly not fluently, DH is a bit better but neither of us to a native level. DD1 is 7 and I have to say that even now we are starting to stuggle with her homework in some subjects. We can help her but it takes a long time and she is finding it hard. Overall I think it's worth it but it is hard work.
I think it depends a lot on what country you're in.
I teach in an international school, so get free schooling. I'm kind of regretting that the kids will miss out on the linguistic opportunities out there though. If I were paying and the schools were OK, I'd go with local. By the way, no decent international school would employ mostly non-native English teachers. I'd take that as a sign of cutting HUGE corners.
I think local is your best bet tbh.
HK is a bit odd in that there are a lot of local children in the international schools because many wealthier local parents like the more western approach (more focus on critical thinking etc) and actively seek an English language education. It does slightly concern me that the turnover (20% per year) will be high, but if I put him in a local school, his opportunities for socialising with local kids would be limited anyway, as they just don't really do play dates etc to the same extent so socially, he'd probably end up hanging out with the other expat kids we know.
We did local because we thought we'd decided to stay permanently and didn't want DDs to have short term friendships with other expats who would move on after a few years IYWSIM. Now OH wants to move and settle somewhere else, again a long term move so we'll us local again.
Speaking with friends recently, also expats, they were saying they have a local friend who attended the unofficial American school, it's called International but runs the US curriculum. He now has no friends in his home country, where he grew up, because his friends are all expats who have moved.
So, if moving on frequently I'd say international, or local if you plan to spend more time in one country.
It would depend to me on which country you are in, but yes I'd have very big concerns about an international school teaching English with no mother tongue English teachers.
I would go for a local school. It is an amazing opportunity for your ds to pick up another language. My dcs have always been in the French system for the reasons described by VariousBartimaeus. By the age of six they were fluent in both French and German, having lived in both countries - despite only ever speaking English at home. We are in the UK at the moment, but have kept the kids in the French system (for the reasons outlined) however I don't think either of them would have a problem going into the English system if we ever decided that is what we wanted to do. Don't worry about your ds losing his English - he won't. Especially if you are both English and speak it at home. My dcs coped with three languages with ease, but had friends who spoke four and one even spoke five. Now is the time to learn - and bilingualism seems to help with maths and music too (for some reason I don't understand!). I am curious as to where you live if the staff at the International school are not native English speakers.
I'd go for local then. If you're speaking English to him at home then he'll be fine going back into English-speaking school in the UK.
We' 're in Europe. I speak the local language, but only at a basic level though I am attending classes. DH is fluent and speaks to DS in the local language and all the groups we go to are local. DS seems to have a good understanding and speaks in it a bit, though a lot less than he speaks in English. I do worry about not understanding him in the future though!
The local international school has no native English speaking teachers. I don't know if that's an issue though.
We may move around, but we may not. Definitely plan to return to the UK while DS is still at school.
It would also depend if you're likely to move around a lot in the future?
I know that some expats put their children into French schools (even if they're not French) because French schools teach the same syllabus everywhere in the world, so when they move, the children's education isn't too disrupted.
We're planning on local school, but mainly because we live in DH's native country and are planning on staying here indefinitely. Plus the schools are cloesr to us thatn the international school, and the nearest international school doesn't actually teach a whole lot in English anyway.
Do you speak the local language? It would also worry me putting DS into a local school if I didn't speak the language very well so couldn't communicate with the teachers/understand his work...
My daughter 5 goes to a local school and has just finished her first year, she could hardly speak any Dutch when she started but I am told she now speaks as good as any of he class mates. Why would the teachers not be native speakers a lot of the teachers here in the two International schools are English or come from English speaking backrounds. She was with and English speaking child minder before she started school, her school really helped her with her Dutch she had one to one lessons.
I'm going International School for a few reasons
- The local language is Cantonese, and I'm not sure we'll be in HK long enough for DS to benefit from spending the first two years of his schooling basically just sitting there and not understanding anything (which is apparently how it works)
- I'd like to keep him in the same curriculum all the way through if possible
- The local schools have a different cut off date which would put DS as one of the youngest, whereas in the International school he'll be one of the oldest
I have looked at bilingual private schools (English/mandarin), but they are very structured, and therefore selective at age 4- looking for kids who can cope with that- and I'm pretty sure that DS is not that kid
Just wondered which people had gone for. Would the International school being taught in English by non-native speakers put you off? DS is young for this yet, but needs to go on the waiting lists! I'm thinking of local nursery and then international school, has anyone done that combination? I don't know how children would handle the switch in language. He'd be starting part-time local language nursery at 2 and then school in English at 4.
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