Moving to Geneva with husband and 3 kids! Any advice very much appreciated

(6 Posts)
Twingirlsrock Mon 10-Mar-14 16:19:51

Hello

We are relocating from South London to Geneva at the end of June. Eeek!

We have gone through lots and lots of research but I have hit a couple of conundrums that I know wiser heads might be able to advise on!

I have an older daughter - 15years - and we are looking to transfer her from GCSE into the IB system. Has anyone else done this and did it work out?

I also have 2 year old twin girls who will be 3 in November. Im looking for Kindergartens/pre-schools as opposed to a creche and I wondered if there is a Swiss version of Ofsted? Im just not sure how on earth to go about "checking" on them? I will visit of course but is there a CRB check for example? How would I know?

Apart from these 2 questions (to be honest I have a thousand more) I would be so so grateful for any advice and other things that you may think I should know/consider.

I am excited about it but also quite nervous if Im honest. I have such a comfort blanket here in terms of knowing how everything works (have always lived in London) and I just want things to be really lovely for my girls. Its me who has got the job and my husband will be giving up work to look after things at home for a period of time until we get settled and can look for some nanny type help.......any ideas on that would also be very welcome.

Thank you SO MUCH.

PS - none of us speak French

LIZS Mon 10-Mar-14 17:12:40

iirc there is no Ofsted or CRB equivalent and you only need fairly basic qualifications to set up a private daycare/kindergarten. I don't think Kindergarten itself starts until 4 or 5, although the cut off dates vary by canton. The Commune (like local council) should have any information on what is available locally. Also school may finish in June /early July so look out for summer schools and activities for your dd to make friends as a lot of expats decamp home for the holiday.

Twingirlsrock Mon 10-Mar-14 19:13:07

Thanks. Seems odd there's no regulation of pre-school.

That's a good tip on summer clubs etc.... Thanks.

So you just make a judgement based on your own impression of the facility?

I moved from Dulwich to Lausanne nearly 5 years ago and stayed for 3 years (am now in Paris). The region is beautiful and is a lovely place to grow up. DCs will probably pick up the language quickly and Migros Ecole offer evening classes for adults that are cheap (for switz!)
Most families I know in Geneva have opted for full time nannies rather than daycare because they are easier to check up on, get references etc. The price difference is negligible too and DCs have 1on1 care.

Friends have recently taken their 15 year old out of the Swiss system and sent her to boarding school in the UK to sit GCSEs instead. Structurally schooling is vv different but it really depends on the individual and the school as to how difficult it will be for her to adjust. Have you considered a bilingual school?
Good luck with the move!

smellsofsick Fri 04-Apr-14 13:43:18

With the kindergarten in Geneva, you can go on the central waiting list (called the BIPE) for a gov approved school place or you can opt to go private. With the private option you are basically choosing the facility based on your impressions and recommendation. The benefit is that, although a bit more expensive, it's often quicker to get a spot.

If you let me know which area you'll be heading to, I can ask around for a recommendation if you like. We're in Plainpalais and our three year old is in a private place three mornings a week.

kitkatsfordinner Fri 04-Apr-14 15:06:15

Hey, not done this as a parent but i actually transferred to the IB curriculum when i was 15 myself. I transferred from local Belgian education system to an international school in order to do the IB because i wanted to go to uni in the UK and thought it would be more easily transferrable.
I loved it. I think initially i was at a bit of a higher level academically but that gave me a bit of a boost as got a confidence kick from doing well, instead of always struggling. So i had one year before actual IB started. It was great for me because i was quite good around a variety of subjects instead of being amazing in one area. So it's less specialised than a-levels as you do 6 subjects instead of 3. Yoo have to do English, maths, a second language, a science and then a couple of choices. The international school itself i absolutely loved. Tiny classes, good facilities, open minded kid, lots of different languages. It was really fun.
In terms of getting into further education it's widely accepted, the secondary in the UK near us do it. I'd have no hesitation to put my kids through it.

Hope this helps!

Oh also with regards to comparing it to a-level. My mother is a maths teacher used to teach a-level in the UK many moons ago, and now teaches IB and reckons they are pretty much on parr (i.e. A-level math same as IB maths higher)

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