Moving to France - taking child out of school in the UK, but too young for school in France

(7 Posts)
RainyAfternoon Mon 17-Mar-14 13:57:12

I'm just beginning my research so please excuse me if I've missed something obvious! DH is relocating to Paris for work. He's a LH airline pilot which means commuting from the UK is an option, however it adds on a few extra days a month to his time away so we are looking at moving to France as a family, after he is settled in his new job.

We have two children in school in the UK - DD who'll be 7 in August (currently Yr2), DS 5 in August (currently Reception) and expecting DC3 at the end of July.

I'm just looking into practicalities of moving and schools for the children. Not quite sure what to do as moving over the summer hols is a bit early for DH to be settled in his new job (need to make sure he passes initial period before pulling children from the UK school as we would never be able to get them back into their current school), also I don't really fancy moving over summer having just given birth. Unfortunately DH would not be able to take annual leave for 6 months after joining the company so would not be able to help much.

However, if we do move I would like to do it sooner rather than later for DD as she is already very settled in school and happy with her friendship group. I think it will be harder for her the older she is.

We might try to move during the school year - maybe at the end of this calendar year.

If this is possible, I am wondering how this would affect DS. I think the schools here push them really hard very young - we would be moving when he was in Year 1 and spending full days at school working quite hard. I know he would be too young for school in France as he won't be 6 until August 2015. I would rather his school days here were not quite so full on, but I'm wondering about how taking him out of a school system completely would affect him. Are there alternatives, similar to our preschools in France? Has anyone moved with a child who has already been in school in the UK but not old enough for school in France.

I would really welcome any advice. Sorry if this post is a bit uninformed, but I keep getting lost on the internet, so thought I'd start here!

LIZS Mon 17-Mar-14 15:29:59

Not sure he would be too young for French school . Friends took their 3 over for a year or so - aged about 3,6 and 9 - and they all went to school .

NomDeClavier Mon 17-Mar-14 16:00:06

He would be in school, in maternalle, probably Grande Section. Petite Section starts at 3 and is the first of 3 years non compliant schooling that pretty much everyone does.

Frenchfancy6 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:46:14

My two are same age as yours - DD would be in Reception this year in UK but she started in Moyenne Section (the middle year) of Maternelle in September. She'd been in a Pre-school year in the UK before moving, at same school as DS. We made the conscious decision to put them in a private French school as it had the Maternelle as well as the "primary" school all together (small school with 3 classes up to age 11, all kids play together in same playground). It was very important to us that they are in the same school as that was what they were used to in the UK. Might be worth you considering too as our DD feels that she is at "school" still and is still with her brother too. Learning wise, yes it's not as full on with reading/writing straight away but they do teach them sounds and maths etc. ready for CP which is first year of "official" schooling. So it's not just a nursery as such, it's very similar to the UK Reception year.

By the way, French private school fees will pleasantly surprise you - the fees are less than the lunches! My two are settling well and I'm glad we did it sooner rather than later to help them pick up the language easily. I would also recommend starting them at the beginning of the school year if you can smile

RainyAfternoon Wed 19-Mar-14 11:31:53

That's great, thanks very much for the replies. I'll look into private schools to see what's there.

I'm not sure we'll manage to start at the beginning of the school year as our 3rd baby is due end of July and my husband won't be able to take leave for the first 6 months of his new contract. Might just break me!

I'll keep investigating!

america Thu 27-Mar-14 20:27:30

I moved to Paris with DC 4 and 6YO in January. What do you want to know? I opted for state maternelle/primaire in a small structure and find that slotting in for the 4YO was relatively easy and after only 3 months he plays with the other children half in English and half in French. My older one is struggling at school because the approach and methods are just so different. Language barrier is much higher for him and there is virtually no extra help available for except 1h per week French for foreigners class. I feel terrible for putting him through this but hope that by summer he will start to feel more positive about the school and language. It is tough ATM though. I would recommend starting in the beginning of the year. DC started on 2nd week after the Christmas break and that was not ideal.

america Thu 27-Mar-14 20:29:14

Oh, and you have to look at the private schools pronto or you will miss the boat for next year. State schools require proof of address to enroll the children but that was very straight forward.

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