Talk to me about moving to Berlin!

(14 Posts)
emski1972 Tue 19-Jul-16 17:08:39

So I have a 4yo about to start school in sept and a 5.5 yo about to start year 1. I've just been offered a brilliant promotion and been asked to move to Berlin. I'm thinking Charles Dickens school.
So tell me about the good times and the bad times. I need to make a descision. Oh and also splitting up with their Dad but thinking he should come along too...just to throw a little something else in the mixgrin

LillianGish Wed 20-Jul-16 09:42:08

I know nothing about English schools as mine were in the French system, but I can tell you that the four years we spent in Berlin when our children were the same age as yours were the best! Berlin has everything - easily accessible public transport, but is also easy to drive around (even for a nervous driver like me), cheap housing, vast lakes and forests, warm summers and snowy winters, it is the best place in the world to spend Christmas and our neighbours in in Berlin were the loveliest and warmest we have ever had. I loved it - can you tell?

emski1972 Wed 20-Jul-16 12:49:38

thanks LillianGish. Which area did you live? I'm pretty much decided on going we just need to organise schools and somewhere to live and when! ;-)

hattyyellow123 Wed 20-Jul-16 13:37:03

Emski your post is music to my ears!

I had just logged on after a long break from mums net to ask a similar question.

Need to decide whether to take a job in Berlin and schools are my main concern - everything else can fall into place. We have slightly older children though - 7 year old and 10 (about to turn 11). I think they would go down a year with the German system - do you think? Year 2 and Year 6 here but they start later there I think..anyone who can put me right please do advise!

We were looking at Platanus Schule in Pankow, as the bi-lingual schools are all saying that the kids would need German to join - apart from this school. Any thoughts on this school good or bad much appreciated.

Charles Dickens I had heard was very hard to get a place with long waiting list? Might be wrong. Are you also looking at Nelson Mandela? I rang and got differing opinions as to whether they had places. I think they are opening a new site, which I would hope would increase places?

With 10 year old, would be worried about putting them into state system. It's a 2 year contract originally - is yours a longer term plan? So worried about messing up their grades but can't afford the biggest international schools or the British School.

Did you also get any advice on tax? i understand that it's higher than Uk but you can claim more things against it..trying to figure out what the take home pay would be..if you have any words of wisdom would be most grateful.

When would you be going? As obviously frustrating that schools are now shut until early Sept..

Bit overexcited to have found someone in the same situation. Family and friends reaction has been mixed, from very positive to thinking we are mad...

emski1972 Wed 20-Jul-16 15:33:09

Hattyyellow how exciting! Well... tax at the moment no idea I haven't got that far as I need to make the decision on the relocation package first.

I'm not entirely sure about the school year difference yet but my colleagues who have children in Bi- Lingual schools seem to not be worried and the idea of having two languages as your first language then learning others quite easily seems a bonus.

I think it will be a minimum of 2 years possibly three depending on the offer. I don't need to make a decision quite yet as it really hinges on the school places I think.

I started with researching Charles Dickens as my colleagues mentioned it and I like the idea of the forest but I need to do a bit more research - they wanted me to look at the school next week! Not sure if thats possible as they finish today I thought.

Not sure when we will be off I think that will depend on the admissions but I'm sold on the idea. It will be an adventure and haven't had anyone say otherwise yet. ;-)

Keep in touch!

hattyyellow123 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:30:50

I love your positivity, it sounds as if this will work out brilliantly for you! Do let me know if you find out any more re Charles Dickens school x

welshpixie Thu 21-Jul-16 15:33:14

Hi, I lived in Berlin and my DD went to an English language school there, she started at 13 and picked up the German quickly. Unfortunately the Berlin Senate has changed the rules about these schools and they must now teach 50% in German. Have a look at Berlin Metropolitan School they have a sliding scale for paying fees as does Berlin Cosmopolitan I think, dependent on your income.
I don't want to say too much on an open forum, but if you want to PM I have a fair grasp on the education scene in Berlin for internationals.
It is wonderful city, travel is cheap, loads to do the city in spring is fabulous so many trees and the wether is a damn site better than here.

LillianGish Fri 22-Jul-16 19:00:39

We lived in Wittenau, part of the old French sector, to be near the French school at the time (now moved to the centre of town). Not far from Tegel with its gorgeous lake ( and my favourite airport). Everywhere is very accessible wherever you live thanks to great transport and easy driving. We had a big house and garden with the forest at the end of our road. I don't know anything about the English schools.

emski1972 Mon 25-Jul-16 08:51:46

Thanks everyone. I might be back here next year. As I'm in the process of splitting up with their Dad I decided its probably not the best timing. In a moment of madness and excitement I suggested that he join us but that frankly is a terrible idea. So I'm going to ask my employer to let me defer for a year..ho humm...to break up with their Dad and then leave the country seems a bit harsh...

hattyyellow123 Mon 25-Jul-16 09:12:56

Sorry to hear that Emski, hope you manage to get everything sorted out and to make it over next year x

lalath Wed 10-Aug-16 10:36:19

Does anyone have any information on the local state elementary schools in Berlin? If we were to move over the summer, would be still be able to register a six-year-old? Is language support given? Are school places guaranteed?

Also, are the schools any good, in the state system in Berlin? A happy place for children?

Sorry for the bombarding of questions -- just initial thoughts running through my mind as we make up mind whether or not to move to Berlin next Spring/Summer!

emski1972 Tue 16-Aug-16 23:49:32

Well my employers will be doing all the research for me as they would really like me over there for next year. Will let you know what I find out. But my colleagues are very positive about the school system and the opportunities for bi lingual teaching and also are very pleased with the German secondary schools.

emski1972 Tue 16-Aug-16 23:50:25

hattyyellow123 Keep in touch would be good to know there is someone doing the same thing!

Archfarchnad Fri 19-Aug-16 10:28:10

"Also, are the schools any good, in the state system in Berlin? A happy place for children?"

Fraid not, state schools are not particularly good, and they are not happy places for children. Having just had one DC go through the entire thing from start to finish, and come out with a good Abitur, we've moved DC2 into the private system.

"my colleagues are very positive about the school system and the opportunities for bi lingual teaching and also are very pleased with the German secondary schools." Blimey! Just shows how opinions can vary. The theory underpinning German schools is not to help each individual child achieve their full potential, it's all about sorting kids into boxes. If they 'fail' at any hurdle, that's seen as their own fault, they just fall through the cracks at that point. The Gymnasien, the 'academic elite' are also so underfunded that plaster is falling off the walls and there isn't enough money for tables and chairs (yes, DC1 has sat on the floor in lessons). None of this is the teachers' faults - it's a bonkers system.

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