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Brussels schools - 6 month secondment

(35 Posts)
gingerbreadjuan Tue 16-Apr-13 20:27:09

Hi all, there is a possibility of me taking up a 5/6 month secondment to Brussels. We have 1 DD who is 7 years old and on DS who is 3.
The job would be based in the EU district but there would be no financial support for international schools. I would want the family to go over and therefore the main issue would be schooling for the 7 year old DD.

My DD is bi-lingual (spanish/english) and so my thinking is a french speaking school would be the best option. Has anyone had experience of a family move to Brussels for such a short period and any adaptability issues for school age kids.

I see the secondment as an interesting work related opportunity as well as an opportunity for the family to experience life abroad but want to make sure any adaptability issues are minimized.
Thanks for any help.

gingerbreadjuan Mon 03-Jun-13 20:55:25

Thanks for all your responses. As a lot of you have said we are finding it difficult time to get a place in a Brussels school. I am heading over to Brussels before term ends and will be visiting a few schools. Has anyone any views on the following schools which are close to flats we have seen:

Ecole La Retraite du Sacré-Coeur
ecole bois de la cambre
Ecole prince baudouin

Thanks in advance

marchmad Mon 03-Jun-13 21:13:30

I'd go with number 1. I know 3 sets of English speaking families with children starting there in September. Not as "posh" as Emile Jacqmain, but multi-national and no dominant ethnicity.
I know nothing about no 2 and no 3 is usually last choice in that area.

gingerbreadjuan Tue 03-Sep-13 08:00:33

Well, first day at school over for the 2 kids in Brussels. Everything went great. The oldest daughter in Primaire 2 will be getting taken aside with some of the other non-native French speakers to improve her French. She came home and thought the school, the class and the teachers were great. The youngest in maternelle 1 also had fun. Basically told mum and dad to leave him in peace as he had found a train set and some friends to play with. His comment afterwards was that school was fun although lots of kids were crying cause they missed their mummies. Hopefully more of the same. Thanks for are the comments over the last while.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Tue 03-Sep-13 08:10:04

Schools are such a nightmare everywhere! Glad to hear a positive story.
Hope its all smooth sailing now.

Longtime Sat 07-Sep-13 14:41:04

Glad you got it all sorted out gingerbreadjuan. Where did your dcs end up at school in the end? Would be interesting to add your school experiences to our ever growing list.

gingerbreadjuan Mon 09-Sep-13 07:59:53

Hi Longtime, they ended up going to Retraite du Sacré Coeur. It's a short trip from Evere where we stay, 21 takes us there pretty quick and it is also the bus I get to work so we can all head off in the morning. I guess the teachers and other kids are always the main thing for making transition easy. The oldest one really likes her teachers and they have sat her next to one of the girls who speaks English so she can help out in class. I guess having a buddy at school is the main thing so they don't feel out of place at lunch etc. First week has gone well so hopefully more of the same. I will need to see if there is anywhere for additional French lessons maybe on a Saturday morning or something like that just to give her a helping hand. The youngest is also fine, he has a Spanish speaking friend so again has a pal until he can pick up the language. As he is only 3 we were not too worried about him.

Longtime Mon 09-Sep-13 19:36:22

Hope it all works out well.

gingerbreadjuan Thu 19-Dec-13 20:19:05

My six month secondment has come to an end and my daughter today had her going away party with her class. She came out the class with the biggest grin, a t-shirt with messages written on it from all her new friends and lots of photos of the party they had for her. She does not want to go back to Edinburgh and would love to stay here in Brussels. From the kids to the teachers we have been delighted about her school experience in Brussels.

I felt I should leave this positive post for others as I found the responses from some of the resident expert mums in this thread presented an overly negative view of a short term school placement in Brussels. A move abroad for any parent can be a worrying experience and you are naturally going to pay greatest attention to those who are based in that country. Having been here and seen my oldest have a fantastic time I can only give a big thumbs up to Brussels and the school that looked after the kids. I saw foreign travel for the kids as a good thing. They have been here, done it, we would do it again. smile

Longtime Sun 22-Dec-13 21:23:56

Really glad it all went well gingerbreadjuan. We were just concerned for your dd you know - maybe we are just all too long in the tooth?!

runningmad Mon 23-Dec-13 12:18:04

I think a few things make local schooling here in Belgium work :

parents who embrace or at least tolerate the differences between what they are used to and what is on offer here, rather than fighting them from the start

parents who are not scared to find any means of communication as beneficial instead of fearing lack of language skills as a barrier

parents who see the advantages to local schooling, in terms of language, integration, socialisation

children who are used to being put into new situations and are supported by relaxed parents

finding the right school for the parents and children, it looks like gingerbreajuan found the right school for his children. This can be the most difficult one to crack. And for one family might be right, the next family, it could be the worst choice.

I'm glad you enjoyed the experience.

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