Another one coming to Brussels(19 Posts)
I posted on here a couple of years ago when I thought my husband was being seconded to Brussels but it didn't work out. Now we are all going for a year as I am being seconded. We are UK civil servants, Northern Ireland ones. My chidren have just finished years 1&3 in primary school: the third one is 3. Do we choose schools first or location? I have heard good things about an area called Woule St Pierre? but am flying blind to be honest and our max rent budget is EURO 2,200 per month. Is there any way to check quality of schooling? Eg are EU Institution schools better then the British School? Will we be able to get in for September? The 3 year old will presumably be best in a maternelle as workwill only fund limited hours although we may not need the childcare. Sorry with all the questions. There seems to be a lot of mention of the BCT but my youngest is 3 so assume I am out of that loop. I'm delighted to have the chance to come to Brussels but an also a bit scared. My husband will take a career break. All advice most gratefully received
Are you being seconded to the EU? If so, your children will probably qualify for places at one of the European Schools. Opinions on the schools vary. Some are very large and they can come across as disorganised. But your children are likely to learn fluent, idiomatic, French in the 12 months you are there and they should have no difficulties slotting back into the NI system. British School is very highly thought of...but very expensive. Will your employer pay? Unsurprisingly, much more British than the European Schools with a more accessible extra curricular offer. But your children will not acquire French to anything like the extent they would at the European schools.
You can get a house for that money in WSP - which would be my choice of where to live. EU schools vs BSB I don't know as we are in the local system. I will PM you my email address as we have an active MN FB group so you will get access to more people.
Sort schools before housing definitely. Belgian schools have now broken up for the summer - but I know that Ecole Communale de Stockel must be still working as they are sending me info before 15th July. BCT is still worth joining for the magazine, access to events etc, even if you don't get to go the groups. I have never been to the groups (working) but met lots of people through volunteering for the events.
Thanks. I am staying as a UK civil servant but am told I am "category 1". Think that means I may get an EU schools place but work will pay for British School as I have heard it done before. However I haven't a clue about what is available. It already seems like too much choice! We will have to choose schools on paper then, if they are closed. It us all a bit of a rush but I would love them to start the academic year in September in the new school
Depending on your exact status, you should be able to get advice and help on getting a school place from UKReP/NI office in Brussels or the EU. If you are Cat 1 you will definitely be allocated places in the EU schools - and probably before September - though your choice of campus may be limited irrespective of where you find a house. There is an elaborate bussing system for children aged 4 and above which some find daunting. BSB will tell you if they have places available if you phone them. ISB in Watermael Boitsfort is another great choice. If you want something smaller, take a look at BJAB -more akin to a UK primary/prep than any other Brussels school.
ISB is no longer approved apparently, BJAB and BISB are under FCO conditions which other UKgov depts tend to follow.
If you're working in EU area, you might want to think about BJAB and BISB, simply due to proximity to work, BSB is quite far from EU area, though excellent.
You have an extremely generous rental ceiling, it would be around 1900 if you were FCO which is also very generous. Most locals could only dream of that budget.
Your children will not really learn much French at BJAB or BISB though, at EEBs, they may well be in a class of Slovaks for example, comes with its own challenges. I think if only here for a year and looking for English schooling, I'd stick with BJAB or BISB.
For French, you really need to go local. Most schools will have secretaries and heads there still till Friday 4th July.
Thank you for all your help. I am surprised and glad that the rent allowance us good - I am now hoping it wasn't a typo in the document
Is it a matter of trailing around the maternelles to find a vacancy? I am going to email some primary schools for the others.
yes but emails are far less effective than phoning and remember schools are closed so the head might still be in a few hours this week and maybe next week, then expect no-one to answer again till mid August.
That's a good point. I will try to ring. Thanks for all your help.
I'm also moving to Brussels in about a month's time. We're renting in Woluwé Saint Pierre and are coming with our (now) 8 month old son due to my husband's job. Any ideas for nursery in the area? I'm looking for one day a week potentially...
Do you mean creche under 3s?
You have CAP Famille creche under WSP maison communale, can do whole days
or Colline aux Coralines, Joli-Bois area of WSP, mornings only.
1 day a week is not going to be too good, unless it's for work purposes, if it's just for socialization, 2 half days would be better.
You don't get public or private creches doing 1 day a week here I'm afraid, not unless you pay 5 days.
Thanks for the info - I'll look into 2 half days then instead. Does that mean generally women go back to work full time or not at all in Belgium? And yes, would be looking for crèche under 3s... Haven't decided what I'm going to do work-wise yet but thought it would be good for ds to continue some form of nursery and let me clean the house/have some form of social life... ???
I'm an ex-European schooler and, in the OP's position, would take up a place for my children in a European school for a few years without hesitating. You will come into contact with a reasonably settled expat population.
bonsoir I didn't know you were an ex-European schooler like me
op good luck with everything. My mum took us over to Brussels 'for a year' when I was 5 - my dad took a career break like your other half - and then proceeded to work there for the next 30 years! Only thing I would say about the European schools is that they are vast (not necessarily a bad thing, we knew no different, but SO different from the cosily small and nurturing school my own kids are at here in the UK) and very academically-oriented (far less emphasis on music, drama, sport etc than some schools) - if I was really just going for a year I might be tempted by one of the smaller international schools.
Other thing is (from you and your other half's point of view) it's not always easy to integrate with the community of parents in the Euro-school context, as kids live all over Brussels and often arrive in a massive fleet of buses.
Yes it's totally the norm for Belgian women to go back to work full-time after kids - part-time work is very unusual, though obviously there is a small core of SAHMs. My dad still talks about the group he joined (he was a handsome devil and caused quite the stir as the only bloke in these circles back in the not-very-emancipated late-70s )
Also consider the language issue - my bro and I were chucked into the local Belgian school across the road (in WSP) for our primary education in true just-get-on-with-it style. Upshot - we were both bilingual within a small handful of months (we were 5 and 3) - though that wasn't without its slightly traumatic moments...I still remember wandering around clutching the small piece of paper my mum had written out for me with the translations for 'I need to go to the toilet' and other such key phrases on it
My husband works in Jette in Brussels.Next year I will move there with my 7 year old son.My son will attend one of the the french primary schools in Jette.Now he will start to learn the french language.Which school is good there;
In my view, a top creche for those interested in Auderghem is www.petitbouh.com. Staff, organic food, small outfit and great garden. My son has been there and we enjoyed watching him growing on the pictures taken regularly by the staff.
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