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JFKS Berlin

(6 Posts)
peargrapes Wed 17-Aug-16 10:46:33

We are a British German family and DH might be able to get work in Berlin.

HAs anyone here experience with JFKS in Zehelendorf, or can you recommend any other (ideally State) bilingual schools?
Thank you.

peargrapes Wed 17-Aug-16 10:47:00

in Berlin I mean..

Archfarchnad Thu 18-Aug-16 21:58:23

Ach Pear, it's a long and complicated story with bilingual schools in Berlin - having had kids in them for the past 13 years. Why don't you start out by checking the relevant page of Toytown for people's opinions, because for every person with a negative experience there's someone who loved that same school.

My immediate thought is that if you are British you haven't got a chance in hell of getting into the JFKS - in fact if you apply right now as a non-American or German, they don't even bother acknowledging your application. And it's not THAT great a school, it just has better resources than other non-private schools in Berlin, which are mostly horribly underfunded. There's more about the JFK that I'm certainly not going to say on a public website.

Are you talking about primary or secondary? Is your DH by any chance a journalist or in the diplomatic service? If so you have a better chance of getting in to the Nelson Mandela, which has places reserved for highly mobile families - but simply working for an international company doesn't count most of the time. Or maybe you could strike lucky, who knows.

Your best bet at primary level is to try one of the two Europa-Schulen - the Charles Dickens or Quentin Blake. At secondary level your choices are hugely restricted in state school if your DC have no German - you'll essentially be pushed into the Peter Ustinov (which is a comp / secondary modern) and refused access to the grammar school the Schiller, however clever your DC is.

However, there are quite a few private bilingual schools now set up across the city - and the fees are MUCH cheaper than on average for the UK. Berlin Cosmopolitan, Phorms, Kant-Schule, Anna-Sophie are all worth trying and have both primary and secondary. The atmosphere there tends to be much nicer.

peargrapes Fri 19-Aug-16 06:33:37

Thank you very much Arch.

We are viewing JFKS next week.

A friend has had their children at CD near Heerstrasse, both her dc are at Gymnasium now (they are a German family). Do you know a little bit more about CD and why it is considered a nice / good school?

Could I pm you about JFKS? Based on the website and the 'idea' of it i.e. to promote German / American relations etc it sounds quite lovely. My dc have two citizenships, German and British if that makes a difference in terms of getting into JFK.

I would be a bit concerned at my DC's ability to speak German. They understand but never reply in German, even after staying there for a few weeks on holiday. If the go to an English speaking class at bilingual school, their secondary options will be limited....
it's such a tricky choice to make. They are at a decent school in the UK now but DH and I both love Berlin and there is family there too.
thanks again for taking your time to reply!

Archfarchnad Fri 19-Aug-16 16:47:26

Sure you can PM me. We live quite close to it actually :-)

Which Gymnasium did your friend's kids go on to? Was it the Schiller or a German school?

The CD has a pretty good rep these days - my two were at QB, which went through a distinctly ropy phase a few years back. The current head at CD used to be my DCs' sport teacher, he's OK. CD has one German-only class, which reduces the amount of English spoken, because all all-school activities have to be in German for their sake.

If your DC have German citizenship, they would have to get in to the JFK on the German side, and that's through a lottery - even more difficult than via the English side. We're an English-speaking family and DD1 did the JFK language test when she was 4 - they failed her and said her English wasn't good enough. Her English was fab then and is fab now (she's just done Abitur). They failed her because they didn't want non-Americans getting in. It's that simple. As a Brit you're a 'Drittnation', ie neither British nor American. I know several British/German families who haven't managed to get a place there. Just want to prepare you for the worst. It wasn't such a huge hassle for us as to be honest we weren't keen on the overwhelming rabid Americanness of the place, we just found the location convenient - CD and QB tend to be far more genuinely international. And one thing I would not call the JFK is lovely.

One problem is that CD and QB are junior schools only, so there's no obvious secondary to follow on from if you don't want the Schiller, or your DC doesn't get a Gymnasium recommendation.

Karriemg Sat 14-Jan-17 19:04:23

We are planning to move to the Berlin area for the school year (August 2017 through August 2018) and hoping to get our children into the JFKS. I am just now doing research and found your thread on this site. We all have US passports. From what I have read we have a good chance of getting our children enrolled there (currently grades 4 and 1) Do you have any information you could share about the school, admission process or living in the Zehlendorf area with children. Thank you so much for any info.

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