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Lycees in Cherbourg France

(21 Posts)
Elkezaza Wed 25-Jan-17 04:11:48

Does anyone know of any schools they would recommend in the Cherbourg area? Particularly ecole and lycee?
My husband has had an offer of a 4yr job posting to Cherbourg in France. If we go we take our 14 and 9yr old DC and I am worried about finding a school for my 14yr old in particular as he does not speak French. Money for the school is not a particular issue and I am happy to look at local schools and non local schools and to travel somewhat but we have to live in Cherbourg Octeville. Both children are positive about being able to learn a new language.
Also, do the kids really seem to get all the holidays I have read about?
Many thanks for any advice

Ancienchateau Wed 25-Jan-17 08:45:57

I can't help you with schools. Maybe have a look at Anglo info for Normandy. I also know of a couple of FB forums if you are interested.

Going straight into French Lycée will be extremely challenging for your eldest. I would recommend sending him to an international school. It will be easier for your 9 year old but don't expect them "to be fluent after 3 months". More like 3 years and then some. Yes they have a 2 week holiday every 6/7 weeks but no break between the Easter holiday (which doesn't take place at Easter) and the end of the summer term in early July, although there are lots of bank holidays. Summer holidays are roughly 2 months. But be warned: school days esp in collège and lycée are long. My oldest two start at 07.50 and finish at 17.30 each day and then you have to factor in getting home and lots of homework. And the school day is all lessons with a bit of sport thrown in occasionally, so they really deserve their holidays!

cannotseeanend Wed 25-Jan-17 09:56:43

I moved my children to a French speaking country when they were aged 3 to 10. I speak French fluently and I did a lot of homework and finding contacts at schools before moving.

I would NOT consider unless I had no choice putting a 14 year old monolingual English speaker into college or lycee.

I would look at state boarding in the UK for the 14 year old. It will cost you 10-15k per year, some do Saturday school so terms are short and are more in line with French term dates, French schools have some of the shortest numbers of days in school in Europe, to go with their ultra-long days. This is what I would do for the well-being of my child.

In the end, my 10 year old was desperate to go back into English aged 16 and I sent him to a super state boarding school in the UK, chosen as the only boarding only state boarding school and because I knew the school and some staff well enough to know it was like a second family for him. It was the best investment I ever made into the well-being of my child and for most in the situation you propose, it would be the best decision.

Ancienchateau Wed 25-Jan-17 10:23:12

cannotseeanend, are you able to share the name of the state boarding school with me? By pm if necessary? DS15 is desperate to return to UK. Thanks.

pimmsy Wed 25-Jan-17 10:29:48

My parents moved us to rural France when I was 11 ( in 2001), straight into french state school. There was little extra support for us and although we were all fluent within about a year, it was only as an adult (living in Paris ) that I really learnt and understood all of the little grammar rules.

Our days were so long, and I went from year 6 in the UK to the second year of collège in France. School started at 7.50 and didn't end until 17.30 and then 18.30 when we were in Lycée.

A lot of pressure with constant tests that are marked, effort was not taken into account!

My sister and I disagree on a lot of things, but one thing we do agree on is that we will never put our children in french school! And yet, it's not because we aren't academic, my sister has a doctorate and works as a researcher for a swiss uni, and I stopped at masters.

If you are going to put your children in French school, you will need to support them and advocate for them. And help them with their homework.

Here is a screenshot of the 2017-18 school hols for Cherbourg. As your son is 14 he would be going into "seconde" I imagine which is the first year of lycée.

Here is a quick breakdown of the lesson hours for that year per week :

Core obligatory subjects
French 4 hours
History Geography 3 hours
Foreign Language (at least 2) 5.5 hours
Maths 4 hours
Biology 1.5 hours
Physics and chemistry 3 hours
Civic Legal and Social 0.5 hours
Sport 2 hours
Individual support (Never had this but it's in guidelines) 2 hours

Total 25.5 hours

Complementary subjects Each student must have at least 2

Principes fondamentaux de l'économie et de la gestion 1 h 30
Création et innovation technologiques 1 h 30
Santé et social 1 h 30
Biotechnologies 1 h 30
Sciences et laboratoires 1 h 30
Littérature et société 1 h 30
Sciences de l'ingénieur 1 h 30
Méthodes et pratiques scientifiques 1 h 30
Langues et cultures de l'Antiquité (latin ou grec) 3 h
Langue vivante 3 3 h

So it's at least 28 hours of lessons a week plus about 10-15 hours of homework!

frenchfancy Wed 25-Jan-17 12:53:58

Agree with the others that there is no way I would put a non-French speaking 14 year old into a Lycée. Frankly even the 9 year old is older than is ideal.

Bobochic Wed 25-Jan-17 15:50:18

Your children will need to take an exam before being admitted to a French state school. Your 14 year old will fail it and may be sent to a school not of your own choosing in order to be taught French. This may also happen to your 9 year old. The school might be awful (or not).

Look at local Catholic schools, which recruit their own pupils.

Bobochic Wed 25-Jan-17 15:58:38

There is British international (bilingual) in the state school system in Caen. You could contact them for advice - they may well have a friendly parents association who can help you weigh up your options.

Elkezaza Wed 25-Jan-17 21:25:02

Thank you everyone for your comments. I have actually worked out he would likely enter school in the last year of college and have the full year in that which might help a little, and he is very bright.
I had expected to hear that he would have difficulty from all I've read but I am not sure how many options we would have regarding schools as we would have no option where we live. Thank you Bobochic for the information about the school in Caen. I have heard there is a bilingual school in both Caen and St Lo. It would take me 1 - 1.25 hr to drive him there and the same home in the evening, which combined with the long school days pimmsy you mentioned seems like a huge thing for him. I couldn't bring myself to send him to a French boarding school. I had thought of otherwise home schooling him using a distance education program.
Oh well, I haven't been sure about the idea of my husband taking the job in part due to the kids education but it is such a hard decision to make as we our Australian and it is the only chance we will ever get to live and work in Europe due to visa issues. Perhaps the work posting just isn't meant to be.

Bobochic Wed 25-Jan-17 21:30:29

Please at least talk to someone in Caen - to be honest, you might be terribly lonely yourself in Cherbourg but only someone local could really advise you on what sort of community support you would find there.

Fink Wed 25-Jan-17 21:36:24

Would you consider weekly boarding at an international school? So he would come home on weekends and possibly Wednesday afternoons.

Also, depending on your openness to a faith school, private Catholic schools often have smaller classes and could provide more support for integration. I don't know the region though so can't recommend any in particular.

It would be an amazing opportunity for all of you if the challenges could be overcome. There are positives too!

wannabestressfree Wed 25-Jan-17 21:42:59

I regularly see children going home from kings in Canterbury and other private schools on the Eurostar. Is that an option?

cannotseeanend Thu 26-Jan-17 08:04:35

I wouldn't choose Kings unless I had the money, and even then, I'd look at state boarding first. For a fraction of the cost is UK state boarding schools, 3 in Kent all excellent with 2 of them very high results academically, possibly higher than Kings, as they are grammar state boarding schools. There are several state boarding schools near to London too.

cannotseeanend Thu 26-Jan-17 08:19:15

Oh just noticed you said you were Australian. You can only go to UK state boarding if a legal UK long term resident (are you on ILR that qualifies??) or an EU national.

Bobochic Thu 26-Jan-17 08:21:16

The OP says her family is Australian, which would make them ineligible for state boarding in the U.K.

cannotseeanend Thu 26-Jan-17 18:14:46

Australian nationals who are permanent residents of the UK are eligible for UK state boarding schools. You have to step foot inside the UK every 2 years to keep residency. This is separate to tax residency.

BriocheDoree Fri 27-Jan-17 13:35:26

A friend in a similar situation enrolled her DC in Inter High. It's an online school based in Wales but with pupils from all over the world. If you Google you should find details. Follows UK curriculum.

Ancienchateau Fri 27-Jan-17 14:31:45

BriocheDoree, one of my DC is now at IH. It works for us as it's only temporary but it's very isolating and I wouldn't recommend uprooting a teen from their mates. Socially a move to France could be a disaster for a teen.

BriocheDoree Fri 27-Jan-17 20:11:03

Ah I suppose so. I first heard about it from someone in Europe but recently met someone from Pakistan who raved about it but I think their options were more limited.

PlasticBertrand Sun 05-Feb-17 09:14:45

My DH is from cherbourg octeville . It wouldN.t be my first choice of places to move to in France... Have you been

FrUSAu Mon 05-Feb-18 11:21:37

Hi Elkezaza,

I know you've posted this thread over a year ago, but I was wondering if you did move to Cherbourg with your kids and husband in the end? If so, and if you're interested, we'd love to meet. We are a French/American family with a Young boy, we speak mostly English at home, and we've lived for 3 years in Perth. Feel free to contact me so we can chat over a cup of tea/coffee in Cherbourg.

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