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Brussels - schools in Ixelles?

(10 Posts)
elportodelgato Sat 03-Jun-17 07:51:12

We are moving to Brussels this summer (excited!) & have finally narrowed down our house search to the Ixelles commune.
I wondered if anyone had advice on state run schools in that area? Our children are 9 & 6 and we're looking for a French school ideally but willing to look at the Flemish system as well.
TIA for any advice

cannotseeanend Sat 03-Jun-17 13:15:28

Ixelles is the very worst place to look for school places out of the 19 communes of Brussels, with those looking late on. For some reason, English speakers are drawn to Ixelles, I am not sure why.

Does it HAVE to be there?

There is a single Flemish school for 6 and 9 year olds in Ixelles, out of 450 kids there, about 20 will actually speak Dutch, unless you are Dutch speakers, it is the worst choice educationally and in any case it is completely full and not any chance in a million of places.

The French schools, well they are either super popular or not in Ixelles. You could however try "Le Petit ARI" a brand new school which opened in AR Ixelles secondary complex in September 2017, in fact it is a school which closed a decade ago and at short notice last Summer got permission to re-open, so it doesn't have many children there right now. I don't know if it has primaire classes up to age 9 though yet. You will find very very few international upwardly mobile children there, you might find the socio-economic intake is a bit narrow, wild guess but I may well be right, so not the best choice but might be the only choice for Ixelles. It depends entirely upon where in Ixelles you are looking though, it's north of Place Flagey, far from south Ixelles.

If you can look elsewhere, please do, for educational benefit of your children and for your sanity. I'd recommend getting school places ALWAYS at this time of year BEFORE housing.

You might be best to consider a private school for the year, BICS or Agnes, both in Etterbeek.

You will be best to get school places first though and then look for somewhere to live.

cannotseeanend Sat 03-Jun-17 13:27:38

Here is the link to le petit ARI stating they do take up to 12 years.

However I'd recommend instead looking at schools with a proven track record of having international kids. If you want to be a very urban area :
la Campagne
du Bonheur
La Retraite du Sacre-Coeur
Sacre-Coeur de Lindhout
La Farandole
La Colombe de la Paix
Ste Anne
St Stanislas

elportodelgato Sat 03-Jun-17 18:18:15

Oh! Oh no! This throws a bit of a spanner in our plans. Do you know if Etterbeek is any better? I'm aware we are cutting it fine with trying to get places...
Thanks so much for the information, it's this kind of local knowledge which we're sorely missing at the moment

cannotseeanend Sat 03-Jun-17 19:04:14

4 of the 8 schools I listed above are in Etterbeek.

I suspect your opinions of areas have been formed from hearing other British citizen's opinions of communes. Ixelles has the highest number of GBRs of any of the 19 Brussels communes. However it also has a disproportionate number of singles and couples who are GBR not families.

I take it you are after a very urban area with little green but lots of cafes? That is what Ixelles (north) is. Unfortunately it also mean fewer choices of after school activities, huge overpopulation means fierce fights for certain schools in the area.

Where is work exactly by street name?

Tell me what your priorities are? Remember all areas have shops, cafes, playgrounds (less of course in Ixelles), good public transport (but in Ixelles tricky to get to the EU quarter), so you'll get these things everywhere.

Absolutely make getting 2 school places a priority. If you really want very urban, I'd be going for Ecole du Bonheur as number one choice with a proven record of taking children aged 6 and 9 with no French where the head is happy to talk in English to newcomers and the school receives extra funding for non francophones with a student body of 30+ nationalities and no one nationality dominating other than Belgian and no other dominant language in large numbers (like Arabic or Turkish) which could make it harder for non francophones to be immersed into French.

The area between Montgomery roundabout, Merode metro and Square Plasky is pretty great and would give you urban vibes like north Ixelles but more for children. It's where du Bonheur is. Some of this area is 1040 Etterbeek, some is 1000 Ville de Bruxelles, some is 1030 Schaerbeek, some is 1200 Woluwe-St-Lambert or WSL for short. Even south of Merode metro down to la Chasse in Etterbeek is good. It's were la Farondole, La Colombe de la Paix, Ste Anne and St Stanislas are.

Other more suburban places which would suit new arrivals and give a huge choice of after school activities in French and English is WSP any area, WSL east to WSP is suburban (west is urban and where du Bonheur is situated. The most popular area is Stockel, it's maily in WSP but some of it is in Wezembeek and Kraainem. Really anywhere alone metro line 1 to Montgomery and tram lines 39 and 44 to Montgomery, it's all good and much more chance of school places here.

cannotseeanend Sat 03-Jun-17 19:12:16

Best source of info for newly arrived 6 and 9 year olds from UK to Brussels is available here.

elportodelgato Tue 06-Jun-17 11:37:02

Hello cannotsee
I've been in touch with Ecole du Bonheur & they do have spaces for Sept (yay!) plus I can go & look around when we're there in a few weeks. I can't thank you enough for your awesome local knowledge!
Just off to research some of the others you recommend too, but feeling positive smile

cannotseeanend Tue 06-Jun-17 12:48:39

Glad du Bonheur has places.
Someone on the 1st facebook link above is offering out her house near Square Plasky in Schaerbeek which is a 10 minute walk from Bonheur and a great city area for families. du Bonheur is one street away from Schaerbeek and very near Ville de Bruxelles and Etterbeek. I'd try avoid renting a Ville de Bruxelles property unless you fall really in love with it, as dealing with officialdom there is apparently enough to make people want to leave the country again, whereas for Schaerbeek, Etterbeek, WSL, completely different level of service.

Longtime Mon 12-Jun-17 21:31:59

elporto, we have a Benelux MN group if you want to join. Pm me!

Longtime Mon 12-Jun-17 22:44:53

Facebook group that is!

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