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best bilingual primary schools in Paris

(36 Posts)
thedolly Mon 19-Jan-09 15:10:42

I have narrowed it down to EaBJM and EaB in terms of value for money. Can anyone offer advice on either or both of these schools.

frannikin Mon 19-Jan-09 20:06:57

I have a charge at EABJM. I think it's fanstastic - the children together for French and set into EMT and ESL for English which really means they can move at their own pace and are stretched or supported as necessary. They really do a brillliant job of that, my charge is practically following the British national curriculum. We're at the Suffren branch at the moment, moving to Theatre next year and we have a lovely headmistress but on the downside doesn't have much outdoor play space. The upper school of EABJM has an excellent reputation too - my OH's sister was there and got 45 (full marks) in her IB. The children do come out with really good English, even those who don't have any support at home, so the standard of teaching English must be quite high on a practical level IYSWIM. They follow the French curriculum mainly though.

They do get a lot of homework fairly early on - the French teacher my charge has is fairly traditional: lots of words for dictee, reading practice, lots of very repetitive maths questions but it seems to be working for him and he's

It's a very international school and you get a good mix of children - the staff are mostly bilingual but usually speak to the children in the language they teach, with the exception of the headmistress who talks in the child's first language 90% of the time. There's great pastoral support and they're very patient. Also very SEN aware - a friend of my charge was having some problems, possibly dyslexia, but they were able to pick it up very early on whereas his parents just thought it was due to the bilingual issue. The lunches are very nice too!

EaB I know nothing about but BonsoirAnna has a daughter there.

thedolly Mon 19-Jan-09 21:28:54

Thank you frannikin for your reply, it's great to have a recommendation. I noticed that there are two EABJM sites for nursery-primary level. Do you know if the Dupleix site has more/less outside space than the Suffren site? Outside play space is an important factor when choosing a school IMO.

frannikin Tue 20-Jan-09 13:22:02

I don't know I'm afraid. For Suffren they go to the Bon Conseil just around the corner and use their facilities - you see the croc-ing by at lunch time!

Given that it's central Paris I'd say it's unlikely to have that much but I honestly don't know.

thedolly Tue 20-Jan-09 19:31:24

Thanks anyway frannikin, you've been a great help re: EABJM. I would like to find out more about EaB. I'm new to MN and unsure how I could find out BonsoirAnna's ideas...can you help?

BonsoirAnna Thu 22-Jan-09 11:13:36

My DD is at EaB in Moyenne Section. She started in Petite Section in September 2007. We are very happy - she is very happy - and making huge advances in both languages (we are a bilingual family).

There is lots of outdoor space for playing as the school is right on Parc Monceau and, weather permitting, the children are taken there three times a day (and lots of children go back to the park after school with parents/nannies for a fourth play).

BonsoirAnna Thu 22-Jan-09 11:20:07

thedolly - how long will you be in Paris for? How old are your children? Are they likely to be more or less academically inclined? Because I think that the answer to all those questions has a bearing on which school you might choose - EABJM and EaB are not terribly different at primary level, but are very different at secondary level.

thedolly Thu 22-Jan-09 18:02:21

Thank you for posting BonsoirAnna. If we come to Paris it will probably be in the Summer. The children will be 8(DD) and 6(DS1) when they start school in September 2009 and going into CP and CE3, I think! They are both more likely to be academically inclined. We will most likely return to the UK for secondary level education when DD is 13 - earlier if we hate it, never if we love it! I'm not very good at long term planning!

Did you choose between EaB and EABJM? What factors affected your decision apart from the ones you have already mentioned? On a scale of 1 to 10 how academic is EaB, if EABJM is arbitrarily 10?

BonsoirAnna Thu 22-Jan-09 21:40:53


Just for info, the classes in primary are:


What calendar year were your children born in? Because classes are determined by calendar year here (just in case you didn't know).

EaB is definitely less academic than EABJM at secondary (collège and especially lycée) level, so if there is any chance that you might want to stay until the end of your children's schooling, you should at least be aware that you will need to get them into EABJM by age 11. EaB is great for primary, IMO, because it has the lovely Parc Monceau as its recreation ground and social hub (good after school meeting place for mothers). I chose EaB for maternelle because we live nearby (and we live nearby because my DSSs' mother lives nearby) but we will move to the Left Bank and DD to EABJM for secondary.

BonsoirAnna Thu 22-Jan-09 21:43:25

Oh sorry forgot to answer your question.

If EABJM is 10, then EaB is about 7 on the academic scale (at secondary level). I think primary is much of a muchness - I know parents who prefer EaB for primary and move their children to EABJM for secondary.

thedolly Thu 22-Jan-09 23:41:13

I like the idea of EaB Monceau BonsoirAnna but I have a few concerns. Can you help?

Do you think that children who do not attend the EABJM at primary level would be at a disadvantage if their point of entry was age 11? I have noticed that they request a lot of reports etc. including IQ tests - do they select on the basis of these results or are they for 'value added' analyses? Also, may DC have a better chance of getting in to EABJM at all if we are coming from UK rather than living in Paris?

BTW DD born in 2001 and DS1 born in 2003. DS2 born in 2007 so I don't need to worry about him for a year or two!

From what little research I have done I think I would prefer to live near EaB Monceau than EABJM Dupleix or Suffren. Care to comment?

teafortwo Fri 23-Jan-09 00:08:16

uuuurrrrmmm - basically from my research what Anna said!!! grin

We are going to our EAB interview in February [very excited emotion] (so fingers very tightly crossed petite section here we come)!!!

It looks cozy, friendly, academic enough for littlies, dedicated and because it is set in the park good wholesome fun!

All the things that are important when you are young... well... IMHO anyway!

frannikin Fri 23-Jan-09 13:02:31

thedolly - re: selection to EABJM at 11 they definitely take those results into account. They also put a lot of emphasis on parental willingness to support the school, whether they're fully on board with the school's peculiarities etc (which if you're looking at bilingual education you probably are anyway!).

You're also 'more likely', but it's not guaranteed, to get in if you're not going to stay in France the whole way though but plan to re-enter another system eg. going back to the UK for 6th form after doing iGCSEs or you're coming from another system.

Another thing to consider about EABJM is that they do Chinese from CE2 for 3 years - random fact which might be important....

thedolly Fri 23-Jan-09 14:10:13

If I sound a bit neurotic when it comes to choosing schools it's because I am!

Maybe I should just visit and then go with my gut.

The problem is that I am easily seduced by period features, even when it comes to choosing the right shallow am I?

BonsoirAnna Fri 23-Jan-09 14:21:29

My understanding at this point is that EABJM will take clever, bilingual children with a good set of reports at age 11; it is a school that is reputed to be very competitive to get into but it is also short, by its own admission, of properly bilingual (French-English) children - it would like these to make up 1/3 of its intake, but it doesn't meet that target. Ergo, if your children are properly bilingual and clever and you live in central Paris and are committed to the school, you stand a very good chance of getting them in.

As new arrivals from the UK (or anywhere else), your chances of getting your children into either EaB or EABJM are higher than those of a local family in mid-cycle as there a certain number of places reserved for new arrivals in France every year.

EaB does (optional) Spanish from age 8 versus EABJM which does Chinese. I prefer Spanish so that is good from my POV, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker as far as I am concerned.

Your DD born in 2001 will be entering CE2 in September 2009 ie she will have three years of primary school ahead of her, of which the first year will be in classe d'adaptation. I think this is plenty of time for a bright child to get acclimatised and learn French well before secondary. Your DS1 will be going into CP (first year of primary) so there shouldn't be much problem for him - he will be more advanced than local children on reading and writing, which will give him some leeway for catching up French and getting used to the more structured environment. DS2 will start petite section in September 2010.

The area around Parc Monceau is great for families - lots of expats (huge numbers of British and Americans, including those married to Frenchmen) and well-to-do French families and lots of fairly casual life in and around the park - an Australian mother commented only this morning when she bumped into me chatting with another school mother on a street corner that "it really is a village around here". I have never lived on the Left Bank - it is very lovely in many ways but I don't feel able to comment about how good it is for families. I think there are more Americans and fewer British families in the 7th.

BonsoirAnna Fri 23-Jan-09 14:22:13

teafortwo - you'll get a place for your DD, for sure grin.

BonsoirAnna Fri 23-Jan-09 14:23:51

thedolly - def come and visit and come for a tea and chat and I'll happily show you around.

frannikin Fri 23-Jan-09 16:25:24

Offer likewise extended for the 7th thedolly

Visiting is probably the best idea!

thedolly Fri 23-Jan-09 18:08:11

Thank you all for the kind offers! I will post again nearer the time when things are a bit more concrete.

BonsoirAnna Fri 23-Jan-09 18:11:08

Or CAT me if you like, to be sure.

teafortwo Fri 23-Jan-09 18:43:28

Oh Anna - The funny thinng is everyone says "Oh yeah, you'll walk it!" regarding EAB - But when it is you that really really really wants your dd to go there you feel a bit more urrrrmmm... ooooooohhh eeeeerrr eeeeeek about it all!!!


thedolly - it depends what atmosphere you are looking for to live in - The 17th and 16th where Anna lives are really so so beautifully chic and for some people just perfect. But me - I prefer where I live - Puteaux which is quite youthful, fresh, populaire, as close to central Paris as living there - it has a metro stop) and cozy like warm pyjamas!!! You can find lovely cute houses here which might be nice with children too!

BonsoirAnna Fri 23-Jan-09 18:45:09

Oh teafortwo I know I know I was just like you but your DD will sail into EaB, I promise (and mention me and DD at the interview with Mme Z, she'll love that you've been eyeing up her school for ages - what she really, really likes are parents who say they are going to keep their children at the school right through).

thedolly Fri 23-Jan-09 22:09:53

Teafortwo, I love the idea of walking to school with the children (at the moment it is a 30 minute drive each way!) How close are you to EaB then? Is it a metro ride away? Where you live sounds lovely but I think I prefer the beautifully chic to the warm's time for a change, I've done the warm pyjamas thing and I'm becoming a bit complacent.

BonsoirAnna, thanks for the invitation to CAT you. I will do so when I know more about the move. Nothing is definite at the moment.

teafortwo Sat 24-Jan-09 18:34:56

thedolly - you are going to love Paris!!!!

Go for it!

rosietoes Tue 09-Feb-10 18:48:17


we're applying to EaBJM from London and the website says one needs a WPPSI-III test.

Can anyone tell me a bit more about it, where to have it done in London?


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