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anyone else moved back to the UK with bilingual children, how did they cope at school?

(7 Posts)
DebInAustria Thu 09-Jul-09 21:46:20

Hi, the house is on the market, I don't know when it will sell, could be years yet BUT today I scared myself silly looking at what they would be doing especially in English if we were in the UK now. They are 7 and 9 so in the UK they would be just finishing Year 2 and Year 4, but here ds1 is finishing his 3rd year at school and for ds2 he's only just finishing his 1st year.We've been here 4 years and they are both pretty much bi-lingual, and do well in German and Maths.

So, what I want to know is - how did you prepare, which resources did you use, and what support did you get in the UK? I'm hoping to do some extra work with them in the holidays when they don't have regular school work and tests to worry about, but I don't want it to be a chore.

strudelface Fri 10-Jul-09 07:54:15

Slightly different but I've moved from Austria to Switzerland andmy dds went from German-speaking state schools in Vienna to the International school in Geneva - in English which is very similar to the UK curriculum. My eldest is 10 and was in Yr4 in Austria - she has had absolutely no problems witht hte work here in the Int school - I don't know about your school in Austria but hers uses old-fashioned teaching methods - a lot of learning by rote and a quite strict shouty teacher - it is not like this in the Int school and my daughter loves this. Yes she found there were gaps but I think she probably has covered subjects in her old school that her new peers haven't done yet. I found the level of Maths in the Austrian school to be very high and the basics seemed to be drummed into them.

With my dd2 - it has been adifferent journey - going from the last year at kiga straight into yr 1 at school not being able to read and write and so we had to help wth her transistion a lot more. At least you don't have this problem.

In summary I think because your dcs have already started school I really think it'll be ok - I think the most important thing is that once you get back to the Uk is to keep their German going - my eldest e-mails and skypes her Viennese friends for this. Could they do this? I know I haven't answered specifiacally about going back to the UK but I hope this helps anyway.

DebInAustria Fri 10-Jul-09 18:17:17

Thanks Strudelface, it was helpful reading your experiences. The boys do go to a strict, formal school which is great for the basics but doesn't cover anything else.So, I'm hoping that the UK system will enable them to broaden their education, like you I want them to continue with their German too7 Extra work all round eh?

Anyone else?

weegiemum Fri 10-Jul-09 18:21:48

There will be someone with responsibility for children who have ESL, or who are not used to being schooled in English - maybe not in the school though, you might have to contact the LEA. But in-class support should be given until your children are coping well with the work.

A friend of mine moved form a Spanish speaking country to the UK 2 years ago and her daughter was in y5 - got a term of extra English and in-class support.

Hope the move goes well.

DebInAustria Fri 10-Jul-09 18:28:47

Thanks weegie

bebespain Sat 11-Jul-09 08:40:53

Hi Deb

I used to work as a Teacher of ESL/EAL in the UK. As weegie says its usually the LEA that provides such support to the school.

I worked for an LEA in a large city and so we had to prioritise support for children at the earliest stages of English langauge acquisition. And as far as I know this is the case with most LEAs. We were unable to support already bi-lingual children. It´s probably best not to bank on getting support and then if you do its a bonus.

Having said that I am certain your children will be absolutely fine. It is amazing how quickly they adapt at that age and I really believe that UK primary schools are excellent. Poor primary schools are very few and far between. I have seen children with barely a word of English become fluent in no time. Really.

It may be a good idea to look for some resources in the appropriate Key Stage, Literacy in particular. I think many Primary schools use the "Developing Lieracy" workbooks or the "Letts Literacy workbooks" You can find lots of good resources on Amazon.
Have a look here too: **
It will give you an overview of the National Literacy Strategy

Sorry I can´t do links blush

Good luck with the house sale. I remember reading on other threads what a big decision it has been for you

DebInAustria Sat 11-Jul-09 10:42:08

Thanks Bebespain, I will look at those workbooks, that's what I'm after, just to help them along.

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