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Schools in Berlin

(48 Posts)
SSSandy Sat 22-Apr-06 14:30:28

Hi my daughter starts school this year and I chose not to send her to the British (too expensive), Europa (heard too many negative reports), JFK (too American) or International school (too much changeover). Ok it's difficult to find the perfect school, but none of the English language options seemed good and I didn't like the behaviour of the children, the overall feel of the places when I paid them a visit.

Thing is, I have a really bad impression of schools and education here generally, thanks to media coverage. Can anyone convince me otherwise? Have you made positive experiences with German schools?

I've read lots of reports about how badly German schools do in the PISA tests. There was a lot of media coverage about teachers requesting the state intervene at their school in Neukoeln because the teachers could no longer cope. My impression is that kids are badly taught, show lack of respect for teachers and that academic achievement and this strict grading at the age of 10-12 just isn't good. I taught briefly at a fairly "elite" Gymnasium here when I first came and I thought teaching methods were trapped in the 1950's but it is definitely one of the better schools here. Still I wouldn't send my daughter there.

Can anyone put my mind at rest? Thanks

tissy Sat 22-Apr-06 14:33:24

What do you mean by "too much changeover"? My brother teaches at BBIS, I could perhaps find out more about it if you like?

foundintranslation Sat 22-Apr-06 15:00:28

They're not all bad. Have to admit I prefer the British system for a variety of reasons, but the German one does have its plus points.

Look on the bright side - in Berlin the sorting into ability groups comes 2 years later than in the rest of Germany (in grade 6 instead of 4).

I taught at a Gymnasium in Berlin a few years ago and found it OK - very few respect/behaviour problems as far as I could see (I was 20 and quite often left alone with the class, but was usually able to control the class without problems), and a lot of the kids were pretty motivated.

The Neukölln school (I lived more or less opposite it for 4 years ) is not representative - it's a Hauptschule, for a start. A lot depends on thearea of Berlin, the parents in the area, etc. etc.

SSSandy Sat 22-Apr-06 15:03:25

Hi Tissy,
Well that school was the most convenient for us since we can get there on foot (at a stretch). They told me when I called that they were primarily there for families who were only in Berlin temporarily - not for families who live here long-term. I was told that would apply to say the DCs or ex-pats sent to work here for a short term.

I didn't like the idea of classmates leaving every couple of years or so. That sounded too unsettled for me. I spent my childhood going from one school to another as my parents moved countries and I want my child to have more continuity in friendships and belong somewhere.

SSSandy Sat 22-Apr-06 15:08:10

Thanks for that Foundintranslation, good to read something postive. Maybe I'm just going through that panicky mother-hen stage prior to school begin.

I spoke to a Russian friend yesterday who told me two of her Russian friends have decided to send their kids to a boarding school in Moscow because they found the schooling so bad here. That seems to be the opinion of all Russian people I meet here. My friend just took her child out of his English-German bilingual school because he'd been mobbed. None of the kids would speak to him because he was born in Russia. Great, eh? Really encouraging.

admylin Mon 24-Apr-06 09:28:43

Hi SSSandy, how long have you been in Berlin? We have just arrived recently and are here for 1 and a half to 2 years for sure and after that we go where the best job offer is. Have you tried the russian german state school near Brandenburger gate if you are interested in russian for your daughter. Anyhow she is probably already angemeldet - have you bought the massive schulranzen and the cone to fill with goodies? That is one of the few nice things about german school, they make the first day at "big" school really nice for the little ones!

SSSandy Mon 24-Apr-06 13:15:04

Hi, well my dd was born here, so I suppose about 6 years so far. Yes, I did think about that Europa school but I didn't think much of their website and I'd heard there were some problems with rough kids. I'm the real mother-hen type so that put me off. I'm keeping it in mind though in case we need to change. We live in Charlottenburg and I thought we might be too lazy to get to Mitte for 8 o'clock every morning.... seems TOO early to me!

She's going to a local Catholic school which is where her kindergarten is, so she knows some of the schoolkids already and the janitor, the principal, the school secretary etc. It is like a little family. The school is not much to look at, no playground or anything and the rooms are small, the classes probably big. I was just hoping that the social side of things would be good there. So much depends on the teacher you get though, doesn't it?

Gawd no those Schulranzen! I really don't want to get one. They tried to convince me in a shop the other day that she cannot wear a backpack before the age of 8 and she really needs this huge boxy looking thing. The cone, yeah I like that but I still haven't found out what you're supposed to put it in. It's a nice touch, isn't it?

What school do your kids attend (if you don't mind me asking).

admylin Mon 24-Apr-06 16:49:57

Hi, my kids go to the europa school in "mitte" - the portugese one, they are in the normal class not doing portugese because I don't see the point in them having a 3rd language to struggle with. My son's german is good but my daughter attends a special german for foreigners class at the school but I think she is in it more because she is not very talkative by nature so they weren't sure in the school if she had enough german vocab or not. My son goes into year 3 after the summer and he hopefully will be in french instead of english which would be a waste of time. Their dad was brought up with 3 languages (Hindi, Urdu and Bengali) and he can't speak any like a native. Thats why we didn't introduce any other language except english till they were 3, then we can be sure they have a true "mother tongue".
Anyway, do you know many other british mums and families in Berlin? I don't know any or anyone yet really! My dh works 7 days mostly so we are left to discover Berlin zu dritt!

ks Mon 24-Apr-06 16:57:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hausfrau Mon 24-Apr-06 17:04:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

admylin Mon 24-Apr-06 17:13:47

Yes, its the same here with ganztagschule, thank goodness my 2 don't have to stay, but the ones who stay just sit around their tables and do homework, eat lunch then get to go out in the play ground - then back to draw at their tables - all watched over by 1 woman who looks so bored and uninterested and she isn't a teacher , they all go home after the last lesson at 1:15 in our school.
I have to do alot of extra work with mine because if we ever get the chance to come back to the UK they are already a year behind their age group. I pick them up at 1:15 then we do extra work at home till 3:30. The security around the school is non existant too, I mean the 1st years are 6 and 7 years old and in the old school in the south of Germany we were officially told not to bring or collect our children, - I couldn't believe it.

Hausfrau Mon 24-Apr-06 17:26:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hausfrau Mon 24-Apr-06 17:27:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

emkana Mon 24-Apr-06 17:37:38

that is so true and so peculiar!

ks Mon 24-Apr-06 18:09:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

admylin Tue 25-Apr-06 09:12:10

@ks, sorry I don't know Berlin so well yet but I bet you wouldn't recognise a thing! We had guests theother night for dinner and tehy studied in Berlin then left for 2 years then returned and since coming back they said there are whole area and shopping centres and totally changed buildings - even Potsdamer platz which is a very modern shopping, cinema eating out area was like a sand pit when they were students!There are building sites everywhere - where we live at the moment they are preparing to start a mega building site (govt. building, yet another new one) we might even have to move if it gets too bad.

ks Tue 25-Apr-06 18:21:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SSSandy Fri 28-Apr-06 12:35:39

Well ours is a half-day school, collection at 1.30 pm which is a pain since it means they don't get lunch till nearly 2pm or later if you are going to really cook.

I've just gotten a letter confirming that I can have a Hort place but now I'm wondering if it's worth it. You see I don't work so actually I'm not entitled to a Hort place, but I didn't know that when I applied. I went in to the office and the woman told me that so I assumed there was no chance. Now, I dunno whether to just take it and see how it goes or go without if it's just a waste of time. Ho hum decisions :-)

ks sorry I don't know. Looked on the UBahn map the other day and I see 3 areas border on Neuköln - Plänterwald, Baumschulenweg (which is oddly also the name of the district by the looks of things) and the other I've forgotten now Alt-something or other - Treptow I think.

Nightynight Fri 28-Apr-06 12:54:46

Message deleted

SSSandy Sun 30-Apr-06 17:40:04

NN, that sounds good Is it a bilingual school?

Nightynight Sun 30-Apr-06 21:46:23

Message deleted

SSSandy Mon 01-May-06 17:30:52

NN, I'm from the UK actually, I'm not American. I had the impression that Bavaria generally has the best reputation for education so I would imagine that schools in Munich are often better than here.

My impression is that classrooms are small and old-fashioned, there are no real playing grounds and classes are huge. Like Amylin said, there seems to be practically no security and teaching styles are outdated. Well, I will find out soon enough I guess. Certainly seem to be plenty of well-educated Germans about the place, so it can't be all wrong. I can't honestly say whether education in the UK is any better either these days, I'm so out of touch with it all.

Hausfrau Mon 01-May-06 18:16:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nightynight Mon 01-May-06 20:46:44

Message deleted

foundintranslation Mon 01-May-06 20:53:17

ks, we lived in Neukölln for a few years. The area on the eastern side next to it is Treptow 8the name of the district) - it's a bit district, stretching all the way to the edge of the city. Did you live on Sonnenallee?

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