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foreign language /dual language state PRIMARY school recommendations?

(12 Posts)
New2London Sat 28-May-11 15:10:36

My family and I will soon be relocating to London from the US (probably mid-June). My 7-year old daughter has been bilingual in English and Spanish from birth, and has also been learning Italian with private tutors as well as small classes for about 4 years. She has been home-schooled until now (so I'm not even sure in the UK system what year she would be entering!). She has taken various classes (once or twice weekly) with other children for Italian and Spanish, ballet, and gymnastics, and has also had some individual instruction for piano, but has never been in nursery or school as such. Are there state primary schools in London that specialize in foreign/dual language learning?
 I must emphasize that we have not yet landed on UK soil, so not only will we be applying for a place late, we will choose a neighborhood to a large extent based on the highest probability of getting our daughter into a very good state primary school. This, however, also coupled with a reasonable commute time (up to 1 hour max.) to New Cross (SE14). Any suggestions of particular neighborhoods or specific schools?

Elibean Sat 28-May-11 15:14:38

There are lots of French/English bilingual schools (well, comparatively lots) but not sure about other languages - did you specifically want Spanish/Italian?

hockeyforjockeys Sat 28-May-11 16:08:10

Lots Elibean? The only state primary that is billingual as far as I know is Wix in Battersea, all the others are private and most only nurseries. I don't know of any schools that are Spanish/Italian. To be honest language teaching in state primaries in the UK is on the whole dreadful (and I say this as somebody who is a teacher, and crap at teaching languages), so if this is your most important factor you may have to go private. If you can afford it look for a school that teaches the International Bac, as the expectation is that at the end of primary school children should have reasonable fluency in a second language (if they have been through the whole system).

frakyouveryverymuch Sat 28-May-11 16:26:29

The only ones are the French lycee bilingual streams but you have approximately zero chance of getting in especially this late in the year, at 7 with no French background (sorry).

Very few primaries implement PYP and you're looking at quite substantial fees for private schools which do. Does your relocation [ackage cover school fees?

Why not continue HEing?

frakyouveryverymuch Sat 28-May-11 16:27:13

hockey there's a second lycee stream at Holy Cross/Maru d'Orliac.

New2London Sat 28-May-11 16:31:22

I'm sorry if I wasn't quite clear -- I have in mind either English/Spanish or English/Italian as first preferences, but English/French or English/German (etc.) could also be appealing. If you're relatively sure that there is only the one state primary specializing in dual English/French, then could you please tell me a bit more -- presuming that they are state schools -- about the Int'l Bac programs (how they work, how one gets a placement, etc.)? Thanks!

Elibean Sat 28-May-11 16:36:12

Sorry - didn't see the 'state primary' bit, was rushing blush

Its true: private French/English schools a fair few, only one state. AFAIK.

hockeyforjockeys Sat 28-May-11 16:40:27

Unfortunately there are no state primaries in London that offer the IB, there are a few in Bolton (which I know is through the enthusiasm of a few local teachers) but thats on the other side of the country. For your information the primary years program of the IB is an inter-disciplinary program that is very much enquiry based and child-led (i.e. the child learns through their own discoveries and the teacher plans activities based on what they have expressed a desire to find out about, rather than sit down and be lectured at). It is geared towards developing the child as a 'whole' rather than focusing on their academic development. I have taught it in the past, and while I think there is a lot of positives to it, it is definitely not for everybody. The official info is here www.ibo.org/pyp/ but it is quite jargony and waffly in its description.

New2London Sat 28-May-11 17:02:21

Hmm, IB sounds great! (exactly what we'd ideally envision for our daughter) -- except for the fact that there are none in London. But thanks again for all this.

If there are only these two French/English dual language primary schools. I suppose they're extremely competitive and there's no chance of getting my daughter a placement in them at this point in the year?

frakyouveryverymuch Sat 28-May-11 17:53:06

The French English schools are entry via 2 routes. 1 you apply before the first year of primary by putting it as your first choice within your local authority - there are typically 12 places per class available this way - and in the case of (inevitable) oversubscription priority is given to those with siblings at the school/social need/distance from the school gate etc. Method 2 is applying via the lycee, again approximately 12 spaces available, but those are fee paying and priority is allocated to French nationals, plus sibiling priority applies, as does a history of being in the French educational system and how early in the year your child is born (a Jan baby stands a higher chace of getting in than a September baby does).

In neither case do you apply directly to the school itself and they do not offer IB PYP.

Info on Wix - you would need to contact Wandsworth Council to enquire about the availability of places.

Marie d'Orliac would be too far to commute from Fulham to New Cross I believe and I don't think they've actually implemented the bilingual stream up to age 7 yet. I'm not sure whether CFBL is state or not but that's in North London so out of the question.

Some state primaries are moving towards a PYP model with topic based learning etc but all state primaries are obviously subject to the constraints of the National Curriculum. Personally I'd choose a state primary with an IB inspired approach than a school which just relied on PYP. I'm not a big fan although I think the IBDP is fantastic and MYP has many strong points.

How long are you staying in London? There are state IB options for secondary and you may want to look at so-called 'feeder' primaries for those schools if IB is something which interests you.

SDeuchars Sat 28-May-11 20:15:53

New2London:
She has been home-schooled until now (so I'm not even sure in the UK system what year she would be entering!).

If she is 8 by the end of August, she'd enter Year 4 in September; otherwise, Year 3 (see Wikipedia).

Why not continue home educating? There are good groups and activities in London. You could try asking questions on the home ed board.

New2London Mon 30-May-11 18:42:27

Thanks to all of you! My daughter turns 7n this summer, so I take it that's Year 3. We'd love to continue home-eductaing, but we feel that it's simply become too demanding and exhausting for us at this point -- not in terms of content but in terms of time and energy, given that we've been at it for all these years and other priorities have been deferred for so long. We would however welcome some sort of state-funded, small-scale "free school" set up by a home-educators' network, or what I believe people are calling flexi-schooling. But how does one find this sort of thing?? (I have indeed started a similar conversation on the home-educating board, but there hasn't been much response yet). Thanks again for all your thoughtful replies.

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