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French bilingual schools London(8 Posts)
We currently live in Switzerland but possibly relocating to London soon. My children are currently attend school in French and we don’t want them to lose their French with the move so are looking at the French bilingual schools in London.
There seems to be a multitude and that it’s very difficult to get a place. I was just wondering if anybody has any experience with these schools? Which ones would you recommend? And which ones are more balanced with focus on academics and extra curriculars?
how old are your children? for young ones, L'ecole de Battersea is great but it only goes till 11. There are a lot of French schools now so you actually have a wide range of choices. The Lycee in South Ken is hardest to get into, but now you also have CFBL, Ecole de Wembley and Ecole Jeannine Manuel, so it should not be hard to get a place at at least one of them!
This overview is very helpful:
As well as the l'ecole in Battersea, there is also Wix
And there are several state primary schools nearby that do a French intake alongside the standard English one, if you want a non-fee paying option
You have a better chance to get in via paid route, then state route. Its difficult to get in, but not impossible. My children attend a French bilingual school. I believe where there is a will, there is a way and managed to get my kids in! But I do know people who were not able to, along with people who eventually got in. There is one lycée location that everyone gets in. I forgot where though. But the most difficult is south ken, followed by fulham, then battersea and the last area (I forgot which one) is the one that everyone seems to get in and if you reject the spot, you eventually get lucky and receive second or first choice. How are the schools in Switzerland? I am curious.
Mama, the bilingual state primaries in Wandsworth borough are all done by catchment
The catchments are freely available on the website and it will also say whether the school was oversubscribed (ie you need to live within the stated distance) or not (you can live anywhere in the borough)
Oh yea? When I spoke to others trying to get a spot at the bilingual sections, they were not able to, as those fill up fast. You have to live very close to the school. The school my children attend, half of the entry is via state side and used to be distance, until people kept moving closer and closer making the furthest distance for entry 0.2 miles. So basically, you had to live on the same street of the school. They now switched entry to lottery to make it more fare. I think the schools in wandsworth and putney are still by distance, but again, I am guessing that distance is very small. Also, I have heard the state primaries mentioned are not as successful in creating truly bilingual children. I have looked at the plans for the bilingual section for one of the schools and it does not look nearly enough. It seems to mix up English and French through out the day, thus children are not getting enough French exposure. Also, most of the Kids speak English, so no real drive to speak French fluently. My ex French nanny watched kids from one of the schools and she said it was not very good. Their French was poor. The school my kids attend does a slightly better job, as you can select the fully French section meaning all lessons are taught in French and only 3 hours a week of English. Or you can go bilingual route, which my kids do and they are taught one week entirely in French and one week entirely in English. Even with this much French some kids are not properly fluent even after 3 years! They need a lot of support at home. We have a French au pair, so our dc have been able to become fluent after 6 months at the school (which is rare from English speaking families). Another thing that helps massively, is that some kids in the class do not speak a word of English when they first enter. My kids have befriended these children so they end up speaking and playing in French with them, thus creating motivation and need for speaking French.
But this poster sounds like their children already speak French, as their children attend schools in Switzerland. So they should definitely look at the Lycée schools. The state primaries mentioned would not be at the level of French the kids need. The early years the children are only learning basics like counting and colours and basic commands etc. At the lycée schools they are focusing more on teaching as if all the children speak French.
Thanks so much for your replies!
We’re just outside Geneva and my son goes to the local village school in French and the younger one is in French daycare. The options here are local school, private Swiss schools but there aren’t that many, or the international schools which are great but extremely expensive. If we were staying long term we would probably send them to one of the private Swiss ones as most of them have bilingual options now and are cost a bit less than the international ones.
It will probably come down to whether you can pay the fees for the Lycee (plus live nearby), or whether you can live in catchment for a bilingual state primary
Neither options will be cheap, as the state options aren't in the cheapest parts of London to live
But the Lycee options require fees plus living in or near to some of the most expensive areas