This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Schools offering Russian and German at 7+ level and above(15 Posts)
We're in the process of getting our DD ready for the 7+ entrance exams. Admittedly, we're not as clear as some (many...) people as to where we want her to apply since we are likely to move near the school where she ends up going. Soooo...in the process of researching/visiting the various schools we are gradually realising that one of our top priorities would be for her to be able to study her home languages, German and Russian. She is currently reading and writing in both and we'd prefer a school where she could continue with this from Y3 onwards. Currently our other criteria are:
- In/around London
- Good results/academic - our DD is the studious type
- Private (although would consider state schools if they're good)
- All girls (her preference although we'd consider co-ed)
- Ethnically/demographically diverse
We are registered at NLCS and CLSG and are considering JAGS and perhaps Highgate - all of which seem to be quite popular here. All except CLSG seem to have Russian and German as part of their curricula although we are finding it difficult to find good information - some schools seem to start proper language study from the secondary level. Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated, thank you!
There is the German school in Richmond - however I’ll be amazed if it also teaches Russian.
Alternatively have you looked at any of the international schools in London?
We're not really interested in international schools as we have no current plans to leave the UK and our DD was born here. Just want to keep up the reading and writing and to be able to speak both languages with her peers. Maybe after school language clubs...
I would be astonished if any prep schools taught Russian and the vast vast majority do french as their language, not German (don't know may that do German). Also, the levels of language taught at prep school is pretty low - is your daughter is a native speaker the lessons would be a total waste of time.
Even if you find one, you’ll most likely find that in a couple of years time your daughter would still be practising colours and songs about body parts/days of the week...
If German and Russian are her home languages, your best bet is regular Tuition aimed at her level, reading dual language books and perhaps Saturday Schools.
Saturday Schools can be found for a range of languages and will develop the skills of native speakers + teach them about the culture of the particular coutry/countries. They’re independent of any school (state or indie although often use their classroom for about 3h on Saturdays).
Hmm, that's disappointing - I would have thought that someplace like NLCS would teach language intensively, especially at an age when language can be absorbed so much easier than in secondary school. Anyway, we will continue with independent study during primary and then aim to find Russian and/or German in secondary, which seems to be an easier task.
There is a German school in London. Agree that language learning in primary schools is pretty rudimentary, private or state.
If you look at the above, you’ll see what standard of languages you get as part of the curriculum. I’d say that GCSEs are very basic and not really a patch on the standard that languages are taught to on the continent.
So either a school offers something extra curricular for fluent-ish pupils (not a common thing at all) or you look at learning outside the school.
There is a reason the British are so dreadful at languages. So mortifying when one sees what German children, or Scandinavians etc achieve.
By the times boys reached year 5 where french really stopped up, they were so sick of messing around learning and relearning classroom exchanges, clothes, colours, numbers, etc that they had totally lost the will.
You will also be disappointed with secondary languages. GCSEs are very low level (for someone who has any real talent die languages, let alone a native speaker).
part of the language problem in the UK is simply there are too many possible languages that COULD be taught but actually not many teachers who have had the chance to learn anything other than French, Spanish or German themselves. Other countries aim to learn English generally from a young age as it is an obvious one for them to learn but what is obvious for British children to learn? It changes with the global market..
anyway I digress. I would say your best bet would be to tap into the local communities for German and Russian which you probably already do. I know where we live children often attend their native language schools on a weekend where they learn their culture, songs, games, reading and writing in their own language. Even in our little town I know off the top of my head that this is offered for at least 4 different nationalities and I think it is actually 7 or 8. And it really isn't a hugely diverse area.
When you reach secondary level then there are much more opportunities for studying languages outside the curriculum. But you will need to pay for it if you want the school to deliver it. At primary level you can just about forget it.
For example, my husband’s family are Flemish and I speak German. German is increasingly being replaced in schools by Spanish, Chinese and Latin. If the languages are part of the normal curriculum at the school then you could expect lessons. If they’re not, then forget it or pay. Schools are very happy to “support” native language students in their GCSEs but if there’s only one student interested then the school is not going to foot the bill. My daughter will receive Dutch lessons on a one to one basis, but as they have to get an external tutor in for just her, I have to pay for it.
Paying for private education does not give you a bespoke education tailored to your exact needs.
Thank you very much, everyone! Your thoughts have given me a much better perspective of what is possible in regards to language learning for DD.
Agree, state or private there is little emphasis on languages. From my experience of 2 different prep schools they play at a bit of French once or twice a week but don’t learn much in that by the middle of year 7 the kids who haven’t done languages at prep / primary level have caught up
Joining in with other saying that you can’t chose a school with academic + German/Russian at a level you’d need for a semi-native speaker that your daughter is.
It’s a separate issue from England being bad at language teaching. It’s more to do with the fact that your child is different in her background knowledge of these languages and it’s not the same to teach a british child from scratch and a tri-lingual kid.
It will NOT be different at secondary. I have a bi-lingual DD at one of the schools you mentioned. With one of the languages you focus on.
She - and others like her - can’t take their second languages at the secondary level from Y7. And for a very good reason. Those classes are meant to start from scratch and prepare kids for GCSEs in a few years time. My DD would waste a lot of time in those classes.
What some of these schools do offer is an ability to take GCSE in a minority language earlier, and some offer short prep courses in writing/grammar focusing on bi-tri-linguals before early GCSEs.
So - we are continuing with private tuition for the language and DD is taking two other modern languages, from scratch.