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Would you move DD from a fab primary to spend a year in a local Spanish school?

(30 Posts)
looseleaf Fri 06-Dec-13 13:55:36

I have a close relative in Spain and DH raised the idea of moving to her village to teach our young children Spanish
Reasons to go are:
To teach our DC Spanish in the local school and give them a change from our small flat ie fresh air &sea
We have enough income due to cope with one if not two years away and this is unlikely to be possible again (DH trying his hand at being self employed &in 2 years I expect to be working).
Costs of living are much cheaper there
My relative is in her eighties and we are v close
Would improve my Spanish and possibly job prospects and we have relatives and ties there

Risking losing wonderful school place for two children
DD aged 7 v happy here and has strong friendships would miss
Renting our flat out has risks??

Many thanks for any thoughts!

CreamyCooler Fri 06-Dec-13 14:00:47

I wouldn't do it as giving up the school place too risky. Could you look at ways of changing your life here if that's what you want instead of suchba drastic move?

looseleaf Fri 06-Dec-13 14:05:32

Yes we could - we could move further from school to a bigger home.
I do feel tempted though as think a language learnt young is such an advantage that they'd keep for life as would be kept up by visits to cousins etc.
Do you know if head teachers would ever allow this or offer a place back if there is one? I wondered whether to ask but they might just think it's disruptive for the class.

Thank you for replying as glad of an outside opinion!

NomDeClavier Fri 06-Dec-13 14:06:20

One year is not enough to gain and maintain total fluency, so I would say no tbh. It sounds lovely as a theoretical extended holiday but your DD will effectively miss a year of schooling for it, and keeping up the language when you get back will be a huge challenge. Check out the language and bilingualism topic to see how difficult people who are permanently exposed to both find it to maintain the minority language.

If it were for professional reasons or to an English speaking country my answer would be different but going to Spain on a whim for a year just doesn't strike me as sensible at your DD's age and with your current (good) situation.

looseleaf Fri 06-Dec-13 14:07:26

(I also don't even know whether a local school would take us so would have had to ask that in theory first)

CreamyCooler Fri 06-Dec-13 14:10:02

My DS's 2 and 3 learnt Spanish during the four years of their primary school, obviously they aren't fluent. Does your school offer this in the junior years?

somersethouse Fri 06-Dec-13 14:12:12

I am in Spain and my reaction, having changed my childs school 3 times and ended up paying for private education is NO, NO and NO.

1) Would you be moving to an área which speaks a dialect, ie, not Spanish? As far as I know this is more than likely, your children would not be learning what you consider Spanish.

2) You would be put in the worst school posible, believe me. You will have no rights (understandably) to get put in the best school, or even reasonable school for a year. It will not happen.

3) You and your DD will find it imposible to make proper friends in that short space of time, or any friends at all.

4) You will loose you UK place.

5) Sorting our medical stuff for school entrance will take you forever and you should be applying for places in two months and will need the relevant papers by then.

6) Can your daughter do cursive writing as if not, she is going to find it all a bit weird, language aside!

I do not mean to be negative, I have never been in your situation. My DD is totally happy in a wonderful school and our life is near on perfect, but it has taken some time to get there. Considering especially as even though she was born in Spain, is half Spanish, her father is Spanish, we are paying for the school as we wanted her to learn Castellano, not the dialect which is the legal language where we live. As we were not from this area, we got given an appalling school, twice. I don't want to say anything more about it on here but if you want to PM me feel free.

pombal Fri 06-Dec-13 14:13:01

No, I'm an expat near the Spanish border.
You won't find work.

Your DC wont speak Spanish in a year and they will be behind when you return to the UK.

A year isn't enough time even to get settled, make new friends etc.

The cost of living in Southern Europe is not that cheap, most people here are trying to move to UK or Germany for work.

Spend summer holidays in Spain if you want, there are lots of holiday clubs for the kids, so your DC can pick up some conversational Spanish without risking UK education.

Kewcumber Fri 06-Dec-13 14:18:41

I think your DC may speak Spanish within a year. Based on 2 Spanish children moving into DS's class aged 6/7 - one was fluent (with fairly good accent) within 6 months, one still not totally fluent and very strong accent after 2 years. Not influenced by parents - the fluent one has a mother who speaks no English at all and teh less fluent one's motehr speaks more English.

More to the point I suspect that at least one of them (and possibly both) will lose their English within a year of being back in Spain without concerted efforts to maintain it.

looseleaf Fri 06-Dec-13 14:19:09

Thank you. This is really helping balance perspective as I wasn't expecting only negative replies and clearly need to consider these!

I went to a French primary aged 4 (with no French when started) and was certainly fluent well within a year but I agree maintaining it is fundamental. I also made plenty of friends in that first year (as have DD's Finnish and Italian friends here who started with no English in Sept)
The Spanish spoken is not a dialect and the school (there is only one as a small village) has a happy reputation.
Although it wouldn't be a move for professional reasons it wouldn't impact DH's work at the moment as he can work from anywhere. I am not looking to work yet as looking after our 2 year old probably full time until starts school

somersethouse Fri 06-Dec-13 14:21:31

Agree that no way would your dc's speak Spanish in a year, they will definitely simply miss out on a years education and most possibly be unhappy judging on many of the foreign children at my DC's international school. They simply won't thrive or achieve full potential.

You won't either! Sorry again, to be negative but I am telling it how it is.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 06-Dec-13 14:26:51

Does your dd speak any Spanish?

7/8 years old is a hard age to try integrate into a new school, where friendships are already forged, especially if the other children speak, read and write another language.

Especially if it is just for a year or two, it could be a complete nightmare for your dd. It is not just one or two years of holiday and learning a language, it is one or two years of every day life, in another country. She will have to figure out school, how it works, get to grips with a different curriculum, being not just "the new girl" but the foreigner (even if she is part Spanish by heritage)

For you, it is navigating the "spanish way", a new school, a new every day life, work out how all the practicalities work, tax returns in Spain. Your dh will have to do tax returns in both countries, you need to pay capital gains tax on renting out your home, the costs and practicalities of having a flat in the UK, and living overseas. Include your rental income and outgoings on uk tax returns, and possibly also on spanish tax returns. Work out whether there are any dual taxation agreements in place, etc.

looseleaf Fri 06-Dec-13 14:27:57

I'm a bit confused by the idea they won't learn Spanish in a year (I certainly learnt French as I said and don't think my own experience unusual as 2 girls in DDs class here now speak English a lot when didn't at the start of this term?) And staying 2 would be an option. But maybe still a mad idea and I'll discuss all this with DH. So thanks again

Bonsoir Fri 06-Dec-13 14:28:14

How will your DC retain their Spanish when you return?

QuintessentialShadows Fri 06-Dec-13 14:30:30

Well, I am sure they will learn some Spanish.

Not sure how great your own French was after a year in school there, but I am sure it was not like a native speaker? Especially not if you did not also speak French at home?

somersethouse Fri 06-Dec-13 14:30:53

Spanish schools have a strict limit of 24 children per class. Has your local school got places available for both chidlren?

If it was for more than a year, I agree they would speak the language, but in a year (well, Sep until beginning of June) 9 months, many of which are half days, they will not!

CreamyCooler Fri 06-Dec-13 14:31:32

I think if you was going because of an amazing job offer it would be different but the reasons sound a bit vague from reading your posts.

BrianTheMole Fri 06-Dec-13 14:33:44

Sounds like an amazing experience. Can you keep them up to date with the work they will miss?

CreamyCooler Fri 06-Dec-13 14:33:48

Have you taught your DC the French you know or could you? This would be a lot easier than moving.

NomDeClavier Fri 06-Dec-13 14:35:31

The difference between 4 and 7 in terms of language acquisition is huge, as are the expectations between what a 4yo can do and what a 7yo can do. I've known DC integrate into maternelle, even GS, really well and be up to speed virtually by the end of the year but CP onwards there are very, very few positive stories because they are expected to start reading and writing and all the work is based on that. The method of teaching is very different. Now I don't know how early they start with reading and writing etc in Spain but they'll surely be doing that by 7. It's one thing to acquire a language orally and aurally through play and activities which are structured to provide an introduction to literacy (albeit for native speakers), completely different to being expected to have a full command of that language and be able to read and write in it.

In the UK there is often enormous support for EFL, that rarely exists in other countries. There's much more a sink or swim mentality, although some schools may be more geared up for it than others.

somersethouse Fri 06-Dec-13 14:35:34

Learning French at 4 is not like learning Spanish at 7! It is a world of difference.

2 year old is expected to start school in Spain at 3.

9 months, honestly, they will certainly not be fluent. For a start the other children won't want to talk to them too much as, by 7, they are fully ensconsed in their friendship circles, the fact it is a small village, even more so.

It will be hard.
If you are considering it forever, then it is possible. Espcially for the 2 years old, but for the 7 year old, you have left it too late as it is just one year.

kilmuir Fri 06-Dec-13 14:36:01

You might not get back into the uk school she left

somersethouse Fri 06-Dec-13 14:39:26

Sorry for my Spanish autocorrect mistakes BTW.

Everything nomdeclavier says is totally correct.

By 5 here children have been in school for two years and are reading and writing Spanish fluently. They are also learning French and have been for some time.

looseleaf Fri 06-Dec-13 14:41:05

Ok ok I think the vote against is overwhelming!! nomdeclavier your post was particularly helpful as I have been wondering the age thing as certain ages are amazing at absorbing and learning.
Creamy cooler I've tried to teach them French but it feels too artificial in London where they don't need it and only DD interested .

mothermirth Fri 06-Dec-13 14:57:42

Looseleaf have pm-d you smile

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