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Gosh! Most people don't seem to know they're moving with this much notice.

If there is one thing you can do, get French lessons, particularly for your daughter, before you come. 

Things will be so much better for her if she's had two or three years instruction with the tutor knowing that this is to prepare her for school and life here.

I know some people 'get by' and some do really, really well, but it would be a distinct benefit for your daughter.

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The general consensus from other related threads seems to be that 11 years of age is the sensible maximum age to move a child into a different education system and language. Any later and you run the risk that if your daughter struggles to pick up the language, or you have to return to the UK then it is very difficult to catch up on missed syllabus.

The more fluent in French your daughter can become before the move, the better.

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Hi Tresco.

Wow, how many times have we done this???  Just to say one happy story.  J and I moved here when our son was nine, straight into the little primaire in the village, no english speakers, now doing the brevet at college this year and hopefully off to lycee - still no brit friends but totally ok.  Good luck!!!

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[quote user="JSA Aude"]Hi Tresco.

Wow, how many times have we done this???  [/quote]

Hi there JSA.  [:)]

I'm glad to hear your son continues to do well in school.  Did you choose his school after deciding where to live, or vice versa?

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Did consider sending him to the primaire in  the local town of the vicinity we had chosen to live in but, having decided on this house and having a little school in the village opted for the latter.  Definitely was the right decision as he then got to know the children in the villag/ locality who he went up to college with and are still his best mates.  The head was also his teacher, a super chap who, with his wife, was involved in the village fete etc thereby we ended up helping out at the various events and have done for the last six years.  Would highly recommend a village school if possible, much more convenient (!) and also enables the child to mix and make friends with the local children.

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  • 4 months later...
hello ,  I have been reading what people have blogged regarding schooling. this is the one area i am most worried about  we have a daughter just turned 11 and a son 6 . she is are main concern if we move over to france. she is a bright kid ( i would say that wouldnt i ).  does she immediately go to seconary school?
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harry2325,

One of the main considerations overlooked by people looking to move to France with school age children is the very high statistical risk they will have to return to the UK, usually for financial reasons. It is estimated that well over 60% of British people of working age who move to France return or move to another country within three years to five years.

For children of primary school age this probably does not matter, but for children at secondary school, the disruption to their schooling can be damaging to their academic success, if they have missed critical areas of the syllabus.

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Hi,

We came last year with a 13 and 10yr old, they have now both spent a year in a French school with many up and downs, i spent last week worrying as the youngest has just moved upto college......he has settled in great and loves it more than the primaire. We have been very lucky i think with  both children picking the language up quickly and feeling happy in France. We were told not to bring the 13yr old due to his age but he wanted to come and was keen to make it work, this has contributed to his success and i would never have risked it if we had to force him to come. Fingers crossed for them both for the future its still early days yet!

Harry I think it depends on where you are, I have heard many children starting in the year below them or re-doing the same year twice, this never applied to our area and our children are still in the correct year that they would be in UK, so I would check with the school you have in mind.

J

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Hi,

We moved here 15 months ago with our daughter who's now 12. She started in college in 6ieme. She did have about 6 months of french lessons from a private tutor before we came. That helped if only with the vocabulary and making friends. She has lot's of french friends and is now speaking french very well. The course work however in certain subjects History, French and Technology for instance is hard for her to understand. She is now re-doubling 6ieme. They feel it will give her a better chance in the long run. Hopefully now she won't have to re-do 4ieme which is known as a tough year. It would have been better if we'd have moved when she was 10 as she would have done a year at primary. Good Luck.

Shelly

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Angus and Barbara

I moved here when some of my 4 children were teenagers and they have done well. However, they had been on 6-month exchanges to France beforehand and so had an excellent grounding in the language. 

Take a look at this website: www.enfamille.com

This organisation are very experienced at arranging exchanges and are always looking for English families.  My children were 10 years' old when they did their exchanges and now say (aged 17 and 15) that it was the best thing that happened to them.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Just a comment about village schools - beware!

This obviously doesn't apply everywhere, but........

My duaghter used to go to CP1(I think it was from memory) , she was verbally abused by an assistant/temporary teacher, witnessed by the normal teacher and the rest of the school.

We complained to the person responsible for the areas several schools. She agreed there was a problem -case shut. We did not accept this and took it to the schools inspectors, who again agreed on investigation that the situation was unacceptable but were NOT prepared to take any actions!

Probably an isolated case, but I just get the feeling it would not have happened in a larger school.

I now live in one of the best education areas of France, but I read more and more about the problems of the 'narrow mindedness' of the French education system not being adapted to todays world.

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A lot of problems occur when the school has foreign non-french speaking children thrust upon them and they are at a loss of how to treat them and communicate. Not ALL schools are like this, certainly mine nearly14 years ago now were not subjected to any bad treatment or abuse, the opposite infact as they became the local celebrities for a while, but in areas where there is a high concentration of british settlers it does happen as the teachers are not used to spending time away from the main class to help those who cannot understand and lag behind. French teachers are fonctionnaires that basically work their hours for their pay, nothing more and certainly no after hours special treatment which comes from an outside source anyway upon demand. I know of two english children in a nearby village who have been expelled from all the local schools now because they have behavioural problems and no one knows or has the experience to deal with them so they have been left to muddle on themselves in a collège in town for the slightly backward children. At the end of the day your local primaire is a good place to start and if you have problems then you leave and find another school.
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I certainly could not have faulted our village primaire 6 years ago.  Granted our son was the only 'foreigner' but the headmaster/his teacher went out of his way to help him in all aspects.  Neither of the two class teachers had any english language but with lots of hand signals etc plus some help from us and a neighbour we muddled through.  He is now 15, first year of a well thought of lycee and yes, we are proud parents!!  Likewise, I think he was a bit of a novelty/celebrity factor with the other children until they realised they get up to the same things (think mischief!) all over the world!
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I may as well tell you this was the 'worst' situation, but....living in a small village 'can' have problmes....

Another example of small village schools/community : a local who had 'difficulties' threatened the teacher, hit the teacher, and because people in the area were frightened of the family no actions were taken.

All I am saying is that in small rural communities there can be more problems.

Having experienced them, personally I would not contemplate a village school.

You also need to clarify what is a village school. By that what I mean is : are all the different years in 1 class with 1 teacher = is a real village school , which was our situation!

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Angus and Barbara-  well done for preparing early. Sadly so many British families end up in all sorts of pickles due to poor planning of their move. Earlier this month, somebody posted a message asking for help with finding a school for a 15 year old, the day before school was due to start. Being a teenager in the last year of school is hard enough! As above, number one advice is to make sure your daughter has private French lessons- to include oral/aural communication, but also Grammar (including dictation! so much loved by the French educ. system)- with some cultural/historical content incl. (of course in very simple form at first) - so she can feel as confident as possible, both in and out of school. Whereabouts do you live? Another way to help her would be to organise regular visits to France, and even better an exchange- do you have any contacts to facilitate this? Perhaps you could contact the local school where you intend to live (if you know where that will be). Most local educ authorities in the UK have an officer in charge of promoting school exchanges- get his/her name from your council and get in touch. An exchange would ensure not only linguistic/cultural competence/confidence - but help her make a few friends from your chosen area in advance.     Bonne chance et bravo pour le planning (vive le Franglais)

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  • 1 month later...

our 3 children have coped differently at different levels in schools, some redoubling (for the best), one being sent to a  "special" etranger classe as his teacher couldn't cope (actually "be bothered" is a better description). He's now doing ok 2 yrs on. Youngest sometimes comes home in tears as everyone picks on him as he's different.

other friends of ours all have different stories. Some schools good, some bad. some kids adapt well, others struggle.

There's no point in asking how your child will do as no one here or anywhere else can answer that correctly. Only you know how your child will react in a strange/different environment. Try it. you might be pleasantly suprised or hate every minute. Speaking French is a definite. Not just simple stuff, you need to invest heavily in a French language intensive cours over the next 2/3 yrs

All things change over time, the education system will change to be more adaptable. For an instance, my wife is just about to start very simple English lessons for CM1 at the school where the teacher couldn't be bothered. She couldn't speak french 2 yrs ago so  things change

 

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as an update- of the 16kids in CM1 15 want english lessons pre 6ieme entre. (The schools round here offer spanish as a 2nd language). we think that they (the parents) have realised that understanding english, even at a basic level, is going to give their children a better chance in life in 8yrs or so.

Mandarin for me i'm afraid

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There is no work in France. The French refuse to employ the children of immigrants. Do your daughter a favour and stay in the UK. In our opinion the education here is Shite and I have five kids aged 4 to 22 who have gained nothing at all from being here in nearly five years. I wish we had never come here.

Others on this forum would have you believe it is the answer to all your dreams...PM me and get the truth.

France stinks.

 

 

 

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