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European School Culham


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Does anyone have any experience of the European School at Culham in the UK? We thought it would be a good environment for our three bilingual children (4, 6 and 8) when we return to the UK next month. We applied to the English section of the school. However, they rejected the children (without seeing them) and told us to reapply later 'after the children have been successfully integrated into English education'! We were astonished. It doesn't seem a very 'European' attitude. They seemed unprepared to offer the fairly small amount of extra support that the eldest will need to catch up in written English (we explained that he can already read in English). In reception and year 1, I can't believe that the other two know much less than English children do at that early stage. I thought a European school, which is heavily subsidised by the EU, would cater for bilingual children who are moving from one education system to another. Luckily the local primary has been very friendly and helpful, and we are very positive about the children going there. 

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I have no experience of the school (and I rather suspect it will be thin on the ground on any forum such as this) but they have a website and a Wikipedia entry. The website doesn't seem to be responding at the moment. There does not appear to be an Ofsted report on the school, although it has been mentioned a number of times in Hansard. You may find this article interesting.

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 I have a French friend whose boys both went there, right through the system as far as I know, they both did extremely well, one was academic and one was not so much , however they were both catered for. It's very popular locally and  some children travel a good way to get there.

Where are you returning to?

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We're returning to Oxfordshire, which is why we were interested in the school. I know it's very popular locally - I just wonder how many of these local children (in the English section) are bilingual, considering that they don't like taking children who have been educated abroad. Your French friend's children were in the French section, presumably? I wonder how much mixing there is between children from different language sections? We'd have liked to visit and discuss these things, but you are not allowed to visit until offered a place ...
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My French friend was married to an English chap and they lived about 10 miles from the school, both boys are bi lingual as far as I know (their mother teaches French at HE level) it never occured to me to ask which section they were in. I think she has changed her ISP but I'll see if I can contact her.

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