Elementary School in Taunus - What about Phorms?

30 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi All,

We are looking for an elementary school in Taunus for our son, 6 years old.

We already looked into the Montesori in Schwalbach, but unfortunately they don't have space.

Now we found PHORMS as an alternative. They have a school in Taunus (Steinbach)

Somebody have some opinion/experience on it?.

Do you know other alternatives in Taunus area?

Thank you in advance.

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Posted

Phorms is supposed to be a bilingual school and is supposed to follow the IPC (International Primary Curriculum from Cambridge) alongside the state curriculum (as their schools are Ersatzschulen). The Phorms school in Cologne is closing down as soon as the current students have finished their primary school years there (i.e. they are no longer taking new students).

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Posted

Thank you Kazalphaville for your comment.

Do you know reasons why in Cologne is closing down?. Parents had not good experiences there?, simply is a bad school?. Or there are other reasons?

I visited during the weekend the school and I didn´t get a good impression.. But it was just from the street. :)

I´m trying to get more information.

Thank you in advance for your posts.

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Posted

Christina,

Thank you for your post. I will look more information about Mtropolitan. I snot far away from Taunus.

Thank you!

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Posted

Christina,

I´m pretty new in Germany and sorry for this question.

I ´ve reading the information and specially the fees. At the button of that page they mention that fees can be declare in your tax declaration and get back an X amount of money.

Are you doing that?, Which % more or less you get back?.

I really appreciate if we can talk by email or phone. As I mentioned, we are pretty new in "schools" topic in Germany and we are not sure how the system works.

PS: my email is cfaundezc@gmail.com

I appreciate. Thank you in advance.

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Posted

My daughter attended the Phorms school in Cologne for a few months and unfortunately it was not an experience to be repeated or recommended. She is flourishing now that she haas left the school, but learnt little or nothing whilst there. The Phorms concept seems to be a "smoke and mirrors" approach to education, relying on clever but naive (and sometimes arrogant) marketing, capitalising on parents' fears about the failure of the German system to embrace the educational reforms that are commomplace in UK and also - typically of the private schools sector in Germany - accommodating children who do not fit so easily into the mainstream schools, whilst bringing very little (indeed) in the way of educational know-how and expertise to the table. The Berlin-based founding group is distinctive for the complete absence of anyone with a track record of any kind as an educationalist.

Best avoided.

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Posted

Sounds just like any German private school.

All I know about the Phorms in Cologne, from what I've read and been told, is that they were not allowed to open their secondary school (Gymnasium) due to the fact that they employed native English speaking teachers whose qualifications were not equivalent to those of a German-trained Gymnasium teacher so not up to scratch for an Ersatzschule (cheek!). They went ahead with it anyway and were closed down. Then I read something about their financial status and it seems this has something to do with the primary school closing down. Don't quote me on it though. I know that Hannover is also closing/has closed down.

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Posted

In addition to the schools already mentioned above, you may want to consider the following:

The two largest international schools in the area are the Frankfurt International School ("FIS") and the International School of Frankfurt ("ISF"). They are fairly large schools with perhaps the best facilities of all the private schools in the Taunus area. Of course, they are also the most expensive. If your company is paying, then that may not be an issue. The main language of instruction of both schools is English, but both offer German as a foreign language starting in the preschool years. The FIS also has a bilingual program for the elementary years.

Newer private schools in the area (i.e. started within the last 5 years or so) in addition to the ones already mentioned (i.e. Erasmus and Metropolitan) include:

The Accadis School

Rhein Main International Montessori School ("RIMS")

Both are relatively small bilingual schools (German and English). I know families who have been at both schools. Some are happy with their chosen schools (i.e. Accadis or RIMS) and are still there. Some were unhappy and moved their children to other schools.

The Metropolitan is an English based school which follows the IB and also offers German classes. The facilities are not the same as the larger international schools, but the tuition is also cheaper. I know families who are happy there, but I also know families who are/were not happy and will be moving/have moved their children out of the school. From what I've heard, I think it really depends on the class teacher. A friend also mentioned that they were supposed to open a 5th grade class this school year (2009/2010), but they didn't due to lack of interest. Since your son is only in 1st grade, this issue may resolve itself if your son stays long enough.

If you look through old threads on this board, you may find additional infomration about these schools.

In any case, it would be worthwhile to visit each school as the look and feel of a school can really make a big difference depending on what you are looking for.

Good luck!

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Posted

FIS is a very good and well-established school. I was very impressed by it and the feeling I got while I was there.

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Posted

they were not allowed to open their secondary school (Gymnasium) due to the fact that they employed native English speaking teachers whose qualifications were not equivalent to those of a German-trained Gymnasium teacher so not up to scratch for an Ersatzschule (cheek!). They went ahead with it anyway and were closed down.

Why am I not surprised about the bureaucracy of the German school authorities?

Do you know if the same thing will happen to the Metropolitan? I know they are also an "Ersatzschule" but am not sure if they applied for "Gymnasium" status or "Gesamtschule" status. If the former, will the German School Authorities allow English speaking teachers to teach the 5th grade curriculum and beyond in English? Will they be able to adhere to the IB approach or will they have to move to a subject approach like the Gymnasium?

We have friends who were interested in sending their children to the Metropolitan this year for 5th grade, but were then told that they weren't opening a 5th grade this year despite all the advertisement.

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Posted

FIS is a very good and well-established school. I was very impressed by it and the feeling I got while I was there.

We agree. :)

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Posted

To be honest, I don't really know. Our school has a bilingual Gymnasium that counts as an Ersatzschule and an international English-language only comprehensive school that counts as an Ergänzungsschule so is not obliged to go by the same rules. So we have two secondary branches that parents can choose from. It will be interesting to see which direction the Metropolitan takes.

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Posted

The Metropolitan school will mainly go by IB guidelines (students will graduate with the IB diploma), as previously stated, but students will be given the option of taking the Abitur.

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Posted

But what kind of school will they have at the secondary stage?

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Posted

Then I read something about their financial status and it seems this has something to do with the primary school closing down. Don't quote me on it though. I know that Hannover is also closing/has closed down.

A bit OT but word has it that the school in Hannover has apparently found a new Träger and will be staying open for the time being.

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Posted

Interesting. Wonder if they're going to do something about Cologne as well then.

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Posted

I can't talk about the Phorms school in Taunus, but have spent a week observing at the school in Frankfurt, and my opinion is that it is a good school where the children are very well looked after. They are offered a wide range of activities including art and sport, and the majority of teachers there are very dedicated and of a high standard. The class sizes are small, and all classes have 2 teachers which is great as the ones falling behind can have one to one help.

Now for the negatives....the vast majority of students are German, so the level of English is not always great, and I feel that a native English speaker may suffer, as too much emphasis needs to be put on correcting and improving the childrens' English skills. Also for a child who speaks no German, they may have trouble settling in, as in the playground the children all talk German. This could obviously have the opposite affect, and actually help a child to learn German. During all times the teachers only converse with the children in English, and encourage the children to speak in English during all class times.

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Posted

The Metropolitan is beginning with the 5th grade this fall. It could have started it last year but many of the applicants for 5th and 6th grade were really German speakers which would have compromised the quality of the teaching since the children that start there are completely bilingual. So now more of their own students are progressing natuarally. I think they made a good choice in deciding to wait. They are going to open grades 6,7, and 8 in two years I think. They will follow the IBO and Cambridge program.

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Posted

Just jumping in here, does anyone know the costs of the International school. Please keep me in the loop of your searching for a suitable bilingual school. Thanks in anticipation Stirling

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Posted

We too are looking for an International school for our 5+ yr old (to start in 1st grade) and quickly did a list of them along with their monthly fee & location:

The Accadis School (500 PM, Bad Homburg)

Rhein Main International Montessori School (490 PM, Friedrichsdorf, Taunus)

Phorms (500 PM, FfM, Taunus)

Metropolitan School (800 PM, FfM)

Frankfurt International School (1300 PM, Oberusel)

International School of Frankfurt (1100 PM, FfM)

Strotthoff International School (1300 PM, Dreieich)

Any school missing?

The latter 3 are on the expensive side, so would be great if you guys can share any experience with the first 4 in terms of class-size, facilities, education-method etc.

Thanks for sharing.

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Posted

The difference in cost is probably down the the fact that the cheaper ones are Ersatzschulen (meaning they follow the state curriculum), so get money from the state as well as fees from the parents and thus are able to lower the school fees as it is economically viable.

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Posted

I have to agree with the post quoted below 100%. After working at a Phorms school for several years, I am convinced parents should send their children elsewhere. The management (AG) is only interested in making money and don't have any experience with education. Everyone making the decisions comes from a business background and treat the teachers, parents and children accordingly.

"My daughter attended the Phorms school in Cologne for a few months and unfortunately it was not an experience to be repeated or recommended. She is flourishing now that she haas left the school, but learnt little or nothing whilst there. The Phorms concept seems to be a "smoke and mirrors" approach to education, relying on clever but naive (and sometimes arrogant) marketing, capitalising on parents' fears about the failure of the German system to embrace the educational reforms that are commomplace in UK and also - typically of the private schools sector in Germany - accommodating children who do not fit so easily into the mainstream schools, whilst bringing very little (indeed) in the way of educational know-how and expertise to the table. The Berlin-based founding group is distinctive for the complete absence of anyone with a track record of any kind as an educationalist. Best avoided."

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Posted

Good morning all,

My son currently attends FIS. He is 5 years old. We are overall happy with FIS and all it has to offer. Our only concern is the German language. We originally came here on a 3 year contract so learning German while desirable was not the top priority. We needed a very welcoming school community, in a familiar language and FIS does a superb job of integrating new members. 80% of the friends we have made here have been through the school. We also mistakenly understood that there would be a bit more German at FIS. After 3 years, my sons German is very, very limited. We have now been offered the chance to stay in Germany indefinitely and we have been looking for a good German-English Bilingual school.

We have visited Metropolitan, Accadis and ISF as well as PBG in Wiesbaden.

Accadis and Metropolitan are out of the way for us. PBG is very new, small and still very experimental while the method of teaching of ISF does not really appeal to us. Their facilities are impressive though!

Just when I had given up and resigned myself to the fact that my son would continue at FIS, with private German lessons at home and lots of after school activities in German, I yesterday find out that there is a bilingual school called Phorms in Steinbach. I checked the website and it all looks great.

They are close to nature, have lots of outside space, offer a good deal of German, use both English and German in other lessons such as maths and sciences, have a wealth of after-school activities, cost half the price of FIS and offer the children a more enquiry-based approach to learning than the normal classical education(We are used to the PYP system at FIS). It seems too good to be true.

After yesterdays´ euphoria, I am now doing research. From what I have read parents and teachers do not seem to be too happy with it. I have read about the closure of schools in other cities as well as a high turnover of teachers. The majority of what I have read however dates back to 2011, with very little specifically writen about the Taunus School. Does anyone have any up-to-date information about Phorms Taunus? Do you have children there? Are they happy? Are they learning? How is the interaction with the teachers? Are parents involved in any activities at school?

Thank you very much.

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