St George's School in Duisburg

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I may have a teaching opportunity at St George's School in Duisburg. I can find very little about the school other than what's on their website.

 

Does anybody know anything about this school, from teachers perspective or a parent? It's hard to get unbiased information about international schools and I know there are many that are not pleasant places to work. Information from their other schools in Cologne or Archen would also be relevant.

 

Anything you could tell me would be appreciated.

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My kids have been going to St Georges since 5 years now, and they love the school. Hope the input helps - parent's perspective of course.

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Several friends or co-workers of mine have their children attend St. George´s in Duisburg. I think they are all happy with it, seems like a serious school. The school is moving to a new facility in the south of Duisburg in the near future.

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'Exam results are average'

TTASG, this is very interesting, and worrying as parents are making big investment in their chldren's future so I made research. See the below links from the StG website; At A-level, the A*/A share is 23% (Köln) and 33% (Duisburg). But this is maybe not so good if you consider the following...

 

The German A-level is a total breeze for native-speakers and expatriate-children who are living here. I expect StG to have their graduates sit and achieve A*/A in A-level German, a no-brainer as obviously it increases the candidates grade average. Eliminate these from the calculation and the remaining base results are mainly B-U grades. That is worrying me as A/A* is needed for entry to a decent Uni and certainly UK private schools have much better results.

 

Another thing; The %-bars on the Duisburg results sum up to 115% not 100% :unsure: . Sloppy work, Mr.C; Six strokes for you (that was the tradition in fine British public schools on which StG is baseing itself!)

 

Of course this is an open forum so StG have the possibility to clarify these points. I am only a simple Ruhrpott-Junge who wants to buy his kids the best....

 

Reference links:-

http://www.stgeorgesschool.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/alevel2010.jpg

http://www.stgeorgesschool.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/gce2010dui.jpg

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My Daughter has been at St.Georges in Duisburg for over 1 year now. I think it is an excellent school and if the teachers are I have met are unhappy, then they are very professional as it does not show. Many of the teachers run after school clubs and help out at events run by the Parent Association and have gone out of their way to make my daughters time there an enjoyable experience.

The school will be moving to a new building after Christmas, so there is no lack of investment in improvements.

 

Exam results do not concern me, If a child is encouraged and well supported at home as well as school then they will perform to the best of their abilities. There are many successful people in this world who did not get 95%+ in their school exams, there are also many unemployable people who have PHds.

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So Power Trader, if exam results do not concern you, then St G's is certainly a fine school for your child. (hope she does not aspire to study medicine).

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Duisburgboy, thanks for your concern.

I am sure if she wants to study medicine, she will work hard and be in the top 5 or 10 percent who achieve A* and A grades.

 

Just because you pay for an education, does not mean you can buy grades. The child does have to put some work in. Children can achieve good grades at any school.

What is important for me is the total package a school offers and for that I think St.Georges is excellent compared to other options in this area.

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what options? Just the English-speaking schools? Forget them all, all are pretty flawed in their own special way IMHO.

 

If you are in Germany long term then check out the German schools. Kindergartens are excellent, some Primary 'Grundschule' are admittedly a bit weak in some cases but the Gymnasiums in Düsseldorf and Duisburg area are really excellent. Thats why some leave StG's at the end of Y5.

 

The local Gymnasiums offer:-

 

- experienced well-trained teachers (mainly)

- a structured environment

- motivated students (much peer-pressure to excel)

- It is free (of course you may need to spend a bit on coaching if you are non-native)

- the children learn to speak a foreign language properly (German)

- UK universities seemingly realise that the German standard is higher!!

 

its your choice of course...

If you want any advice, ping me back

 

Greetings from the card table in my local Sittardsberg Dönerbude. (Efes; the best in the South, full of Silicon-Pott tecchies like me at lunchtime).

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They leave at the end of year 5 (which equates to the end of grade 4 in a German primary school, so end of primary school) to go to a German Gymnasium mainly because German parents are convinced that the German Abitur is the ultimate qualification at the end of schooling if you want to go to uni. Yes, A levels are also accepted and so is the IB DP (though it took a LONG time to get recognition for the IB and, even then, only with certain conditions) and St George's offers both, but they are seen as sub-standard in comparison to the almighty Abitur.

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Abitur is definitely much tougher than A-levels. Period. UK and USA universities recognise this and certainly German universities are not keen on A-Levels / IB.

 

I still believe that the level of A-Level results at St G's looks well below that of the UK State School average...not good. Private schools in the UK have even much better results I guess.

(condition = if you strip out the top 25% of results which will be A/A* in German of course and won't be counted by a critical admissions tutor)

 

In my view, these 'International Schools' are a possible but expensive last chance saloon for lower achievers or difficult pupils. Unless you have real learning difficulties or behavioural problems then you are not thrown out.

 

If your child is smart and you are happy to save 1k€/month in fees then go through the German system. Its a 'no-brainer'. Good teachers, good motivation, a good result for free!

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It's basically down to recognition and traditionalism of parents and the education system, not results. Germany is a well-known "stuck-in-the-mud" when it comes to higher level qualifications for uni entrance and the Abitur is the only one for them. Slowly changing. Slowly being the operative word. Add a very to that. As a parent though, I would be looking for much more from an education for my kids than just exam results.

 

As for the "last chance saloon", well, international schools practice inclusion and so it is normal to have a diverse mix of students with varying abilities and special needs at the lower and higher end of the spectrum. It's unfair to say they are just for difficult students and underachievers. They also have very high achievers and model students. The main point of international education is to promote international-mindedness. Big difference from the German state system. Cannot compare the two as they are not the same. Will be interesting to see the "last chance saloon" view now that inclusion is mandatory for state schools (at least in NRW, since January this year). Time will tell.

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Sure, soft skills are so important and were certainly totally lacking in many fellow German graduates who I encountered in my worklife.

 

It surprised me that students at Gymnasium are now expected to communicate proactively in classroom discussion and this counts towards the grades. A good alternative now to the US 'show and tell' method. You cannot be a back row nerd and succeed just on test and exam results. Also, the pace is such that pupils learn to organise themselves, a fine soft-skill. The mutual support amongst pupils is very impressive.

ISD is definitely a wonderful international environment for Germans to send their children as they can mix with the expats from all around the world. St George's students are predominantly German.

Anyway in the German state system, especially in Duisburg, there is a high proportion of non-Germans; it is becoming a big melting pot of many colourful nationalities from all walks of life. A different experience, nevertheless invaluable.

 

ÍSD sport offering is really excellent and I beleive that sport for kids is character building. Again, I hope St G's is catching up in this area. In German schools, sport is taught formally, it means that the kids are taught about all kinds of sports in depth on a 'block' basis so they learn swimming, wrestling, badminton, rock-and-roll dance, volleyball etc etc. If they want to progress in any sport they can move to a club where they can follow their chosen sport with the support of many excellent trainers.

 

Well, in German Gymnasium you miss out on the chance to hang out with the kids of rich and prominent people...oh well, never mind.

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lots of money in Munich. They will make a killing.

 

No I don't work for a Gymnasium nor for ISD (which has its own serious issues): I just don't like to see honest people being duped and ripped off.

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I still believe that the level of A-Level results at St G's looks well below that of the UK State School average...not good.

Without a closer look at the results for the entire school it would be hard to draw conclusions. It is possible that the most academic pupils choose the IB qualification which would mean the A level results alone do not reflect the overall perfomance. I'm sure exam results are a good starting point but they are harder to interpret when many pupils would have transferred in from other International Schools and many parents provide extra tutoring.

 

I have always thought the best way to assess a school is to visit, look at what is going on in classrooms, talk to as many staff as possible and ask questions. StG has certainly generated enough negative comments on this board to raise concerns so there are plenty of questions to ask.

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Results at Duisburg are exclusively A-Levels. IB has just been introduced at Duisburg and has not yet completed its final year so no results are posted on the StG Duisburg website.

Most students are local Germans who have been there for some time.

Fees, I hear, are set to rise to almost ISD levels top cover the cost of the new school site!

 

On the plus point the reception, middle and upper school Heads of Dept and the IB coordinator and exam coordinator are in their own right excellent teachers. I guess thats why they were appointed; but they have their work cut out...

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I am reading some of these posts in disbelief! I have taught at 2 of these schools over the past 7 years and, although there have been some problems with contracts for teachers (which are now ironed out), the level of education offered is extremely high. To be clear - these schools are certainly not a last chance saloon for those with learning or behavioural difficulties. In fact, having worked in the UK state system, I would be loathe to go back after working here. The pupils' behaviour is exemplary and the teachers can get on with the job of teaching rather than policing (which is becoming an increasingly significant problem in the Gymnasiums).

 

In terms of academics, the pupils (often German) are expected to work extremely hard. They sit exams which are intended for native English speakers, and are in small classes, so there is very little opportunity for messing around at the back of the class!

 

The usual nonsense thrown at English schools (often from Gymnasiums) is that we are somehow an alternative for those who can't get by at Gymnasium level. This is based on a lack of understanding of the English comprehensive system, whereby we aim to ensure that all pupils of all abilities succeed rather than simply letting them sink or swim. This is thanks to dedicated teachers who differentiate the work given.

 

High staff turnover is a problem in any International school. This is simply because some teachers never intended to create their lives abroad and rather wanted the experience of living abroad for a few years before returning home. However, in all 3 schools, there is a core of members of staff who have their lives in Germany and care very much about the future of their schools.

 

@Duisburgboy - having read your posts, you seem to be in the enviable position of having a wealth of experience in both the English and German education systems AND experience of both the Abitur and A Levels. Or, you are basing your opinions on hearsay and a lack of any actual experience. You do not seem to aware though that our pupils study in German universities and universities around the world - the A Level is an internationally recognised qualification (yes, even in Germany.) Some pupils have gone on to study medicine! Fancy that!

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I do speak from first-hand experience of both systems at Kindergarten, Junior and also Senior level in UK and Germany. As a non-native student and parent. Thats why I see through all the StG's smoke and mirrors.

 

Some points:-

 

- Classroom discipline in Gymnasiums is largely generated by peer pressure to succeed rather than a sole mandate from the teacher. The students are marked on their interactive classroom performance as well as written work. Yes, the classes are rowdy sometimes, this is the real world. But a lot of learning gets done.

 

- Policing? May be necessary in the lower Hauptschulen with social misfits etc but I am not talking about these, I am talking about the Gymnasiums where I never saw a real big problem.

 

- The German kids at StG's are educated in English from the start and so they are bilingual so they're not disadvantaged. In fact their command of correct written exam-grade English should be really accurate as they have learnt the grammar in a structured way as a foreign language rather than picked it up from peers and parents. Young kids absorb language like water to a sponge. (elocution actually is an issue with StG's German kids ''Zay are speeking zike zis'')

 

- GK08 mentions her experience in the free UK state schools and comprehensive schools. Presently a St G's Aachen director (junior and middle school). Yes, I dont blame GK08 for not wanting to work in the UK state system; these schools are more often than not ghastly, thats why UK parents pay wild property prices to relocate to areas with good state schools. Or alternatively to pay fees for Public schools like StG's. So StG's should not benchmark its exam results to the UK state schools; Public schools costing cash like StG's have results in a different league. That is my issue.

 

- Comprehensive education. All abilities in one classroom? Oh dear; not a fan of that really; reduction of the standard to the LCD, not the HCF. Gymnasium students are high achievers, the classroom level is commensurate.

 

So GK08 misses the point. St G's is a costly private Public school, therefore the benchmark for St G's is not the UK state 'comprehensive' schools, but the UK Public schools. I mean, the St G's parents think that they pay for a touch of Harrow, Eton, Fettes, Hogwarts when they lay their Euros down each month.

 

Whilst some St G's students do get into medicine and go Universities worldwide, clearly the unimpressive results should be a lot better. In any case incorrectly benchmarked against results of free UK state schools; they should be benchmarked against results from private public schools are much better. The parents deserve more for their money and this is down to St G management to invest in heavily and sort out.

 

Soft skills. And of course exam results are one thing and soft skills are another. Agreed, soft skills are probably more important in life than exam results but who do you benchmark these? You can't. So it is easy to say in a token way (is that the right english word?) that the students are equipped with excellent soft skills.

 

However if the results of hard skills is in deficit then how can one be sure that the soft skills are really being taught well? UK Public Schools are excellent in developing soft skills especially in the lower achievers so as to enable them to cope without academic qualifications.

I don't see much of the character-building Public School type of team sports programms at StG's. (For instance they should field soccer and other teams in the local leagues just like ISD do!)

 

Hope my English does not contain too mayn mistakes, UBT....

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