Best international schools near Heidelberg

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I was wondering if anyone can suggest an International school near Heidelberg. The two I have found so far are Heidelberg International School and Baden International School. Also can anyone suggest an area between Heidelberg and Mannheim to live. I would like to find an area that is fairly family friendly. I have 2 young (2 and 5) kids and it would be nic to be in an area with other kids.

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If there is space available, you can also send your kids to the military schools in Heidelberg. However tuition is approx $15,000 a year, roughly the same as the international school.

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I am also looking for an internationaal school for our 3 young children - has anyone current experience with any school mentioned?

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Hello. My 2 children are at the Grundschule (primary school) of the Englisches Institut in Heidelberg. This is a private school, but very reasonable, and I highly recommend it for children who are comfortable learning in German. It is bi-lingual but the syllabus and first language is definitely German. Hope this is of use.

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Unlike most international schools in the wider region, the EI is also a "traditional" private school in Heidelberg, having been founded some 55 years ago. Although the elementary school branch is relatively new (unlike the Gymnasium, the boarding school and the interpreter school that belong to the complex).

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Yep, right next to the highway (or rather, above it).

 

Btw (for the OP), technically Heidelberg and Mannheim directly border each other.

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My eldest has just turned four, so I'm very interested in this topic. I find the €1000+ per month of the international school just too expensive to comtemplate and would be very interested in any more information on the Grundschule (primary school) of the Englisches Institut in Heidelberg - the website really doesn't offer much information. How much are the fees? How is its academic standing? Has anyone had kids attend? Where did they go after completing the Grundschule?

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The fees are on the German version of their website. 1900 Euro one-off payment, then 400 Euro per month.

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There's also a new school - Baden International School - based right in Heidelberg. They offer, I think, preschool and early primary grades at the moment and are expanding yearly to eventually include all of primary and secondary. Common Cormorant, if you're still there - I don't have a child there but friends who do say that Englisches Institut (at least for secondary education) is definitely not worth the money. Most have switched their child to other (non-Int'l) schools in the meantime, as they found the teaching (esp. English!) to be poor, parent-teacher interactions to be frustrating, and kids to be unhappy. This comes from German families as well as expats, a sample of 5 different families (who don't know each other). None has ended up enthusiastic about the education there, though all were pretty keen on it to begin with. HTH.

 

The go-to secondary schools that parents have liked much better (and which are not Int'l) are the Elisabeth-von-Thadden Schule and St Raphael. They're Lutheran and Catholic (respectively) so maybe not everybody's taste but of course they accept pupils from all religions and from no religion at all.

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The go-to secondary schools that parents have liked much better (and which are not Int'l) are the Elisabeth-von-Thadden Schule and St Raphael.

... and both are private schools, like EI and, with far worse reputation, Heidelberg College and, outside the general competition, the Waldorf school. Sure, among those four german private schools in Heidelberg, those two are the go-to. In competition with the state schools? Part of the second string, with Helmholtz, Bunsen and Hölderlin having a similar reputation, and KFG usually rated higher (but that might have to do with the fact that you have no chance there unless your parents hold at least a Prof title or donate certain amounts of money to the school).

Each school in Heidelberg pretty much has its own reputation. Not so much in comparison to the others, but by itself.

 

 

They're Lutheran and Catholic (respectively) so maybe not everybody's taste but of course they accept pupils from all religions and from no religion at all.

And staunchly so. Thadden forces pupils to participate in social projects with Diakonie and intern there, and has regular prayer hours and mass with the classes. Raphael afaik does the social projects and internships with Caritas, but not the regular praying (at least not any more than at other schools). It used to be a all-girls school under a nun order btw, the Realschule connected to it still is one today.

 

Thadden is part of the school foundation of Diakonie, while Raphael is part of the school foundation of the archdiocese of Freiburg. And of course they accept pupils from all religions. Otherwise, they'd lose their school license damn quick.

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Kato, I haven't heard anything negative about the *academics* at Thadden or St Raphael - have you? If you have, do you have specifics? I'd be interested, as among other things I'm involved in research on local education policy including that of the market for and provision of independent schools. I have heard lots of reports (anecdotal but from parents as well as staff) of EI and Heidelberg College being weak academically (both b/c of academic caliber of kids who get sent there and b/c of caliber of teaching - esp. the English teaching). EI has mixed reputation "on the street" but HC's negative reputation for academics appears to be less ambiguous and quite longstanding. Plus places like HC charge substantially higher fees - both St. R and Thadden are sliding scale with a relatively low maximum and thus not nearly as exclusive. So I wouldn't put them in the same socioeconomic category, either. Obviously the parents I know who switched from EI to Thadden and St R are not too disturbed by the latter being staunchly religious religious schools even though the parents themselves may not be so gung ho on the religious aspect. There can be little point to having a religious school which is not staunchly so, oder? (Your politics show when you say "Thadden forces" rather than "Thadden requires", and again with "pretty damn quick" - punny!).

 

Walldorf is of course a different category because its whole point is to be philosophically AND pedagogically different - it's a lifestyle (more than mainstream religions are) and not (exclusively or at all) abi-prep as the others are. Though there are clearly beloved Gymnasien and other state schools in HD, none of the families I know have switched from EI to state schools. Especially the expat families I know have preferred to stay private for a variety of reasons (esp. after-school and extra curriculars). Chacun a son gout.

 

The reason why I mentioned St. R and Thadden is because Common Cormorant mentioned Int'l Schools' cost being a concern. Wonder what s/he went with in the end? (CC, if you're there, maybe you could let us know?)

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EI has mixed reputation "on the street" but HC's negative reputation for academics appears to be less ambiguous and quite longstanding.

HC's traditional reputation for decades has been that you send your kids there if they've pretty much been kicked out at other schools, and their grades will "suddenly" increase. Until Abitur anyway, where their fail rate is like 4 times that of other schools (well, Waldorf has comparable rates). Alternative as private school is Bammental, which is essentially the boarding school variant, and has even higher fail rates, and alternative as state school is Sandhausen.

 

From the things i've heard over the last 20 years, while Thadden in comparison to other schools excels at social concepts and related subjects (music etc), they're not all that excelling academically in e.g. science. There's other schools - Helmholtz, Bunsen - that focus on that, and are usually regarded as "better" in these fields (they have other weak points). KFG is usually regarded the only school offering a humanistic "traditional upper education". EI and Hölderlin generally are the "run of the mill" gymnasiums without particular strong points.

I guess it depends on where you (as a parent) put your priorities for your kid's education.

 

 

(Your politics show when you say "Thadden forces" rather than "Thadden requires", and again with "pretty damn quick" - punny!).

Well, i've been raised as a proper atheist (the "he can choose yourself" kind) - neither school would even enter consideration for me, just like e.g. the Waldorf school. I've been forced to go to mass by German schools myself.

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Being forced to go to Mass (or a Protestant service?) seems to be one of the prices one pays here. Is there really no opt-out? What about the ethics vs. religious education options? Or are those too recent to have affected your own school career? Yet being forced to attend religious services doesn't seem to have hurt your atheist upbringing, so perhaps no harm no foul? At least now you know thine enemy. I have to admit I'm not familiar with different kinds of atheism so I'm not sure who the he (or He?) is who chooses you in your brand but if it suits then more power to you.

 

I've definitely heard the same about HC and that school in Bammental - I guess in a country that forbids homeschooling, even rich kids who bomb out of other schools still need a place to go. A pity they won't advance academically there.

 

In case anybody out there's still looking at school options in the HD area, my newest favorite private school around here is the Hawking-Schule in Neckargemund. I've spent a lot of time there for research purposes and find it to be a very positive place, academically, socially, and in terms of extra-curriculars for disabled and non-disabled kids, from Grundschule through all 3 secondary options (I've spent time in their Grund-, Realschule and Gymn branches).

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Is there really no opt-out? What about the ethics vs. religious education options? Or are those too recent to have affected your own school career?

Did protestant religion class voluntarily till grade 6, then opted out and did mandatory ethics class from grade 8 on. My elementary school had mandatory participation in ecumenic mass at the beginning and end of the school year (as sort of a group outing, whole school walked to the local church); my gymnasium had these ceremonies in school, with opting out possible (there were a lot more non-christians in the gymnasium than the earlier elementary school, so there wasn't any possible peer pressure either).

 

 

In case anybody out there's still looking at school options in the HD area, my newest favorite private school around here is the Hawking-Schule in Neckargemund.

For disabled children needing special care, i can also recommend the Martinsschule in Ladenburg, currently moving into a new larger building. They have integrated classes too, both internal and with other local schools (especially at elementary level).

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Kato - Thanks for the explanation. Interesting that there was church service opt-out in Gymnasium but not for younger kids. I'd have expected a unified policy (even at the level of the Land) on such things but of course just because there's a policy doesn't mean it's uniformly applied.

 

I have heard of the Martinsschule, that it's a great place for a lot of kids. Do they offer Realschule and Gymnasium, too? Oh, wait - I can google it. Cheers!

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Glad to see this thread is still bubbling.

 

Tyke senior isn't six until 2011 so hopefully I still have plenty of time to do my research on this.

 

The EI sounds most interesting so far - I don't really see a place for religion in education, though it wouldn't be a showstopper. However, I'm interested in what you had to say about their english teaching as that is the main attraction. I got the impression that the EI is a bi-lingual (though German first) school. Are EvT and SR really better at teaching English??

 

To pad out my wishlist a bit:

 

1. We'd like a "good" school with a concentration on English.

2. "Good" in the sense that I suspect Tyke senior will need good supervision, she tends to become distracted easily.

3. However, that doesn't mean it has to be a driven academic school. I want a well rounded education and if the kids excel, great, if they don't that is also okay.

4. It needs to be a public or reasonably priced private school. We're not loaded and in a few years tyke junior will join her.

5. I'd prefer somewhere not too religous. I'd rather she wasn't taught that Daddy is going to hell for being an unbeliever :o)

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For public schools at elementary level, you're confined to your local district school.

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