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Advice about international or bilingual schools in or near Düsseldorf

8 posts in this topic

Hello Toytowners,

 

Could you please help me with suggestions for bilingual schools anywhere in 50km radius of Dusseldorf? I have searched as much as I could, but I cannot find many options. I'd much appreciate your help.

 

My offer has finally arrived and I am forced to take up Dusseldorf as the location (I had requested Heidelberg, declined by boss). I would like to find out which schools can I admit my kids, who will be aged 6 and 2.5 by next August (I will arrive in Feb / March). My wife might look for jobs only once kids are settled down, so I am the sole wage earner for my family.

 

I am looking for bilingual schools (I cannot afford international school for two kids! That will be like 35%-40% of my gross salary!), at least for the 1st grader. From what I could find, I see 'Sternenschule Duisburg', Bilingo Cologne, International Peace School Cologne as options - though I assume last two of them are very pricey! I don't know much about Sternenschule Duisburg, but I hope it is a state-funded school and not completely private funded. Any other options?

 

I am planning at least 4-5 years of stay in Germany, if not more. Is bilingual Grundschule and then later a German gymnasium the right approach? What would you suggest?

 

Thank you!

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Hi,

 

Have you checked for sure that your employer will not help you cover the cost of international school? Sometimes you just have to push, that being said. I have actually been to the Sternschule in Duisburg and found it an interesting concept. Small classes, renovated campus close to St. George's in S, Duisburg and all subjects other than math are taught in English and German. Math is taught all in German, to help prepare for Gymnasium. They did not have a German as a second language program which could be needed for your 1st grader, since they assume they will be getting mostly German speakers. Some of the " native " English speakers were from Asia which was not a plus in my opinion. It does cost money, it is not a free school, I think its about 500€ a month. As for the parents I encountered there, many of them were mixed nationality families, Russian-German, Italian German, Chinese and Indian so it was pretty international.

 

There are other international school choices in the area but probably cost more.

 

Good luck!!

 

DC

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Thank you very much DC girl for giving the first hand information about Sternenschule Duisburg. I tried contacting them but haven't received a reply for a while now.

 

Also, I see that there is another Carolinenschule in Bochum which works on a similar concept. Which also costs similar. It is way cheaper than 1.2K per month anyway which the international schools cost. Only crib is, Bochum is about 40kms from my work place (about 35 mins by car).

 

By the way, how was Sternenschule's campus? Do they have any outdoor activities for the kids at all? I was also hoping for native English speakers as teachers, but they would probably cost more.

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Thank you ChussKeDweele, I had seen this during my web search a few days ago. I found (again, from web resources) that this bilingual offering only means about 5-7 hours of English language teaching per week. Not immersion method. The difference *** I assume *** is that teachers assume you know German already. Whereas in immersion, the time allotted is 50% for each language.

 

Question is, whether the State schools, with the bilingual orientation, are ready to take a non-German-speaking kid and help him with his German language development. Also, aren't these schools hard to get and have large class sizes?

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The Sternschule is on an old school campus, seems like a normal Grundschule, they mentioned something like taking kids to a turnhalle etc so perhaps it is not as well outfitted as I thought. They seem to be making quite a marketing push lately... try calling them again. It is closer than Bochum if you are close to DD. Good luck-

 

DC

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Thank you ChussKeDweele, I had seen this during my web search a few days ago. I found (again, from web resources) that this bilingual offering only means about 5-7 hours of English language teaching per week. Not immersion method. The difference *** I assume *** is that teachers assume you know German already. Whereas in immersion, the time allotted is 50% for each language.

 

Question is, whether the State schools, with the bilingual orientation, are ready to take a non-German-speaking kid and help him with his German language development. Also, aren't these schools hard to get and have large class sizes?

 

No, there are no fully bilingual state schools in NRW as far as I am aware of. But you are right, their bilingual school offering does not entail more than a few lessons (besides English) per week in English. And the subjects given in English vary per school as well. And if it is a primary school you are looking for, you'd be lucky if they offer another subject in English (other than English), at all.

 

I assume that you cannot afford, or don't want totake them to ISD, St. Georges, ISR Neuss, IS Ruhr/Essen, or the new Sternenschule (which is only a primary school, BTW). I suggest visiting a few of these schools on the list that fulfil that bilingual criteria, especially if they are "Europa-Schule" or specialize in integration. These schools usually are better at, and more willing to deal with German-language issues.

 

Once you find one you like, you do the Anmeldung (registration) there. Rules dealing with Anmeldung vary from city to city. Usually you are only allowed to register at one school per city, and if they cannot take in the kid(s), they have to forward you to the closest, available one. Sometimes you are allowed to pick or suggest other schools at the Anmeldung, should the primary choice fail to take them in. Ask the schools how the process works in that city when you visit them.

 

Schulministerium NRW guidelines right now favour distance to home over every other factor. Grades, etc. only play a role at secondary schools.

 

Class sizes are a matter of personal preference, really. Schools usually do not exceed 30 students per class. Most primary state schools in "normal" situations average 23 kids per class as of 2012/13. With the inclusion and school integration laws coming through lately, this number is bound to increase of course. But I have this to say: class size, reputation of school, etc. do not play that big of a role in a kid's outcome. Primary factors are always the parent's socio-economical background, parent's education, and parent's involvement in the learning process.

 

Taking all of this in consideration, IMHO the best route in such cases is immerse the kid(s) in the German system, taking advantage of the available bilingual, and extra German-language support offerings, of course. I don't know how long you plan to stay, but let me tell you: German in Germany is freaking essential. They won't forget their English if you continue speaking it at home. Better yet: take the time to revise with them their daily material, in English, so that they can keep up, should they move back into English-speaking school system in the future.

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Dear ChussKeDweele, thank you very much the detailed post, very kind of you to do so.

 

My opinion was biased towards a proper bilingual school so far, but now I feel it would be better if they get into German system as early as possible. Of course, my spouse and I would love to spend time with the two kids to ensure they know their English too.

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