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primary school admission - strange situation

PepPep Posts: 501
edited August 2015 in The cake stop
I live in Germany with my wife and our 6our old daughter.
In England kids start school at Age 5, but here in Germany they start at Age 7. Had we remained in UK, our kid would have started school in 2014, but here in DE will start in 2016.

There is chance next Xmas we will return to England, in the house we own and where we lived earlier. We will want our child to start school. I expect this is also, of course, a legal requirement.

Could the school of our catchement area (which is also our fav school, the one where our kid had preschool before moving to Germany) refuse admission because we had not applied earlier and it will not be the "normal" school starting time of the year?

Just asking.
Thanks.

Posts

  • I would expect the normal procedures when someone moves into an area would apply, so you can join mid-term, but only if there are places!

    Interesting that it's 7 in Germany that seems quite old! Of course while the UK starting age is 5 most join at 4.
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 44,550
    As above, it is likely to be dependent on places. The council has an obligation to provide education but not necessarily at the school closest to you/ your preferred school. May be a good idea if you know where you will be living to look at admissions procedures and call the council about it. The danger is that they end up in a achool that isn't what you want.
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  • BarbarossaBarbarossa Posts: 248
    We moved back from Italy a couple of years ago and had to go through this process.

    We had the added complication that we couldn't make an application for a place until we were living back in the UK - as you have a house maybe this won't be a problem.

    We found that the best thing to do was to talk to the Bursar or Head-Teacher and to go and visit the school. It seems that they have a lot of influence in the decision. In our case, everything was agreed with the Head and our son had been at the school for about 3 weeks before the confirmation came through from the Education Authority!
  • sirmolsirmol Posts: 287
    Contact the school - if they have places you can apply via the school.
  • finchyfinchy Posts: 6,689
    Interesting that it's 7 in Germany that seems quite old! Of course while the UK starting age is 5 most join at 4.

    6 or 7 is a very common starting age on the continent.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Interesting that it's 7 in Germany that seems quite old! Of course while the UK starting age is 5 most join at 4.

    6 or 7 is a very common starting age on the continent.
    8 or 9 is a very common catching up and overtaking age, too.
  • PepPep Posts: 501
    Thanks.

    Sounds reasonble.
    I doubt simply owning a house (now let) would put us in a favourable position.

    One further complications are languages. Our child has Japanese mum, Italian dad (that's me), and has lived in Germany since leaving UK at 3.5yr of age. She "learnt" English while she lived in England but here in Germany she forgot most of it, in favour of German. We do speak English at home (Mum-Dad, because it's the only language we have in common), so she is constantly exposed to it. But to her we speak our own languages (so she has 3 native languages: Jap, Ita, Ger). She understands much English (that would be her 4th language) but cannot really speak it. I wonder how much the school will see this as extra issue for them and therefore try not to help.
  • Thanks.

    Sounds reasonble.
    I doubt simply owning a house (now let) would put us in a favourable position.

    One further complications are languages. Our child has Japanese mum, Italian dad (that's me), and has lived in Germany since leaving UK at 3.5yr of age. She "learnt" English while she lived in England but here in Germany she forgot most of it, in favour of German. We do speak English at home (Mum-Dad, because it's the only language we have in common), so she is constantly exposed to it. But to her we speak our own languages (so she has 3 native languages: Jap, Ita, Ger). She understands much English (that would be her 4th language) but cannot really speak it. I wonder how much the school will see this as extra issue for them and therefore try not to help.

    At that age, with constant exposure to the language that she already has a grounding in, she'll pick it up in no time at all. You don't really need to 'teach' a language to a child at that sort of age.

    IMO she is very very lucky in being able to speak all those languages, and I would urge you that when you move back to the UK you keep talking to her in Japanese and Italian and German too if possible - the English will take care of itself. As being able to speak four languages when she grows up will put her at an amazing advantage. Are you able to talk to your wife in German? That might be a good way to maintain it?
  • PepPep Posts: 501
    I am not worried about the medium-Long term, but rather about day1 and the near term. She would be in a new place with no friends and no language. At least on day1.

    We parents I'm afraid have not learnt German, language at work is 100% English.
  • She understands much English (that would be her 4th language) but cannot really speak it. I wonder how much the school will see this as extra issue for them and therefore try not to help.

    The school will probably see it as she will pick the language up extremely quickly if she already speaks 3 other languages. I would imagine that any school would be bending over backwards to get a child that (being slightly presumptuous here..) is quite likely to be an exemplary student.

    As others have said, speak to the school before you move back. They may even give you some sort of guidance on how you could help her in the meantime. Schools deal with children of different nationalities all the time these days, so it probably is not a new situation to them.
  • I would imagine that, given the large influx of migrants we've had in the UK since 2004, then most schools will have a strategy in place for when a child doesn't speak English. It's unlikely to be the first time they've had to deal with that situation.
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    It is your local authority's problem to get your child in a school and ensure your child has transportation to that school (if walking isn't possible). May not be the school of your choice though.

    As for the language thing, your LA may well assign a classroom helper to a non-english speaking child until they get up to speed with the language - they wont want a child spoiling their sats performance tables after all.

    Chap at work is Serbian, he started school knowing no English and just got on with it. Bit of a daunting task but I think your daughter will be fluent rapidly.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,509
    I am not worried about the medium-Long term, but rather about day1 and the near term. She would be in a new place with no friends and no language. At least on day1.

    We parents I'm afraid have not learnt German, language at work is 100% English.


    I wouldn't worry too much kids these days are used to kids coming in from other countries with limited language skills - even in quite middle class areas it's much more common and at that age they'll be accepted as normal. It'll be scary joining a new school but probably not too different than it would be if their ENglish was native.
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,292 Lives Here
    I didn't speak a word of English when I first when to UK school.

    Within a week i was fine. When you're under 10 you pick languages up SO quickly.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    There are some kids I teach who can barely speak English after 10 years in school :?
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,413
    It is your local authority's problem to get your child in a school and ensure your child has transportation to that school (if walking isn't possible). May not be the school of your choice though.

    As for the language thing, your LA may well assign a classroom helper to a non-english speaking child until they get up to speed with the language - they wont want a child spoiling their sats performance tables after all.

    Chap at work is Serbian, he started school knowing no English and just got on with it. Bit of a daunting task but I think your daughter will be fluent rapidly.

    It may well not be the school you want though - schools are so oversubscribed these days that a lot of people who apply get their 2nd or 3rd choice, and joining the school of your choice part way through the year is very unlikely.

    Transport is also the parents problem not the schools. My wife is a teacher and has this issue every year with parents from some distance away complaining that they didn't want that school, they have to catch two buses to get there etc etc.

    Don't worry about the foreign language thing, my wife's school is 40% children who learn English as a second language, so it's not in the least bit uncommon.
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