French Education

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Schools in la creuse

Hi all, hoping for some advice on schools in la creuse : some background, we are a dual nationality Brit/US family and we’re planning to move to close to La Souterraine from the US next year to a property my in-laws bought but no longer use. We have two daughters who will be 11 and 14 by then and I’m interested in any advice regarding their schooling. I guess they would both be going to collège at the age though they will have limited French (currently none but planning on lessons here). Anyone with similar experiences and/or info on schools in the area?
Thank you!
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Re: Schools in la creuse

14 is a difficult age to be thrown into the French education system, especially with limited French.
Even with fluent French there would be a lot of catching up to do to start with because she won't have learned the basics that her classmates have had drummed into them (methodology etc) and there's not a lot of time before her Bac. Also, presumably you won't be able to give her the support at home that most kids get from their parents. Even for French kids the Bac isn't a walk in the park exactly.
Any idea which way her future career path might lie?

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Re: Schools in la creuse

We moved our daughter and son from the UK education system to a co-ed school in Spain when they were 14 and 12 respectively.

They both did extremely well - better than we expected they would from results in the UK schools they had attended for the previous 2 years. They now both have good degrees, son has a Master's.

But. They went to an English speaking, fee-paying private school in Spain.
We never even considered sending them to a local school.

However, they both speak fluent Spanish and quite good French.

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

H. L. Mencken 1880 - 1956

Some may not like his views, but what a prediction!
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Re: Schools in la creuse

The idea from NoMoss of going to an English speaking school is a good one.

Children up to 8 years of age learn language through absorption. The same way we learned our mother tongue as a baby. After 11 years old we learn via translation and that inevitably slows down the process of learning a new language. Between 8 and 11 it will depend on the child.

Essential both your girls will be at a disadvantage in a school where French is used as the main/sole language. French schools take no prisoners. Learn and keep up or get left behind seems to be the way most schools work.

I am not saying that your girls cannot do well in a standard French school, but they will be at a disadvantage.

A European Rahinja.
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Re: Schools in la creuse

Thanks, I appreciate the input! We would definitely welcome the option of an English speaking school but not sure if the Limoges area has such available, anyone with inside info on this? I understand there’s a state secondary school in Limoges with an international section but I’m not sure what that entails exactly? Both are very academic kids so far but I fear their US public education won’t hold up against the same in France. And of course there will be setbacks with the adjustment to different system. We’re hoping they can have intensive language lessons here and then arrive several months before the school year starts. We parents do speak French but we’re UK educated so there is much that we will be unfamiliar with. Also, would the 11 yr old with a Dec birthday go into collège from a different system or more likely stay back at primary her first year? If necessary we will go with a private school but from what I understand that won’t necessarily provide the difference that we need...
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Re: Schools in la creuse

La Souterraine is not Limoges. Children absorbed in a second language are not limited by an upper limit of 8 years old, I have personal experience of 10 year old Italian, Hungarian, Danish and Turkish children becoming virtually fluent within 4-8 months when immersed in a British class. Children do not learn much of their new language from their new schools, they learn most of it from their friends in the playground and after school. For that reason it’s best that your children attend a local school so they will interact with the same friends in the evenings, weekends and holidays as well. It will also help you to integrate as you will meet other parents. You also need to do some research into the differences between public and private schools in France, you might find that all is not as you presumed when using British and American systems as your reference point.
If you are planning a long time move you have to look to the future, your girls will need to be fluent in the language and have the correct qualifications when they leave the education system as without these two basics their future in France will be bleak.
You are proposing a move to a very rural, isolated part of a foreign country with a different language and culture, that’s a big move at any age; with your children the age that they are you cannot leave anything to chance.
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Re: Schools in la creuse

Thanks for this. Yes our family is pretty global (mixed nationalities) so many of us have experience moving between different languages/cultures. We currently live in a semirural area in the US so while I’m not blasé about the challenges for the kids I think it will be an improvement for our family as far as gun violence, healthcare etc goes. My reference to Limoges was because if it was worth it it’s not too far for us to consider but if at all possible I’d love the kids to immerse. Anyway, we are 8-10 months off the actual move and at the early stages of planning everything and would love to hear more about experiences within the various systems there to help personalize the online research. Thanks again.
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