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ISB or BSB for French

Hi.  We're moving to Brussels in a few months and trying to decide on school for the 4yo and 7yo.  They have both been in Spanish immersion programs since they were 3 and we would really like to maximize their opportunity to learn French while in Brussels.  Does anyone have experience with ISB or BSB for French language learning in elementary aged students?

If you do a little of your own research, you'll find BSB has a bilingual programme from age 4 50/50 French/English. However, to enter it, all children must be fluent in one of the 2 languages and a basic knowledge of the other (except for the very youngest age group) up to fluency in the other language in the older age groups.  You would have to convince the school your children could fit into the programme by starting private tuition now to give them a basic knowledge of French.

ISB has no bilingual programme and very very basic French, in the same way as the non bilingual programme students at BSB get.

The advantage of the international schools is having some form of consistency to return to an English school, but there are also children who go local for a few years who return to English and also have fluency in another language to take back with them which you will not get from the international school.

If you wish your children to have any great competency in French and quickly, well there are 300+ local and free French schools in Brussels full of multi-lingual children of as many nationalities as BSB and ISB have. Expect 40% of schools to be non French speaking and also have some English and Spanish speakers, a superior environment for acquiring French whilst maintaining English. The majority of children take between 1 and 2 years to be fluent, really fluent. Even in the bilingual BSB programme which is excellent, you cannot expect any level of fluency in French in that time. The local schools also have a great number of Spanish speakers and there are activities in Spanish. You will find the greatest concentration of Spanish speakers in WSP which is a commune of Brussels. Most Spanish speakers attend local French schools.

Thank you!  Yes, I found that information on BSB and ISB but I guess I was hoping for some insight on whether the programs were adequate for actually acquiring a fluency.  It sounds that unless in you're in the bilingual program at BSB (neither of my kids speak any french) we'd be better off in a local school.  Which would be great but I hear they're hard to get into!  This would really be my preference anyway.  I guess I should start scoring the boards for info on those schools. 

Currylover :

If you do a little of your own research, you'll find BSB has a bilingual programme from age 4 50/50 French/English. However, to enter it, all children must be fluent in one of the 2 languages and a basic knowledge of the other (except for the very youngest age group) up to fluency in the other language in the older age groups.  You would have to convince the school your children could fit into the programme by starting private tuition now to give them a basic knowledge of French.

ISB has no bilingual programme and very very basic French, in the same way as the non bilingual programme students at BSB get.

The advantage of the international schools is having some form of consistency to return to an English school, but there are also children who go local for a few years who return to English and also have fluency in another language to take back with them which you will not get from the international school.

If you wish your children to have any great competency in French and quickly, well there are 300+ local and free French schools in Brussels full of multi-lingual children of as many nationalities as BSB and ISB have. Expect 40% of schools to be non French speaking and also have some English and Spanish speakers, a superior environment for acquiring French whilst maintaining English. The majority of children take between 1 and 2 years to be fluent, really fluent. Even in the bilingual BSB programme which is excellent, you cannot expect any level of fluency in French in that time. The local schools also have a great number of Spanish speakers and there are activities in Spanish. You will find the greatest concentration of Spanish speakers in WSP which is a commune of Brussels. Most Spanish speakers attend local French schools.

Absolutely untrue about being hard to get into a local school.
If you are insistent about attending just a handful of schools in Brussels or you are insistent in living in the areas with the biggest population growths there is little space, then yes you'll give yourself a hard time looking for local school places. Those who say it is difficult to get into local French schools have no knowledge.     

If you are serious about local schools, you need to start with work place and where you live convenient to that work place, then start researching. There are over 300 French schools in Brussels for children of your age. There are also a few French schools in Flanders on the periphery of Brussels and then if work is actually not in Brussels but further south, well then schools in Brabant Wallon.

The BCT facebook schools group is your best source of information on local and private international schools, not this forum which seems to attract people from only a small part of the world.

Emily
I noticed you joined the less well frequented of the Belgian schools support groups on Facebook, you should join the one with more traffic and more members.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Parents … inBelgium/

Thanks!

Hi, my youngest is in the bilingual program, and to be honest it is rubbish. We have to pay for a private tutor to assist, to be honest, the best thing would be to opt for a French school.

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