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Public school for my 4 and 7 years old

Hi everybody,

I just signed up and am new to this site. Hello!:-) I need some help and advices on how to get my son(at a time come 4yo) and my dd(7yo), into a good public school in Brussels. I hope you guys can help me out.

Some info: We are moving to Brussels at the beginning of September 2017. We speak Bulgarian and English and kids speak both. We would prefer good public schools in order to better integrate into the local community, so please any information will be helpful

My questions are these:

1) I read that applications for upcoming 2017/2018 are made in January 2017. Is this correct?

2) Can you advice me on schools where we will be able to communicate with teachers in English(at least for the first year)? How do you think we can overcome the language barrier if the principal doesn't speak English?

3) How do you apply for getting into a public school? Can you get/reserve a spot before you have an address (residency)? In other words, can I call a school here from the BG, where we live now and reserve spots before we even move there? (My husband will go there on in February and would be able to go and visit the schools then). If I already missed the applications deadlines, how should I procceed with reserving places?

4) I read yesterday on different threads that the good public schools are difficult to get into, especially if you do not get in from the "start", i.e. when your kid is 3. Does this mean that I can wave goodbye to the hope of getting my 7 year old into a good public school?

5) Do "pre-schools" and "Maternelle" refer to the same type of schools - I have found both expressions used in different threads...?

Thank you so much in beforehand for your help!

MamaSlon :

Hi everybody,

I just signed up and am new to this site. Hello!:-) I need some help and advices on how to get my son(at a time come 4yo) and my dd(7yo), into a good public school in Brussels. I hope you guys can help me out.

Some info: We are moving to Brussels at the beginning of September 2017. We speak Bulgarian and English and kids speak both. We would prefer good public schools in order to better integrate into the local community, so please any information will be helpful

My questions are these:

1) I read that applications for upcoming 2017/2018 are made in January 2017. Is this correct?

2) Can you advice me on schools where we will be able to communicate with teachers in English(at least for the first year)? How do you think we can overcome the language barrier if the principal doesn't speak English?

3) How do you apply for getting into a public school? Can you get/reserve a spot before you have an address (residency)? In other words, can I call a school here from the BG, where we live now and reserve spots before we even move there? (My husband will go there on in February and would be able to go and visit the schools then). If I already missed the applications deadlines, how should I procceed with reserving places?

4) I read yesterday on different threads that the good public schools are difficult to get into, especially if you do not get in from the "start", i.e. when your kid is 3. Does this mean that I can wave goodbye to the hope of getting my 7 year old into a good public school?

5) Do "pre-schools" and "Maternelle" refer to the same type of schools - I have found both expressions used in different threads...?

Thank you so much in beforehand for your help!

1) Incorrect. As stated in many previous threads, there are over 300 maternelles / primaires / fondamentales in French in Brussels.  There are just under 300 enrolment procedures, as a few schools do co-ordinated enrolments but not many. You must check the enrolment procedure for each school you are interested in.

2) No. There are over 300 choices for you. You need to ask yourself at each school if they will communicate in English with you. If you choose wisely in areas with high numbers of non Belgian students and high numbers of different nationalities, the chances are you will find someone willing to translate for you in the school.

3)  You phone / email / visit a school, presenting your national passport / travel document. You then return once you've moved and present your proof of registration with the municipality and proof of medical insurance.

4) Incorrect. It depends entirely upon where you choose to live and whether you apply at the school's enrolment times. If you look back at the threads, you'll find many times areas which you'll find it more difficult, such as northern and western Brussels, where fewer well off incomers choose to live, like Ixelles, north Uccle, Ville de Bruxelles, Schaerbeek. Easier places are south Uccle, WSL, WSP, Auderghem, Watermael-Boitsfort.

5) Pre-school is the English for a school from 2.5-6 years. Maternelle in French. Kleuter in Dutch. Your 4 year old (if 4 on 31/12/16) will be in M3 3e maternelle in September 2017. Your 7 year old (if 7 on 31/12/16) will be in P3 3e primaire in September 2017. I would advise you to look for a fundamentale - a school with maternelle and primaire classes and not 2 separate schools.

Thank you! You have been very helpful.

Hello. As I'm in the same boat now can u tell me which school you picked, why and are you happy? Would LOVE your feedback ;)

Hello,

Here is what I did:

Me and my husband chose a district where we would prefer to live. Than I wrote in English to all schools and asked for places. In my email I described our status, how old children are and starting date for the school. I got answer from almost every school and maternelle I wrote. Some of them sent me application form which I needed to fill. Right now my 4yo got in one of the schools, while the 7yo is in the waiting list for the same one and hopefully will get a place(met the principal on Friday, she spoke English with me).
Now we are in search for an apartment close to the school and within a fair distance from my husbands office.
My advice is to write the schools, if you are offered a meeting, go for it and discuss with the principal opportunities(btw if you dont speak French like me, bring s.o. with you to help you in communication).

If you have questions dont hesitate to ask me. I will try to answer best I can:)

Hello,

Here is what I did:

Me and my husband chose a district where we would prefer to live. Than I wrote in English to all schools and asked for places. In my email I described our status, how old children are and starting date for the school. I got answer from almost every school and maternelle I wrote. Some of them sent me application form which I needed to fill. Right now my 4yo got in one of the schools, while the 7yo is in the waiting list for the same one and hopefully will get a place(met the principal on Friday, she spoke English with me).
Now we are in search for an apartment close to the school and within a fair distance from my husbands office.
My advice is to write the schools, if you are offered a meeting, go for it and discuss with the principal opportunities(btw if you dont speak French like me, bring s.o. with you to help you in communication).

If you have questions dont hesitate to ask me. I will try to answer best I can:)

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