Is the Brussels international catholic school a good school?

What is BICS like? I'm 14 and considering moving to belgium with my dad. It's the cheapest bilingual school i've found so far as we can't afford the expensive ones. Do you have any experience with the school? Are there any extra-curricular activities? and does it matter if I'm not religious at all?

Don't expect any extra-curricular activities at all, unless you count going to see religious sights and churches. They do have a ski trip at least every year. It is run by a sub-group of Catholics tolerated by mainstream Catholicism. You'd have to be happy with that sort of religious environment and if you're not part of this Catholic group, you'd have to accept that. Imagine a secondary with only a handful of teachers. Source who left the school 2 years ago said only 60 in secondary, although the maternelle is now something like 150 children (2 1/2 to 6 years) and primary is a similar size. The secondary is in a separate building.

How good is your Latin and Greek as you will have to study them and those who have been at the school several years will be way ahead of you?  There is a limited GCSE programme. You may get no choice at all in what you study.

I'd be asking to see how many GCSE entries they have had against the number of pupils on roll.

The school only opened I think in 2007 (maybe a little earlier) - it is a lie to claim the school opened in the 1970s, as claimed in adverts in certain expat magazines, another school was opened then in the 1970s called St Peter and St Paul, BICS bought the building and closed down the school, opening up BICS.

I think you need to go and see the school, because for some people it is perfect, for others, it is really not at all suitable.

The school offers a traditional approach to teaching, and is certainly Roman catholic in ethos as its name makes clear. It is wrong to say that there are only trips to religious places. Non Catholics are welcome, as is clearly stated on the school website, however it is good to read the page on the values of Bics. As also stated on the website, prospective families should identify with those values. The secondary school is ceratinly based on an Arts and Classics curriculum, although the other subjects are taught (and well).

Regarding the date of foundation, it is true to say that the school was taken over in 2004 by the Institute of Christ the King (by the way a recognised order of priests which runs several other schools- not a subgroup whatever is meant by that!) . The school taken over (Institute of SS Peter and Paul) was founded in the 1970's. It continued under that name for one year, and then has gradually developped into the the bi-lingual school it is today with 400 children. There was no rupture so I don't see the point of implying that there is some problem here.  Legally it is the same structure.

I agree that it is important to go and see the school and make up your own mind.

"It is wrong to say that there are only trips to religious places"

please read what I wrote, I did not say that so do not misquote me.

Shoolmum you wrote:

'Don't expect any extra-curricular activities at all, unless you count going to see religious sights and churches'

To me that implies that these are the only trips organized by the school. If you look at the photos on the school website you will see that isn't so. There are sporting, cultural and scientific outings. As for extra- curricular activities, what about drama, music (piano and guitar),swimming, tennis,  dance, not to mention prepartion for the school plays, concerts for the sick in hospital (school choir) etc?  You obviously don't know much about the school. Your remarks about a 'religious sub group' are quite offensive and you should apologise for denigrating a fully approved and accepted relgious order within the Catholic church. (The order also runs a parish, where the Apostolic Nuncio himself regularly celebrates Mass- you can also see that on the website photos).

As for the number of teachers, they can  be seen on the website (for the secondary school there are 10 on the website, but there are actually 12 as the science and religion teachers aren't listed, but I shall ask them to be).  More than a 'handful' I would say.

sorry it means exactly as it says, "do not expect", it does not mean "nothing" "nada" "niet"

I find your remarks quite offensive actually, as well as your inability to understand the pragmatics of English. Are you really implying that Institute of Christ the King is mainstream Catholicism? What on earth is wrong with calling it a sub-group of Catholicism? The ICKSP is a tiny percentage of Catholics within the Catholic church, same as Byzantine Right or Chaldean Catholics, also in full Communion with the Holy Sea, they are still sub-groups of a wider church.

And yes, I know 13 ex-pupils of BICS, I know 7 current pupils, 11 of these pupils left in the last 2 years. I actually helped  4 of those current pupils with their choice of school ironically, all joining in the last 2 years. One is in the maternelle on Rue de Theux, the other are 2*3 siblings on Rue Général Leman. They were all aware of the values of BICS and type of school it was before enrolling, unlike several of the ex-pupils, several of whom are practising Catholics too.

yes this school is nice ,even my kid goes in BICS school.she is there since 3years.


When one writes 'don't expect', you clearly are implying there are no extra- curricular activities apart from what you go onto say 'going to see religious sights and churches'.  The meaning is very clear.

You obviously have an axe to grind. Having posted your negative comments about Bics, I also have the right to reply to your accusations with the facts.

As to calling the order that runs the school a 'sub group' you forget that in your post you add that it is 'only tolerated by mainstream Catholism'. Who are you to say that. It is fully approved by the local diocese and Rome. Who defines 'mainsteam?' Surely the appropriate authorities in the Church (bishops and the Pope?) I regard that remark as offensive.

I note you do not apologise for misrepesenting the number of teachers in the secondary school.

As for your claim to know present and former pupils, all I know is that the school grows every year...  It is easy to post things which can't be checked.

Madeleine Farmer wrote:

When one writes 'don't expect', you clearly are implying there are no extra- curricular activities apart from what you go onto say 'going to see religious sights and churches'.  The meaning is very clear.

Sorry, but no. "Don't expect" implies, um, don't expect. It does not in any way state anything other than the sum of the words. It does not state that it's impossible for there to be other things, it states that the odds are against it. Bad odds doesn't keep millions of people out of Vegas, nor does it imply impossibility in this instance either. You clearly have your own strong views about this and are taking her statements incredibly personally and getting quite defensive about them.

12 is a handful, there is nothing to apologize for there at all and no misrepresentation. I did not say there are no other extra-curricular activities, I said don't expect any!

If you go to St Anthony's church next Sunday, or any other francophone or netherlanderphone parish and ask the parishoners there what their definition of mainstream is, I think you'll find what mainstream Catholicism is.

Our children's school grows every year, from 300 to 450 in 4 years. That really means nothing, other than there are more pupils. It does not mean our children's school is more popular than others. I would not boast about numbers growing to mean anything other than reality, that the population of Brussels has grown 10% in just a few years and will probably grow another 10%. I could run off a list of other private schools which have also grown in numbers, against the odds in this economic crisis when some of them are 25k plus, not heard of them boasting too much about their growth or reading too much into their figures.

I'll repeat my last comment shall I?

I think you need to go and see the school, because for some people it is perfect, for others, it is really not at all suitable.

I think you've just made a big
hole for your school and its reputation as a welcoming one!

Obviously you do have an axe to grind. Never mind.  By the way it isn't my school! I am only a happy parent with children in the school. For your information a 'handful' is normally six. Is a small parish in a suburb of Brussels a test of being 'mainstream'? I prefer the approbation of the Pope and the local bishop ( I am a Roman Catholic). Facts are more important than personal appreciation. One needs to read all your original comment to understand where you are coming from- also by trying to tarnish our repution. … 3951_n.jpg

Exactly, you are responsible for what you say. That is why I have taken some time to reply with the facts.

sauf que t'as du mal a me comprendre!
A handful = 6, well that's certainly not the dictionary definition. You are making yourself look stupid.

I think that enough has been said. It isn't worth spending any more time and energy especially as this thread appears to becoming  personal and rather unpleasant. I simply wanted to point out the facts: that the school does have extra-curricular activities, the order that runs the school is fully part of the Roman Catholic Church, and that there are a large number of teachers in the secondary school relative to the number of pupils. Perhaps I am stupid, but that was not at all what I understood from schoolmum's original post. If indeed that is what she was trying to say, then I apologize.

Dear members,

I think we are going way off topic.
Could we please calm down or we'll be forced to moderate/ move posts on the thread.


I feel quite sorry for the young girl who has asked experienced adults about their experiences of schools on this specialised blog.  I'm sure she's feeling great about her potential move right now!  I'm an adult and in the same boat and I'm here grimacing on this fine sunny day!  I think I have made up my mind now…

Hi.  My advice would be to visit as many schools as you can.  I know price is important but advice would be to make sure that you will feel comfortable in your environment - it's really important when you're already making a big move to a new country and you will feel ‘misplaced' for a while until you find your feet anyway (you will fit in v quickly when you find your right environment).  Good luck. :)

I went to Bics for four years and trust me its not the best school.Teachers aren't trained, they just take anyone they find. It may look attractive and all but personally from my experience Bics has more focus on religion:they make you go to mass,force you to kneel in front of the cross, don't care if you're catholic or not, force you to pray and make you do all kinds of stuff a non catholic would not want to do. Teaching wise, the school isn't the best. From my experience teachers aren't trained. They just give you a bunch of homework and don't even know how to explain. My brother had to pass his GCSE  and it was a disaster.A teacher even managed taking a whole week off. We had to pay for lots of tuition s but I agree that all the other schools are too expensive that's also why I was obliged to go to Bics.Hope you and your dad have a good time in Belgium.
PS. I'm not saying its the worst school ever but not the best either.

My children went to this school for about five years. Some in primary and the other in secondary. I really did not follow them because of my work it was almost too late before I realised that this was not the place for them. In fact had I known I would never ever have taken them to this school. This school is deeply flawed in many ways and very disorganised. But let's go to academics because they matter the most. Do not expect much from their "A level curriculum" unless you want to end up failing miserably having paid the fees. My daughter did not pass her finals. Maybe she might have had some issues right? No. 99% of her class failed. I heard this was a trend also in the previous years. I looked at her school time table and found that the actual time she got to meet with the teachers in class was far below Cambridge standard. Absolutely catastrophic, not to mention the ever changing teachers for different subjects as she told me. The school values religion more than anything else. So much that they replaced sports for religion. Imagine my shock. The facilities are not enough to accommodate students. I visited there a few times and wondered, how can the students concentrate in such a tiny cramped so called "study room"? The school is simply below public standards.

My last conclusion is: To whoever wants to go to this school, please go see for yourself but be very aware of its reality. I believe most parents have no idea what hell is going on with their children and subjects they are studying and what they are being taught. The school is simply below public standards. The uniforms are fancy and but it's a masquerade. It's still hard to think that such an institution exists right under the nose of the European Commission. It's a cheap school but definitely worse than a public school.

i have had an awful experience with bics. I don't think there's a worse school for anyone who wants to develop. The teachers are clueless about igsce and especially a level. Don't get me started on facilities; there aren't any. The “playground” is a tiny garage with no open windows and 3 benches. The classrooms are super stuffy, smell disgusting and have over the legal amount of students in one class. There is the double amount of religion than there is science (literally), and the hours of science are below the legal level as well. You're not aloud to drink in class, and the windows have to stay closed at all cost. Even in sixth form, you are forced to take religion class and attend mass, and there are 0 hours of sports. All in all, if you still can, I would really strongly advise you to avoid this school at all cost.

Please visit the school before you make a decision.  The resources are limited, the teachers are limited. The choice of A level subjects is limited.  Strong discriminatory pro-life and anti LGBT and homosexual community ideas are put forward in Philosophy by a visiting professor who was banned from the brilliant UCL.

So, I arrived here this year and I have mixed feelings, teachers are the worst part, some are very very good , while others basically dont do anything and just send stupid homework they dont actually correct. Because of this in some subjects we are forced to study them on our own. It's true that we are “forced” to go to mass, pray and all that stuff but I mean, as the name says it's CATHOLIC so just deal with it, a big problem is that priests don't establish a good relation with students so we are just afraid of them but no one actually respect them. But the school also has good things, in only three months and considering that I'm more an introversial person I've been able to really have a big group of friends, at the school there is not  a big division of countries . The biggest group is probably the Spanish group, so If you're Spanish you'll be adapted very quickly. I don't mean that they don't talk with other people, actually the were really nice to me, and they are probably the best group to hang out with even if you are not Spanish at all. Of course the school sees this as something bad as from the first moment I arrived there I saw that teachers where more strict with Spanish and Italian students than with others that give more trouble. And for me this is unnaceptable
I don't want to give an opinion on the school appearence as it depends on how your old school was, I have to say that if you're used to big playgrounds and a huge campus you'll be very surprised by this. A horrible problem the school should solve( but probably won't) Is privacy, this past months I've been able to see priests looking at students phones without permission, or even an old school mother forcing a student to show her phone so that she was able to see one stupid account that only talked about soap, yes, the school soap. This is something that shouldn't be tolerated but as the principal only comes one a month to leave his dog around then we are not actually able to say anything. And if we did we would probably get detention for this, cause they do that all time.
One last thing, as people usually don't stay longer than four years, people that have been for long time have “special treatments” so don't get surprised if you hear about them all time, like if they were famous, trust me, they are not

was looking at BIC school for my kids.

Have a few questions in case anyone can help:

1) do they actually force all primary kids sit for 2h every Monday to attend mass ?

2) for secondary - do they teach any subjects like computer science, programming etc?

3) is this really only an arts and classics school ?

4) do they have many hours of latin/greek ?

5) do A-levels offer computer science ?