Primary french school registration from abroad, housing, music schools

Hello all,

We are moving from the USA this summer to Brussels. My son is 8 y.o., speaks fluently French and English. We moved from Belgium 3 years ago for an expat offer in the US, but now it’s time to return and i have many questions regarding arrangements for our move. My son’s previous school doesn’t have a place for him, and we want anyway to live in another part of city.

1. Areas for housing we are looking for - in South-Eastern part of Brussels - Ixelles (closer to Watermael), WSP, Watermael-Boisfort), Auderghem, Etterbeck. We love green areas, but don’t want to live in the suburb, where car is needed for everything, too far from city. Good mix of accessibily to tram, not too quite, but not city center, some green areas around, for us to bike, rollerskating and walk. We lived in Laeken before, and wouldn’t ever want to repeat this experience. We felt it was kind of lacking warm atmosphere, almost dead area, far from all fun cultural things in Brussels, but yet, it was green and calm.

2. We have to find the housing and local French school for our kid, while still being in the US. Ideally school would make an accent on creativity, Arts and Music, my child is artistic kind of person.
The problem is, that we are not moving to Belgium till the end of August, so i will not be able to visit schools  personly till then, only phone calls and e-mails. Do i still have chances to get any place at schools? What primary schools would you personally advice?

As i understand, it is already late for getting a place in many local primary schools. question is what strategy to choose in my situation - first find housing ( we may want to buy an appartment later) and then look for a local school, or other way around? He’ll go to a 3d Primaire.

3. I’m also looking for a good music school in the South-Eastern part of Brussels. I remember visiting some great concerts at Auderghem Communale Academie , when we lived in Brussels, and i was really impressed by their great offer of classes and level of performance. On their site they state you need to come personally to register in June, no phone calls or emails. Is there any way to do it from abroad? What music schools would you suggest for a child that wants to try different instruments first year and didn’t study any instrument yet?

Sorry for such a long post. I feel really lost, but hope to find the answers here. This is my first post here on your forum. I’ve already browsed all kind of school-related topics, some are very helful, but didn’t find my answers yet.

Thanks in advance.

Julie_Julie :

Hello all,

We are moving from the USA this summer to Brussels. My son is 8 y.o., speaks fluently French and English. We moved from Belgium 3 years ago for an expat offer in the US, but now it’s time to return and i have many questions regarding arrangements for our move. My son’s previous school doesn’t have a place for him, and we want anyway to live in another part of city.

1. Areas for housing we are looking for - in South-Eastern part of Brussels - Ixelles (closer to Watermael), WSP, Watermael-Boisfort), Auderghem, Etterbeck. We love green areas, but don’t want to live in the suburb, where car is needed for everything, too far from city. Good mix of accessibily to tram, not too quite, but not city center, some green areas around, for us to bike, rollerskating and walk. We lived in Laeken before, and wouldn’t ever want to repeat this experience. We felt it was kind of lacking warm atmosphere, almost dead area, far from all fun cultural things in Brussels, but yet, it was green and calm.

Ixelles is not the south-east, it's central south. It's not very green either. It is not really a good choice, unless you go for ecoles 7 &8, as the rest you'll struggle to find a place.  Etterbeek is not at all green, though it borders Parc du Cinquantenaire. Where exactly is work? There are 4 communes in the south east, Watermael-Boitsfort, Auderghem, WSL and WSP. Why not near areas of Flanders. In the 4 south east communes, there are around 40 primaires, you need to narrow down your search area in relations preferably to a work commute. There is not a single street in the entire Brussels region which is more than a few metres from a bus or tram or metro stop. You do not need a car in Brussels. Cambio is great for occasional car use and there are other alternatives.  The majority of Laeksn is not green and calm at all, you must have been in the small area north east of the Royal residence.


2. We have to find the housing and local French school for our kid, while still being in the US. Ideally school would make an accent on creativity, Arts and Music, my child is artistic kind of person.
The problem is, that we are not moving to Belgium till the end of August, so i will not be able to visit schools  personly till then, only phone calls and e-mails. Do i still have chances to get any place at schools? What primary schools would you personally advice?

Schools do most creative curriculum through arts and music academies, not in mainstream school time. Cannot help further, without knowing where work will be. You will however in all likelihood have to make many phone calls and emails.

As i understand, it is already late for getting a place in many local primary schools. question is what strategy to choose in my situation - first find housing ( we may want to buy an appartment later) and then look for a local school, or other way around? He’ll go to a 3d Primaire.

Understand from who and where? That is completetly incorrect. Definitely school before housing. Buying a property usually takes 1-2 years
.

3. I’m also looking for a good music school in the South-Eastern part of Brussels. I remember visiting some great concerts at Auderghem Communale Academie , when we lived in Brussels, and i was really impressed by their great offer of classes and level of performance. On their site they state you need to come personally to register in June, no phone calls or emails. Is there any way to do it from abroad? What music schools would you suggest for a child that wants to try different instruments first year and didn’t study any instrument yet?

Free music academie. They are in every single commune. You must go in person. You can enrol too in September. No point in choosing which music academie until you look at work-home commute, narrow down your area search, get a handul of offers of school places, then finally find somewhere to live. For many instruments, it is obligatory to do the first year of music theory which is 2 times a week, you'd be very lucky to get an instument lesson immediately.

http://www.placesecolesmaternellesetpri … 5a0778803d Brussels area, and I do not want to drive, only public transport or bike. By the way, do you know a good area for safe biking, without stress from cars?
I’m looking for a place that would give a good access to parks, nature, without compromising a good access to fast tram line for me as i don’t plan to drive. Also good choice of afterschool activities for my child ( maybe in English, to maintain his level), my kid also plays ice hockey. Not too suburban, not too far from city with beautiful architecture ( i want much, right?:)).
The area on the boarder between Ixelles, Uccle and Watermael- Boitsfort, or La cambre  seems attractive for that reason.  I plan eventually to study at one of universities nearby, and love areas with dinamic student atmosphere in general.
But we are open to discover other areas, which will depend from s place in a good school.
As following your advice i already started contacted schools in this areas by email, some of them put my son on waiting list. Sure i’m going to call them. I prefer schools that if not call themselves alternative, but at least let the child’s creativity flourish, have good outdoor space to play at recess. We are maybe spoiled by an exellent american school my child attends right now, and i understand that from distance it’s too difficult to understand the atmosphere of future school, so i rely on forums, reviews online.
I saw somewhere on this forum ( i guess Tervuren’s topic) , that you can’t change school after P3 ( 3éme primaire) , so does it mean, that in a school he  potentially get’s a place he will have to remain for at least two years, till P4?
When i was mentioning absence of places in school it was because i checked this site for places in 3éme primaire:
http://www.placesecolesmaternellesetpri … 5a0778803d

I don’t know how accurate it is. Available schools do not gave good reviews on google search.

I appreciate your time you spend on helping me with all this questions!

There are no fast trams or metro in those areas.

There is little green in those areas. Other than Bois de la cambre which is polluted week days by fossil fuel traffic crossing.

There is little chance of 2 desirable school places in those areas.

There is less for children in terms of after school activities in those areas.

Brussels has few schools with green areas and choosing a school bon green space is shortsighted.

The obligatory school curriculum contains little arts and music, the arts and music academies contain that non obligatory curriculum and available and almost identical in every commune.

The areas you ve stated are the worst places to cycle in Brussels. The only cycle paths are inside Bois de la camber but horrible to get there. Pollution there is also high.  Look along the metro line and trams. 8, 9, 39 and 44 for that.

You can take the tram to ulb and vub.

I would look elsewhere.

Where is work?

That website is useless.

Yes you cannot move between p3 and p4.

Thank you, Currylover, for your input! What areas for living would you advice?

I recommend therefore Schaerbeek, kraainem, wezembeek, wsl or wsp
and considerationn of train travel from merode or meiser.  All those areas will mean less commute time and consequently more family time, all except Schaerbeek will mean easier to find decent school places and more and broader international student population in the schools. All those areas have fast tram and metro.  Also more for children.

Thank you for advice, Currylover!

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