BSB driving from Ixelles Cavell area

(7 Posts)
drivingmom Sat 04-May-13 14:11:48

Hi all! We are moving to Brussels my children currently study at Lycee Fr. (abroad) and will supposedly continue at LF. However they have been put in a waiting llst! Needing to find an international solution (belgian schools out of the question because of mobility as a diplomat) for their schooling. We are pretty sure we would go for BSB because of the bilingual programme. Here is the problem, how traffic is to drive all the way form the Cavell area to BSB. I am used to traffic in big cities -inlcuding the fact that we have lived in Brussels in the past, but my DH (Nordic) is horrorized by the idea. We have already rented the house always considering that it was Our ideal neighborhood because of DH work and the proximity to LF. Anyone there experiencing driving this route everyday? how is it? What is realistic in terms of time?

bruxelloise Sun 05-May-13 11:34:45

There are loads of diplomatic children in local schools, especially anglophone one and ones from francophone countries such as Canada, France, Switzerland and Africa. I cannot see what mobility has to do with not being able to go to a local school. As a diplomat, you can even opt out for older children from the normally obligatory Dutch, although I'd personally not do, if your children can speak English too, they'll probably find it easy peasy and be top of the class. Our daughter is in class with the ambassador's son of a certain country and has other diplomatic children in the school.

It will take at the very quickest 45 minutes to drive from Cavell area of Uccle to BSB, I'd say and average will be 60 minutes, In 2 weeks time the road past BSB will be closed in one direction, meaning you will have to park your car 1km away and walk the rest of the route. I don't know how long this 1 way closure will last, but for you it means both ways in reality, the road closes in both directions for 15 months from April 2014. You might find it quicker to take public transport to BSB. No 7 tram to Montgomery and no 44 from from Montgomery to Tervuren terminus. Yes I know a family who did this route and gave up, it was too stressful. You will probably find you are the only family at BSB living in this area, for this very reason. Most families at BSB who don't live in Tervuren or Overijse gemeenten live instead in WSP, Wezembeek, Kraainem and WSL. Anywhere along tram 44 route is ideal. Can you not consider living somewhere else? It just sounds crazy, 4 hours driving each day to school, add on the 4km walk you will have to do too.

In any case, have you asked BSB whether there is even space in their bilingual classes? I know several of them are completely full for next year, next year there will be 7 bilingual classes - years R,1,2,3,4,5,7,8. I'd be surprised if even one of these classes has a place, the programme has proved immensely popular and I know some parents at least have already got their letters of confirmation so possibly classes have already been finalised so I think you are too late to apply.

Try International Montessori in Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, again a nightmare drive but they might have places.

Some local schools are great, but unfortunately you've chosen one of the worst places in Brussels to look for local school places. I think you should consider seriously paying the penalty for getting out of your rental contract and start looking elsewhere. There are superb local schools all over east Brussels and some will still have places. After school English is easy peasy to do too, as there is a huge choice of activities in English.

bruxelloise Sun 05-May-13 11:53:28

Just checked it's 50 minutes by 7 + 44 trams, 30 minutes travel time and 20 minutes waiting.

drivingmom Sun 05-May-13 13:09:59

Hi! thanks for letting me know the closing of the road, that is a meaningful piece of information. My children are trilingual already (two major Languages and a Nordic) English has not entered their lives yet, they are only 7. Given the circumstances with LF, has lead us to think in the English speaking Schools. St. Johns is al so far from us too, exactly the same distance as a matter of fact. I have spoken With a BSB mum living in the neigbourghood, and in average she does 35 each way, which sounds reasonable for me. Have done worse than that as a child and in our last posting we were doing an hour to Lycee Francais (could not change home DH was the Ambassador, thus fixed residence).

bruxelloise Sun 05-May-13 15:25:13

To enter the bilingual classes, the children must already have a basic knowledge of ENGLISH and FRENCH, they do test the children for this, for the higher classes, French and English must be fluency level in both, that's Years 7 and 8. Age 7 is going to be Years 2 and 3 and those classes I believe are full at BSB and Year 3 is completely full for even the English only classes, unless something radical has happened in the waiting lists. You'd need to contact the school as that is second hand info from someone else to me.

What are their other languages then? Some sections of European school are still open to category 2 and 3 children.

How about looking at BJAB and BISB only in English? They are much nearer and cheaper than BSB and high standards. They could perhaps opt out of the daily French lessons there and instead do English as an additional language at the same time and I would expect the schools to suggest that to you too, slotting into daily French once the English is fluent, if they don't mind everyone else being at a more basic level! Your children would fit in nicely with after school activities in French and maybe if vacancies came up at LF, they could then slot back there and even perhaps gain places in the bilingual programme there which is the sort of standard of BSBs which is also excellent, except the main school language at BSB being English and at LF being English.

I wouldn't go to St John's, if you're going that far, I'd go for SSB. St John's has no bilingual programme at all like LF and BSB.

I would still say a local school would be your best option though for French. There's not so much difference between the French and Belgian systems than between the Belgian and British system.

drivingmom Sun 05-May-13 15:57:28

The admission has been arranged already. Relating to my initial question about driving time: Thanks a lot for the info!

bruxelloise Sun 05-May-13 16:59:18

I regularly drive that was, I live 5.5km away, at 8.30 in the morning, I cannot do that journey in less than 20 minutes, yet I have no traffic to contend with through Watermael/Auderghem/Etterbeek/WSP. The family I know in that area of Uccle regularly took an hour at rush hour, 45 minutes at best. You will need to build in time to find a parking space in Tervuren and then the 1km walk to / from school. Your best bet of parking is Duisbergsesteenweg and walk along the ponds and enter the back gate or alternatively through Wezembeek and park somewhere along rue de la limite or Dieweg, but that walk will involve negotiating the road works and already it is quite unpleasant walking along the road with lots of dust and barriers and pieces of wood to walk across the ditches which have been built.

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