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Waterloo local schools - any views please

(16 Posts)
athomeallday Wed 01-May-13 10:17:47

Looking to put children into local school in Waterloo. Any views on Athenee Royale versus Berlamont. Ages are 8 and 6. Have been in contact with both and can have places for both at one school and maybe at the other. For grade 3 and 1. Both children understand French but do not yet read it - although read in other languages. Many thanks,

bruxelloise Fri 03-May-13 22:31:37

Berlaymont is a traditional Catholic school and even has uniform. The secondaire is oversubscribed. There are a few English speaking children there.

AR Waterloo is not a bad school, it's the only school however at secondaire in Waterloo which is not oversubscribed.

Which school is nearest?

If you choose Berlaymont, then do check if it's your nearest or 2nd nearest Catholic primaire, if you're staying for secondaire, if it's 3rd or 4th or even further away, your children won't be able to go there for secondaire. Yes you read that right, no priority from the primaire to the secondaire.

bruxelloise Sun 05-May-13 18:00:27

This is a little off topic. I know a great hairdresser who cuts in Swedish/Norwegian/English/French/Dutch between her and her colleague and of course Danish is understood too. You'll find them in Etterbeek, they cut men, women and children. I think most Norwegians and Swedes in that area know about them.

bruxelloise Sun 05-May-13 18:00:52

Oops that was on the wrong thread!!!

athomeallday Wed 15-May-13 12:04:39

Thanks for insight. Which school do you think would give more support to get up to speed with French (both speak it but neither read or write)? From speaking to the office at both schools I felt slightly more at ease with AR - they offered extra classes. The B seems very competitive and I am worried they would put my son down a year after a month or so if his French does not pick up fast. Coming from Switzerland they are already a year older than the rest of the class so I want to avoid doubling up at this stage of schooling. The AR is smaller in the primary section vs B but both have really big secondary. I am waiting to hear whether the 3rd grade class will split making it a much smaller class in AR which is better for us. Any other comments?
For Secondary - we will wait and see maybe a bi-lingual option...

bruxelloise Wed 15-May-13 13:12:14

AR Waterloo and Berlaymont could not be more different.
AR Waterloo primaire = 9 classes
Berlaymont primaire = 18 classes
AR Waterloo secondaire is still quite small V Berlaymont
AR Waterloo secondaire is NOT oversubscribed, the only one of the 3 Waterloo secondaires which isn't oversubscribed.
Berlaymont secondaire is a highly academic classical Catholic secondaire, has a uniform, AR Waterloo offers technical and professional options

Location ? If you are likely to be here and applying for secondaire in 3 years time, then if neither school is your nearest of type to your home, I would be concerned, you need to go to your nearest or 2nd nearest primaire to really gain any chance of a place at an oversubscribed secondaire. There is NO priority between Berlaymont primaire to Berlaymont secondaire, same for AR Waterloo, but as it's not oversubscribed, you'd be 99% likely to get a place there even if you live a long way from the school, to proximity is only really going to be an issue if you wish to get into Berlaymont or Sacrés-Coeurs or Vallée Bailly or Cardinal Mercier for secondaire.

Have you looked at any other Waterloo schools?

There is only one "bilingual" option in Waterloo, it is mega costly and I'd stay well away from it. What gain would there be to go there? Look instead to BSB or LF if you're after bilingual French-English.

athomeallday Thu 16-May-13 11:37:54

We would condsider LF or a Brussels bi-lingual for sec. I think I know the school you are referring to in Waterloo and it is not really bi-lingual..
I am erring on the side of AR due to : school and class size, less religion and lack of uniform. We are used to a more relaxed Swiss system for one child (only morning school and mixed ages) and an expensive private school for the other - but both were not religious at all. thanks for your help!

bruxelloise Thu 16-May-13 15:44:06

You'll be searching long and hard for a bilingual secondary school in Brussels as there aren't any, apart from LF and it's essentially a French government school with a bilingual Fr-Eng stream.

BSB is in Tervuren outside Brussels and it's essentially an English school with Fr-Eng stream, with fees of between 25 and 30k.

LF college starts a year earlier than Belgian secondaries and is incredibly difficult to get a place in, even those transferring from other AEFE schools which get priority can't sometimes get places.

There is just as much religion at AR Waterloo as there is at Berlaymont, 2 hours a week from age 16 to 18, the only different is Berlaymont offers Catholicism and AR Waterloo offers Judaism, Islam, Morality etc as well as Catholicism.

bruxelloise Thu 16-May-13 15:53:08

There is one thing that puzzles me. Why would your children be a year older than the rest of the class? Children should be put in the school year of their appropriate year of birth, unless specific special needs like born 31st December. Our 11 year old started as the youngest child in P2, she has remained the youngest in her year, I expect her to pass P6 with the highest marks of her school year. I'm very glad I never allowed her to be put down a year. Putting down a year does not improve anyone's written French! If your children are born in 2006 and 2004, they should be in P2 and P4 in September.

bruxelloise Thu 16-May-13 15:59:17

Have you tried the 15 or so other primaires in Waterloo/Braine l'Alleud?

bruxelloise Thu 16-May-13 17:44:01

My contact at Berlaymont primaire has just pointed out to me a significant fact.

Berlaymont has a boarding house for primaire, frequented in the main by children from Dutch speaking Flanders and most of them come for 1 or 2 years to the school for P5 or P6 but some come earlier. They come to learn French. The school therefore has a longstanding experience of accepting children with no French at all, other than what they've learned in school as a foreign language.

athomeallday Mon 03-Jun-13 13:48:21

Thanks for all your comments. Yes we did look at other primaries but as the kids have already changed schools and countries wanted to try to find a primary with a lead in (ha ha) to secondary. The better help with language learning was pointed out by their dad... The AR will not split year 3 so will be a class as big as the B - so that is another of my arguements blown away. My kids will be older as they started school a whole year later than the Belgians - that is the joy of the Swiss system. I can not see my son missing a year of school - the pressure will be on as it is. He is smart but having only had 2 years of primary he will not be ready for grade 4 just yet. Also to delay learning Dutch for another year or so.

bruxelloise Tue 04-Jun-13 19:29:18

As there is no connection and priority at all between primaire and secondaire, you are better off putting your children in the primaire which is most likely to get you a spot in your preferred secondaire. That might or might not be the schools you are looking at.

Do you mean you are putting your children deliberately down a year? I would never ever do that without pretty good reasons. They will start at a disadvantage of having the pressure of only being able to double one more year and they're out of regular school and into the special system, you can only double 2 times before you're out. I've only ever met children born in December whose parents have chosen to double.

Dutch is easy peasy, it's not a good reason for doubling either. Many schools don't even start Dutch in Wallonia until P5 anyway, it's not obligatory to do a 2nd language until then.

If your son should be in P4, put him in it, do him that favour, don't disadvantage him. If he is born in December, then do do it if you really want to.

bruxelloise Tue 04-Jun-13 19:33:55

Also I'd choose Berlaymont 10 times out of 10 for secondaire over AR Waterloo. Just look at how (un)popular these 2 schools are at secondaire level.

athomeallday Wed 05-Jun-13 08:54:34

Thanks -agree about not putting down a year but as he is end Nov only one month older. He is not doubling technically as he has only had 2 years school and Swiss (albeit private) is much slower paced til 5th.

bruxelloise Wed 05-Jun-13 13:21:57

He is unfortunately counted as doubling. Your son can only descend one more school year from year of birth.

I think you need to forget where he came from and think about where he is going. A British educated child would have been in obligatory school for up to 4 years, but I wouldn't recommend a UK educated child be put 1 or 2 years above the other children for this reason either.

Is your son cleverer than an average child? Is he within the norms of social and emotional intelligence. If he is, there is no reason why he should start a year below.

Think very very long and hard about making that decision. It's not reversible. You could instead put him into P4 and then at the end of the year, if the teacher feels he could benefit from doubling in the traditional fashion, then would be the time to hold down a year.

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