In this blog we’ll explore bilingual schools in the UK:
- Why choose a bilingual school?
- Bilingual schools today
- Are bilingual schools affordable?
- Where should your children go to school?
Why Choose a Bilingual School?
In a multicultural country such as the UK the existence of international schools to cater to the needs of expats´ children has continued to grow. Usually, most of these schools have their own enrolment process so the best thing is to approach them directly to get informed about how to apply and when the deadlines are.
There is always high demand for international schools and there will be limited vacancies so we strongly advise you to get your homework done sooner rather than later.
The aim of many bilingual schools is to allow immigrants’ children to continue to learn their mother tongue and to even keep the same education system that they had back home. As well as learning in their own native language students will also receive a comprehensive education in the English language too.
A bilingual school is a great way to ensure that your children continue to learn about the values, traditions and culture of your home country as well as English. This means they can keep a strong national identity and connection while making it easier to assimilate within the culture of the UK.
It also helps to be alongside children from similar circumstances. They will be able to learn in English and their own native language alongside kids who are in the same situation which should make their school experience a bit easier.
Are Bilingual Schools Affordable?
The truth is that most international schools have tremendous tuition fees that can even amount to 10,000 GBP per term, plus all the extra costs like: uniforms, meals, excursions etc. Many of the top bilingual schools in London will have large tuition fees.
Recently, the government has recognized the importance of providing public international education and a new wave of these schools has emerged in recent years.
One of the institutions that have set an example in this regard is Bilingual Primary School in Brighton, which offers a free bilingual education in Spanish and English. This was the first state-funded school of its kind in Britain. It is a great idea because it makes it easier for children of all economic backgrounds from Spanish-speaking countries to learn together. It is a popular school and many immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries choose to send their children there.
Another interesting project is the Anglo-Portuguese School of London supported by Camoes Institute, the Portuguese Embassy (http://portuguese-embassy.co.uk/) and the Ministry of Education, which offers bilingual education in Portuguese and English. According to APSoL, “The school is England’s first to provide a bilingual curriculum in English and in Portuguese and is led by Principal Marta Correia, who has over five years of experience leading a bilingual school in London.”
As the number of Poles continues to increase in Great Britain, Polish Saturday schools have risen in popularity. On Saturdays Polish kids attend school to learn not only about their parents' language but also about their home country's history and culture. For example, they learn to sing traditional Polish songs and Polish customs like painting Easter eggs.
Top Bilingual Primary Schools:
The Stewart International School - La Petite Ecole Bilingue Londres is one of the top bilingual primary schools in the UK. It is a private independent school that welcomes pupils aged 3 to 10 years old. English and French are taught on an equal basis and it is a popular school for any immigrants coming from French-speaking countries.
École Jeannine Manuel is a school based in the heart of London that hopes to foster international understanding through a bilingual education. It is a co-educational bilingual international French school. It provides a primary education for 3 to 10-year-olds. And if your children want to continue their education, they also have an upper school that caters for students all the way up to the age of 18.
The Bilingual Primary School in Brighton & Hove aims to be at the leading edge of bilingual education in the UK. They offer the opportunity to all children to learn with them through an exciting program of English and Spanish.
For people emigrating from Spanish-speaking countries who want their children to continue to speak Spanish but also learn to be competent in English, The Bilingual Primary School is a great option. They claim to provide, “the very best of British education through a distinctive inquiry-based curriculum that has two fundamental dimensions- a global perspective and challenge.”
The German School London is a German and English bilingual school that offers primary education from kindergarten to Abitur/IB. Pupils receive a comprehensive programme that teaches both German and English language skills. They state that, “the subjects on offer are specifically targeted to challenge each pupil as an individual, thanks to various methods, independent study, project-oriented work, guided learning and presentations.”
EIFA is an international school based in Marylebone that is a full-time bilingual French and English school following the French National curriculum. There are many bilingual French-English schools to choose from in the UK and EIFA is one of the most popular and prestigious.
At EIFA, their aim is to, “provide students with solid academic foundations both in French and English and encourage them to fulfil their potential through a multicultural environment...to open their minds to different cultures and traditions and respect and promote the British and French values.”
Where should your children go to school?
There are many bilingual primary schools across the UK. If you live in London you will be especially spoilt for choice looking for French-English Bilingual Primary schools. But there are also options for children speaking German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Urdu and many other languages.
The bilingual primary school experience is as much about the culture as the language. Many of the bilingual schools we have mentioned aim to provide an education that teaches the values and traditions of both countries too. If you are coming from overseas, or want to send your children to school in the UK, these bilingual primary schools are a great option.
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