I was wondering if any one could answer and shed some light to my queries please.
We are moving to Berlin from London.
My only concern is good local and or international primary schools.
And area/ borough to live.
Please from your experience can you give me tips or a warning of which areas in Berlin to avoid.
Is East of Berlin still as derelict as once it used to be. Any advice on living in East side? Or should we avoid East all together?
Also which local primary schools are top rated? I would like our children to integrate with local natives and hopefully a quicker method of learning the German language.
However, my other half thinks going for International school would be better for them. But would they learn German at English speaking school? That's my concern with international schools.
Apologies, a lot of enquiries, if any of the questions are replied to, would much appreciate it.
Thank you in advance.
Moving to a new country is a big deal and I can understand that you have loads of questions. Hoping I can shed some light on a few of them.
In terms of East and West Berlin - It has been 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell but you are right that there are still some differences between the two sides. However, East Berlin has really closed the gap when it comes to economy and poverty. From what I can see there doesn't seem to be that much of a difference between the two sides anymore. You can have a look at our page on Areas and Suburbs in Berlin to get an idea of popular neighbourhoods in the city.
Then the schools - This answer will depend on how old your children are. Younger children adapt very quickly and are able to learn new languages much faster. On the other hands, older children may struggle and feel isolated when they aren't able to communicate with others. How old are your kids? How long are you planning on staying in Germany? If you are planning a long-term move, local schools may be a great option.
There are many parents who send their non-German speaking children to public schools with great success. There are also some schools that have developed programs to make the transition easier for foreign children. The biggest perk of a German public school is obviously that you will save a lot of money. Your children will also assimilate into German society more easily. Choosing a public school will depend on the neighbourhood you end up living in, as families are "assigned" a school based on their address. This link may help you get an idea of which schools service which neighbourhoods.
Berlin also boasts many top class international schools. The perks of sending your children to an international school would be that they would most likely be able to continue on the current curriculum they are following in London. International schools also have small classes and a high standard of education. These schools would also very most likely have German courses in their curriculum as well. The drawback of international schools is that they can be pretty expensive. However, some schools do take the family's income into account. If you guys are being relocated by a company you should also be able to negotiate a school stipend into your contract. You can have a look at our International Schools in Berlin page for some suggestions of good schools.
Hope this helps!
Thanks very much for a thorough explanation of life in Berlin. I suppose I shouldn't worry too much about East and West issue.
My only concern would be good / Outstanding local schools.
As schools are selected on catchment area basis, do you know any public primary schools that are outstanding based on the area.
My children are aged 6 and 10, therefore I would be looking at Primary Schools only.
As this is going to be a long term contract, we would like our children to quickly adapt and integrate with a German way of life. Hence why ideally I would like them to attend a good primary schools.
I am not sure if it'll make a difference whether a child has a high academic school report. But both my children are one of the top learners in their perspective school year.