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When relocating with the whole family to another city (or country), it’s so important to make picking a school one of your first priorities. This doesn’t come as a shock to most of you, but this is one of the most asked questions for expat parents in Düsseldorf. So, why not make a list and let you choose?
This is exactly what The Düsseldorf Expat Assistant, Elisa Stella, did to help get you off on the right foot.
Registering in one of the local public schools
The Stadt Düsseldorf (city of Düsseldorf) offers the opportunity for foreign children aged 6-17 years to join in the public schools. The public school system might be a little different than you are used to, but it’s easy to quickly figure out the lay of the land. The first point of contact is the Kommunalstelle für Integration und Bildung (KIB). This is where families receive a free consultancy including assessments of children’s needs, the relevance of mother tongue vs German, and of course, district and neighborhood.
Non-German speaking pupils will receive support in order to integrate into a German school. Some get individual lessons, others start in “integration classes”.
To arrange an appointment with the KIB, call 0211 – 8924063. Make sure you bring a translator with you and don’t forget to bring with you the following documents:
- ID or passport of your child
- Meldebescheinigung (certificate of residence registration)
- The most recent school report of your child, indicating subjects and marks in the home country (if possible, a sworn translation in German)
After the consultancy at KIB, the Schulamt (office for schooling) will manage the bureaucratic part and the principal will manage the practical part of the procedure.
Once the child has entered the German school system, he/she can still practice his/her mother tongue in the so-called “Herkunftssprachlicher Unterricht”. Once a week there are school lessons for Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Korean, Croatian, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Turkish. If you want to read more about eligibility, take a look at the City of Düsseldorf website.
Registering in one of the international schools
There are many questions you may need to ask yourself before choosing to enroll your child in an international school. Thankfully, many of them offer virtual and in-person tours of their schools to help you make some initial decisions about whether or not it’s the right option for you and your family. There are many benefits to attending an international school, but you will also have to take the cost into the factor.
International School of Düsseldorf
The International School of Düsseldorf (ISD) is one of the private English speaking schools in the area. For more than 50 years, pupils from more than 145 countries have attended ISD, starting from primary school at the age of 6 up until they achieve their International Bachelor (Baccalaureate). The focus of the school is to welcome children as a second family, to support their development during each stage of their emotional and intellectual growth, and to help them and their families to face the delicate changes related to a new life abroad.
You can also take a new virtual tour of their elementary and senior schools.
ISR – International School on the Rhine
The International School on the Rhine in Neuss accepts children from kindergarten and they can accomplish all educational levels until their International Bachelor (Baccalaureate). Their motto is “enabling great minds and strong characters” which highlights the performance and achievement of the pupils who are trained to enroll at premium universities. On average, expatriate children attend about 8-10 years at ISR.
They’ve also recently opened up a large international kindergarten which might also help us, international parents, with the issue of finding childcare solutions in the city.
St. George’s School
St. George’s, The English International School, offers a curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Currently, 700 pupils starting from kindergarten to International Bachelor attend classes. There are 100 employees which the classes are nice and small. The leading principles of the school are respect, commitment, and responsibility. This is also reflected in the school’s attitude towards the local community, in which pupils and families are fully integrated.
International does not only mean English. In Düsseldorf, you can also find…
The Japanese International School was established in 1971 as an essential institution for the Japanese community in Düsseldorf (over 7,000 people). Pupils from the 1st to 9th class attend lessons in their mother tongue so that they can integrate well when their parents finish their professional secondment. At the moment, about 450 pupils attend the school, some others attend Saturday classes to keep their fluency in Japanese. The partnership with Cecilien-Gymnasium represents an opportunity for pupils to get in touch with Germany as a host country.
Lycée français de Düsseldorf
Lycée français de Düsseldorf welcomes pupils from kindergarten up until their Bachelor (Baccalaureate/Abitur). There are students coming from more than 27 different countries and the school is part of a network of 150 schools worldwide. Thanks to their homogenous curriculum, they allow expatriate families to move from one country to another without major difficulties to transfer their child’s educational courses. In Düsseldorf, pupils achieve the so-called AbiBac, a double French-German diploma to enroll at universities in France and Germany.
Yitzhak-Rabin-School is an international school that focuses on Jewish and humanist values. The Hebrew language is integrated into the school day activities and serves as an integral part of the school’s motto.
And, of course, you also have international kindergarten options like Villa Luna and Everest Düsseldorf to get your children off to a head start in a multilingual atmosphere.
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