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Putting expat children in a Chinese Bilingual School

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by rebecca5566, May 22, 2019.

  1. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    I am considering taking a position in a Chinese Bilingual School. The contract offers tuition reduction if I put my children in the same school. Has anyone done the same? Did you have a positive or negative experience? One child is 3 and one is 4 years old.
    Thank you in advance.
  2. rideemcowboy

    rideemcowboy Occasional commenter

    Having your children at the school would be seen as a favourable situation for the Chinese school. I assume they would like as many native English speakers as possible in their school. I would, therefore, be insisting that your tuition is not a reduction but paid in full.
    As for your children, this is an excellent opportunity for them to have a genuine international experience they may value significantly in the future. Learning Chinese is one distinct advantage, but the lessons learnt on adjusting to cultural and social elements will be worthy.
    I would be looking at your children's current ability to deal with such challenges. If they have shown a reasonable level of resilience already, the chances are they will thrive.
  3. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    First I would checkout the costs involved as you say ”reduced fee” and not ”free” education for your children.

    To give you some idea of the cost involved one large organization in Shanghai charges 10000rmb/month,plus bus,plus meals,plus uniform fees for each teachers child in its its kindergarten. This is a 50% discount.
    rebecca5566 likes this.
  4. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    Push for it to be free. We have over 45 expats at my school in China, around 30 of them with children. None of them pay for their child's education at the school for their first two children. They only have to pay if they have a third or above.
    Redparrotfish and rebecca5566 like this.
  5. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Ok - so as cowboy says, the reduction in fees would need to be significant for this to be worthwhile, otherwise you will lose out financially - remember, if it is a 50% discount, then you will still be in effect paying one child's fees which, using Feb31st's example, would be about the equivalent of £25,000 per year before the various other charges. It might be worth going back and negotiating this - even if, say, you were to get free tuition for your oldest, you might find that hiring an ayi to look after the youngest all day might be more cost effective.

    In terms of the kids going in to the school, at that age there is less likely to be an issue. You will find though that the Chinese kids will speak very little, if any, English (I teach in one of the schools which is still fully international - that is, we don't have the Chinese license - and this is still an issue in EY / KS1.) If your kids are good at dealing with this, then it might be a great opportunity for them to become immersed in Chinese and learn it that way. I know of people who have had older kids in bilingual schools and it did become a problem, however.
    rebecca5566 likes this.
  6. gone east

    gone east New commenter

    Check REALLY CAREFULLY what is being taught.
    By law, only Chinese nationals can teach the Chinese national curriculum to Chinese nationals. This means that if they are under 14 for most subjects they will have Chinese teachers. Nothing wrong with that per se. However, the manner in which they are taught may well come as a huge culture shock if they are used to a UK/international school setting.
    If they are not near fluent Mandarin speakers how much learning will they miss while that develops? Will they be able to interact with their peers?
    I certainly wouldn't put my children in a bilingual school
  7. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    But of course, there are ways round this. I know of a couple of schools where the foreign teachers teach maths (one of the subjects which the Chinese staff are supposed to teach) and, when the inspectors visit, there is often - quite coincidentally, I'm sure - either an assembly or a different activity scheduled for the Maths time....
    rebecca5566 likes this.
  8. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The Chinese State Curriculum only starts in Grade 1 or Yr 2 when the pupil is 7years old. Many private kindergartens offer an International education to Chinese pupils from the age of 3 to 7, so outside state regulations. But fees for this can reach 20000GBP for pupils to learn how to finger paint in English. This is why I suggest rebbecca checks the school fees they will have to contribute out of her own pocket.

    School additional costs per year will include, uniform 4000rmb, bus will be 6000rmb and school dinners start at 5000rmb and some schools also charge 6000rmb for materials and books.

    Also the children will need additional health insurance as schools only pay for teaching staff and not dependents.
    rebecca5566 likes this.
  9. englishdragon

    englishdragon Occasional commenter

    rebecca5566 likes this.
  10. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    I am just trying to figure out how to find the message box. I am sure it is right under my nose!
  11. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your reply. They offered 100% discount, and I pay 30% for the second child. You, and others now, have said the same thing: ask for full fees. I will do that! Their first language is English, and their father's language is Arabic, so they are working between two languages already. I am now having second thoughts about adding a third. It could be an amazing opportunity. Again, thank you for your reply! Lots to think about!
  12. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    Those are very good points. It is hard to make such decisions! Thank you so much for your advice.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  13. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    That would be excellent! Great to know. Thank you!
  14. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    How very interesting! Certainly, there could be many other surprises in store. Hmmm.
  15. rebecca5566

    rebecca5566 New commenter

    I will recheck the school fees and examine the contract carefully. Thank you! Education is China is steep.
  16. snitzelvonkrumm

    snitzelvonkrumm Occasional commenter

    Even with 100% coverage add ons can add up. Uniform, meals, trips.
  17. englishdragon

    englishdragon Occasional commenter

    The schnitzel is a wise old Hund
    rebecca5566 likes this.
  18. rideemcowboy

    rideemcowboy Occasional commenter

    What is your decision?
    rebecca5566 likes this.
  19. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I'm clearly in the minority here, but I wouldn't do this with my kids. There's a world of difference between an international school and a Chinese school where they teach in English. All break time, lunch times and before and after school are going to be in Chinese. Students may also converse between themselves in Chinese during the lesson. Unless there is a considerable expat population, there will at least be some period of challenge in which your children may be totally lost academically and socially. You have to be sure that you have extremely resilient children.

    Also, although my experience of teaching Chinese pupils has been extremely positive, the massive difference between Chinese and Western European culture means that pupils will rarely integrate with each other easily. I work in a school with about 15% Chinese population. The Chinese pupils stick with other Chinese friendship groups and there is little integration which is completely understandable. I imagine it would be the same with Europeans in China.

    Aside from that, anything but 100% tuition cover would be a massive no-no
  20. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    This thread is intriguing... Of course everyone want the best for their children. This of course make threads such as these insightful because for some families it determines their final decision.

    But I do wonder. How many expat teachers were able, from their own pocket, send their child/children to private or grammar/selective schools back in their country of origin?

    Or is it just a case of, abroad/overseas posting is the only means of access to fee paying or private school education for most expat teachers?
    rebecca5566 and Redparrotfish like this.

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