Primary school in the Pays Basque
What is the right school for my child?
This is the question that I'm faced with.I love my daughter's current school. It is small, close knit,safe and convenient. However,she is used to being challenged and engaged at home and I wonder if she is getting enough to satisfy her curiosity. In addition,her classes are so small it's difficult to near impossible for her to form friendships with kids her own age.
So how do you go about choosing the right Primary school for your child and what are the options.
Firstly there are no international schools in the area. The closest is in Bearn-Pau. At least an hour and a half away by car.
There are 3 types of schools in the region
1) Public (Government)
2) Private ( Catholic)
3) Private (Independent)
So I know what you are thinking, private Catholic schools must be insanely expensive. On the contrary! They are subsidized by the government and therefore the price is almost on par with the public schools.
Actually the end cost is really up to you.
1) lunch (Cantine)
2) afterschool (garderie)
3) APEL ( parent's association - normally once or twice a year)
4)monthly contribution ( an amount from 15 euros up ,that is up to your discretion)
There are no book or tuition fees, no registration costs or uniforms to be paid for!
In addition they do not impose any religious classes on the students. once or twice a year they have a priest visit to speak about Toussaint (All saints) or something else and that's about it. No morning prayers,no daily hymns or weekly church sermons from the parish priest. I know all about church schools as I attended one when I was in high school in the Caribbean.
There are also private independent schools where the cost can add up. To my knowledge there is Les Enfants de la Ruche in Anglet, which is a privately owned Montessori school which can run you around 500euros a month not including lunch,after school or registration fees.The school has a good reputation and is growing every year.
Kids do not undergo standardised tests or placement assessments in primary school so there is no real school ranking .The best way to find about about a school is by talking to people in your neighbourhood.
All the best in your search I know the struggle is real when it comes to determining what is best for your child!