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We hope to move to France for 6 months while on sabbatical. We can go anywhere we wish. Our kids will be 13 and 10. None of us speak French, though we hope to learn as much as possible and will study before the move. Private English schools are terribly expensive. We'd like an affordable school with approx half English half French, so our kids could learn French without total immersion (they are a bit too old for that). Ideally we would choose the Nice area, but we're very flexible on location. Any suggestions?
 

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Not sure if you could get the kids into school for only six months (depends on the timing) but what you're looking for sounds quite a bit like the "English language section" of a bi-lingual public school. You might try looking into that option - which wouldn't cost anything.

But timing is everything here. There is no school during July and August - and the French public school holidays come every six weeks and last for two full weeks. If you arrive mid-year - January - there are two two-week holidays in there, plus the month of May usually has 3 or 4 public holidays (and many schools "faire le pont" to make a long weekend of any holiday falling on a Tuesday or Thursday).

Perhaps someone living in the area of Nice could advise on what bi-lingual collèges (junior highs) are available.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I think it depends on what you mean by affordable. I know there's a bilingual montessori school in Sophia Antipolis but I think it only goes up to age 11 or 12. The Montessori schools in our area cost around 400 euros a month but for some reason they are more likely to be bilingual than other schools. It's still a lot cheaper than the International Schools geared towards expats.

If you want to come in the summer and you're interested in your kids learning French, it might be less stressful to enroll them in the local "centre de loisirs." They have all sorts of great day and sleeapaway camps for kids here and they're really inexpensive. They would be based around sports or ponies and so the language wouldn't be as critical, but the kids would still be able to learn. And the young staff might be more flexible about speaking English (some staff in French schools probably speak some English, but they would probably never let on if they do - I was told off once for speaking English to my own son during a school field trip.)
 

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Not sure if you could get the kids into school for only six months (depends on the timing) but what you're looking for sounds quite a bit like the "English language section" of a bi-lingual public school. You might try looking into that option - which wouldn't cost anything.Bev
Only a few of the "English Language Sections" of the public schools are free. There are also different levels of "English Language Sections" at the collège level. Some schools offer a true Anglophone Section, while others will have a Section Européen for the students who are doing the best in English. And for the majority of these programs, it's not a true bi-lingual experience, but rather an intensive English courseload (often around 6 hours/week). Students must still take the core courses in French.

True bi-lingual schools are more than likely private, and there are also the international school options.

What is your motivaiton and objective for enrolling kids in a French school for 6 months? Do you need them there because you'll be working, or are you hoping they'll learn the language?
 
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