Thursday, 30 September 2010

The wonderful world of costly education

There's a funny thing about being a foreigner in Berlin. A lot of the places I go to, I get asked if I am "from the Embassy". It always strikes me as an odd coincidence as we are pretty much the only people in our building who aren't from an Embassy. I got asked yesterday when I went to see my new doctor, and I was asked at the kids' doctor, and also last week when we went to visit the school that Orla will go to next year.

I really liked it. As in, would quite happily have left the kids there and went off and had a nice child-free afternoon at the shops. Everything about it was lovely. Nice teachers, nice class sizes, interesting lessons, swimming lessons at the Olympic stadium, all the good stuff you could ever desire.

Hamish and Orla came with us, and Hamish slotted himself right in to the Reception Class while we were being shown around. We walked into the classroom just as the teacher was asking who he was as he sat down at a desk with the other children. He's pretty quick at fitting in. Thankfully, he told her his name and didn't just spit in her face (in a blowing raspberries manner in response to any question he is asked by someone in close proximity), which is a nice little phase he'shopefully near the end of.

Orla also had a great time and joined in with the outdoor play with the other children in the nursery class who will be in her class next year. She really liked the fact that everyone was speaking English and seemed much more relaxed. I loved seeing her so happy, and couldn't help but think "I would pay good money to see her this happy every day". And wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what they are looking for.

We went away with a couple of brochures, one of which highlighted some of the work that the students had done the previous year. Talk about WOW! By the time I had worked my way through to the senior school there had been Spanish lessons in Year 2, school trips abroad that looked better than most of the holidays I have ever been on, poems and essays written in foreign languages, creative writing that blew my socks off, and artwork that was just, well, pretty amazing. I would enrol myself if I could [afford to].

I returned a call to the admissions lady and requested an application form (for Orla, sadly not for me). It arrived complete with the annual fees and the registration fee. If I had been eating my cornflakes I would have choked. Luckily we get some 'assistance' in this area. The school is pretty far away from where we live but we'd been told that there is a bus service that offers a door-to-door service. I sent an email last night to enquire about this and any possible fee that might accompany it. I know we live in the city, not exactly city centre but close enough, and where this school is there are wild boar in the forest that is fenced off from the playground.

So I got my answer today. 10.50 Euro's a day!! That's like £50 a week! Holy crap! Is everything extortionate at private schools? Something tells me I am going to be cycling Orla to the school and back. Boy, am I going to be fit. I am looking forward to finding out that the school polo shirt is £300 and lunch is £50 a head, per day.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That's why my kids are in a state supported private school- the fees cap out somewhere around 400 euros a month at maximum income levels. That's roughly equivalent to a Catholic school in the US I'm not Catholic, but it's a comparison) and I am very happy with it. Although I'm certain the kids could have a more intense life, I'm pretty happy with what they are getting.

    (edited for spelling errors)


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