Expatriates : which school system to choose for your child?

Here are some good questions to ask yourself to guide your reflection :

  • How old is the child?
  • What language(s) does he or she speak?
  • Was he already in school and if so in which system/country?
  • What is the child’s modus operandi/learning style?
  • Where do you plan to live?

The answer to these questions will give you more or less flexibility:

– If your child is 3 years old and speaks French, he or she can easily start school in the Swiss public system. Please note, however, that compulsory schooling in Switzerland begins at the age of 4.
– If your child is already 16 years old and comes from the French system, you will more likely want him or her to prepare for the baccalaureate and will have to go to a private school in Geneva or to a lycée in neighbouring France.
– If you come from the English-speaking world, you may wish to let your child continue in the international system in a private school preparing for the IB.
– If you are coming from abroad, the prerequisite for enrolling your child in the Swiss public system is that you have found your own accommodation. Assignment to a school is based on domicile, however exceptions may exist depending on the number of places available.

The comparative table of school systems in Switzerland / France / UK / USA will help you to find your way around :