Reply To: Searching for a school for my 5th grade son here in Suzhou

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We are in much the same situation in some ways. We have 3 kids ages 16, 13 and 11 and have been in Suzhou 2.5 years. The first year we tried the SIP FLS and were given the big song and dance about really wanting foreign kids there and customizing their experience somewhat. We put the oldest into 10th grade there and it was all in English with Canadian teachers. The problem was that the other students’ English was just not up to par so 90% of the “teaching” was vocabulary and other very basic stuff that didn’t help our daughter at all.

The other 2 kids were in the younger classes that was all Chinese but we were told the teachers would make a special effort and include them and work to help them. We also had a private tutor come to the school for 2 or so hours each day to give the kids mandarin lessons each day during English class and the school put the 2 younger boys into the 1st grade class during Chinese writing class too.

We thought it was all going well until a couple of months into it I did a surprise visit and found they were totally ignoring our kids and passing out math assignments to everyone but our kids and just blowing our kids off. It was a horrible experience and the next year we home-schooled all 3 of them after extensive research and finding no good options for us either.

This year we looked around and were stupid enough to believe the SIP FLS when we went back and visited again. We were willing to give them another shot after talking to them at length, suggesting changes in the school curriculum and having more oversight.

The kids were willing to give it another chance too but by mid-October we realized it was more of the same and we pulled them all out. We were lucky enough to find Dulwich College… not the one everyone here knows over near SSIS, but the one on Ren Men Lu in Old Town. It has the same A-level (UK) standards as the other more well known Dulwich and has all foreign teachers, uniform and all that jazz. My daughter is the only foreigner in the school though and while all her classes are in English, all her classmates are Chinese. She speaks pretty good Mandarin and the education and support and learning have been beyond our wildest dreams.

Best of all it was not much more expensive than SIP FLS and about half the price of the other Dulwich. My daughter loves it there, although the work is extremely demanding coming from the US educational system.

We plan to send our son there next year as well as he will be old enough for the 9th grade. We are still stuck on what to do with our 11-year old though and are looking for solutions besides homeschooling this year, for all our sakes.

If anyone knows of anything outside of SSIS, Dulwich, SIPFLS, please let us know. Someone mentioned a small American school in SIP, any details on that?

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