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

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Our son is in SIP Foreign Language School, grade 2 now. He started last year in grade one. We’re happy with the school. Our daughter will also start in grade 1 in September. It depends on what your expectations are. If you expect ‘English immersion’ then you should go to an International school, same as in most non English speaking countries in the world I guess? FLS is still a Chinese school, so yes, all the math, science,… books are in Chinese (although they have one hour class of math in English per week).

Last year I went to Suzhou Foreign Language School in SIP. I paid 500rmb for my son’s placement test. Two days later he was accepted into the 4th grade. Upon returning to the school for a proper tour and curriculum overview. I was lead around the school and shown the textbooks and other classroom materials.

Everything looked great and was a go. I was even happy to see that he would continue to learn Mandarin. As I was writing out the check in the headmasters office I noticed some lower level math textbooks written all in Chinese. I didn’t think it was unusual but asked the secretary about the books anyways. She then tells me, that only at 8th grade year are classes taught in English with foreign teachers. In the lower grades all classes are in Chinese with Chinese printed books and teachers. I was flabbergasted. I’d just been on a hour long tour and was lead to believe the school was English immersion. When I asked what books I was shown and other materials she looked at me sheepishly and told me this were books that the principal had brought back from America on a education visit – in other words I got the dog and pony show from sfls. I’d never been so misled or disappointed.

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