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

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  • #4893
    Anonymous
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    Dear all,

    I’m an American single-mom searching for a school for my 5th grade son here in Suzhou.

    Schooling has been an on going issue in China and he is currently attending a private school in Xiamen.

    I’ve looked into the education requirements several times in Suzhou and the education law mandates that foreign children MUST go to int’l schools.

    However on a teacher’s salary I simply can not afford 100,000RMB+ for these ridiculously overpriced institutions.

    My son can speak Chinese fluently, however reading and writing is a challenge for him. Recently someone told me that the in’l schools offer two different tuition tiers and offer different programs depending on grade and nationality. Could someone explain this further to me and recommend a good and AFFORDABLE school?

    #4537
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear all,

    I’m an American single-mom searching for a school for my 5th grade son here in Suzhou.

    Schooling has been an on going issue in China and he is currently attending a private school in Xiamen.

    I’ve looked into the education requirements several times in Suzhou and the education law mandates that foreign children MUST go to int’l schools.

    However on a teacher’s salary I simply can not afford 100,000RMB+ for these ridiculously overpriced institutions.

    My son can speak Chinese fluently, however reading and writing is a challenge for him. Recently someone told me that the in’l schools offer two different tuition tiers and offer different programs depending on grade and nationality. Could someone explain this further to me and recommend a good and AFFORDABLE school?

    #4894
    Anonymous
    Guest

    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?

    #4895
    Anonymous
    Guest

    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.

    #4896
    Anonymous
    Guest

    One of my friends have the same situation with you, now she went back to England, yes, for the foreigner student live in Suzhou, he need to to int. school, or if you do business or work in the company, maybe no need pay for your kids school fee, you just need find a ayi help you take care. but if you are only a teacher here in Suzhou and also need pay for his study ,it is a little hard…

    #4897
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Sorry to intrude, but given your situation, perhaps it’s best to go back to the US. Your son got what he needed out of China (fluency in mandarin – a huge accomplishment), why deal with this predicament any longer? I can’t imagine having any good schooling options for your son on a teacher’s salary. Admittedly public schooling in the US is also a pretty shitty option, but it’s free and your son gets to breathe clean air. My unsolicited 2 cents.

    #4898
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I have colleagues who are not Chinese citizens and whose kids attend public school here in Suzhou. (Both a Korean child and two American kids). I would see if someone at your school can help you figure out how to get your kid into a Chinese school if that is what you would like to do. I know HR at XJTLU (where I work) helped with getting my colleagues’ kids enrolled..

    #4899
    Anonymous
    Guest

    You know I have a similar problem.. It’s an awful system. Get this, my son is 100% Chinese in paperwork as is wife. He’s never been to the UK BUT my wife has her hukou registered in Mongolia because thats wheres she’s from. Because his Huko is also registered there he also cannot go to school like a normal Chinese person locally unless I have a house then the hukou can be changed. That isn’t likely to happen with all the unfair systems here. So Im stuck too. I totally feel ya…There is no cheap as I can find either.

    #4900
    Anonymous
    Guest

    SIP Foreign Language School. Has a so-so reputation, but has not been established long. I have several Chinese friends either looking or have already sent their children there. I think it’s around RMB16k per annum. There is a better school in SND. But you should be able to get your child into an experimental school for a smaller fee. I’ll ask around.

    You may also needs to check if the curriculum is accepted in your home country(if you plan to go back). From what I have heard, some international schools in China are not accepted in the UK.

    If you’re a teacher (i.e. a qualified teacher), you could apply for a job at one of the international schools, and your kid could then attend.

    Chinese are not allowed to go to international schools, however some of these schools have now adopted the local curriculum and as a result have also been allowed to take on local kids. So one school two systems, one for expats and one for locals and I would guess some difference in tuition.

    The international schools are quite expensive and will continue being so as long as foreign companies are willing to pay for it for their expat employees.

    There are private Chinese schools in Suzhou. As I know, there is one in SND which is very established. My daughter went to SIP Foreign Language School, which is located at the east part of SIP.

     

     

    #5623
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear All,

    We are in this situation with one of our companies, would like to see if anyone has similar experience: we have appointed someone as legal rep, simply because we trusted him more than anyone else. His job is actually with sales in another country than China. He receives some payment for his role in China via a consulting service agreement between HK entities. Finally the WFOE has been setup and our accountant asks how we should pay this guys tax.

    Should we change his scheme and have him paid (and taxed at source) in China? Is it normal to have an unpaid legal rep (I have had this in previous company, basically the legal rep had a full time job in another country but was appointed to the China board and we couldnt trust anyone else to be legal person)? Could it get us questions during audits?

    Has anyone here experienced that?

    Thanks!

    #5624
    Anonymous
    Guest

    /profile/89-cambronne/?do=hovercard” data-mentionid=”89″ href=”<___base_url___>/profile/89-cambronne/” rel=””>@Cambronne, isn’t the GM the legal representative normally ? I could be naive about this but will be facing this issue soon, perhaps a nice PM could work. How did you do business before? Although for us we have a business license but we are a branch of another company up north .. to be change soon though.

    #5625
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Yes nowadays it seems either Chairman of the board or GM should be legal rep. Before if I remember well any board member could do (I think). What nice PM, you want me to send you one?

    #5626
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I haven’t met such a situation previously but I don’t expect the unpaid legal representative scheme won’t go well with the tax authorities, and they will try to look more into this when annual audit time comes. As you know the higher the expense of your RO the higher the tax bill. You might want to get more information from the company in charge of your accounting.

    #5627
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Oh my bad you are talking about WFOE legal representative. The legal representative of the WFOE is simply the owner (or representative of owner) and doesn’t necessarily need to be on the payroll. If there is a work contract however between the WFOE and the legal representative, you can just keep the local salary to the minimum allowed.

    #5628
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear All,

    I have a follow-up question on /profile/89-cambronne/?do=hovercard” data-mentionid=”89″ href=”<___base_url___>/profile/89-cambronne/” rel=””>@Cambronne Good guy by the way this Cambronne.

    How much should a legal rep be paid, just for being the legal rep and sit on the board, ie without any other involvement in the company’s business. Just to be clear: the guy is appointed because he can be trusted and has vast experience, but has no legal link with the mother company and will not involved in time consuming activities for the WFOE other than what is required to fullfil his duty as legal rep AND to protect himself from possible liability. How much should we pay such guy?

    Thanks!

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