hi stevejo how old are your kids?did they settle ok?are there quite a few british kids at that school?my little girl is 9 and we,re moving over there in january and don,t know what to do about her schooling for the best?any advice????????thanks
I am new to this forum, we are moving at the end of Jan and our eldest son (10) will be in PD 4th...we took him there last week to look around...does anyone else have children at this school - what is it like...seemed nice enough...what are the after school Greek lessons?? how much do they cost and how long/often are they for?
Also our daughter is 5 so will go to the kindergarten school near the police station...anyone know much about this...fear of the unknown!
Intensive Greek language courses: the sole difference between isolation and inclusion
By Nathan Morley
A NEW fast track Greek language course for the children of expatriates attending state schools has been introduced after a series of incidents involving truancy, bullying and anti-social behaviour amongst foreign pupils.
Local education officials have found it an increasing challenge to find the resources to help some of these children, most of who arrive at the school speaking no Greek at all.
Media reports last month suggested that some British expat students were disrupting lessons at Paralimni high school, with one newspaper claiming that antisocial behaviour was affecting the safety and well being of teachers and fellow students at the school.
Despite the incidents being played down by authorities, headmistress Melani Hadjicharalambous did acknowledge that there was a serious problem with the language barrier.
“Of course some new pupils caused problems, that was because they sat in class and did not understand anything at all, this new Greek language scheme is designed to help them learn quickly,” she told the Sunday Mail.
Paralimni high school has a higher number of English speaking students in comparison to most other schools in Cyprus, because of a high percentage of expats moving to the area with teenage children.
Discussion amongst expats about the problems relating to the language barrier have been rife, with several parents reporting that their children had come under pressure to break the rules by friends.
Some parents have complained that their children have been skipping classes, been subjected to ‘anti British’ history lessons and had their viewpoint ignored by teachers and officials.
“We found out after the second time our son missed some classes, he said the other boys called him a chicken and other names if he did not skive off with them, he really didn’t want to which is the sad thing,” one mother told the Sunday Mail.
It has been common for the British students to stick together, especially boys, who often leave the school grounds just moments after the morning register.
“We found out our son was bunking off from a neighbour who saw him in the café at a local supermarket. There was a lot of shouting and arguments with the upshot being that he said he hated school and wanted us to take him home to Scotland,” she added.
In recent years Ayia Napa, Protaras and Paralimni have proved popular destinations for younger expats with kids.
Hadjicharalambous said the recent influx of foreign students came from across Europe and had changed the makeup of the school system.
“We have about 40 foreign students, not just British, but also Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian and other nationalities. It is very multicultural.”
The surge of English-speaking students attending state schools, which in the past have been predominantly occupied by Greek Cypriots, has meant officials and teachers within the education system have had to learn quickly to deal with the new status quo.
“It has not been easy for everyone, but we are really seeing a difference. These new lessons teach foreign pupils seven hours of Greek a week. They no longer have to attend history or religious studies, they work on Greek language. We are really seeing progress very quickly.”
Paralimni high school is one of 16 schools that have adopted the programme aimed at integrating all foreign students into the state school system. In short, students will skip lessons deemed ‘non essential’ to attend intensive Greek courses.
It’s thought that the small classes, consisting of just eight pupils and frequency of the lessons should help many students attain a workable knowledge of the Greek language within months.
The new intensive courses are designed to make life less stressful for some students, who found sitting in a classroom unaware of what was happening intolerable – thus prompting some to misbehave.
Education experts say it is possible for teenagers to adjust, but it may take longer than for younger children and getting used to a new education system and leaving friends back in the UK are two of the main difficulties for the older child.
In an interview with the Sunday Mail, District Inspector of Higher Education for Larnaca and Famagusta, Sotiris Eleftheriou, said any problems with disruptive children is born from language barriers
“We knew that students who don’t speak the language could be a little bit nervous in class and even disobedient or unwilling to follow instructions. It is completely normal behaviour for every foreign speaker entering a new system. The problem is, and has always been, the language.”
Eleftheriou was upbeat about the fast track language scheme, which he said was already proving to be a massive success, despite only being in its infancy.
“This pilot programme is working, the students who pick up Greek quickly can then join the system with other students, we are enthusiastic about this and we think problems will cease.”
Paralimni high school is also trying to create a stronger communication link with the parents of foreign children by organising parent-teacher meetings to discuss any problems that students face.
We are trying, says ministry
By Stefanos Evripidou
THE INFLUX of non-Greek speaking children in schools is a relatively “new phenomenon” which the authorities are tackling through a series of new measures, said an Education Ministry official.
Ministry official Constantinos Constantinopoullos acknowledged that there isn’t a school in Cyprus now which doesn’t have foreign-language children, something which can put a strain on the education system.
“Look, the system has its shortcomings, but we have plans in place,” he told the Sunday Mail.
Since the new government took over last February, the ministry has begun implementing its programme of education reform. Some of the reforms already adopted include training programmes for educators, expansion of the Education Priority Zones for schools with an above average intake of non-Greek speaking children and the setting up of a Committee of Experts to tackle anti-social behaviour in schools.
In July, the Cabinet approved three measures for the smooth integration of foreign-language pupils with the aim of creating an inclusive and democratic school environment.
The first measure was to set up a pilot programme for the fast-track teaching of Greek in middle education. The new programme was launched this year in 16 schools (ten gymnasiums, five lyceums and one technical school) where the largest numbers of foreign-language pupils who do not speak Greek are concentrated.
“It’s the first time we are doing something like that. We hope to expand it from 16 to 18 schools,” said Constantinopoullos.
Asked what options are available to children outside of the 16 schools, the official said all children had the option of taking Greek language lessons after classes at the Education Centres.
A second measure is the publication of an Induction Guide for newcomers who don’t have Greek as their first language. The pamphlet will be translated into eight languages and contain basic information for both pupils and parents on the Cypriot school system, the choices available, its prospects, and the rights and obligations of pupils.
The third measure approved by Cabinet looks at ways to improve teaching methods by training educators on intercultural matters, how to teach classes with foreign-language pupils who have different cultural identities, and how to teach Greek as a second or foreign language.
Constantinopoullos highlighted that many more measures were also in the pipeline, funded by the EU Integration Fund.
“As of January, we will be hiring interpreters to spend four to eight hours a week in schools, depending on the needs of schools,” he said.
The aim is to improve school-parent relations and school-pupil relations. The interpreters could be used to help parents and pupils communicate with teachers, the school administration and headmasters.
“They can interpret at meetings between parents and headmasters, or translate school announcements. It depends on the needs of the school, it’s flexible. We will be implementing this in a hundred schools and have already started in some.”
Some of the languages spoken by the interpreters include Russian, Georgian, Ukrainian, Romanian and Arabic.
Asked whether there was any other support to help the children of repatriated Cypriots or foreign nationals to settle in their new environments, the official said schools also employed education counsellors who are available to speak to pupils.
Also, the ministry has prepared an Action Plan to tackle anti-social behaviour and delinquency in schools, based on proposals by a committee of experts, headed by criminologist Andreas Kapardis.
“There are many proposals on this, including the introduction of a School Social Worker. They won’t be in every school, but their contact details will be given and they will be available for everyone,” said Constantinopoullos.
I have a daughter in Paralimni 4th School and I have nothing but praise for it.
The Greek Lessons after school are FREE. They also have lessons during school hours, for the children who don't know any or much Greek. At first, they tend to spend most of the day in this class, learning their alphabet and the basics. Then they go for one or two sessions a day and take their classwork with them and they get extra help, should they need it and for as long as they it, there is no time limit. Of course if your child doesn't know Greek, they will need help for some time.
The have one main teacher and then different teachers for different lessons, such as religous studies, music, art, gymnastics. The school covers a wide range of subjects.
There is also a Kindergarten which is part of the school, you need to go to it directly to register though. It shares the school grounds but they are run separately. My daughter went there before joining the school and it is really good. It is similar to reception class in the UK, lots of art work, letter work and learning by play. It is very friendly and reminded me of my early years at school, when you could still go and sit on the teachers knee if you were upset. There are two classes, both with a teacher and then they have teaching assistants and the head teacher also helps out with the classes and she's really nice too. Plus the play area is lovely there now, they spent a lot of money a few years ago putting in soft matting and updating all the climbing frames etc it's really colourful.
Hope this information helps you. If you have any specific questions, I'll try and answer them for you!
My daughter is 9 and attends the 2nd school in paralimni, she is very happy there and is learning the language. My son goes to the nursery by the police station "georgio" that is great too he is 4 and he loves it, but i will be sending him to the 2nd school in September as it will be easier for me to pick up both kids at the same school.
The greek lessons after school are free and my daughters is for an hour and a half.
The fees at georigio is €75 per month 20 of that is for breakfast for the month. If your child is 5 she may be in like a reception class (sorry i can't spell the greek version of it) but if she is then it will only be €20 for the breakfast and free if you put her in your sons school nursery. I have been told from the school nursery that as my son will be 5 by september then i will not have to pay.
Hope that helps
I'm moving out to cyprus on May 31st and hoping my daughter can get into Paralimni 2. It is in our catchment area and the young lad next door also goes to this school, my eldest is starting in Paralimni Gymnasium tomorrow ( already living with my parents in cyprus) and i have had no reports for this school yet so not much i can say, but P2 seems nice enough!
Is there anybody elses kids starting in september this year in Paralimni 2?
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