Could anyone out there let me know whether there is such a thing as a state run school or do you HAVE to pay fees to get your kids educated in Cyprus. We want our kids to go to a Greek school and learn to integrate into their local community, will we have to pay whichever school they go to or are Greek schools state funded?
State schools are free. From people I've spoken to, their children get greek lessons at school, but it's a good idea to pay privately for extra (greek) lessons. As far as I know, private tuition is quite cheap.
Location: nice n sunny cold at night oroklini on the mossie breeding grounds
Yes there are state schools and they are free but please take into consideration the age of your children before making your decision.
At ages 5 to 8 there should be few problems as children of this age will adapt and learn a new language quite quickly.
At ages 8 to 11 there will be more problems ~ not impossible but more difficult for the child to adjust to the language and different school topics # your child may be put in a class with much younger children ( this creates a problem in it's self ) and put at the back of the class not actively taking part in lessons until they can communicate and understand what is being taught ~ this is often termed as being a "listener" and will continue until the child understands whats going on in the class ~ obviously the child isn't actually learning much at this stage.
Personally at ages 12 upwards I wouldn't even attempt it as normally it's a difficult age for children let alone a change of language and curriculum.
I suppose there's bound to be someone that will post that there 13 year old has gone to a Greek school and done well ~ believe me that's more the exception than the rule as most fall by the wayside ~ you will rarely hear from parents that have had problems as naturally most of us don't like to admit they have made a mistake let alone talk about it.
Even English Cypriots coming to Cyprus with their children have encountered problems when putting their kids into the state system and that's with the advantage of the children already speaking Greek as a first language.
Some state schools do give extra lessons in Greek to help the child and are facing up to to problems caused by the huge influx of immigrants and their children to Cyprus ~ there's still a long way to go and things are not ideal but they are getting there slowly ~ some schools are better than others.
Another thing to consider is how long you intend to stay in Cyprus ~ up til recently most of those coming to Cyprus have been retirees so the problem of schooling has never been a issue ~ since joining the EU lots of young folk with children have arrived to make a new life here and it's a sad fact that a high percentage of those have returned to the UK within 2 years bitterly disappointed with what Cyprus has to offer .
Now just think about this ~ you have taken your child out of English state schooling and plonked him / her into the Cypriot state system ~ they can't speak the language and some of the subjects taught are alien to them ~ they struggle on for a couple of years not really understanding anything and then the parents decide that they have had enough of Cyprus and drag them back to the UK.
You have then just lost 2 years of UK schooling and put those children at a huge disadvantage which will take ages to overcome.
As a responsible parent this is something I couldn't and wouldn't have done to my children although it seems that plenty of folk are willing to do so whilst chasing the Cyprus dream.
The logical answer is to put your children into a English speaking private school ~ although if Greek children attend the school you will often find a lot of Greek spoken in the classroom ~ the cost is approx £3,000 a year plus all the extras usually found with these private establishments ~ this is not financially possible for most families coming to Cyprus .
I hope I haven't put you off from coming to Cyprus and instead given you food for thought as to what is best for your children and of course ultimately yourselves .
One thing often said by people living in Cyprus " nice place to retire but can be a hell hole if you have to work and bring up children" I've often thought this statement is absolutely spot on and sums up living in Cyprus exactly
Last edited by bill on Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
i'd echo bills thoughts- you may want to integrate, but i don't think any young family can be sure that it will definitely be long term even if thats what they think now and an awful lot return to uk- at least if they are in english school they will miss no education, which is what would happen if you returned to uk in 1-3 years time- they would be very behind in uk on return
As a teacher in an English-medium secondary school in Nicosia, with a wife working as a teacher in a Greek-medium state school, I would second everything Bill has said above.
Absolutely spot on Bill and very wise and timely advice for the increasing number of British ex-pat families arriving here with school-age children.
I would also add that you should be wary of the hearsay judgements of those that always compare Cypriot schools favourably against UK schools. That is a very over-simplified view and quite often simply wrong.
We are also putting our kids into the Greek schools when we move over. Our eldest Madison will be just turned 6 and our little lad will only be 2 so wont know any different.
David and Linda are having a trial run at the moment in Liopetri and there son Michael who is 6 is absolutly loving it according to their recent E-Mails.
We will be moving to Paralimni in January, and I am now a bit concerned about schools after reading these replies. We have a 10 year old boy and after talking to other people living in Kapparis with children, we were under the impression that the state schools would be fine, that he would recive extra greek instruction and would settle in quickly. I am now having second thoughts on this.
What worries me about the english schools though, is the entrance test. Our son does recieve extra help in maths and reading at his uk school ( although he is not classed as special needs)
Any advice would be appreciated
Our Jack has been at Paralimni4 now for 10 weeks, he is nine. He has been put back two years, and they will assess him in January. He has Greek at school, then extra at school twice a week, and we have found a great private Greek teacher. Intense I know, but it's worth it. There are some lessons he get's bored with, as he has done them long ago, but we have bought him some english books to read at these times. We brought Jack here to rewind him, that's what's happening, the kids are at school till 18 here, they get there, so I don't understand the problem? when he goes to senior school, he can have the choice to go to a private school, but at the moment, he is saying he will stick to the Cypriot state schools. Jack is happy, so we are happy.
I think the problem, as Bill pointed out, is with putting children of secondary school age into Greek-medium schools. Your son is of primary age and so will have a much better chance of assimilating the language and culture so that the change will not be detrimental to his schooling.
Yes, all Cypriot children are required to remain at school until the age of 18, but that doesn't mean that they all achieve to their potential. There are as many disaffected 16-18 year olds in Cyprus as there are in the UK, many of whom 'graduate' from school through a system which bends the rules and standards if they 'fail' along the way.
There are, of course, stories of British teenagers who have successfully entered the Cypriot state system; however, there is a growing awareness that many do encounter difficulties which are clearly detrimental to their educational progress.
As for English-medium private schools, they do not only teach in the medium of English, but they also adopt the whole system of GCSEs and GCE AS/A2 levels. The aim, for most parents (including the majority Greek-speaking Cypriot parents who choose to send their children to such schools), is for their children to get places in UK universities.
Greek state schools teach a tightly defined national curriculum (even sponsoring and specifying which text books MUST be used), leading eventually to a graduating mark out of twenty in the leaving certificate ('apoloterion').
Whilst some Cypriot state school graduates do get places in UK universities (not usually the most highly regarded ones), it is mainly those who have attended an English-medium school that go on to tertiary education in the UK.
In the long run, British ex-pat parents should consider that Greek-medium schooling will probably make it more difficult for their children to get places at good UK universities. It is also likely that English-speaking children put into Greek-medium secondary schools (gymnasium/lyceum) will be at a disadvantage when competing for places at Cypriot or Greek national universities at the age of 18.
I am not drawing quality comparisons between UK and Cypriot state schools (that, in the absence of a Cypriot schools inspection/reporting system, is very difficult anyway); merely pointing out some of the considerations British ex-pat parents should make when deciding what is best for their children.
It is true that most English-medium schools set entrance examinations (similar in many ways to the old 11+ exam to get into grammar schools in the UK). It is also true that there is no standardisation of such tests, with levels of difficulty and 'pass' marks set by the schools according to demand.
For example, in Nicosia, the English School is the most sought after English-medium secondary school and the competition drives many Cypriot parents to spend a lot of time and money on 'coaching' their children for the English School entrance exam. Consequently, this school can set higher standards for entry than other English-medium schools in the area.
In Paralimni, the only English-medium secondary school is the Xenion school. It is relatively recently established and has quickly built up a healthy clientele. As a consequence, although I have no evidence for this at all, I would imagine that the school can afford to become more 'choosey' about the range of student ability it accepts for entry.
Have you had a look at examples Xenion's entrance examination papers? It may well be helpful to take a look and consider extra coaching for your son, if you want him to have the option of an English-medium school in your area.
To add to my last post here, over the last few weeks, I have listned with interest to some Brittish parents at Jack's school. The majority are not happy with the school, and feel that their offspring are suffering a lack of education, due to being 'put back'. I have to say, these are people who have not done their homework, and in many cases, only been to Cyprus once or twice, therefore, they just don't get it, and are not embracing the Cypriot culture, or way's, and this is rubbing off on their kids. Our grandson had been to Cyprus fourteen times in eight years, and played with Cypriot kids many times, also, we talked endlessly to him about the way's of Cyprus. The result is clear, unlike his UK friends, he loves school, loves Cyprus, loves the life, when asked recently by one of his friends mother if he misses Scotland, he answered,'I don't know how you could even ask that' Kids here, (Cypriot) are kids a lot longer, they have a childhood that UK kids are fast tracked through at a great rate. As far as education is concerned, we don't need Jack to be a genious by the age of ten, he will get there, what's the rush? let him be a kid first.
we are considering a move to cyprus and are looking at property in avgorou. i have a 17 year old, who left school last year, a 15 year old and a 9 year old.
i have just read some comments on schooling. i was worried and confused before but even more so now!!!!
We were seriously considering a move to Cy last year, I have sons aged 17, 14, 12. We were sent sample papers of entrance exams to several private schools including Pascal and Xenion. They were far above the standard that our sons were currently studying at state school in the UK, although both are in top sets here. (especially Maths) I'm not sure that they would have passed the entrance exams had we taken them. Perhaps they would have given them a place at a year below their age but we would have been paying 3K+ per year for this.
Other factors made us decide that now was not the time to move anyway.
_________________ The things that one most wants to do, are the things that are probably worth doing.
Yes Ruth, don't forget, as I mentioned above, the English-medium private schools are selective. Consequently, they do set tests which are designed to identify the higher achievers.
Additionally, some parents pay for private 'cramming' lessons in their children's last year at primary level. These lessons concentrate almost exclusively on remembering routines in order to pass the test.
I am not sure that this represents a generally higher standard (in maths, for example) in Cyprus. Certainly Cyprus does not figure particularly well in independent international comparisons of educational achievement conducted by bodies such as UNESCO (although I am circumspect about the evidence and strict comparability of this type of research).
There is a huge and lucrative private lessons market in Cyprus and many students spend almost every afternoon being ferried around from one extra class to another.
There is a knock-on effect in schools in that some students develop the attitude that 'day' school is not so important, because they will have private lessons in the afternoon.
This continues right through secondary school for some, even in schools with the best reputations. In some cases, students are taught privately, in very small classes (2 or 3 students), or even one-to-one, in the afternoon by the same teachers that teach them at school!
This practice is contractually illegal, but many a blind eye is turned...
Hi Angela, Don't worry about your nine year old, however, we have friends with an eight year old boy who just moved him out of Avgurou school, as he was the only english kid in school, now they have to motor to Paralimni every day. He was also very lonely, now he has friends, and is doing well. Your fifteen year old? difficult.
My personal thoughts are that if your children are 7 years old upwards then greek mainstream schools aren't for them. I have been advised that before the age of 7 you are capable of taking on board another language without much teaching, you brain is still learning your own language so takes it on board easier. After this you have to be taught which is why us old ones struggle so much!
Also, the schools tend to be abit stricter than back home so the younger kids dont suffer so much with the change as they haven't had much experience of schools to relate to. Once they have done 3-4 years in an English school it is very hard to adapt to the different style of schooling in Cyprus. We were told by our personal banker that the teachers lose interest with the older English children as they can be very rude and have very little respect for there elders which goes against what they teach from a very early age.
Not an exact science but my opinion on the subject of which school.
Hi Dave, Our nine year old is learning Greek at a great rate, it depends on the child, he went off to play a match in Ayia Napa on Saturday with Paralimni FC, on the team bus, he was the only non Greek, no probs, he understood every thing that was said to him.
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