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International Bilingual School in Bordeaux, France

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Bordeaux International School, Bordeaux:
Bordeaux International School is centrally located in historic Bordeaux in South-Western France on the Atlantic Coast, approximately 495 km / 308 miles south-west of Paris, and provides high-quality, full-time bilingual (French / English) education for international pupils from the age of 2½ to 19. Boarding facilities are available for secondary school students with French families. The Early Learning, Primary and Middle School sections are bilingual. The English-speaking students follow the English National Curriculum, and the French-speaking students the French National program. Secondary education is taught in English and prepares students for IGCSEs, AS and A2 Level examinations. The programs are adapted to meet the needs of American students requiring entry qualifications to colleges in the US.

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Photo of International Bilingual School in Bordeaux, FranceBilingual (French / English) Education Programs:

Early Learning  Program (2½ – 5 years):
English-speaking pupils follow the English National Curriculum, and French-speaking pupils the French National Program, both adapted to serve the needs of an international school. All pupils spend an equal amount of time in both languages. There is continual assessment on personal development and curriculum targets throughout the school year. A detailed progress report is sent to parents each term.

• To provide an early start in self-expression by developing listening and speaking skills
• To create a stimulating environment, with emphasis on interaction with other children and play with appropriate materials
• To develop autonomy, self-confidence, self-respect and respect for others
• To encourage curiosity and acting on initiative
• To develop bilingualism, create an interest in and respect for other languages and cultures

Structure, Focus & Hours:
- Aged 2½ - 3:  Four mornings a week – half in French and half in English with co-ordinated bilingual activities. Each term follows a number of themes related to the interests of the children and the school project. Hours are 9am to midday on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Children of this age are only accepted in September and must be toilet-trained.

- Aged 4:  May be accepted for full days depending on places available and on the individual child.

- Aged 4 –5:  Four full days with lunch included as a social activity. Children begin their pre-reading, writing and number activities. Spanish is introduced at the age of 4 by songs and games. The children participate in the daily school council with the Primary School pupils. Hours are 9am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Primary School Program (6 –  9 years):

Bordeaux International School welcomes approximately 15 nationalities into its primary education section each year, with 60% of the pupils being French. This fusion of world cultures is particularly stimulating for children of this age. Classes are mixed nationality and the teaching is in both French and English, with equal weight given to each language. The school is unique in that pupils not only learn a second language but also learn in that language.

Teachers teach in theImage of International Bilingual School in Bordeaux, Franceir mother tongue only and pupils speak to them in that language at all times. After discussion with the head of section on future plans, parents are asked to identify their child's first language for early language and literacy skills. This enables a stable, smooth progression in both languages.

The full teaching team has contact time with every pupil at some point during the school week, which is important for all-round development. The teaching team participates in weekly meetings to discuss progress. There is no host family option for this age group and pupils attend the school as day pupils.

• To develop bilingualism in all pupils
• To facilitate mastery of the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic equally in both languages
• To foster a positive attitude towards learning
• To achieve a balanced progression in all learning areas
• To encourage pupils to take responsibility for their learning and acquire good working methods
• To prepare pupils sufficiently for secondary education
• To nurture self-confidence, self-discipline, independence, social skills and respect for other people and cultures

Lower Middle School Program (10 – 11 years) – A Bilingual Transition Phase:
Bordeaux International School has created a unique bilingual program to provide a measured transition from the primary interdisciplinary approach to the subject-based education necessary in Secondary school. It gives both French and English-speaking pupils a solid foundation for their secondary education, whether they continue at the school or go to a French 'collège' or a secondary school abroad. It is the only school in France to offer this truly bilingual program and we constantly receive very positive feedback from pupils and parents.

The school as a whole has a truly international dimension with pupils from approximately 15 different nationalities.  For most, either English or French is their first language, but for others, BIS offers a program of support in English as a Second Language. Although the International Lower Middle School program is usually for 10-11 year-olds, it is sometimes made available to younger or older pupils who would also benefit academically, linguistically and socially from this transitional learning phase.

Language Focus:
Lessons are delivered in both French and English thus promoting bilingualism. Pupils spend an equal amount of time in both languages, while following the syllabus relevant to their future studies. In key subjects, French-speaking pupils follow the French National Program while English-speaking pupils follow the English National Curriculum, so the essential aspects of both syllabuses are covered. Maths is taught both in French and English, and Science entirely in English.

The international dimension is also provided through project work, via a choice of items in the curriculum such as History (taught in French), Geography( taught in English) and also extra-curricular activities (such as theatre, dance, cinema, sport, field trips and visits). Spanish is introduced as a third language.

Upper Middle School Program (12 – 13 years) - Preparing For Secondary School:
The International Upper Middle School is the next two-year phase in a student's education at Bordeaux International School, where they prepare for the examinations in the years ahead. The curriculum is based on a combination of the English and French National Curricula especially adapted to allow students to experience the benefit of both systems and of living in France. In these years, all subjects are taught by subject specialists in either principally English or French by bilingual teachers. For languages, the class is divided so that students are taught their first language (either English or French) separately. 

Similarly, for their second language. In Mathematics, the same system is adopted as in the Lower Middle School, in that students are taught the subject in both languages, enabling them to prepare for either French or English exams in the future. Although the methodology employed in problem solving in the English and French system is different, the content of the two systems is equivalent and students will be encouraged to examine problem solving from both points of view.

Secondary School Program (14 - 18 years):
The staff (60% British, 40% other nationalities) are all fully qualified and experienced. The student population is approximately 30% British and 70% French and other nationalities in the Primary Section and 40% British, 20% French, 10% American and 30% other nationalities in the Secondary section.

Approximately a third of the students in the Secondary section live at too great a distance from Bordeaux to commute daily, so these stay with French ‘host families’ in Bordeaux during the week, and return to their homes at the weekends. The school timetable is adapted to their needs, starting at 10.00 on Mondays, and finishing at 14.30 on Fridays. Besides providing accommodation, an important advantage of living with a French family is that it allow students to practise and improve their French through everyday communication.

In the secondary school, classes are taught mainly in English and students are therefore only accepted if their competence in English is satisfactory. BIS is a registered centre for examinations with Cambridge (UCLES) and the school prepares students for IGCSEs, AS and A2 Level  in a range of subjects. The programs are adapted to meet the needs of American students requiring entry qualifications to colleges in the United States. Emphasis is placed on acquiring competence in the French language both through small classes within the school and involvement in educational, sporting and cultural facilities offered by the city outside the school.

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Address: 252, Rue Judaique, Bordeaux, France
Some interested visitors submitting program inquiries to our school up to 2023-05-12 were from:

Kleinburg, Canada; Kiev, Ukraine; Kingston, Jamaica; London, UK / GB; Israel; Antibes; Lourdes, Egypt; Boston Ma, USA; and more.
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