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State schools/education

Secondary Schools which study for GCSE and Matsec Exams

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Secondary Schools which study for GCSE and Matsec Exams

Postby Hali » Sun 19 Oct 2008 07:57 GMT

Hi,

After reading several posts about moving to Malta and which secondary schools are available which will offer a more international education system I thought I would let you know how we have found things.

We moved over recently with our two teenage children. Like most parents, also very anxious that our childrens education wouldn't be affected. Before moving, I did quite a lot of homework on schools as we wanted to find a school which would offer both the GCSE system as well as Matsec, so that should we or the children decide to return to the UK for further education it would be simpler for them.

Verdala International School is mentioned alot but is not the only choice open to you. We had decided on an independent school (fee paying) as our daughter was already finishing Year 9 and with her Option year now looming, decided that a school which just taught in English would be better for her. I initially got the full list of all schools on Malta from the Valletta Council website. I then looked at the list of independent schools, which were all on there, and looked at the websites where possible. From the list, there were about five schools which were suitable for our children. I emailed them all to ask if they studied for both GCSE as well as Matsec examinations at 16 years of age and asked all initial questions I had. All schools were very helpful and responsive. We then came over to Malta at Easter and went around the 4 schools which seemed most suitable together with our children. All schools were happy to take us around and talk over everything with us. The Verdala was one of the schools we visited but for us wasn't for us and after visiting the other three schools, chose another school. The school we have placed our children in offers the Matsec examinations and GCSE Edexcel examinations and is fairly small (especially compared to the school which our children attended in London).

Like all parents, we were very anxious that our children would be happy - and I'm glad to report that they are loving it. The school has been very helpful in making sure that they are happy and comfortable. In most topics, the Matsec exams cover the same curriculum as the Edexcel and so hopefully at 16 they will come out with both examinations (by the way, I was told that Matsec exams are recognised at most UK universities but they have to compare the level gained to the GCSE levels). They both go off to school with no moaning or problems and come back every afternoon happy and ready to get on with their homework (which also never happened in the UK!) Being an independent school, you do have to buy all text books, writing books, files etc. but we can already see that they are covering a lot more in their subjects and even more important, are understanding what has been covered in the lessons. The school is stricter in making sure that the correct uniform is worn but after an initial moan of horror when my 14 year old daughter saw the uniform, as all the children are wearing exactly the same, she is fine about wearing it now. The school does give them more homework than they got in the UK but it hasn't been too much yet - perhaps a couple of hours a night if that. Do take into consideration that the school holidays here are very long and so I am sure that this is their way of making up for it.

So for us it has worked out much better than we could have hoped. My advise to anyone in the same position as us is do as much homework as you can - don't be afraid of sending the schools as many emails as you need to, to make sure all your questions are answered - and go around to all of the possible choices so that you can compare the schools and get a better idea of what they offer. One school told me by email that they did do the GCSE examination system and when we visited I then found out they actually didn't - so it's important to keep asking until you are absolutely confident that you have been given the right information.

One last bit of important information - whereas the UK studies for GCSE's over 2 years, here in Malta it is a 3 year course and so our daughter had missed the first year of the GCSE course. This hasn't proved a major problem so far though with any course work she missed being readily available to her.

Good luck.
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Postby Eggs » Fri 24 Oct 2008 09:05 GMT

nice post, would like to contact you re schools you chose but you have an email address on your profile.

So if its ok can you let me know your email or msn as my son will be starting secondary school when we arrive and it will be interesting to see which route you took as to the one i am going down.

Regards
===================
Rob Marna Harry Zara :P
===================
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Postby BelAus » Sun 9 Nov 2008 23:05 GMT

Hali, we are interested too which school you chose and why!
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schools

Postby Lynda spain » Mon 17 Nov 2008 15:16 GMT

Read your message with interest Hali. We have bought a house in Sliema and hope to move early Spring/Summer. I have been busy doing research like yourself for our 13 year old boy, who has been attending an International school here in Spain for three years ( very happily) I looked at San Anton and they have been very helpful. Verdala has been suggested, but seeing you have been researching so well i would be interested in which school you decided on. Its so hard trying to get the right school. His happiness is more important than Academic achievements
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Postby gozomark » Mon 17 Nov 2008 15:29 GMT

Hi Lynda, and welcome to the forum :D
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Schools addresses?

Postby BelAus » Tue 18 Nov 2008 06:14 GMT

We have shortlisted 5 schools which we plan to visit before enrolling our kids.

I would however like some help on the addresses though, since Google Maps seems to have trouble finding the addresses as listed on either the school's own or the governments site (http://www.education.gov.mt/edu/schools/independent_private.htm).

The government's site seems to be out of date too as some of the email addresses and web links no longer work.

Since they are 5 independent schools I am however not sure if I can actually ask for this advice here? Am I even allowed to list the schools so people can help me with the physical location?

ps. I made a public Google Map to manage the Independent Secondary Schools in Malta where I attempted to place the locations of these schools.
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Postby gozomark » Tue 18 Nov 2008 07:05 GMT

Hi BelAus

there is a part of the boards where you can ask for such advice, called
"recommended suppliers" - its found on the main Malta menu, under "private boards". There you can ask any questions you want, including names of recommended companies etc. In this case, you can certainly ask for physical locations of the schools

http://www.britishexpat.com/expatforum/ ... =suppliers

We ask you to pay a one-off subscription fee of a minimum of £25. 50% of the fees will be donated to Gozo SPCA through sponsorships of the animals they care for. The other 50% goes towards the cost of keeping the Malta Forum running.

[Edited by Dave to reflect the increase in the RS joining fee, 1 Oct '09]
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Postby Nedster » Tue 18 Nov 2008 09:48 GMT

I can understand the reasoning behind preventing blatant advertising, and the necessity for the forum owners to make a living, but isn't this taking things a little too far?
This is a forum that is primarily intended to help people re-locate, it's the Education and Schools section, but people are being asked to pay for information about schools.
This isn't a spamming post to get a commercial company some extra business; it's someone looking for help.
There is a difference.
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Postby Lynda spain » Tue 18 Nov 2008 09:56 GMT

Yes, I must admit I think along the same lines. I've just paid to join just in the hope i might be able to find a school.
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Postby gozomark » Tue 18 Nov 2008 10:05 GMT

Hi Nedster and Lynda

I agree that this is a borderline situation, - I saw privately run schools on one side of the line, govt schools on the other - maybe I drew the line in the wrong place, but the line has to be drawn somewhere - this only started a few days ago, so we are still sorting out boundaries

Until the subscription-based forum was started, asking for recommended suppliers was against forum rules. There is now somewhere members can ask. 99% plus of the Malta forum is still completely free to view. The subscription-based forum isn't intended to be somewhere you pay your joining fee and only ask a single question, but is planned to be a place where someone new to Gozo or Malta can get loads of recommended suppliers of services, and save themselves alot more in time and money than a one-off fee. We won't be able to answer all your questions, and maybe schools prove beyond our combined expertise, but overall I believe this forum will provide value for money.
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Postby gozomark » Tue 18 Nov 2008 12:32 GMT

in terms of finding locations of schools, there is an on-line map of Malta

http://www.rmfmalta.com/pages/onlinemaps.htm

if you go to the locality the school is in, hopefully you will spot the location of the school
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Postby gozomark » Tue 18 Nov 2008 18:56 GMT

The owners of the website and I have discussed the issue of private junior, primary and secondary schools, and have agreed to make them a special case, so please feel free to name , discuss and recommend them :D

Lynda, you may try the Recommended Suppliers board for a day or so and if you don't think it'll be useful to you personally, we'll give you a full refund.
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Independent Secondary Schools of Malta

Postby BelAus » Wed 19 Nov 2008 00:03 GMT

Link to the public Google Maps listing all independent secondary schools of Malta: map

Feel free to provide feedback as I attempted to position the schools on the map but am not sure if they are all positioned correctly.
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Postby Lynda spain » Wed 19 Nov 2008 09:43 GMT

Thank you regarding the refund, I will let you know.
Thanks for the Map, with the schools, that is really useful and has made me aware of the new International school QSI which didn't have any details on. Have been in contact wth Newark College as it seems a small school, does anybody have any thoughts on it or any suggestions.
Thanks
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Postby BelAus » Wed 19 Nov 2008 12:07 GMT

Hi Lynda, we contacted all the independent schools on the list and we decided that for cost as well as making friends with Maltese kids we are no longer looking at international schools.

Newark College is still one of the schools we are seriously considering. We find them very friendly, the school seems very nice and the price is reasonable too.

We are planning to go and visit Malta around February and we will be visiting the schools to have a closer look at how our kids would be able to fit in.
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