French immersion school
We will be moving from Montreal to Dubai in July, and are looking for a path to French immersion primary school for our daughter who is 3 years old. She is currently in bilingual French/English preschool, and our intention is to find a similar nursery environment in Dubai.
I see there are two main French lycées in Dubai: AFLEC and Georges Pompidou. What are the differences between the two? At what age would my daughter be able to begin at either one? Are admissions competitive?
Children generally start school in the year in which they turn 4 (so 3+) in La Petite Section. Both AFLEC and Georges Pompidou follow the French national school curriculum, so in this sense, there is no real difference. Traditionally it has been extremely difficult for non_french passport holders to obtain places at either school as they were heavily oversubscribed. This remains the case with Georges Pompidou which is the older and more established (and larger) of the two. AFLEC is expanding to a new campus located close the LFGP campus and is actively seeking new students, so this would potentially be the better option. In addition, a new school also following the French curriculum will be opening in September – Lycee Francais Jean Mermoz. The school will be more centrally located and may also be a good option.
If you are seeking a school with a more bi-lingual focus but with a French stream, we would also suggest that you consider International Concept for Education (ICE) and the Swiss International School Dubai (SISD), both of which offer the International Baccalaureate programme in either an English or French stream (the Swiss School also offers German as an option). You can find information about all of these schools by searching on Whichschooladvisor.com.