Best Private School Options in Santiago

All things related to Moving to Chile, tips, tricks, FAQS. Here is where to exchange information between those that have already moved and those planning to move to Chile so you do not need to learn the hard way. Please also check Living in Chile forum for related information.
User avatar
mcall
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:27 am

Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by mcall » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:08 am

I have 4 children ages 13,11, 7 and 4. We move to Chile at Christmas likely for 3-4 years with our next transfer within LatAm. My wife is Brazilian and the kids speak Portuguese. When we lived in Brazil the kids went to a small, private school and the experience was excellent. My company will pay for private school in Chile but not Nido due to cost for 4. It's important to me that the kids learn Spanish, really "live" in Chile but have a great education and a good chance to adjust. I'm open to a "British" school but only know of Grange and worry about the large size of the class and if Spanish is taught/ spoken. I've heard of Chilean private schools but wouldn't know how to pick one and have heard that due to class hierchy the kids may not be well integrated/ accepted. I also wouldn't know which ones to examine. Any advice is very appreciated!

User avatar
momof3
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 594
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:38 pm

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by momof3 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:49 am

Answer me this and I can help you: Do you want your children to attend high/secondary school in english or spanish?

99.99% of the secondary schools require a solid level of spanish literacy because courses that were offered in english k-8 switch to spanish in preparation for the PSU. I know of several cases where parents tossed their kids in these schools thinking the kids would "pick it up" and be fine. NO! Do that when they are younger, not when physics etc is involved.
NIDO tends to refer every rejected applicant to TIPS, because it is more affordable and easier to pass admission exams.I also know several families with kids there and the feedback is 50/50 which is why I have not added it to our wiki page, but you never know, you may pertain to the 50% who are most satisfied.

Here are some school links courtesy of Allchile: http://www.allchile.net/chilewiki/index ... g_students
We agree to disagree.

enrique
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by enrique » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:20 pm

There are several factors that you'll want to take into account when choosing a school for your children in Santiago. Hopefully this little guide will be helpful and can serve other folks in the future as a reference. Of course, I am biased (I'm a Santiago College alum), so it would be great if others could share their perspectives.

Location:
In a city like Santiago, if your ideal school is an hour away from where you live during rush hour, it's likely no longer an ideal school. Grange is in La Reina, Santiago College used to be centrally located in Providencia but recently moved to La Dehesa. Nido is in Lo Barnechea. This can be less of an issue if you pay for your children take the school bus, although as they get older that might no longer be a practical option.

Religion:
There's no shortage of very Catholic schools in Santiago. I don't know much about these Catholic schools, other than that they tend to be all-boys or all-girls and that different orders (Opus Dei, Jesuits, etc.) have different schools.
There is also a couple of Jewish schools. Instituto Hebreo is more secular and Maimonides is more orthodox.
Santiago College is a weird beast. It was founded and it's still mostly owned by the Methodist Church. Most students are Catholic, with a healthy Jewish minority and a trickle of Protestants. However, there is a fair amount of religious ceremonies and Bible reading. In these ceremonies, there's usually a Protestant minister, a Catholic priest, and a Rabbi (yes, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke). Students must go to Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or non-denominational ethics lessons once a week (all of which are seen by the students as a joke). Some Catholic parents complain about the school not being more Catholic. Others complain about the school being more religious than they'd like.
Grange and Nido, to the best of my knowledge, are completely non-religious, even if kids can go to religious lessons of different denominations.

Price:
Nido > Grange > Santiago College. The prices (matrícula and colegiatura) are usually posted online, so do the research.
It's probably worth mentioning at this point that public education in Chile is awful and that if you can afford it, you should definitely send your kids to a private school.

Language:
Many schools will claim that their language of instruction is English. Take that with a huge grain of salt. While that might be true, the teachers' English might be mediocre. Also, the language that kids speak when playing and socializing will affect their proficiency. All things considered, Nido is very English-centric, Santiago College and Grange are good in both English and Spanish (the lessons are mostly taught in proper English but the socializing is mostly in Spanish), and the English level of most other schools (Lincoln, Craighouse, etc.) is questionable (good enough for claiming that you speak English in Chile, but not good enough for being what I'd call fluent).
There are other schools where other languages other than English are taught (Alianza Francesa, Scuola Italiana, Deutsche Schule, etc.). I don't have any visibility into how good those schools' language instruction is.

Academics:
This is a hard one. The standardized tests (SIMCE and PSU) are only a crude way of measuring this. This is compounded by there being schools that spend a lot of time preparing these tests and by how these scores are skewed by non-Spanish-speaking kids. Many parents compromise on these scores so that their kids learn better English (which they readily admit) and so that they hang out with the right kids (see next section).
All things considered, I'd say that Nido, Santiago College, and Grange prepare kids adequately for studying both in Chile and abroad. Nido focuses on the latter while Santiago College and Grange focus on the former.

Social aspects:
This one is huge, even if Chileans won't openly talk about it. Awful as it sounds, what school a child goes to says tons about who their parents are and who the child will likely end up being. This goes way beyond the obvious segregation between those who can afford sending their kids to private school and those who can't. The relationships developed in school grow into the infamous pituto networks much more so that those developed in college. It's not at all unusual for adults to ask new acquaintances what school they went to (which I've never seen in the US), as the answer gives a quick insight into one's social, political, and religious background. Cumbres or Apoquindo: wealthy, very Catholic, and right-wing. Santiago College and Grange: wealthy, secular, and right-wing. Saint George: Chilean "red set". Nido: Gringo (even if there's a growing number of Chileans going there). Are there exceptions? Of course. Does my stomach cringe as I write this? Yes. Unfortunately, as a general rule it's very true.

School idiosyncrasies:
Grange is obsessed with sports. Nido has the school year shifted with respect to the rest of the country. Some schools are larger, others are deliberately smaller. If a school looks like a plausible candidate, do your research and learn what's going on beyond the cutesy homepage and marketing spiel that you'll get from the admissions office.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, ask!

User avatar
momof3
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 594
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:38 pm

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by momof3 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:32 pm

Enrique, I think I am falling in love;) Where were YOU last year when I was dealing with this? Thank you for being so thorough and honest. That is the tricky part about education here, people from the outside don't appreciate the major cultural shift. People from the inside just don't discuss the awkard truths.
Santiago was definitely on the top of our list. I have also met several graduates: ALL fluent in english. I will say that I could not stomach the social order within the application process. Many of the schools you mentioned had thick applications that had all of one or 2 questions about my children. All the rest were about my social circles, income...
Pituto is a necessary evil if you plan on staying in Chile. If Chile is merely a post, don't sweat the brand name schools.
We agree to disagree.

User avatar
nwdiver
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 2949
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC and Chile where ever it's Summer
Contact:

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by nwdiver » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:11 pm

The Grange has native english speaker classes which is good and bad, they have mandatory sports and a formal sit down lunch for older students. My son with 7 years in Canada did 4 years at the Grange, he graduated with top PSU and Cambridge marks and was excepted in 2 Canadian universities and went to PUC in Engineering, note the Grange is an affiliation with the University of Cambridge and writes their exams not IB exams, but as its one of the most respected Universities in the world the results are widely accepted for entrance to most Universities, but I would check US Unis you may need an IB school. Also to keep all your children in one school the price goes down for each child in some the 5th or more are free ;)
It's all about the wine.

Donnybrook
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 3206
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:34 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by Donnybrook » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:12 pm

You should also be aware that you may not get your children into the school of your choice. The good ones have more candidates than places and priority is often given to children with siblings already in the school or children of alumni. You should be writing to schools now. The schools like the Grange and Santiago College are listed on the Association of British Schools in Chile website. Others you can find easily on the internet. It would also be a good idea to look at the schools which do the IB (International Baccalaureate)as that makes transition to another IB school in another country easier and also is an international measure of the academic level. The IB website will tell you which do IB courses and which do the full diploma.

You need to do this now as most new entries are decided by September. The end of the school year co-incides with the end of the year and you are going to find it very difficult to get the interviews you want in late December or January with people on holiday.

User avatar
trabajo en progreso
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 495
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:55 pm
Location: In Oz :( - formerly in Santiago Chile.

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by trabajo en progreso » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:28 pm

My eldest, who is in Pre-K, attends Craighouse. We are leaving at the end of the year, but if we were staying she would be changing schools. The instruction is supposed to be in English, and it is English, but not many of the teachers are native speakers. So, notes home in the diary from teachers include such gems as "when you live" instead of "when you leave". Workbooks that are bilingual read like google translate had a poor cousin who was asked to translate it. I have given up proofreading and correcting the work, I have given up sending notes to school about my dissatisfaction with the course work and lack of communication.

Examples of translation from a workbook, copied verbatim - to clarify, this translation was printed in the book.
Wile doing this the path divided into two paths, like two ondulating serpents...

Paula prefers the short path, since she is too tired to walk much longer, moreover, her sock had broke and it was difficult to walk...

Like this, paralized in front of the paths, almost taking the discussion to another level, screaming and yelling defending each's point of view, not being able to finally agree on a desition that would leave them both contempt...

How will we settle an agreement?

What to do in this difficult situation?
For $800 bucks a month I want my kid to learn (actual) English at an English speaking school, it's supposed to be an IB school with a British background and this is what they teach. :roll:

The campus is moving next year to Las Trapenses or thereabouts, and the uniform is changing the year after that.

School presentations in the current campus is like sitting through amateur hour - the new campus seems ultra modern and up to date with technology. At the moment we are forced to sit through dodgy powerpoint presentations, they are cheesy and really quite boring. For some reason when parents attend presentations, they are made to stand on the concrete floor while all of the children have seats - when the presentation is longer than an hour, it kinda hurts my back. My friend whose children also attend was telling me that when she was heavily pregnant last year she was made to stand for around an hour at one of those presentations, before a teacher made a child offer her a seat... For me, it speaks to the values of the teaching staff.

You can opt out of religious studies, if you are so inclined.

I have a Chilean friend whose daughters attended for their entire primary/high school time, and she was very happy with the school.

The cost is 16.67UF a month, plus the matricula which was around 2.5M pesos.

I believe Tombi had a similar experience with her daughter regarding the English spoken there, and after a year moved her to Nido. I don't blame her.

enrique
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by enrique » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:51 pm

The IB might have a decent curriculum, but in my experience the diploma was an utterly useless credential when it came to applying to good colleges in the US.

Donnybrook
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 3206
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:34 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by Donnybrook » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:46 pm

enrique wrote:The IB might have a decent curriculum, but in my experience the diploma was an utterly useless credential when it came to applying to good colleges in the US.
Not our family's experience. Of course it would depend on your point count and which university you wish to attend.

enrique
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by enrique » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:54 pm

I only applied to MIT and that's where I ended up going. I might have gotten some credit for the IB classes, but I don't think that the diploma itself played any role in the admissions process. Granted, this was a few years ago and things might have changed between then and now.

Donnybrook
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 3206
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:34 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by Donnybrook » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:51 pm

enrique wrote:I only applied to MIT and that's where I ended up going. I might have gotten some credit for the IB classes, but I don't think that the diploma itself played any role in the admissions process. Granted, this was a few years ago and things might have changed between then and now.
For Math and Physics they do give credits. Again, there are variables. The great benefit of the IB in a country like Chile, and many others, is the external, international level of it. The Grange now does A-levels, but that is also recognised internationally. For families moving from country to country it is a yardstick they can use to find equivalent schools. It also gives prospective schools an idea of the level of study with which the student is familiar.

User avatar
mcall
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:27 am

Re: Best Private School Options in Santiago

Post by mcall » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:45 am

Everyone, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and suggestions. I have referred back to these many times I've we've started this process. I'm sure I'll have a few more questions to come. Thanks again!

Post Reply