Search form

menu menu

Relocating to Belgium & need advice on Schools


Hello everyone,

I am due to relocate to Belgium at the beginning of next year for work and I am bringing my Wife and three children. We are relocating from England and I am currently struggle to find any free international schools in Belgium, do these even exist? I have seen a few paid international schools however the fees are not something I can afford to begin with which is why I would prefer a free school.

My children are only just starting to learn French in school however it won't be enough to put them into a public school in Belgium. One of my children is 12 so has just gone up to big school and the other two are 10 and 7.

If free international schools don't exist, is home schooling an option we could do with our children? maybe my Wife teach them as she won't be working straight away.

Any information would be very much appreciated.

Thank You


Between 65 and 70 per cent of foreigners in Belgium live in french majority speaking areas of Belgium. Look up stats. It follows that more foreign children are schooled in french so french schools have more not less experience of having foreign students.

Go with the majority language of whichever community you choose to live in to make it easier to integrate.

Oct 15, 2016 21:51

Hello all,

Some good responses and some very helpful posts, thank you.

I have heard that some areas can be a nightmare to commute to Brussels. I will be working near Brussels airport so I would appreciate any advice on areas within 30-40 mins driving to this vicinity with good public schools.

Thanks again everyone.

Oct 16, 2016 00:26

Live near work. Seventeen is Dutch speaking has a fair number of English mother tongue in local schools and near after school English activities.

Or kraainem wezembeek or woluwe st pierre majority French. Easy to get local school places. Cheapest French option is evere but hard place to get into local schools and further to go for after school English activities.

All above areas will be max 30 minutes car commute but there might be tram or bus to work

Oct 16, 2016 06:54

I'm guessing that 'Seventeen' is actually some spell checker's idea of Zaventem!
If you start to think about places like the Woluwes and so on you will definitely have a 30 minutes car commute but you are also aiming at some of the most expensive areas to rent property. Perhaps not too big a shock if you are moving from the London area but still pretty steep.
There are plenty of cheaper places within a 30 - 40 minute drive if you look to the north and north east of the airport but, again, if you are working on the south side, that will have an effect on your travel time.

Oct 16, 2016 10:03

Looking it up, Le Verseau is neither state-funded nor even in Flanders. It is an international school in Wallonia. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by bringing it up.
I would also be interested in seeing these stats that show 70% of foreigners living in French-majority areas. Do you have a link?

However, you are technically correct that there are some French-speaking schools funded by Flanders, namely a handful of francophone elementary schools in municipalities with language facilities such as Kraainem. This is a caveat that I forgot to mention.

@ Wizkid, what exactly do you mean when you say you will be working 'near' Brussels Airport? If it's the airport as such, you might want to take a look at Zaventem itself, Machelen, Steenokkerzeel or Kortenberg. Tervuren is also close-by and has a British School, though I'm not sure if it's for all ages. All of these are in Flanders so local schools will be in Dutch. The eastern municipalities of the Brussels Region (particularly the Woluwes) are also an option, but they are some of the most expensive municipalities to live in Belgium. Local schools there are mostly in French, though there are some high-quality Dutch ones as well.

Oct 16, 2016 12:34

Sd le verseau is a public fren h funded by the french community but with top up fees it might have international in the name but does french community curriculum with option of a few english qualications other public schools offer. I d have it on list but not on top .

Oct 16, 2016 12:43

If you re working near the airport wsp is 5 to 8km away. Wsl has a bus from roodebeek to airport through many office buildings in 20 mins.

Wsp and wsl at smaller and cheaper end of market is only a little bit more expensive you can get 3 bed for 1200

Oct 16, 2016 12:52

For official stats on numbers of foreign nationals in Brussels flanders and wallonia usr google cannot link but yes it is about that.

Oct 16, 2016 12:58

Hi the international school are expensive as they aren't able to get tax breaks as charities like they can else where they therefore have massive salarie bills. . If you work is relocating you it's not often that they wouldn't agree to help pay for either school or immersion language classes. Maybe you can get the final few years paid for by work for your children, some will agree once the children ate out of primary years. The paid for school tend to be very good as a rule.
Home schooling is done here by some people so that is an option. You can for example externally enter for GCSE at BSB and not need to go there to do this. As much as anything it depends if you're here for good or planning to return to the UK.
Le verseau is mentioned but I think that has some fees attached although not as high as the international schools.
If not planning on return to U.K. immersion can work but it can be very tough. Especially on Teenagers as much as anything depends on your family.
Chose your commune for commute time trains can be quicker than cars especially in brussles once you have that sorted then look at schooling. .

Oct 17, 2016 12:00

There is a single French school in Brussels which does 13 hours / 32 hours English immersion from age 13 (it's not allowed in French or Flemish, system before that age, in Wallonia it is allowed from age 5, which is why AR Wavre-Rixensart do it for example, nearest French school to Brussels which does it from age 5), but remember English immersion is designed for French speakers not for native speakers. However, for a 12 year old entering local schooling in Brussels, it's as near as you'll get to having some education in English. It's Jean 23 Woluwe. No fees other than what you expect in French system school like photocopying, books, expect a few 100s per year. No Flemish school in Brussels does this much English immersion yet, though they are now able to, so for sure some will start. Le Verseau has the obligatory top-up fees paid to the parents' association, it's roughly 5k per year, it pays apparently for the lesser funding from the French Community which supplies the greatest money. Several children travel from Brussels to Bierges 20km south of Brussels, to drive is up to a 2 hour round trip, so car pooling is normal there, otherwise 2 public buses go there from WSP/WSL and Uccle, there might be more but these are the 2 I know and the journey time is going to be around an hour, with a change of bus in Wavre too. Remember only 4-5 hours of English designed for mother tongue English there, I think a bigger attraction is rather the head is mother tongue English and the school is (from the words of parents) about 50/50 French/English mother tongue, plus they are very used to Anglophones arriving without French at an older age. Jean 23 Woluwe must also be quite used to this too now. Very good advice from CC-R and you can do many GCSEs and A levels as external candidate at ISF and BSB. As for living 30 minutes away by car to the north or east, that you would have to balance the added commuting cost V living closer to work where housing is higher cost. You'll find costs in Kraainem, Wezembeek and Zaventem are cheaper than WSP and WSL, but the lower you go in value, the difference is less.

Oct 17, 2016 17:41