Frequently Asked Questions

General

Why did you build a new school?


We could ignore that the world is changing faster than ever, yet our education system is not - and hope that our children will cope. We could ignore that our world is unsustainable - and hope that our children will have a great future. Or we can do something about it. We built a new school because we believe our children need very different skills, mindsets and knowledge to thrive in the future. To address global challenges such as climate change and increasing inequalities, the world needs positive change-makers, social entrepreneurs, scientists, leaders and artists who can and want to do something about these challenges. REAL School's mission is to raise a generation of social entrepreneurs who can dream and build a more beautiful, equitable and sustainable world for themselves and for all living beings.




What does your mission "to inspire and empower the next generation to dream and build a beautiful world" stand for?


From a student's perspective, joining REAL School means learning through real-life projects, and following your curiosity, while making things happen with a positive impact. As a parent, you will be among forward-thinking people who give a damn about the world's challenges. REAL School educators have the freedom to design and bring to life engaging learning experiences with a great purpose.




What does REAL stand for?


REAL stands for: Relevant, Entrepreneurial, Art-filled Learning. When you imagine a day at REAL School, you should imagine children learning through hands-on, real life projects that are relevant to them and the world around them, turning creative ideas into reality following a project-based learning process, and using different forms of art to express themselves.




Why and how is REAL School different?


REAL School challenges some of the fundamental premises of mainstream education: Qlick here for a bigger picture.




How does REAL School contribute to our shared sustainable future (and present)?


Everything we do contributes to our shared sustainable future and present. We are nurturing creative, critical thinkers, collaborative problem solvers, and joyful members of society, who are aware of themselves and strive to make a positive impact in their communities through real life learning projects. Sustainability is deeply embedded in our everday operations as well. Every decision is taken by taking into account its potential environmental, social and economic impacts, including resources orders, waste management or travel arrangements. Our environment is a source of inspiration for environmentally-friendly solutions, including the materials we use and the furniture we design ourselves. We offer healthy and delicious plant-based snacks and lunches to our community every day, as incorporating plant-based meals into our diets is one of the most straightforward things we can do to reduce our environmental footprint, as well as improve our health and protect all living beings. REAL School also joined the Eco-Schools initiative in 2021 to be inspired by other schools in the network and share best practices and challenges in our sustainability journey.




I have more questions. Can I come talk to you?


Of course. If you're an interested parent, please message us at admissions@realschool.eu. Our Family Ambassador will be glad to answer all your questions regarding life at REAL School and admissions. If you wish to join our School as an educator or team member, check out realschool.eu/careers for open opportunities.




How can I stay in touch and receive more information?


Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and check out our Youtube channel for information, inspirational articles and a glimpse into life at REAL School. We also recommend you to sign up for our newsletter here.





Community

Is REAL School for me?


As a CHILD, joining the REAL School Budapest means learning through real life projects, and following your curiosity. As a PARENT, you will be with forward-thinking people who equally and passionately care about the world's challenges. And as an EDUCATOR, you will have the freedom to design engaging learning experiences and bring them to life, with a great purpose. If any of the above sounds exciting to you, then yes, the REAL School is for you! Get in touch with us at joinus@realschool.eu or admissions@realschool.eu.




How do you think about the role of the educator?


The role of the educator is changing. To support a transformative learning experience which includes inquiry and experiential learning opportunities, REAL School educators are mentors, co-learners and coaches who create a community where their passion for learning is contagious. External professionals - including parents - are also involved in the learning experience, to provide opportunities for in-depth inquiry into their fields of expertise.




What role do parents have at the School?


REAL School is based on community, so we would love for you to get involved. We invite you to participate in our community events, do projects in the school with the children, connect with other parents, or share and teach your passion, whatever that might be. We welcome parent initiatives for community building purposes too.




How do you ensure diversity at REAL School?


Diversity lies at the heart of sustainability. We aim to build a culturally and socio-economically diverse community. Such a community pushes students to incorporate multiple viewpoints and experiences; it enables them to honour what is unique within themselves; and it develops the empathy, social agility, and cross-cultural competence that is essential to life in the twenty-first century. REAL School has a discretionary Tuition Assistance programme for 11-14-year-old students who would otherwise not be able to afford the school. These places are designed for families who are making a significant positive difference in the world with respect to social or environmental issues. Learn more under realschool.eu/fees.




Are you planning on opening a high school as well?


Yes, indeed, our high school (the "REAL Academy") is launching in August 2021. Visit realschool.eu/academy for details.




Who are your educators?


Our Principal is Dave Strudwick, an experienced school builder and educator. Check out our Youtube channel to get to know Dave better! Our team of educators are passionate learners from around the world who bring their love of exploration to our School. You can learn more about them under realschool.eu/about. We also recruit young and enthusiastic teachers who are embedded in the culture and language of Hungary to ensure that we are connected to our local community.





Admissions

How can I apply? What documents are needed?


You can find all the information about our admissions process here! Our Family Ambassador will assist you throughout the whole process.




Is there an entrance exam to get into REAL School?


Not an entrance exam, but we would like to get to know you well during the admission process so that when you enroll we can hit the ground running. We will ask you for your basic details and previous school experience, we will invite you for a meeting/discussion/interview and we will also ask you to participate in a taster day before the decision of enrolment is made.




How much is the application fee?


The application fee is EUR 100. All fees are available in the Fees Schedule on the Admissions page under realschool.eu/admissions.




Are children with learning differences and special needs welcome at REAL School Budapest?


Currently we do not have staffing provision to accommodate children with special needs, severe learning differences or serious behavioural issues. As the school grows, our intention is to create a diverse community that would be a safe environment for students of all abilities, but at this stage, this is not the case. Please contact us to discuss any special needs at admissions@realschool.eu.





Learning programme

What does real-life learning mean?


Through real life learning, children spend time in real life settings, not just in the classroom. Students at REAL School study and solve real problems that are relevant to them and have an actual positive impact on the world. Content and knowledge doesn’t get lost - it reaches learners through these projects. This is a community-based and entrepreneurial form of learning, through which attitudes, skills and knowledge enable us to turn creative ideas into action.




What does sustainability mean for REAL School?


Sustainability lies at the core of all that we do. It is clear that unintentionally educating for unsustainability makes no sense, if we want humanity to flourish over time. Education for Sustainability as a pedagogy implies that we are intentional about preparing students to participate in the shift toward the future we want. We are building a community of educators who are united in their desire to cultivate individual and collective potential and to increase the possibility that humans and other life can flourish on Earth now and into the future. We refer to the UN Sustainable Development Goals when we consider challenges with which we engage and use the sustainability compass in our learning.




How much time do children spend at the School?


The School opens at 8 am and we start our day at 9 am with half an hour community time. We end the day at 3:30 pm. After school clubs usually run between 4:00-5:00 pm. Pick-up is available until 5:00 pm.




What does a school year look like?


The school year starts at the end of August and finishes at the end of June. We follow the calendar of other international schools in Budapest. Please consult the REAL School 2020/21calendar for an example.




Which curricula is learning based on?


In education, a curriculum (/kəˈrɪkjʊləm/; plural: curricula /kəˈrɪkjʊlə/ or curriculums) is broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. Our Learning Programme uses the ​National Curriculum for England​. In addition, we are using some of the best learning tools from around the world to build the core elements: Projects: The Circular Design Guide and the Design Method Toolkit Sustainability: Cloud Institute Wellbeing: Contentment Foundation Digital IQ: DQ Institute




What about accreditation and the school’s legal status in Hungary?


In November 2020, REAL School was awarded Compliance Member status under the Council of British International Schools ( COBIS) Patron's Accreditation and Compliance system, and a Blue Circle award for its commitment to sustainability. This means we have been quality assured against a strict set of standards and recognised as offering a high-quality British education. At the same time, we are working with the Hungarian authorities on the School's Hungarian operating license. If you have any questions regarding accreditation, please contact us at admissions@realschool.eu.




What kind of activities do learners experience most days?


We structure learning around how the students approach certain materials, and what competencies and skills that material might address. We call these structures Learning Forms. They are flexible, adaptable and embody a diversity of learning styles. Check out schedule below and learn more about the learning experience at REAL School under realschool.eu/learning.




Do you teach subjects?


The world is complex and we cannot learn about it in 45 minute slots referred to as subjects. Learning is an integrated experience at REAL School. Instead of subjects, we explore the complexity and wonder of our world through a holistic approach and real life projects. We have four main learning forms: community, foundations, dream to reality and excursions. Check out our schedule below. Learn more about the learning experience through our Facebook page, Youtube channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.




How are children learning the "basics"?


The best way to learn maths, reading, writing, and digital literacies is for children to know why they are learning about these and to apply them in real world settings. Our Foundations units provide the opportunity for students to practice core numeracy, literacy and digital skills through high quality online and offline learning. These skills are then tied to the projects they are working on in the framework of the Dream to Reality lessons.




Are children grouped into grades based on age groups?


We believe in multi-generational learning and multi-age groups as young people learn best when working together with a diverse group. ​The groups are flexible, based on the learner’s needs and the learning form. Currently, we have three core learning groups: ages 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, and we will launch our high school programe for 16-17-year-olds in the 2021-22 academic year. Might we add here that in no other place in life and society are people grouped by their age.There are significant benefits of letting go of this unnecessary concept of age segregation in schools.




Do you use grades for assessment?


We assess students' learning progress in many different ways, but we don't use grades. We provide structured reflection, ongoing feedback and community exhibits, which are great ways to see the progress of learning. Each child has a Student Profile updated by the educators after each term and discussed together with the parents and children regularly.




How many children are there in a group? How many children for one educator?


Currently, we have three learning groups and around 12 children per group, with 2 educators each. However, the number of children in a group depends on the learning form. We also believe in the added value of co-teaching - this way, learners get exposed to different views and personalities and have the possibility to learn in smaller groups within their own multi-aged group.




What is REAL School's position on technology?


Digital literacy is no doubt crucial to thrive in the 21st century. Our goal is for our learners to have the competencies and critical thinking skills to be proficient with digital tools and emerging technologies. We refer to the DQ institute curriculum to facilitate this journey. This helps us minimize the risks of technology and maximise its opportunities. We will not be hanging on screens all day, and will minimise the presence of smartphones, unless for specific exercises.

At the same time, we value that life is analogue. We strive to engage our learners in extended offline activities involving only our community, our environment, books and physical objects.
“The way we teach, the things we teach are from past 200 years – it is knowledge based and we cannot teach our kids to compete with machines. Machines are smarter. We have to teach something unique that a machine can never catch up with us. “Everything we teach should be different from machines.” - Jack Ma on technology and education




What is your approach to playtime?


Free play is perhaps the truest form of agency for a young person. During playtime children become creative masters of their environment and learn to collaborate, create, and experience the joy of learning. Our flexible schedule allows us to design each day in a way that free play is balanced with an individual’s desire to be a constructive member of the community.




How much time in a school day is spent outdoors?


We love the outdoors! Connecting with nature is cruciual for education for sustainability. Our School is located in a beautiful green area, right next to an island. Children go outside multiple times a day, to eat their snack, to play, or to have outdoor lessons. On Wednesdays we go on excursions, most often to the island next door.




What do you mean by student agency?


Student agency is at the heart of learning. It gives students voice and choice in how and what they learn. It results in activities that are meaningful and relevant to learners. It is driven by their interests, often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers This website is devoted to illuminating these principles as they apply to schooling and to life.




What languages are spoken at REAL School? Do you teach Hungarian or any other languages?


REAL School is predominantly an English-speaking community. All lessons are held in English, by local and international educators. Currently, Italian lessons are offered for those children who wish to learn the language. Based on the community's needs, we are open to organise further language learning opportunities for the students. We also teach Hungarian to native speakers and Hungarian as a foreign language to international children.




How does REAL School deal with children of different English language abilities?


Children are like sponges. We know from experience that children usually acquire a good standard of English in a fairly short period of time when immersed into a predominantly English-speaking community. Most of our current students are fluent in English, which makes it easier for non-speakers to pick up the language faster, but we do give perference to those who have fluency for the benefit of the whole student community.




Is there homework?


We believe in limited home learning, but children bring home family projects from time to time. This helps them to learn time management, and involve the family in their learning.




How do you handle conflicts?


We use restorative justice practices. The goal of these practices is to restore and heal conflicts and strengthen relationships. Resolving conflicts this way nurtures self-reliance: a skill we want to see in our learners.




Are children with learning differences and special needs welcome at REAL School Budapest?


We currently do not have staffing provision to accommodate children with special needs, severe learning differences or behavioural issues. As the school grows, our intention is to create a diverse community that would be a safe environment for students of all abilities, but at this stage, this is not the case.Please contact us to discuss any special needs at admissions@realschool.eu.




What if I need a transcript after REAL School?


When continuing studies elsewhere and applying to another school after REAL School, we will be able to provide a transcript if required.




How can my child be transferred from REAL School to another school in or outside of Hungary?


Children are incredibly adapting. Moving from an environment where you are respected, have a lot of say about your own learning, and do great projects into a more traditional school is not necessarily fun, but it’s certainly possible. We are happy to cooperate with you to help make these transitions go smoothly from an administration point of view, including providing transcripts if needed.




Can I receive a high school diploma/érettségi in Hungary?


We aim to have an answer to this question once we start our high school. Our general philosophy is that our students will be able to set their own goals and achieve them, including taking the "érettségi" if this is what they wish to do. We are not designing our learning experience for the Hungarian state exam though. Our goal is to empower our learners to go to international universities if this is their chosen path.




Will REAL School Budapest help me get into university?


Yes. Our children learn about themselves and find passion through their REAL School experience. It is important for students to be in charge of their options, including their choice of university, if this is the right next step for them. The REAL School learning programme promotes core skills and mindsets that universities and employers seek in the 21st century.





Environment & facilities

Where is the school located?


Combining the best of what urban life and nature can offer, REAL School is located in Óbuda, right next to the Danube river, at a stunning location in the middle of the academic area of Graphisoft Park. Our neighbours are higher education institutions, research and development organisations, startups and technology companies. We have direct access to a large green space for free play and for our very own urban raised-bed food garden. The proximity of the Danube and the Óbudai Island is a major plus - in a few minutes we can jump into a huge pile of leaves, take a bike ride or read under the trees.




What kind of food does REAL School offer?


The school offers delicious plant-based food, with a school lunch menu created especially for REAL School. Our ambition is to have much of the veggies come from our own urban food garden, which is designed and cared for by children and adults together. Developing awareness of our relationship with food is crucial to both personal well-being, and that of our planet




What is wall-less-ness? Does it mean that the school will has no walls? What do you do in the winter?


Wall-less-ness is also physical, not just philosophical at the REAL School. Most learning spaces are open plan and change based on project needs, while much of the learning happens outside of the campus. Using all the city and nature has to offer for everyday activities eliminates the walls between school and the world.




How do you ensure the balance between quiet time and the more noisy wall-less environment?


Teaching and including mindfulness is an integral part of a day at REAL School, and this allows for the opportunity to step away if one needs it. We understand that some of us are more sensitive than others and we encourage to have self awareness to recognize and mitigate difficult moments.





Finance & ecosystem

How much does the School cost?


Being part of the REAL School family is a big decision, with many factors to consider. An important element of this decision is the financial commitment. Please consult the Fee Schedule for tuition fees, terms and conditions. Please note that fees are reviewed annually and are subject to change. Information on tuition assistance to support a socio-economically diverse community are available under realschool.eu/fees too.




Is the School be accessible to families who can’t afford the tuition?


REAL School has a discretionary Tuition Assistance programme for 11-14-year-old students who would otherwise not be able to afford the school. These places are designed for families who are making a significant positive difference in the world with respect to social or environmental issues. Please consult realschool.eu/fees for details.




How can I contribute to REAL School?


As a not-for-profit enterprise, we appreciate financial and in-kind contributions. Please reach out to us at joinus@realschool.eu.





Policies

What policies does the School follow?


On this page you will find a list of our policies governing each of the matters listed below. These policies have been adapted to our environment from best practices of international learning communities from around the world.
1. Welfare 1.1 Safeguarding Policy
1.2 Whistleblowing Policy
1.4 E-Safety Policy
1.5 Administering Medicines
1.6 Food Policy 2. Behaviour 2.1 Behaviour policy 2.2 Anti-bullying policy 2.3 Staff Code of Conduct 2.4 Attendance Policy 2.5 Exclusion policy 3. Operations 3.1 Safer Recruitment Policy 3.2 Admissions Policy 3.3 Complaints Handling Policy 3.4 Disability Policy 4. Curriculum 4.2 EAL Policy