Education

Education

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The Ministry for Education defines France’s national educational curriculum. The Ministry is organized on a regional basis, with 13 academic regions responsible for maintaining nationwide standards in education policy, along with 26 mainland academies and four academies in France’s overseas territories responsible for public service aspects of education (including defining strategy and managing schools and personnel).

In France, school is mandatory for all children aged 6 to 16. Children may also attend school from the age of three. At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, a number of schools opened classes for children aged two.

International school programs are presented here.

 

Different types of school


There are three different types of school:

  • State schools, which are run by the government.
  • State-funded and controlled private schools. These establishments must adhere to the terms and conditions of their contract with the government. In exchange, the government pays their teaching staff. Local authorities fund these establishments to the same extent as state schools.
  • Privately funded schools, which are also subject to government inspections of both their management and teaching; all staff must possess the required qualifications. The teaching provided must comply with French education law and meet minimum standards of knowledge.

 

For further information (in French):

Private schools (French Ministry of Education)

Stages in the French educational system

Age  Section  Grade   Objectives
 3

Maternelle

(Kindergarten)

Petite section

Teaching children to co-exist.

At this stage, they develop their spoken language skills and begin to discover the written word, numbers and other areas of learning.

 4 Moyenne section
 5 Grande section
 6

Ecole Elémentaire

(Elementary School)

CP Mastering the French language and basic mathematics are the primary aims of elementary schools, the aim being to equip children with the tools they need to expand their knowledge.
 7 CE1
 8 CE2
 9 CM1
 10 CM2
 11

 Collège

(Junior High School)

6ème  

“Adaptation cycle”: consolidating the skills and knowledge acquired in primary school and introducing students to the teaching methods used in junior high school.

Learning a foreign language.

12 5ème

“Central cycle”: expanding knowledge and applied knowledge. This cycle is notable for the consistent way in which subjects are taught over the two years and the gradual enrichment of the program with optional subjects.

A second foreign language is taught starting in the final year (quatrième).

13 4ème
14 3ème “Orientation cycle”: completing the skills and knowledge acquired in junior high school and preparing students for general, technological and vocational training.
Diploma awarded: Brevet des Collèges
15

Lycée

(Senior High School)

2nde The so-called general and technological seconde year offers the same program for all students before they follow general or technological programs in future years. They choose their path at the end of seconde.
16 1ère The première and terminale grades in each stream* lead to the baccalauréat examination. The baccalauréat tests the knowledge and skills acquired by students by the end of their high-school years and is the first higher-education qualification.
17 Terminale
Diploma awarded: Baccalauréat

*The general streams are Literature (L), Economics & Social Sciences (ES) and Science (S).

The technology streams are: STL (Laboratory science and technology), STI2D (Industrial Science and Technology and Sustainable Development), STD2A (Science and Technology of Design and Applied Arts), STMG (Science and Technology of Business Management), ST2S (Science and Technology of Health and Social Care), TMD (Music and dance Techniques), Hotel Management, STAV (Science and Technology of Agronomy and Living Organisms).

 

When a kindergarten and an elementary school are located in the same establishment, this is referred to as a primary school.

 


For further information (in French):

Educational stages and establishments (French Ministry for Education)

 

 

Registering a child for school


The family’s place of residence determines which school the child will attend.

Anticipating the procedure as soon as possible is recommended.


When registering for public kindergarten or elementary school

The municipal offices inform the parents regarding the establishment their child will attend and registers them at the school. The municipal offices then provide the family with a registration certificate. This certificate must be handed to the head of the school, who approves the registration. Depending on the availability of places, enrollments may be possible during the course of the academic year.

 

For further information (in French):

 

 

When registering for junior high-school

The local education authority determines which junior high-school the child will attend, depending on the catchment area in which they live. The child must be registered at the relevant school.
Depending on the availability of places, enrollments may be possible during the course of the academic year.

 

For further information (in French):

 

 

When registering at a state senior high school or a state-funded and controlled private senior high school

the family’s wishes must be expressed to the head of the school. In public establishments, the local education authority inspector then determines the school to which the student will be assigned.
Depending on the availability of places, enrollments may be possible during the course of the academic year.

 

For further information (in French):

The school year


The school year lasts 10 months. It begins in early September and ends in late June or early July.

There are four school holidays spread over the year, in late October (Toussaint), at Christmas, in the winter and in the spring. These holidays last for two weeks, except for Toussaint, which lasts for 10 days around All Saints’ Day (November 1).

Each year, the French Ministry for Education sets holiday dates for the different academic zones. France is split into three areas, A, B and C, each comprising various academic regions.

The calendar for the 2016-2017 academic year is as follows:

Holiday Zone A  Zone B  Zone C 
 

Academy:

Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand,

Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers

 

Academy:

Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille,

Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours,

Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg

Academy:

Créteil, Montpellier, Paris,

Toulouse, Versailles

Toussaint holidays

Classes end on: Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Classes resume on: Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christmas holidays

Classes end on: Saturday, December 17, 2016

Classes resume on: Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Winter holidays

Classes end on:
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Classes resume on:
Monday, March 6, 2017

Classes end on:
Saturday, February 11, 2017

Classes resume on:
Monday, February 27, 2017

Classes end on:
Saturday, February 4, 2017

Classes resume on:
Monday, February 20, 2017

Spring holidays

Classes end on:
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Classes resume on:
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Classes end on:
Saturday, April 8, 2017

Classes resume on:
Monday, April 24, 2017

Classes end on:
Saturday, April 1, 2017

Classes resume on:
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Summer holidays

Classes end on: Saturday, July 8, 2017

The holidays begin once the day’s classes are completed.  For students who do not have classes on Saturdays, the holidays begin on the Friday evening. Classes resume on the morning of the dates indicated above.