A MAJOR worry for parents thinking of moving to France is what if the children don’t settle into their new school?
The French system is recognised as being one of the best educational services in the world.
Its weakness is that it is rigid, uniform and dominated by central government but the school plays a very important role in the community.
From organising charity events to music festivals, the interaction between teacher, parent and child is often very involved.
Nursery schools are available for children aged three to five years old, but some start earlier and you will usually find the schools close to the mairie.
Attendance at school is compulsory for six to 16 year olds and is free.
Primary schools cater for pupils during their first five years of formal education: the first three years (CP - cours préparatoire - and CEl/CE2 - cours élementaire 1 and 2) provide a grounding in the basic skills.
The next stage - CM1/CM2 (cours moyen 1 and 2) includes the chance to learn a foreign language and takes the children up to the end of primary school at 11.
Secondary schooling, college, is divided into two stages, known as cycles, with the first from 11 to 15 years, almost all children now attend a collège, taking them from form 6 (sixième) to form 3 (troisième).
These colleges are mixed ability schools and at 15 further decisions are made on whether the child will continue academic study at the lycée or undertake vocational courses.
These prepare pupils for the corresponding baccalauréat examinations, which they usually take at the age of 18.
Visit the French Education Ministry (in French) website.
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I think French Education is great. When our children reached schooling age (three years ago) we moved from Spain to France because we did not like Spanish education. On the other hand, French education has proved to be all we were expecting and much more.
Posted by: Wendy | 06 September 2008 at 17:42
Wendy, really nice to hear your comments, we're also moving from Spain to France shortly and I'm very glad to hear you're happier with the French system versus the Spanish as we're more than a bit disallusioned qith the system here! Where do you live in France? We're moving to Brittany and I'm currently searching for a school so I'd be interested to know...
Posted by: Sara Plumier | 03 October 2010 at 21:07
We are a New Zealand family who would like to travel to France for one year and put our children in to a French school. They will be aged 6 and 8. Do you know if it is possible for us to do this as we are residents in NZ and will be travelling on a visitors visa.
Posted by: Lisa McCarthy | 25 February 2011 at 09:14