Got kids? Need a school? We can help! The AAWE Guide to Education in France was born back in 1985, when a bunch of American moms within AAWE in Paris put their heads together to investigate school choices for their bilingual children. Now in it’s 9th edition, the Guide has grown to include this accompanying […]
Autism at School
Reading Disorders in Children
Sweet Home Alabama – Part 2
Sweet Home Alabama – Part 1
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Part 2
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Part 1
A History of the French Baccalauréate Exam
Teen Coach: Open Letter to Families in French Schools
Getting Permission to Change Schools Part 2
Getting Permission to Change Schools Part 1
Why Inclusive Education is Best for All Students
Where to turn when you suspect your child needs support or evaluation
100 Books to Read Before You Grow Up
Which School System for my Bicultural Child?
Reading With Your Children in English (or any other language)
Encouraging Bilingualism in Children
An Overview of the French Education System
AAWE Guide to Education – Map of Schools
Here at AAWE, we are bursting with pride (like new parents!) to launch the new 9th edition of our famous AAWE Guide to Education in France.
We’ve been publishing this baby since 1986 – and each updated edition is like our firstborn’s arrival all over again!
Order yours at aaweparis.org/books.
Map of Schools: AAWE Guide to Education in France
Beyond the Bac
Kids getting older? Check out our sister publication about heading to university in France, USA, UK, Netherlands, Canada and even Australia.
Costs, application procedures, financial aid, tips from students who’ve ‘been there’ and much more.
Order your copy at www.aaweparis.org/beyond-the-bac.
Resources and Further Reading
Click the + signs below to access.
Informative websites offering further information about the French education system
- If your child is in collège or lycée, it’s best to make a habit of checking the school website regularly. Primary schools and maternelles may use the carnet de correspondance more regularly than their own website.
- If parent associations at your school have a website or use social media frequently, keep an eye on it for school-related information.
- If your child is in collège or lycée, get your login details for the parent interface, or “ENT: Environnement Numérique de Travail” (Pronote, Ozecollege…), where you can check your student’s timetable, grades, homework, communications from teachers and school administration
- www.education.gouv.fr is the website of the Ministry of Education in France.
- www.eduscol.education.fr is a Ministry of Education website with information about school curricula, exam regulations etc. A reliable source for understanding those many acronyms used in schools!
- www.onisep.fr is an official body offering information about orientation choices related to school, training and careers. The page for parents is at www.onisep.fr/Parents.com, and some videos are in English, such as www.oniseptv.onisep.fr/onv/lecole-expliquee-aux-parents-starting-school-how-a-primary-school-is-organized
- www.assistancescolaire.com is a free educational program offered by the MAIF insurance society/mutuelle, with resources from maternelle to lycée which your child may enjoy.
- For information about schools in the Paris region visit www.internationaleducation.parisregion.eu
The Three Different Administrative Regimes for Schools in France
The Three Different Administrative Regimes for Schools in France
By Barbara Moross, Former Head of Lower School – American Section, Lycée International de Saint Germain-en-Laye
In France there are many schools to choose from including bilingual schools, and they all fall under three administrative headings. They are:
- Public (publique)
- Private but under contract with the French Ministry of Education (privée, sous contrat)
- Private and independent of the French Ministry of Education (privée, hors contrat)
Public schools are found in every neighborhood and village. They are completely under the auspices of the French Ministry of Education, and there are no fees for attending.
French schools follow a national curriculum, which is reviewed regularly by the French Ministry of Education. Reforms are made, and teachers must adapt their teaching methods and/or content to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Ministry. Otherwise, teachers are free to teach the content the way they see fit and to organize the introduction of new concepts in the order they choose.
The private schools that are sous contrat receive state aid; the teachers are either state teachers or teachers with the same training as the state teachers, and they are paid by the state. In return the school must teach the national curriculum. These schools charge a tuition fee to help pay for building maintenance and other expenses that are not covered by the state. Parochial schools are also eligible for this semi-private status.
Private schools that are hors contrat, although governed by some French laws concerning schooling and children, are much more autonomous. They are usually expensive because they are not state-subsidized at all.
When considering the various options, it is important to remember that although a student can move fairly easily between public and private schools that are sous contrat, this is not the case for those wishing to transfer from a private school that is hors contrat.
Most, but not all, of the bilingual elementary schools in the Paris region are private, and many are sous contrat. All monolingual English schools are hors contrat, as are the bilingual Montessori schools, since they do not follow the French national curriculum.
Additional Resources for Encouraging Bilingualism in Children
- Handbook from the Linguistic Society of America
- Fairly recent article, (2013) – summary of the science around bilingualism, aimed at parents and professionals who work with bilingual kids:
- Bilingual: Life and Reality – François Grosjean – Good for an overall understanding of bilingualism. One interesting topic it discusses is the variance in language balance – one language being more or less dominant – and shifting dominance in languages over a lifetime, and how this is all normal.
- The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second Language – Kendall King, Alison Mackey – A good introduction to raising bilingual children, with practical tips based on scientific research. It may be a bit biased toward those living in the United States.
- The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents – Edith Harding-Esch & Philip Riley – This book also tends to the academic side with less practical information, but recommended as it is co-written by authors in the UK and France.