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School Life In France – Collège

Many of my clients are considering making a move to France with children of various ages. Naturally, parents would like to know a bit more about the French schooling system. We have touched on this in an earlier post on La Rentrée and as the month of September has drawn to a close – I thought it would be useful to set out the classes in collège. The comparison has been made with the UK system so please adapt to your own country’s’ system.

So in France, collège is your secondary/high school. Collège is where your child goes from age 11-15 and the school age of the child is deemed from January – December and not from September to August like the UK.

Collège Year Groups

6ème (6th year) Year 7 (youngest year group) in a UK high school
5ème (5th year) Year 8 in a UK high school
4ème (4th year) Year 9 in a UK high school
3ème (3rd year) Year 10 in a UK high school

So you will see that children finish their high school education a year earlier than in the UK, at age 15 and not 16. Having said this, they will then go onto lycée (a bit like ‘A’ Level college) for 3 years and not the 2 years that they do in the UK.

Students here will look to pass the Brevet – this is a general certificate of education but takes into account all the usual subjects but individual certificates are not given. The results are:-

Assez Bien
Bien
Très Bien

Literally quite good, good and very good. This has been compared to the equivalent of 4 GCSE’s.

There are bourses/achievement grants based on income should your child receive bien or trés bien for the following 3 years at lycée and can be quite generous depending on the family’s income.

During collège, students are always marked out of 20 and everything is based on a child’s ‘moyenne’ average.
Like G.C.S.E’s a percentage of the students marks goes towards the final Brevet score. In fact, a child could pass their Brevet before they even take their final exams in the subject.

I hope this gives you a little insight into the collège system here in France.



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