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France:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

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Overview France

Contents

France:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

France:Historical Development

France:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

France:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

France:Political and Economic Situation

France:Organisation and Governance

France:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

France:Lifelong Learning Strategy

France:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

France:Organisation of Private Education

France:National Qualifications Framework

France:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

France:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

France:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

France:Funding in Education

France:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

France:Higher Education Funding

France:Adult Education and Training Funding

France:Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Primary Education

France:Organisation of Primary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

France:Assessment in Primary Education

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

France:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Higher Education

France:Types of Higher Education Institutions

France:First Cycle Programmes

France:Bachelor

France:Short-Cycle Higher Education

France:Second Cycle Programmes

France:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

France:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

France:Adult Education and Training

France:Distribution of Responsibilities

France:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

France:Main Providers

France:Main Types of Provision

France:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

France:Teachers and Education Staff

France:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

France:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Management and Other Education Staff

France:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

France:Management Staff for Higher Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Quality Assurance

France:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

France:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

France:Educational Support and Guidance

France:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

France:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

France:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

France:Mobility and Internationalisation

France:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Mobility in Higher Education

France:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

France:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

France:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

France:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:National Reforms in School Education

France:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

France:National Reforms in Higher Education

France:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

France:European Perspective

France:Legislation

France:Glossary

Funding

The financing bodies

The State, local authorities and other public administrations (consular bodies, chambers of commerce and industry, hospitals, etc.) cover over 90% of educational funding.

The State

In 2014, the State's contribution to funding pre-school and primary school teaching amounts to 54.1% and up to 67% for secondary teaching (L’État de l’École 2016). Salaries paid out to educational personnel (teachers, management and administrative personnel, school inspectors, etc.) account for vast majority of national expenditure.

Local authorities

In 2014, local authorities financed 37.6 % of the domestic expenditure for pre-school and primary school education and 21.5% of the costs for secondary education (L’État de l’École, 2016). Since the decentralisation laws of 1983, 1985 and 2004, they have been responsible for investments and the material operation of schools (school transport, running costs, equipment…), as well as for the remuneration of non-teaching staff (ATOSS):

  • Régions, for upper secondary schools (ISCED 3): general and technological lycées, vocational lycées and Établissements Régionaux d'Enseignement Adapté (EREA – regional adapted-education institutions). The régions are also involved in funding apprentice training;
  • Départements, for ISCED-2 level secondary institutions (collèges);
  • Municipalities, for primary schools (nursery and elementary, ISCED 1). 

Companies

In 2014, public and private companies contributed to domestic expenditure for secondary education to the tune of 2% (L’État de l’École, 2016). These companies are especially involved in funding public or private apprenticeships (at the higher secondary professional level) also covered by régions.

Households

In 2014, households financed 5.9% of the domestic expenditure for pre-school and primary education and 7.1% of costs for secondary education (L’État de l’École, 2016). These are mostly costs related to catering (in particular in private schools) or extracurricular activities. Schooling is free in state schools; schoolbooks are free at primary schools and collèges, and many régions also provide them free for lycées.

Funding mechanisms

Funding by the Ministry in charge of National Education - the LOLF

Since law of 1 August 2001 relating to Finance (LOLF) came into force, the State budget has been organised in "missions" and "programmes" as follows:

  • a mission includes an array of programmes contributing to a defined public policy. Each mission is the budgetary unit on which Parliament votes;
  • the programme, as defined at ministerial level, includes the credits for implementing an activity or a consistent set of activities that are governed by one ministry and to which precise items are attached, defined according to goals in the public interest and the expected outcomes as shown by performance indicators. An annual performance project detailing the programme's objectives and the expected outcomes as shown by performance indicators and corresponding means are annexed to the draft Finance bill. An annual performance report the following year highlights the outcomes reached for each programme and the means implemented to reach those outcomes. 

The LOLF thus focuses the budgetary procedure on two principles, i.e. on the one hand a rationale of public management performance and on the other, transparent budgetary information permitting close scrutiny by Parliament. 

School education is the subject of one "interministerial" mission with the involvement of two ministries, i.e. the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research and the Department of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forest. This mission contains six programmes with each including several activities and budgetary credits that are voted upon and renewed by Parliament on the basis of declared objectives and outcomes obtained in previous years.

Funding by local authorities

Local authorities contribute to funding education through their budgets. There are two ways in which local authorities intervene in educational matters, i.e. those which are governed by their obligations in the light of decentralisation laws (operating costs, materials and the construction of schools, collèges and lycées, non-teaching staff remuneration, etc.) and those which derive from voluntary commitment, e.g. the contribution to funding school books for lycée pupils.

Company funding: the apprenticeship tax

The apprenticeship tax is paid by companies. It contributes to initial training and for funding the costs required for developing technical and vocational education.

The tax is calculated on how much the company pays in gross salaries during the concurrent financial year. In 2016, the tax rate was set at 0.68%, with the exception of “Alsace-Moselle”, whose rate is 0.44%. This rate difference is explained by the fact that apprenticeship in these départements is still regulated by local laws that came into force between 1870 and 1919.

For companies with 250 employees or more that do not hire enough apprentices, a supplementary contribution to apprenticeship is added to the tax rate. The added rate is progressive: the less the company has apprentices, the higher the rate.


Financial Autonomy and Control

Nursery and primary schools (ISCED 0 and ISCED 1)

Nursery (ISCED 0) and primary (ISCED 1) state schools are not considered as legal entities. They therefore are not a legal entity or financially autonomous. The local community pays for state nursery and primary schools. "The community owns the buildings and sees to their construction, reconstruction, extensions, major repairs, materials and operations" (article L212-4 of the Code of Education).

Traditionally schools are managed according to the régie directe municipale (direct municipal control), i.e. funding is covered by the community budget which supplies the material means. Funds are wholly managed by the community. The mayor is the certifying officer, and the accountant is the rates collector. The service staff, in charge of building maintenance or caretaking, as well as nursery schools specialists local agents are municipal employees. The State pays the salaries of the teaching staff.

Direct municipality management as well as the absence of financial autonomy do not allow schools a lot of flexibility. To avoid this issue, solutions exist:

  • A management of advances: set up by the municipality, this system appoints the director or any other teacher that accepts this charge as a régisseur and entrusts him with a part of the credits allocated to the school. The teacher can use this amount, in the name of the accountant of the municipality, to pay small operational expenses.
  • A management of revenues: in the same manner as the management of advances, a teacher is appointed as a régisseur as can collect money from families. The régisseur reports the amounts he collected to the accountant of the municipality. Without this system, it is strictly forbidden for any teacher to perceive any kind of money to pay for school operational expenses. 

Secondary level (ISCED 2 and ISCED 3)

Collèges and lycées are Établissements publics locaux d'enseignement (EPLE - local public schooling facilities), a category of public institutions controlled by the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research. They were created by the decentralisation laws of 7 January 1983 and 22 July 1983. Like all public institutions, EPLEs are legal entities that have administrative and financial autonomy granted to them by the Decree of 30 August 1985 relating to EPLEs, which organises their operation. They also have teaching and educational autonomy which is expressed in the school project, adopted by the school's board of trustees.

According to article R421-58 of the Code of Education, the budget of collèges, lycées and Établissements Régionaux d'Enseignement Adapté (EREA, regional institutions of adapted education) comprises a “operational” section and a “investment” section. It is drawn up within the resource limits of these institutions and adheres to the nomenclature defined by the Minister in charge of the budget, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister in charge of education and according to the guidelines defined by the local authorities concerned. These resources include the following:

  1. Subsidies from the concerned local authorities and the State;
  2. Any other contribution by a public-sector entity;
  3. Private resources, in particular donations and bequests, income derived from restaurant and hotel services, yields from the sale of items manufactured in workshops, the apprentice tax, etc. 

Expenses in the "operations" section are intended, in particular, for teaching and educational activities, heating and lighting, equipment and building maintenance, general charges, catering and boarding schools and pupil grants.


Fees within Public Education

Schooling at pre-primary, primary level and secondary level (lower secondary collèges and upper secondary general, technical and vocational lycées) is free in state schools. At the primary level, municipalities pay for textbooks in almost all cases. The State also provides free textbooks in collèges (Code of Education, articles L132-1 to L132-2).

There are nonetheless expenses for families for school meals and various activities. The following are the main expenses per educational level.

Pre-primary and primary education (ISCED 0 and ISCED 1)

  • Catering expenses: article R531-52 of the Code of Education stipulates that prices of catering are set by responsible local authorities: it is set by municipalities for pre-primary and primary schools; 
  • Day nurseries/teacher-assisted study halls. These are services provided respectively by nursery schools and primary schools and which consist of looking after children after regular school hours upon parent request;
  • School insurance, optional or mandatory for children that use canteen and/or participate in after-school activity on the premises.

For the school meals and child care, towns may apply a graded price by evaluating family income.

Secondary Education (ISCED 2 and ISCED 3)

  • Catering expenses: article R531-52 of the Code of Education stipulates that prices of catering are set by responsible local authorities: it is set by départements for collèges and régions for lycées;
  • School supplies: The school supplies which remain the pupil’s property are outside the scope of free education. The Department of National Education recommends, via a ministerial circular, that teachers limit the request for school supplies and that they refer to a list established by the Ministry of National Education.
  • Textbooks: In collèges (lower secondary) textbooks are paid for by départements. Theoretically in lycées (upper secondary) textbooks are paid for by parents, but in practice the conseils régionaux (regional authorities) cover this cost.
  • Equipment for lycée pupils. In technical and vocational branches, pupils must, depending on their specialisation, buy clothes (white smocks, coveralls etc.), safety equipment (shoes, etc.), tools (“tool box” for carpenters, construction workers, cooks, hairdressers etc.). Costs vary considerably and are usually lower in tertiary branches, higher in most industry-related sectors, with a peak in the hotel-restaurant sector (easily €250 to €400).


Financial Support for Learners' Families

Pre-primary education (ISCED 0)

There is no grants available in pre-school education, but parents can obtain help from the health and social action at the town hall.

Primary education (ISCED 1) Families may receive direct financial allowances:

  • A financial allowance paid by the Family Allowances Fund to families whose resources do not exceed a certain threshold;
  • The “school year allowance” (ARS – allocation de rentrée scolaires), paid by the Family Allowances Fund to households with children in compulsory schooling ages: €363, for 6 to 10 year-olds in 2016.

A grant of school attendance exists in some départements, for children that are either using canteen service or are interns, and schooled in an institution that are further than 3km away from their home. The amount varies among départements.

A municipality grant for primary schools also exists in some towns. Generally income-based, the amount varies among municipalities.

There are also indirect financial allowances:

  • School transport grants paid by some local authorities;
  • The supply of school books and possibly part of the individual school supplies, paid by some municipalities.

Secondary Education (ISCED 2 and ISCED 3)

Families may request the following direct financial allowances:

  • Financial allowances paid by the caisses d'allocations familiales (CAF, family allowance fund) for families whose income does not surpass a certain threshold;
  • The allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS, school year allowance), paid by the Family Allowances Fund to households with children in compulsory schooling ages and those aged between 16 and 18 upon presentation of the proof of attendance. For the 2016 school year, the amount of ARS has been set at €383 for children between 11 and 14, and €396 for children between 15 and 18. 

There are also the following indirect financial allowances:

  • At secondary school level, the schools lend books free of charge to pupils in collèges. While most of the régions have chosen to provide school books free of charge to lycées pupils, or to contribute to funding school books, some have chosen the indirect aid route: credits given to establishments or the purchase of school books for the establishment, which then lend them to their pupils;
  • The fonds social pour les cantines (social funds for school meals) should enable pupils (collégiens, lycéens and specialist-track pupils) from modest backgrounds to use their institution's canteen. During the school year the school head considers the school board's opinion on the criteria and methods for granting aid;
  • Le fonds social collégien et le fonds social lycéen (collège social fund and lycée social fund) : in state collège and lycées a social fund makes it possible to give exceptional aid to a pupil to meet the expenses of school life and schooling. Granted by school heads upon the advise of a commission chaired by themselves and composed of members of the educational community, pupil representatives and parents, this aid comes in the form of cash or kind.

Aid from the région and the département

Other than national grants, pupils may enjoy financial aid at the local level, offered by towns, départements and régions. This financial support enters into the policies defined by local authorities and can thus vary from one town to the next and from one région to the next.

Financial Support for families of pupils with Special Educational Needs

Below are the financial aids which families whose children require special education can benefit from; except for the Allocation d'éducation de l'enfant handicapé (AEEH - cf. infra, Education allowance for disabled children), the following grants are subject to family income review:

  • Education allowance for disabled children (AEEH). For a person caring for a disabled child to enjoy the AEEH, the disabled child must be under 20 years of age and their disability equal to at least 80% or be between 50% and 79% if the child attends an adapted education institution or if their condition requires the use of an adapted device or if their condition requires the use of care as part of the measures stipulated by national comission (CDAPH, Commission for the rights and autonomy of disabled persons). Moreover the person requesting this service and the disabled child must be permanent residents of France. The AEEH is composed of a basic allowance to which a supplementary allowance may be added, the amount of which is graduated in 6 categories depending on the cost of the child's disability, the ceasing or reduction of the professional activity by one of the parents due to this disability or the hiring of a third person. A specific increase may be added when a child enjoying the AEEH is cared for by a single parent;
  • Exemption from boarding expenses in EREA;
  • Payment of accommodation and medical expenses by the health insurance fund or social aid;
  • Transport expenses of pupils in medico-social institutions supported by social security funds and pupils’ school transport expenses to the educational institution paid by the département or, for the Ile-de-France région, by the State.


Financial Support for Learners

Pre-primary and primary Education (ISCED 0 and ISCED 1)

There are no Government Education grants for pupils in pre-elementary and elementary school.

Secondary Education (ISCED 2 and ISCED 3) 

Collège grants (ISCED 2): All pupils attending a state collège or private collège under contract who are dependents in families that meet certain income conditions are eligible for collège grants. The grants are given out for one school year, depending on the family's income and financial obligations.

Collège grants are paid out either by the school itself, for state-school pupils, or by the authorities of the académie, for private school pupils. The calculated annual amount for 2016 is based family charges and income, as follows:

  • rate 1: €84 per year;
  • rate 2: €231 per year;
  • rate 3: €360 per year. 

Lycée grants (ISCED 3): Lycée grants are awarded to pupils enrolled in lycées and EREA based on criteria taking into account primarily the family’s income as declared on tax statements. The grants are paid out to parents with modest incomes, regardless of their children’s school results or whether they attend a public or private lycée.

The amount of the grant is determined by on a system of unit shares, the amount of which is set on a yearly basis by ministerial decree. The unit share amounted to €49.86 at the beginning of the 2016 school year. The amount of the scholarship varies from €393 and €834. The grant is paid in three instalments. 

Specific unit shares or bonuses exist in addition to the grant for certain education levels:

  • Bonus for enrolment in première and terminale (final two years of lycée): granted to pupils enrolled in one of these classes, it is paid once along with the first grant instalment. It amounts to €217.06. Pupils repeating a year are not eligible;
  • Equipment bonus: €341.71, paid in one instalment, for pupils in their first year of certain specialisations of the CAP, technical baccalauréat or technician certificate;
  • Qualification bonus: €435.84, paid in three instalments to pupils with lycée grants enrolled in a CAP or BEP class, preparing an additional subject-matter in the CAP or BEP. Seconde grant pupils in a 3-year professional baccalauréat course can also take advantage of this grant, but it may not be combined with the entry-into-seconde bonus;
  • Boarding school bonus: this bonus is granted to all pupils with a national grant enrolled in a boarding school. The boarding school bonus, with a flat-rate amount of €258, is strictly to pupils that are already income-base grant recipients. Families do not have to complete a specific application as this bonus is automatically granted to boarding school pupils with a grant. It is subject to the same management rules as grants. The bonus is paid in three instalments by deduction from the boarding fees;
  • Adaptation education grants, subject to family income, awarded by academy inspectors to compulsory-attendance pupils with specific learning hardships in primary school or in collège. The amount of the grant varies from to two to six parts. The annual amount of a part was set at €28.08 at the beginning of the 2011 school year. The grant is paid in three instalments;
  • Merit scholarship: this system is reserved for pupils with a scholarship enrolling in lycées who have obtained the national brevet diploma with Bien or Très Bien honours. Pupils with scholarships, who have distinguished themselves in the last year of collège through their educational achievements, without however obtaining any honours with the national brevet diploma, may also benefit from a merit scholarship after recommendation by a departmental committee. Payment of merit scholarships is subject to pupils' continuing their education up to the baccalauréat while maintaining good results throughout the lycée curriculum. Should they fail to meet these conditions, payment may be suspended by the departmental committee. The annual amount of this scholarship is €800 paid in three instalments. 


Private Education

Funding

Regarding the private sector (which accounts for around 20% of school pupils), private educational institutions can obtain public financing under the conditions laid down by law. With regard to schools, in the case of private schools which have signed a contract with the State under articles L442-5 to L442-11 of the Code of Education (i.e. almost all private schools), the State is responsible for payment of teachers’ salaries and of social security contributions and taxes incumbent upon the employer, as well as for the cost of initial and ongoing training of teachers. 
In return, such schools must follow a curriculum identical to that of their public counterparts, recruit teachers salaried under public law, and submit to the same inspections as public schools. Départements and régions also contribute to the funding of secondary education institutions under contract (collèges and lycées).

Fees

Private school fees are determined by each school and can vary a lot. In private schools under State contract fees vary between €366 to €969 per year and per pupil according to the ISCED level. Fees are much higher for private schools not under State contract where families pay teachers' salaries, building maintenance and operating costs.

Financial Support

Pupils enrolled in private schools under State contract have the same rights to financial aid and grants as state-school pupils. Pupils enrolled in private schools not under State contract can access public allowances and grants only if the school is accredited by the regional education authority.