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France:National Reforms in School Education

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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

2017

Creation of the Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle aux Pratiques de l’Éducation Inclusive (CAPPEI - Profesional Aptitude Certificate to Inclusive Education Practices)

Timeframe: Decree no.2017-169 published on February 10th, 2017, first exams during 2017. 

Status: Decree no.2017-169 published in the Journal Officiel de la République Française on February 2nd, 2017.

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research

Reasons / Objectives: 

The article L111-1 of the Code of Education stipulates that the public service of education has to account for the inclusion of every student without distinction. This illustrates a new approach: whatever the student’s needs, the school has to ensure that his schooling environment is adapted to his educational needs.

The diversity and the rise in numbers of students with specific needs as well as recent regulation changes lead to a new training framework for teachers in primary and secondary education that work with this specific public.

Main measures adopted:

A new Profesional Aptitude Certificate to Inclusive Education Practices which is common to pre-primary, elementary and secondary education teachers is created.

This certificate is meant to attest the qualification of teachers in pre-primary, elementary and secondary education that are to work with Special Educational Needs students in schooling institutions, specialised schooling institutions, students with learning difficulties, handicaps or sickness and to contribute to the prevention of learning difficulties.

This new certificate is thus replacing two older certificates, the Certificat d'Aptitude Professionnelle pour les Aides spécialisées, les enseignements adaptés et la scolarisation des élèves en Situation de Handicap (CAPA-SH, only for pre-primary and elementary education teachers), and the Certificat Complémentaire pour les enseignements Adaptés et la scolarisation des élèves en Situation de Handicap (2CA-SH, for secondary education teachers)

Funding: Unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: Unknown

References: Décret n° 2017-169 du 10 février 2017 relatif au certificat d'aptitude professionnelle aux pratiques de l'éducation inclusive et à la formation professionnelle spécialisée ; Circulaire relative à la formation professionnelle spécialisée et au certificat d'aptitude professionnelle aux pratiques de l'éducation inclusive (Cappei)

Creation of the corps of the Department of National Education’s Psychologists (PsyEN)

Timeframe: Announced on November 17th, 2016 after the approval of the Technical Committee of the Department of National Education, Decree no. 2017-120 written on February 1st, 2017, first competitive examination during 2017.

Status: Decree no.2017-120 published in the Journal Officiel de la République Française on February 2nd, 2017.

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research

Reasons / Objectives:

The National Education’s Psychologists participate to all students’ educational achievements, to the endeavours against social inequalities and help young adults ensure employment.  They use their skills in order to favour children and young adults’ psychological, cognitive and social development. Alongside the teaching staff, they work with every ISCED level, and help with the elaboration of prevention, mediation or inclusion procedures. They work with special needs students, whether the students are having learning difficulties and show signs of leaving schools, or are handicapped, or are simply suffering. The psychologists are to help establish a healthy school climate, and, when needed, are to participate in measures that the Recteur d’académie takes to manage crisis situations. 

Main measures adopted:

The creation of the PsyEN corps answers a need of statutory homogenisation. Members of this new corps have on of the two specialities:

  • Psychologists of the “education, development and learning” branch will work in pre-primary and elementary schools. They take over the role of former School Psychologists (who have the same status as Elementary schools’ teachers), and, as of September 1st, 2017, they’ll have to choose between being integrated to the new corps or being detached to it;
  • Psychologists of the “education, development and school and professional guidance” will work in Information and Orientation Centres (CIO), as well as in secondary education schooling institutions of the same sector. They take over the role of former Orientation Counsellors – Psychologists and Directors of CIOs that will be integrated in the new corps as of September 1st, 2017.

PsyEns may also work in other branches of the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research, in institutions that are under its tutelage and in Higher Education Institutions.

Finally, the new corps is based on the PPCR, and is divided in three classes:

  • The normal class that has 11 grades;
  • The hors classe that has 6 grades;
  • The exceptional class that 4 grades and 1 special grade.

Funding: Unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: Unknown

References: Décret n° 2017-120 du 1er février 2017 portant dispositions statutaires relatives aux psychologues de l'éducation nationale

2016

Parcours Professionnels, Carrières et Rémunérations (PPCR - Professional pathways, careers and remunerations)

Timeframe: Announced on June 1st, 2016. First stage in January 2017, second stage in September 2017 and final stage in January 2019.

Status: Announced on June 1st, 2016, set up starting January 2017 until 2020.

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research

Reasons / Objectives:

In order to improve the teacher’s profession attractiveness, the Department presented in June 2016 a comprehensive plan of salary rise for all personnel. Moreover, in order to simplify the administrative management of careers, the framework of grades was reworked as well.
This reform sets a new professional evaluation framework in place, and the personnel will have better support throughout its career because of a more predictable framework of fixed meetings with the inspection. 

Main measures adopted:   

   I. A simpler career, with better support and better recognition 

  • A regular and transparent career progress: The career progress is made more transparent with fixed and known duration for each level (within the grade). The progress will now be on a unique and linear rhythm. In order to reach the last level of the normal class, 26 years will now be necessary, like any other A category civil servant in France.
  • A renovated evaluation framework: It must allow a higher frequency in the evaluation process and better involvement of the inspection personnel, and, in the secondary education, steering policies’ managing staff, to continuous training, to support and individual/collective advice for teaching personnel in their career. The objective is to make of this new evaluation framework a real human resources steering policies’ tool.
  • Four “career meetings”: Each personnel will have four career meetings to have an improved feedback on its career. Faster career progress will allow the teaching personnel to have a better professional recognition.

   II. Creation of a new grade : the exceptional class

  • Two meetings set up for the personnel of the Normal Class will allow them to progress faster.
  • The “Hors classe” becomes a normal career prospect. Before the end of the Normal Class, the teaching personnel will be able to access Hors classe on a rhythm that recognizes their career and their professional involvement.
  • A third grade is created: the Exceptional Class. Starting September 2017, the teaching personnel will be able access a 3rd grade, called Exceptional Class, which will be a new human resource lever to steer policies that emphasize career paths and professional involvement of the teaching personnel. The prospect of accessing this new class is talked about in the last career meeting in the Hors classe.

The Exceptional Class will be available in priority (about 80% of the promotions) to the teaching personnel that, starting the 3rd level of the Hors classe, worked at least 8 years in priority areas or that have had special missions or responsibilities. It will also be available (about 20% of the promotions) to other personnel, currently in the last level of the Hors classe, to take into account outstanding careers. In the long run, the Exceptional Class is expected to represent 10% of the teaching personnel population. 

   III. A higher pay throughout the career

  • Ensuring the profession entry’s attractiveness: trainees will come into the beginning of their career with a progressively increase salary. By 2019, during their traineeship, they’ll earn a base annual gross salary increased by more 1,400 euros over today.
  • A better salary over the entirety of the career: every grade of the teaching profession will have an increased salary. Following salary rises that were introduced 2010 and 2012, it was deemed necessary to increase the mid-career salary.
  • A favourable impact on pensions: the progressive corrective measures such as the transfer of bonuses to base salary as well as the increase of salaries during mid- and the end of the career will allow public and dependent private institutions’ teaching personnel to benefit a more favourable pension.

In total, the simplification and salary increase represents a budget effort of a Billion euros until 2020, provided in the Parcours Professionnels, Carrières et Rémunérations (PPCR - Professional pathways, careers and remunerations) framework for civil servants. Almost 500 million euros will be allocated as soon as 2017.

Working groups, with the union representatives, will be set in motion in order to specify the terms of creation of the Exceptional Class and the reform of the teaching personnel evaluation framework for the recognition of careers and professional involvement.

A working group will be tasked with the transposition of the measures in the new framework for other personnel corps to take their characteristics into account. The legal framework will allow the setup of all these measures in place as soon as January 2017. These legal documents will be reviewed by the union representatives. 

Funding: 500 million euros in 2017, 1 Billion euros in total until 2020

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: Unknown

References: Mieux rémunérées, mieux accompagnées, les nouvelles carrières enseignantes

2015

Des objectifs chiffrés pour l’apprentissage de l’allemand à la rentrée 2016 (Quantitative objectives for German language learning in 2016)

Timeframe: Announced in October 2015, launched in September 2016

Status: Objectives that accompany thecollège reform in the framework of law no.2013-595 of July 8th 2013 for restructuring schools, launched in September 2016

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research

Reasons / Objectives: 

Starting in 2016, all students will start their first foreign language in their first year of ISCED 1 (Cours Préparatoire), and their second foreign language in the second year of ISCED 2 (Cinquième), in compliance with the ICSED 2 reform. The minister has announced quantified targets for German learning starting in September 2016. 

  • ISCED 1: 200 000 learners of German in 2016-2017, which represents a 12% increase compared to the 178 000 current learners of German. These students are distributed as follows: 47 % in the Strasbourg académie, 20% in the Metz académie, and 33% in other académies
  • ISCED 2: 515 000 learners of German in 2016-2017, which represents a 6% increase compared to the 487 000 current learners of German. With thecollège reform, the weekly amount of hours of foreign language instruction does not change for the first foreign language: 13 hours for each of the 4 levels. The weekly amount of hours of foreign language instruction increases, however, for the second foreign language, from 6 to 7.5 hours:
    • Currently: 3h in the 3rd year of collège, 3 years in the 4th year of collège = 6h
    • Starting in 2016: 2.5h in the 2nd year of collège, 2.5h in the 3rd year of collège, 2.5h in the 4th year of collège = 7.5h

The collège reform therefore accounts for a total of 54 hours  of additional second foreign language instruction over the span of collège, which represents an increase of 25% of the instruction hours.  

Main measures adopted: 

  • A new foreign languages map implemented in each académie
  • This foreign languages map will indicate each language offered in to students each school and will ensure the continuity of the educational provision from ISCED 1 to ISCED 3. This map will favor the development of linguistic diversity, namely in favor of German learning. 
  • Human resources development : volunteering secondary teachers, language assistants and external contributors at ISCED 1 level in favor of linguistic diversity, namely in favor of German learning.  The amount of German language teacher positions offered is evolving (for both types of competitive teaching exams: CAPES and Agrégation): 
    • 2010: 199 open positions
    • 2012: 340 open positions
    • 2015: 514 open positions
  • Appointment of a ministerial delegate for German learning in France: Sandrine Kott was appointed as ministerial delegate for strengthening German learning in France, in charge of guaranteeing quantified targets for ISCED 1 and 2 German learning are reached in 2016-2017. 
  • Reinforcing Franco-German school exchanges and partnerships, especially via the Office franco-allemand pour la jeunesse (OFAJ - Franco-German Office for Youth) 
  • The upcoming launch of a website offering digital pedagogical resources for youth to learn German (similar to “English for schools”), in partnership with the Goethe Institute. 
  • The development of Franco-German vocational training pathways: Several académies now offer experimental Franco-German vocational training programs in aeronautics, the hotel industry, the automobile industry, and the field of energy and sustainable development. In 2016-2017, a new program wood industry program will be launched in 4 schools of the Besançon académie, in partnership with Bavarian schools. 

Funding: Unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and Monitoring: Unknown

References: Apprentissage de l'allemand : de nouveaux moyens et des objectifs chiffrés

New Curricula for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cycles of mandatory schooling

Timeframe: Project submitted on September 18th, 2015, was accepted by the Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation (CSE - High Council for Education) on October 8th and 9th, 2015, launched in September 2016.

Status: New curricula project consistent with the new common core of knowledge, skills and culture that is applied starting September 2016 in compliance with law no.2013-595 of July 8th 2013 for restructuring schools ; was accepted by the Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation (CSE – High Council for Education) early October, launched in September 2016.

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research, Conseil Supérieur des Programmes (CSP – High Council for Educational Curricula), Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation (CSE – High Council for Education).

Reasons / Objectives: In order to have consistent curricula with the new Common core of knowledge, skills and culture, the CSP submitted its curricula project for the new 2nd (going from 1st grade – CP – to 3rd grade – CE2), 3rd (from 4th grade – CM1 – to sixième) and 4th (from cinquième to troisième) cycles of mandatory schooling to the Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research.

Main measures adopted: The new curricula for the renewed 2nd, 3rd and 4th cycles of mandatory schooling are based on a new conception. They take place in a global project, for all pupils, taking their learning curve and learning experience into account while leaving more room for educational practices to teachers. This project is based on new mandatory schooling learning cycles that were introduced by law no. 2013-595 of July 8th 2013 for restructuring schools and in the new common core of knowledge, skills and culture in all its 5 fields. Curricula for the 3rd and 4th cycles are also taking into account the collège reform that will be applied starting September 2016.

These new curricula are constructed for 3 year periods to be consistent with the new cycles:

  • 2nd cycle: this is the cycle where pupils learn fundamentals, starting in 1st grade (Cours Préparatoire – CP) and ending in 3rd grade (Cours Élémentaire 2ème année – CE2). This cycle’s objective is to allow pupils to acquire specific languages and to give them enough time and consistency for progressive learning. Each teaching will allow pupils to question the world that surrounds them. Acquiring languages (French particularly) is the priority.
  • 3rd cycle: the consolidation cycle, starting in 4th grade (Cours Moyen 1ère année – CM1) and finishing at the end of the sixième, collège’s first year. This cycle is now the link between the last two years of primary education and the first one of secondary education, with an objective of continuum and consistency towards the acquisition of the common core of knowledge, skills and culture. This cycles aims for a consolidation of the pupils’ fundamentals (acquired during the previous cycle), which are necessary for further teachings. It also aims for a better transition between primary school and collège. The sixième thus take a special place in this cycle: it has to allow pupils to adapt to the new rhythm, the new educational organisation (particularly the change from one polyvalent teacher to several teachers that are specialists in their field) and the new environment.
  • 4th cycle: the development cycle, from cinquième to troisième. Consistent with the collège reform, this cycle will allow pupils to develop their skills through encountering new situations and more complex tasks where they’ll need to mobilise several assets, whether it is knowledge, skills or attitudes. This growing acquisition of the world’s complexity (natural and human) goes through interdisciplinary activities where they will experience different views on common matters.

Finally, these new curricula avoid the issue that arose when the first common core of knowledge and skills was introduced in 2006: there were two specific curricula, one per discipline and one for the common core of knowledge and skills.

Funding: Unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and Monitoring: Unknown

References: Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche : dossier de presse sur le projet des programmes des cycles 2, 3 et 4 ; Conseil Supérieur des Programmes : Projet de programme des cycles 2, 3 et 4

"Un livret scolaire plus simple, un brevet plus complet" (A simpler school report, a more comprehensive brevet)

Timeframe: Announced on September 30th, 2015, launched in September 2016.

Status: Reforms of the school report and of the Diplôme National du Brevet are part of the framework of law no. 2013-595 of July 8th 2013 for restructuring schools, launched in September 2016.

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research

Reasons / Objectives: In order to simplify the current model of school report which is not unique (it varies between schools) and unclear, the pupil school report will evolve starting September 2016. The Diplôme national du Brevet (DNB) is also changed starting the 2016-2017 academic year (evaluated fields, oral examination, rating grid). These reforms are constructed while taking thenew Common core of knowledge, skills and culture and the new “per cycle” curricula into account.

Main measures adopted:

A simpler school report: The school report, which gives a comprehensive look at the pupil’s skills and follows him starting from 1st grade (Cours Préparatoire – CP) until troisième, is currently made of 2 different documents:

  • A “local” skills report (it varies between schools), which provides information on the skills the pupils has during his primary schooling;
  • A National Personal Skills report where pupils’ skills are evaluated at the end of each current cycle (at the end of 2nd grade – Cours Élémentaire 1 –, 5th grade – Cours Moyen 2 – and troisième)   with respect to the common base of knowledge and skills of 2006.

The school report will be following a unique and simpler format from September 2016 across the country. At the end of each semester, parents will receive a report that gives a comprehensive look at the pupil’s level in each field as well as teachers’ comments, and, at the end of each new cycle (3rd grade – Cours Élémentaire 2 –, sixième, troisième), a pupil’s review on each of 8 fields of study of the new cycle with a simple indicator: insufficient acquisition, fragile, sufficient, very good.

Grades won't be removed, neither in primary school or collège. Teachers that still use the grading system in primary school (20~30 % of primary schools teachers) will be able to continue, and the “collèges sans notes” (collèges without grades) experimentation will also be able to use this new format of school report.

A more comprehensive Diplôme National du Brevet: In this new version, continuous assessment is still taken into account, but with respect to the new common core of knowledge, skills and culture.

The DNB’s final examinations will also be changing starting September 2016:

  • Physics and Chemistry, Natural Sciences and Technology will now be evaluated;
  • 8 hours of written exams over 3 days instead of the current 7 hours over 2 days;
  • A 15 minutes oral examination in front of a jury (10 minutes allocated to presentation, 5 minutes to questions).

he oral exam subject will be selected by the pupil himself: this will be a presentation of his work on one of the interdisciplinary projects (either one of the new Practical Interdisciplinary Teachings or from a specific course). Half of the points will be dedicated to contents of the work done by the student and the other heal will be dedicated to oral expression, the quality of the presentation and the ability of the pupil to work in autonomy as well as in a group.

The new DNB will be graded over 700 points:

  • 400 points allocated to the continuous examination: each of the 8 learning fields in the new common core of knowledge, skills and culture will be evaluated at the end of troisième. Insufficient acquisition will be given 10 points, fragile 20 points, sufficient 35 and very good 50;
  • 300 points allocated to final examination, divided in three block of 100 points:
    • French, history and geography, and civic and moral teaching;
    • Mathematics, physics and chemistry, natural sciences and technology;
    • Oral examination with the project presentation.

Honours « assez bien » (fair), « bien » (good) and «très bien » (very good) will now be awarded to students that respectively obtain 420, 490 and 560 points out of 700.

Finally, the Diplôme National du Brevet puts students in an exam situation for the first time. It validates the training followed by pupils during their mandatory schooling through primary and secondary education. It is a genuine exam, it is anonymous, and it is the same for everyone across the country. As such, it is proof of an equality treatment among students. In order to help students give a greater value to this achievement, an republican award ceremony will also be set up starting 2016.

Funding: Unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and Monitoring: Unknown

References: Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche : évaluation des élèves du CP à la 3e, un livre plus simple, un brevet plus complet

The common core of knowledge, skills and culture

Timeframe: In the Official Journal of April 2nd, 2015, launched in September 2016.

Status: Reform approved (law of July 8th, 2013 for restructuring schools), in the Official Journal of April 2nd, 2015, launched in September 2016.

Responsible authorities: Department for National Education, Higher Education and Research.

Reasons/Objectives:

With the programming law of July 8th, 2013 for restructuring schools, the French Republic commits to allowing pupils acquire the common core of knowledge, skills and culture. The objective is to contribute to the success of a school system that allows everyone’s success, refuses marginalisation and/or discriminations, and helps all children to develop his (her) own potential with the best possible schooling.

The common core identifies the knowledge and skills that need to be acquired at the end of mandatory schooling. A skill is the aptitude to use one’s resources (knowledge, capabilities, posture) to do a task or to face a complex and/or new situation. Skills and knowledge are thus not opposed to one another. Their acquisition requires taking into account, in the learning process, the experiences of the pupils, to help them evolve and put these experiences into perspective.

First introduced in 2006, the common core of knowledge has been reformed and the new one will be applied starting September 2016. It covers mandatory schooling (6 to 16) and corresponds for the most part to the teachings of primary and lower secondary education that compose a common academic culture.

The common core has to be balanced in its contents and its approaches:

  • It opens the pupils’ mind to knowledge, develops their judgement and critical thinking, from ordered elements of rational knowledge of the world;
  • It provides general and open teachings that are common to everyone, and are based on values that allow people to live in a free and tolerant society;
  • It fosters the development of individuals that interact with the world around them;
  • It develops the capabilities to understand, create, imagine and act;
  • It supports the physical, cognitive and sensibility development of pupils, without compromising their integrity;
  • It gives pupils means to commit to educational activities, to act, to exchange with other individuals, to conquer their autonomy and finally to progressively use their freedom and their responsible citizen status.

Pupil learn to think, to use knowledge, to choose adapted approaches and procedures, to reflect, to resolve an exercise, and to do a complex task or project, particularly in a new or unexpected situation.

Main measures adopted:

The common core of knowledge, skills and culture is based on 5 academic domains:

  1. Languages to think and communicate

This domain covers 4 types of languages that are both knowledge and tools: French language; foreign or regional languages; mathematical, scientific and IT languages; arts and body language. This domain allows pupils to access other knowledge and a culture that develops critical thinking. This implies the mastery of codes, rules, signs and representations. In this domain, knowledge and skills are solicited as tools to think, communicate, express and they are used in all fields as well as most activities.

  1. Methodologies and tools to learn

This domain’s objective is to allow all pupils to “learn how to learn”, alone or in a group, during class time or not, in order for them to succeed in their studies and engage in life-long learning. Methodologies and tools to learn have to be explicitly taught through situations, in all fields and spaces of school life. The mastery of methodologies and tools to learn develops autonomy and the ability to take initiative. It finally fosters the involvement in collective work, mutual help and cooperation.

  1. The training of the individual and the citizen

The school system has a responsibility in the development of the pupil as an individual and soon-to-be citizen. With a coeducation approach, it does not replace families, but it has a role in teaching children the fundamental values and the principles that are in the Constitution of our country. It allows students to develop his ability to judge by himself, as well as his feeling of belonging to society. It thus gives pupils, through concrete situations of school life, means to develop their ability to be independent, as well as their involvement in the community and to prepare their involvement as citizens. This domain appeals to:

  • Learnings and the experience of the principles that guarantee everyone’s freedom, such as the freedom of conscience and speech, mutual tolerance, equality, etc.;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the meaning of rights and laws, the rules that ensure the participation to community and democracy, and the notion of public interest;
  • Knowledge, the understanding but also the application of the secularism principle, that fosters civility and involvement in the community, while respecting the freedom of conscience.

  1. Natural and technical systems

This domain’s objective is to give students the basics of mathematical, scientific and technological cultures that are required to discover nature and its phenomenon, as well as techniques that were developed by women and men. The goal is to spark their curiosity, their will to raise questions, to seek answers and to invent, while initiating them to the challenges humanity faces. The students then discover, with a scientific approach, the nature around them. This is meant to help them acquire the basics of scientific reasoning and techniques. Based on observation, manipulation and experimentation, using mathematical language for representations, the scientific approach’s objectives are to explain the universe, to understand its evolutions, following a rational reasoning that favours facts and testable hypothesis and leaves out what is opinion and belief. Finally, it develops the students’ intellectual rigour, manual ability and critical thinking, the capacity to argue.

The students’ familiarity with the technical world goes through the understanding of how a few objects and systems work, and their capability to conceive and build one themselves. This also represents opportunities to acknowledge the fact that a technological approach seeks to maximise efficiency in a limited environment (particularly with resources) to respond to human needs, while taking into account the social and environmental impacts. The initiation to these approaches, concepts and tools allows students to grasp sciences and technological evolutions as well as their historical developments that change our perception and use of the planet.

  1. World’s representation and human activity

This last domain is dedicated to the understanding of the world that human beings are both living in and shaping their image. It aims at developing a conscience of the geographical space and the historical timeline. This domain also leads to study characteristics of organisations and how societies work. It will initiate pupils to the diversity of human experience and the forms it takes: scientific and discoveries, the variety of cultures, ways of thinking, art and the pieces, the representations through which women and men try to figure the human condition and the world they are living in.

This domain also aims at developing the capabilities of imagination, of design, of action to produce objects, services and works of art as well as physical, sports-based and arts-based practices. It allows the development of judgement and aesthetic sensibility. It finally implies a reflexion on self and other, an opening to otherness and contributes to building citizenship, allowing the student to apprehend in an enlightened manner the great debates of the contemporary world.

Funding: Unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: Evaluation mechanisms will not change with the new curricula. See section 11.1 for more information.

References: The Socle commun de connaissances, de compétences et de culture in the Official Journal ; Qu’apprendront les élèves de 6 à 16 à la rentrée 2016 ?, website of the Department of National Education.

Collège: mieux apprendre pour mieux réussir ("Collège: learn more effectively to achieve better successes")

Timeframes:  Announced in spring 2015, launched in September 2016

Status: Reform announced on the 11th of March, 2015; Reform approved by the Conseil Supérieur de l'Éducation (CSE - Superior Council for Education) on April 10th, 2015; Implementing Decree no. 2015-544 published on May 19th, 2015, launched in September 2016.

Responsible authorities: Department for National Education, Higher Education, and Research

Reasons/objectives: National and international evaluations are clear: the collège is aggravating educational difficulties, particularly in fundamental disciplines, and is concentrating the faults of our school system. It is unequal, and it sorts pupils rather than supporting them towards success. It is uniform in its disciplinary approach, and is causing boredom or even loss of the willingness to learn among pupils. The collège is unsuitable to develop the pupils’ skills, and strives to provide good counselling as well as to tackle early school-leaving.

The reform’s objective is to ensure a same expectation level for every pupil to acquire the common core of knowledge, skills and culture, with priority given to the mastery of fundamental knowledge. To this end, teaching programs will be completely overhauled coherently with the new common core. Finally, this same objective will allow an improvement of the teachers’ teaching methods the pupils’ learning methods, by giving teaching staff a 20% teaching time margin. This teaching time margin will be dedicated to different learning approaches of the fundamental knowledge, through small group assignments, interdisciplinary teachings methods or a particularly reinforced personalized support in sixième.

Main measures adopted:  

I. Improving acquisition of knowledge through the mix of theoretical and hands-on learning

A new common core of knowledge and skills and new teaching programs will be developed with a priority given to the mastery of fundamental disciplines. The common core and the programs, developed for first time with the participation of 800 000 teachers, will be implemented in September 2016. Easier to understand, more progressive over the course of the whole mandatory schooling, they match a new educational logic that makes students’ knowledge acquisition a priority.

Starting September 2016, instruction methods will also be renewed. Abstract knowledge will be contextualized through interdisciplinary teaching and the knowledge will be used to develop collective tangible projects. Projects will be carried out around one of the eight new themes relating to the stakes of the contemporary world. Pupils of cinquième, quatrième and troisième will have to produce at least two projects per academic year. Their evaluation will be taken into account for the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB – national brevet diploma).

II. Take each pupil’s characteristics into account to allow everyone’s success

Timeframes dedicated to individual support will be developed to ensure that each pupil acquires fundamental knowledge. The individual support timeframe will consist of 3 hours per week during sixième and of 1 hour minimum per week for upper grades. The individual support will also be allocated to suit each student’s needs.

Small groups teaching times will be developed as well, to allow teachers to interact easily with the pupils, according to their needs.

III. Give pupils new skills that suit the contemporary world

Beyond the fact that it gives meaning to the instruction, interdisciplinary teachings also allow pupils to improve their oral expression skills, to learn about teamwork, to lead a project. These skills, nowadays required in higher education, to live in a society and to have a profession, are insufficiently explored in collège as it is today.

Improvement of foreign language skills of French students is a priority. The first foreign language learning will start as soon as the first year of mandatory schooling (CP – preparatory class), and the second foreign language will start in cinquième instead of quatrième. Finally, the collège has to adapt to this digital world and to teach the pupils, while they use digital resources in their everyday life, how to master and understand them.

Finally, students will have to extend their knowledge of digital usages and develop their digital skills. Numerous tools and resources will be at their disposal: innovative digital content and services, tablets, etc. They will also have to develop their knowledge and their understanding of algorithms and computers, through specific classes that will be implemented in the new programs.

IV. Make the collège a place where pupils blossom, where they can build a responsible citizenship

Timetables will be built around pupils: they will have a 1h30 break to eat and relax at noon.

This next cluster of measures regards the Citizenship educations of the pupils. Each year, each collège will celebrate the Secularism day on December 9th. The setup of an annual meeting to exchange with the whole educational community (graduation ceremony, highlighting pupils’ success, end-of-year showcase, etc.) is generalized. Collège’s student life councils are tools that help pupils understanding how democracy works, thus will they be implemented in each collège. Finally, a transversal teaching to Medias will be simultaneously given to students.

An important work is also to be done in order to improve schools’ atmosphere, to prevent violence, improve students’ successes and reduce educational inequalities.

Finally, parents will be closely linked to schools: parents’ engagement is critical in their children’s fulfilment. In order for them to bolster their involvement, this reform will support them through different measures (the setup of a digital communication tool to easily connect with the parents, truancy monitoring, and development of the malette des parents – parents’ case, etc.).

Funding: Information unavailable

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: Information unavailable

References: Collège : mieux apprendre pour mieux réussir; Adoption de la réforme du collège; Décret d'application n°2015-544 du 19 mai 2015.

Regional académies

Timeframe: Announced on July 31st, 2015, active since January 1st, 2016

Status: Set up in the framework of law no. 2015-29 of January 16th, 2015 regarding the delimitation of the regions, départements and regions elections and modifying the electoral calendar, announced on July 31st, 2015, active since January 1st, 2016

Responsible authorities: Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research

Reasons / Objectives: Starting January 1st, 2016, organisation of the académies and missions of the recteurs changes in order to respond to the new territorial organisation that was created by the law no. 2015-29 of January 16th, 2015: current académies, while they will stay in their current geographical limits, will merge in 13 régions académiques (regional académies). In each of these regional académies, a recteur de région académique (regional académie chancellor) will be appointed to ensure consistency in educational policies across the country. This only applies to the metropolitan area of France.

Main measures adopted: To each new region corresponds a regional académie, composed of one to three current académies. These 26 current  académies will continue to manage local educational institutions and their staff.

In each regional académie will be appointed a recteur de région académique (regional recteur), which will get specific authority. He will be the direct contact of the regional council as well as the regional préfet.

In the nine new regions that include several current académies, the regional recteurs will chair a Regional Academic Comity with the other recteurs; this body will allow harmonization of Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research’s policies on the regional level. Recteurs remain in charge of the Department services in their académie, while being consistent with decisions that were taken in the Regional Academic Comity.

Regionalrecteurs including several current académies will be the ones from Aix-Marseille, Besaçon, Bordeau, Caen, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz and Paris. These recteurs prefigure the new organisation starting January 1st, 2016.

Current académies’ map - New regional académies’ map

Funding: unknown

Evaluation mechanisms and Monitoring: Unknown

References: 13 nouvelles régions académiques pour assurer la cohérence des politiques éducatives au niveau régional

2014

Tous mobilisés contre le décrochage ("Let us all tackle early school-leaving")

Timeframes: 2014-2017

Status: reform approved (promulgation of Law no. 2013–595 of 8 July 2013). This national strategy to tackle early school-leaving ("Tous mobilisés contre le décrochage" – "Let us all tackle early school-leaving") dates from 21 November, 2014.

Responsible authorities: Department for National Education, Higher Education, and Research as regards defining principles, objectives, and implementation arrangements. Académies, networks of schools, and other local stakeholders (e.g. missions locales (job-support and guidance centres for young people)) are tasked with making those arrangements work.

Reasons / Objectives: Law no. 2013-595 of 8 July 2013 re-affirms the principle of equality of opportunity and equality of territories. The government plans to boost measures against dropping out of school, in order to halve the number of pupils dropping out of school by 2017.

Main measures adopted: The new schemes set up by the Government for tackling early school leaving more effectively follows 3 axes:

I. "Tous mobilisés contre le décrochage" (“Let us all tackle early school-leaving”)

This axe aims to develop collective dynamics and partnerships between operators as well as to clarify their role and actions. A scholastic “perseverance week” will be held each year in all académies in order to value the daily actions of all partners in the fight against leaving school.

Parents will be more related to the school-life and to the school career of their children. Arrangements and usages that aim to engage parents will be developed and generalised.

A dedicated phone line will allow those young people in danger of leaving or having already left school and their parents to dialogue with an advisor to obtain immediate and reliable information about alternative training solutions and the mentoring offered to them. The advisor will direct the pupil to a local centre that will provide him/her personalised support. In one year, these channels allowed authorities to reach out to 38,400 school leavers.

II. "Faire le choix de la prévention" ("Developing preventive measures")

The national training plan (initial and continuous) of all educative personnel will include a specific early school-leaving module (for instance, training to spot signs of leaving).

Personalised and transversal responses will be brought to vulnerable pupils through educational partnerships between schools and external partners.

Digital usage opportunities will be developed to evolve educational practices and to provide adapted training solutions to vulnerable pupils.

III. "Une nouvelle chance pour se qualifier" (A new opportunity to qualify)

Trials that aim to increase versatility in training and flexibility for tracks will be launched:

  • If a pupil repeats after failing graduation in a vocational track, he will be offered an adapted training that takes into account prior acquired skills and knowledge and he’ll only have to pass non-validated classes;
  • Vulnerable pupils will be allowed to graduate from Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnel (CAP – Professional Aptitude Certificate) or from baccalauréat professionnel validating different teaching units during exam sessions that are distributed over the whole year instead of one final exam.

All vulnerable pupils that risk leaving without a diploma or qualification from secondary education will be able to benefit from an adapted “initial training trainee” course. The pupil will keep the schooling status from his institution and will be provided with a personalised support. During this past year, 26,000 school leavers already got back into initial training.

Innovative solutions will be setup in “traditional” schools to allow pupils’ success and the spread of effective educational ways.

Moreover, articles D122-3-1 to D122-3-8 of the French education code (implemented by the decrees no. 2014-1453 and no. 2014-1454 from December 5th 2014), in accordance with the law no. 2013-595 of the 8th of July 2013, allows any young adult (between 16 and 25) that left school without a certificate or a qualification to benefit a qualifying training to get a diploma.

For the last 5 years, France saw its flow of "ungraduated school leavers" going down from 136,000 to 110,000 individuals, as well as its stock of early school leavers (18-24 years old) going down from 620,000 to 494,000 individuals. France, with 9 % of early school leavers, is now below the common objective of 10 % for the benchmark of the European strategic framework Education and Formation: Europe 2020.

Funding: The wherewithal for fighting school leaving will be bolstered by 50 million additional euros (+7%) each year starting in 2015, relying in particular on a strong request for European funds (nearly 95 million euros to be requested between 2014 and 2020, in particular through the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative).

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: The setup of an evaluation institutional framework and the rating culture’s spread will allow a more systematic evaluation of the measures and trials.

References: circular no. 2013-035 of 29 March 2013; Decree no. 2014-1453 and Decree no. 2014-1454 of December 5th 2014; Web site of the Department of National Education on tackling early school-leaving; Measures of the action plan for fighting school leaving of 21 November, 2014 "Tous mobilisés pour vaincre le décrochage scolaire"

Towards a model of assessment in support of learning

Timeframes:  July to December 2014

Status: Reform approved (promulgation of Law no.595-2013 on 8 July 2013) 

Responsible authorities: Ministry for National Education, Higher Education, and Research

Reasons/objectives:  Assessment practices which only punish shortcomings without highlighting pupils' achievements and progress generate negative effects - pupils' and their families' lacking understanding of what is expected, opacity of scores if not accompanied by an explanation, feeling of worthlessness and despondency which may lead to struggling pupils leaving school early and being stigmatised.

Main measures adopted:  Defining this new assessment policy will be the subject of a national conference in order to reach a consensus in a demanding and ambitious manner.

This process aims to have recommendations for pupil assessments founded on research, scientific knowledge and national and international field practices adopted by a jury made up of members of the educational community and civil society.

Funding:  information unavailable

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: on-going

Restructuring priority education

Timeframes: from the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Status: The reform was presented by Vincent Peillon, former Minister for National Education on 16 January 2014, then launched by his successor, Benoît Hamon, on 9 April 2014. It will be implemented at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year by the new Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem in 102 “precursor” priority education networks, identified by Chief Education Officers on the basis of a social index that takes account of the proportion of pupils whose parents belong to disadvantaged socio-professional categories, the proportion of pupils who hold scholarships, the proportion of pupils living in sensitive urban areas, and the proportion of pupils who "6th-year class" with at least one year’s delay. After the precursor phase, restructuring priority education will take effect from the start of the 2015-2016 academic year across all priority-education networks, identified on the basis of the same index.

Responsible authorities: the measures proposed by the Department for National Education are the result of concerted work with local stakeholders (local education authorities and schools that are part of priority-education networks). Such measures are implemented by various local stakeholders, in particular networks of schools and local education authorities.

Reasons / Objectives: in 1981, France committed itself to a policy aimed at boosting educational action in geographical areas with concentrations of disadvantaged populations (the priority-education policy). It was a matter of allocating additional means in terms of staff and of financial credits to benefit schools in these areas. It is currently estimated that pupils affected by the policy account for about 20% of the school population. The priority-education policy has been revised several times, and is currently felt to be unsatisfactory. Studies carried by the Department for National Education (DEPP:Direction de l’Évaluation, la Prospective, et la Performance – Directorate for Evaluation, Forecasting, and Performance) show that pupils attending schools targeted by the policy remains pupils who are the most affected by difficulties at school. Furthermore, international comparative surveys have shown that the gap between the school results of those pupils and the school results of more advantaged pupils is particularly significant in France. PISA 2012 showed that in France, more than elsewhere, school performance was over-determined by the pupil’s socio-economic situation, with the phenomenon having worsened since 2003. Hence, the objective is to reduce social inequalities with regard to success at school. The new policy will be implemented in 102 “precursor” REP+ (priority education+ networks - sectors with the highest concentration of social problems which impact heavily on academic success) at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year. It will be extended to 1081 priority education networks, including 350 REP+ networks, in 2015.

Measures adopted:

  1. School attendance amongst children under the age of 3 in each priority-education network of schools;
  2. Each priority-education elementary school to be given an extra teacher, in line with the operation “more teachers than classes”;
  3. On-going support until 4:30 p.m. for pupils in the first year of lower secondary school. Pupils in sixièmewill receive homework support, methodological support, or tutoring during free periods in school hours, and will be accommodated at the school until 4:30 p.m.;
  4. Extending the D’Col digital arrangement to all priority-education lower secondary schools. D’COL is an interactive, personalised support service (in French, mathematics, and English) for 30 000 priority-education pupils in sixième, subject to a proposal being made by the school and with the support of parents. It is one of eleven new departments intended to bring the school system into the digital age. A reference teacher takes responsibility for and guides pupils for two hours a week in digital educational activities;
  5. Developing arrangements to increase pupils’ ambition and curiosity, and to help them to build their pathways;
  6. Setting up boarding schools (reception establishments) open to lower-secondary pupils;
  7. Time will be given over to training, to team work, and to monitoring students in the most difficult networks. In primary school: nine days per year; at college (lower secondary” school): one and a half hours per week.
  8. Three days per year of on-going training, educational teams supported by experts in the field, and tutoring for new teachers will be guaranteed in the networks containing the most difficult schools;
  9. In order to stabilise educational teams (and, in particular, avoid having teachers leave after a limited period spent in priority-education schools), they will be offered a more attractive level of remuneration (see “financing” below); the priority-education pathway will be assessed as part of teachers’ career progression;
  10. A reference document drafted at the end of conferences that brought together all stakeholders in priority education has been put on line on the Department’s web site. The document is in the form of principles for educational and teaching actions listed under six priorities. Its aim is to offer a structuring framework to all stakeholders. It will serve as a basis for planning networks and for developing educational practices. The means allocated for that basis will be guaranteed for four years;
  11. An academic fund will be made available to finance innovative educational actions in the service of pupils;
  12. Parents will be guaranteed a welcome each morning, in order to better tie them in to the life of the school;
  13. 500 additional prevention and safety assistants will be allocated to schools in the greatest difficulty, to improve the school climate.
  14. An additional school nurse and social assistant will allocated to the most difficult networks.


Funding: The government plans to re-assess the indemnity paid annually to teachers working in priority education. The annual indemnity that is paid to teachers in priority education currently stands at €1,156. Its value will be increased by 50% for all teachers with effect from 2015, and by 100% for teachers working in the most difficult areas.

Evaluation mechanisms and monitoring: the reform will be monitored by all bodies responsible for evaluating educational policies.

The law for restructuring schools also sets nursery schools a new task. Organised on a single cycle, it has two main ambitions. It gradually prepares children for the basic education that will be dispensed at elementary school, at each child's pace. It contributes, from a very young age, to reducing inequalities, in particular as regards language. The nursery school curriculum must include this requirement of a school adapted to young children, which is an essential stage in ensuring that all pupils succeed.

Moreover, in June 2014 the Permanent Committee for National Curricula published its curricula project for nursery schools. It will be the subject of a national consultation over the course of the first term of the 2014-2015 academic year.

A new circular regarding the drafting of departmental regulation in public elementary and nursery schools in support of school management was published on 9 July 2014. It contains specific guidelines for writing up each school's rules. This new text constitutes an aid for school heads in exercising their responsibilities, carrying out the proper operation of the school and complying with the regulation applicable to the school. It is also a tool for their training.

The new academic distribution of priority education was reorganised at the start of the 2014 school year. And 1,082 priority education networks (REP and REP+) are planned for the start of the 2015 school year. Furthermore, Bulletin officiel no. 42 of 13 November, 2014, relating to staff mobility for the 2015 return to school, carries two important items of information about priority education. The first is about those posts that may be considered as specific posts in primary and secondary education, which will be subject to particular terms of appointment. The second item concerns the bonus that teachers with at least five years' experience teaching in priority education can receive.

References: Priority Education site; Dossier presenting the reform of priority education; Conferences on priority education; DEPP, Note d’information (Information note) no. 13.07, May 2013; La nouvelle répartition académique de l'éducation prioritaire; B.O du n°42 du 13 novembre 2014

 

 

 


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