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France:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

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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

This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2013.

The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.

The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels: Early childhood education and care; School education; VET and Adult learning; Higher education; and Transversal skills and Employability. Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.

Finally the section on the European perspective provides links to European strategies in which education and training have a prominent role.

Overall national education strategy and key objectives

In line with the programme of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande (elected in May 2012 for five years), the Government headed by Jean-Marc Ayrault and, since 31 March 2014, by Manuel Valls, has undertaken a process to reform the education system. On 26 August 2014, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was appointed Minister for National Education, Higher Education, and Research, thus succeeding Benoît Hamon.

Two major consultations with stakeholders involved in the Education sector were launched in 2012: one in view of the French school system reform ("Refondons l’École de la République" – "Let's Restructure Schools"); and the other to contribute to the reform of the Higher Education and Research system ("Assises de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche" – "Conference on Higher Education and Research"). Both of the bills presented by the Government following these consultations were debated and voted on in Parliament; and two new laws have been promulgated as a result in July:

The specific measures stipulated for carrying the provisions of this new legislation are described in this chapter.

In 2015, the guidance and programming law no. 2013-595 of July 8th, 2013 for Restructuring schools of the French Republic allowed numerous reforms to be proposed and being set up starting September 2016. Since new educational cycles were created with the July 8th, 2013 law, a new common core of knowledge, skills and culture that covers mandatory school has been built along and will be set up with the new curricula per cycle.

The Collège reform has also been announced and approved by the Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation (Superior Council for Education) during spring. This reform allows new forms of learning for students (interdisciplinary teachings, group projects, etc.) and focuses on the mastery of fundamentals. The last reform announced in the framework of the Programming law of July 8th, 2013 is the one of a simpler school book and the more comprehensive Diplôme National du Brevet.

Other measures and action plan were also announced during 2015. Following the attacks of Charlie Hebdo in January, the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research had to focus on the Republican values, coexistence and secularism. This commitment lead to the informal meeting of education ministers of the European Union, which concluded on the Declaration of Paris. Moreover, a citizen reserve was created by the Department, allowing volunteers to assist teaching staff with educational projects (especially on secularism and citizenship education) through exchange with students. Measures towards social and territorial inequality were also taken. These measures focus on the citizenship education are even more essential, after the new wave of attacks Paris suffered, on November 13th, 2015.

Finally, the territorial reform was translated to the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research with the creation of Regional académies, and the first phase of the Plan for Digital in schools was launched in September 2015 with a first group of volunteering schools.

Overview of the education reform process and drivers

France’s education policy comes under the Minister for National Education, Higher Education, and Research, assisted by a Secretary of State responsible for Higher Education and Research.

Reform initiatives come from the Minister as part of sole “fundamental principles” defined by Parliament (article 34 of the Constitution), which only applies when the budget is discussed. With the exception of these two points, the process of reforming the education system thus comes solely under the executive.

The Minister relies on the departments of the central administration, which are responsible for preparing and giving form – at the Minister’s request – to regulatory provisions that contain the reforms that the Minister wishes to implement, as well as the framework for assessing those reforms. The Minister is assisted by Inspectorates General, which monitor the education system, its organisation, and its operation, and which are extremely pro-active in regards to the reforms to be implemented. However, the Minister can also draw inspiration from the work of a certain number of consultative councils tasked, in particular, with producing studies and analyses in their fields of competence and making suggestions or offering opinions concerning possible reform plans that may flow from those studies / analyses. Examples of those consultative councils are the Conseil Supérieur des Programmes (High Council for Educational Programmes), the Conseil National de l’Innovation pour le Réussite Éducative (National Council on Innovation for Educational Success), and the Conseil National Éducation – Économie (National Council on Education and the Economy) (please see Eurypedia for the composition and missions of those councils).

Once reform plans have been drafted, they must be submitted for an opinion to the Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation (High Council for Education), or, in the case of higher education, the Conseil National de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (National Council for Higher Education and Research).