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France:Organisation of General Lower Secondary 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

Types of Institutions

Lower secondary schools are called collèges. They are the only institutions for this ISCED level, and all pupils having completed their elementary education pursue their studies within a collège

According to articles L421-1 to L421-25 of the Code of Education, collèges are Établissements Publics Locaux d'Enseignement (EPLE - local public-sector schools), a category of public institutions controlled by the Department for National Education, Higher Education and Research. As such, they are legal entities and have an administrative, financial and educational autonomy, within the limits set out by legislative and regulatory texts. 

The Board of administration - the institution's decision-making body - on recommendations by the principal - the school head - sets the principle governing the teaching and educational autonomy of the institution and the rules of its organisation. It adopts the budget and the school project.

Départements are responsible for the material operation of collèges: construction and maintenance of buildings, school transport, subsidies for equipment, recruitment and management of technical staff, etc.


Geographical Accessibility

According to articles D211-10 and D211-11, académies are divided into sectors and districts. Sectors are the catchment area for collèges. These articles also stipulate that a sector should have one single public collège, except in specific geographic conditions. In rural zones, the sector consists of several municipalities: the municipality that hosts the collège is called the "chef-lieu du secteur" (main town of the sector). In urban zones, the sector of acollege is often limited to a fraction of the municipality.

However, since 2013, when it improves the social mix into schooling institutions, a sector may be shared among multiple public collèges if they are situated in the same responsibility area of the local authority that manages school transports.

School transport is organised and funded by local authorities, which define its specific rules.


Admission Requirements and choice of school

All children that have completed elementary school are rightfully admitted to collège in their twelfth year at the latest. There are two ways to enrol in public education:

  • pupils from a public elementary school or private elementary school under contract are enrolled as per the conditions set out by the school map;
  • pupils in private, non-contract education or home-schooled children are required to pass an entrance exam; application forms are available from the inspectorate of the académie. 

Moreover, adapted teaching is organised to train pupils experiencing serious and sustainable school difficulties, either within collèges, in Sections d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel Adapté (SEGPA - professional adapted education sections); or within Établissements Régionaux d'Enseignement Adapté (EREA - regional adapted teaching institutions ). 

Pupils admitted in SEGPAs by decision of the académie director after agreement of the parents or the legal representative and confirmation by the département's guidance committee. This committee is chaired by the académie director and consists of members of the inspection team, management personnel, teachers, parents' representatives the département's technical medical consultant, the département 's technical social worker, a school psychologist, a child psychiatrist, etc.

In principle, SEGPA classes should not have more than 16 pupils. Assistant directors in charge of SEGPAs draft an annual appraisal of pupils which is notified to parents. If the institution or family wishes to review guidance, the appraisal is transferred to the commission for its opinion. The académie inspectorate then takes a decision. 

Établissements régionaux d'enseignement adapté (EREA - regional adapted education institutions) are local public-sector schools designed to take charge of teenagers showing very serious academic and social difficulties or disability. EREA pupils are guided by:

  • the commission des droits et de l'autonomie des personnes handicapées (CDA - commission for the rights and autonomy of disabled persons) for pupils with a motor or sensory disability;
  • the commission départementale d'orientation vers les enseignements adaptés du second degré (CDO - département's guidance commission towards adapted secondary education) for pupils showing serious and long-term academic difficulties.

Choice of School 

 In public institutions, the student will be assigned, by the académie inspector, to the collège of the sector linked to his house after the decision taken regarding the child’s progression by the teachers’ council of the elementary school.

After this assignment, derogation may be asked by families to the académie inspectorate. Demands are processed following criteria that favor students with physical disabilities, students with a heavy medical treatment and students that need to be in a particular stream, taking into account the number of available positions in institutions.

However, since 2013, when it improves the social mix into schooling institutions, a sector may be shared among multiple public collèges if they are situated in the same responsibility area of the local authority that manages school transports.


Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

Collège education lasts four years, corresponding to Sixième, Cinquième, Quatrième and Troisième classes. The student normally enters Sixième at the age of 11, and enters Troisième at the age of 14.

Since the 2016 academic year, collège levels are now only distributed on two cycles: the first cycle (Cycle 3, the consolidation cycle) straddles primary and lower secondary education (from CM1 to Sixième); the second cycle (Cycle 4, the furthering cycle) covers all three of the remaining grades of collège (from Cinquième to Troisième). 

Unlike elementary school, classes are necessarily of one unique level. There is a teacher for each subject. The subjects vary according to the cycle:

  • In Sixième, during the consolidation cycle: French, Foreign language 1, Plastic arts, Musical education, Arts history, Sports and physic education, Civic and moral education, History-Geography, Sciences & Technology, Mathematics;
  • From Cinquième to Troisième, during the furthering cycle: French, Foreign language 1, Foreign language 2, Plastic arts, Musical education, Arts history, Sports and physic education, Civic and moral education, History-Geography, Life and earth Sciences, Physics-chemistry, Technology, Mathematics;

Some collèges offer specific training, with curricula compliant with those of other classes, but where teaching is organised under different conditions:

  • Classes with adapted times (music, theatre or dance options) allowing pupils to receive specialist teaching at the region's arts conservatory or a State-controlled music school;
  • European or international sections, characterised by reinforced teaching of a foreign modern language and teaching of certain disciplines in that language.


Organisation of the School Year

The main principles governing the drawing up of a holiday calendar are defined in article L521-1 of the Code of Education; they are the same for primary , lower secondary and upper secondary levels.

The academic year spreads over at least 36 weeks that are divided into 5 teaching periods, of comparable duration, that are separated by period of holidays. The learning time is divided into 3 quarters. A national school calendar is set by the Department of the National Education, Higher Education and Research for three years. This calendar may be adapted, under conditions that are set in a Decree, to take into account specific local situations.


Organisation of the School day and week

Pursuant toarticle R 421-2 of the Education Code, secondary schools (collèges and lycées) enjoy autonomy in "the organisation of school time and conditions of school life as well as use of teaching time allocations made available to the school compliant with obligations resulting from statutory hours." The organisation of the school day and week varies therefore from one school to another.

As a general rule of thumb, the teaching time is set on the whole days on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday while it is only a half-day on Wednesday.

Since September 2016, for the first year of collège (Sixième, which is also the last year of the consolidation cycle after elementary school), each collège has an hourly endowment of 26 hours per week and class: 23 hours are allocated to the organisation of the common teachings, and 3 hours for the Personalised support.

For the remaining years of collège (from Cinquième to Troisième, which represent the furthering cycle), each institution has an hourly endowment of 26 hours per week and class: 22 hours are allocated to the organization of the common teachings, and 4 hours for the interdisciplinary practical teachings.

Pupils also benefit from 10 annual hours of "class life" for the duration of their time at collège. Pursuant to B.O. no. 23 of 10 June 1999, these hours should be used to establish a dialogue with pupils, favour their integration in the school and also prepare careers guidance.