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France:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

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France:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

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France:Organisation and Governance

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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

Initial vocational training can take place according to two methods:

  1. vocational education under school status, which takes place: in vocational lycées that depend on the Department for Education, in the agricultural professional lycées that depend on the Department of Agriculture, in a professional education section located in a general and technological lycée or versatile one;
  2. the learning, or the apprentice, linked to the company via a labour contract, is trained by alternating between the company (in which they spend 60 to 75% of their time) and a apprentice training centre  (Centre de Formation d'Apprentis – CFA).


1. Vocational lycées are local public-sector schools (EPLE), a category of public institutions that depends on the Department for Education. As such, they are artificial persons and have autonomy in terms of administration, finance and pedagogy, within the limits provided for by the legislative and regulatory texts. The Board of trustees (the institution's deliberating body) on the report of the proviseur (school head) sets the principles for implementing the pedagogical and education autonomy that the institution has and the rules for organising it. It approves the budget and the school project.

The material operation of the lycées (construction and maintenance of school buildings, school transport, grants for equipment, recruitment and management of TOS personnel, etc.) is provided by the regions.

In 2012, more than 25% of pupils who finished lower secondary studies (collège) enrol in a lycée professionnel (vocational upper secondary school) (RERS, 2013 page 110). The total number of pupils enrolled in vocational lycées is 657 500 (RERS, 2013 page 97).

The Education Code: book IV, chapter II


2. The apprentice training centre (centre de formation d'apprentis or CFA ) provide general, technological and practical education which supplements the training received in the company by the apprentices. The Department for Educationis responsible for educational monitoring of all training courses dispensed to those who have chosen this particular path to qualification. Creating apprentice training centres is subject to agreements concluded between the regional councils and partners such as training bodies managed by the local authorities, chambers of commerce, trade or agriculture, public or private education institutions under contract, companies, associations, etc.

The convention concerning the creation of a CFA sets down the methods for the administrative, pedagogical and financial organisation: the method for recruiting personnel, the number of apprentices that can be received, the diplomas prepared, the recruiting area, training premises, methods of financing.


In 2011, apprentices represent 51.7% of pupils preparing a two-year vocational diploma (for example the CAP diploma) and 16.8% of pupils preparing a vocational baccalauréat (RERS, 2013 page 160). The total number of apprentices in 2011-2012 is 436 300 (RERS, 2013 page 154).

French Labour Code Part 6, Book II, Title I


Geographical Accessibility

The territory of each académie is divided into sectors and districts. Art. D211-10 of the French Code of Education establishes that "school districts correspond to the catchment areas of the lycées. The pupils in the school sectors that they group together must be able to obtain a variety in the education that is sufficient to allow for the proper operation of the orientation. However, some education and certain professional specialties, due to their specificity, are subject to locations that only correspond to catchment which is either national, common to several académies, or for the académie".

In accordance with Art. D 211-11: collèges and lycées receive the pupils that reside within their catchment area. The académie director, head of the départemental services for National Education, determines for the beginning of each school year the maximum number of pupils that can be received in each institution according to the facilities and the means that it has".

With regards to the operation of school transport, this is organised and financed by the local authorities which define the specific regulations.


Choice of School

The choice of the upper secondary education institution is conditioned, on the one hand by the pupil's orientation decision taken at the end of collège, and on the other hand, by the rules of the school map.

Indeed, at the end of "3rd class" the pupil is directed either towards the general and technological path or towards the professional path. The orientation decision is the responsibility of the school head and is taken after the class council; it is subject to recourse through appeal to a commission presided by the académie director.
More precisely, the pupil is directed towards one of the following programmes:


Once the orientation decision has been made, the pupil will be enrolled in the institution (general and technological lycée or vocational lycée) of his choice, according to the conditions provided for by the school map.

Moreover, the reform concerning the professional lycée implemented in 2009, as well as that for the general and technological lycée in 2010, provide for a system of bridges between professional education and general and technological education, and between the programme leading to the two-year CAP and the one leading to the three-year professional baccalauréat. The purpose of this is to facilitate making corrections to the pupil's path and reduce the school dropout rate.


Admission Requirements

There are no examinations to access public upper secondary education (general or professional), as the first year of lycée is part of the compulsory education curriculum.

As this is an enrolment in a private lycée "under contract", or enrolment in a CFA (apprentice training centre), the enrolment is carried by the parents directly with the chosen institution, in the orientation path decided at the end of collège.


Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

The organisation of the vocational path was reformed in 2009. Starting this year, pupils can follow:

  • a three-year programme (second, first and ending class) leading to the professional baccalauréat. The three-year programme incorporates preparation for an intermediary diploma (BEP or CAP). Taking this diploma is required of all school pupils, but not for apprentices who can decide whether or not to take this diploma;
  • a two-year programme, which prepares for the certificat d'aptitude professionnelle (professional aptitude certificate, or CAP);
  • a four-year programme (2 + 2), for pupils who have earned a CAP and who want to prepare a professional baccalauréat. They can, in this case, join a professional first class.


The theoretical age of pupils enrolled in the professional lycée is 15- 18/19 years.
Apprentices are young people 16 (age for the end of compulsory schooling) to 25 years old.


Organisation of the School year

The principles that apply in developing the school holiday calendar are defined by Article L. 521-1 of the French Code of Education; they are the same for the primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels.


Organisation of the School week and day

In accordance with Article R421-2 of the French Code of Education, the secondary education institutions (collèges and lycées) benefit from autonomy in organising the school time and the methods for school life, as well as in the use of allowances in terms of education hours made available to the institution in compliance with the obligations resulting from the regulatory hours". The organisation of the school day and week therefore varies from one institution to another.

Vocational training is based – regardless of the sector of study – on general education, technological education and sequences of practical learning in a professional surroundings. The weekly and annual timetables vary according to the type of programme followed by the pupil (preparation for a two-year CAP, preparation for a three-year baccalauréat, training as an apprentice), and according to the various specialisms and professional sectors

  • Pupils who are preparing a two-year CAP take 25 to 30 weeks of courses per year, of which six to eight weeks of training in a professional environment, according to the specialisms;
  • Pupils preparing a three-year professional baccalauréat receive 36 weeks of training each year, which include the training period in the institution, the training period in a company (22 weeks over the three years) and the examination period in the ending class.
  • The training time in the apprentice training centres is about 430 hours a year in order to prepare a CAP. Preparing a professional baccalauréat requires at least 675 hours per year. This time is shorter than that for training provided in the lycées because it must be considered that the time spent in the company is also training time.


The volume of hours of training must not exceed eight hours a day and 35 hours a week.

Order of 24 April 2002
Order of 10 February 2009
Titre I du Code du travail