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France:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary 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

Secondary education lasts 7 years, from the Sixième (ISCED 2, 11-year-old pupils) to the Terminale (ISCED 3, 18-year-old pupils). It is divided into two educational levels: lower secondary education (4 years), dispensed in collèges, and upper secondary education (3 years), dispensed in lycées.

The transition from collège to lycée is the first step in a pupil’s path to specialisation – children will continue their schooling either in a "lycée providing general and technological education" or in a "professional lycée". The class council recommends the appropriate scholastic path to families at the end of collège schooling, basing its recommendation on the pupil’s school reports and particular interests.


Education provided in collèges is dispensed over 4 school years and 3 educational cycles:

  • 1st year or "Sixième" – consolidation cycle;
  • 2nd year or "Cinquième" – furthering cycle;
  • 3rd year or "Quatrième" – furthering cycle;
  • 4th year or "Troisième" – furthering cycle. 

Continuing on from primary school, the primary objective of a collège is to lead each pupil to acquire the knowledge and skills of the common core of knowledge, skills and culture and prepare for his or her specialisation. The first national exam Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB - National brevet diploma) is takes place at the end of collège schooling. Admission to a lycée is not conditional upon success in the DNB.


Upper secondary education is dispensed in general and technological lycées or in professional lycées, and extends over 3 years:

  • 1st year or "Seconde";
  • 2nd year or "Première";
  • 3rd year or "Terminale". 

Educationally speaking, the lycée provides a lot of diversity in potential training paths that enable full expression of the variety of profiles and talents on hand. It leads on to higher studies or access to professional life.

Upper secondary education provides three educational paths: general, technological and professional:

  • the general path prepares pupils for long-term higher studies;
  • the technological path mainly prepares pupils for higher technological studies: lycée streams preparing the Brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS -Superior technician’s Certifcate), the Diplôme des métiers d'art (DMA - art trade diploma), or the Diplôme universitaire de technologie (DUT - University Technological Diploma). It may also lead to longer-term studies, with students attending a class preparing for entry into a Grande École or continuing on to study for a Vocational bachelor’s degree after obtaining their BTS or DUT;
  • the professional path leads mainly to active working life, but also enables students to continue their studies up to higher levels of qualification (BTS, DUT). Initial vocational training can also take the form of apprenticeship: put under contract to a company, apprentices serve internships, alternating between the company (in which they spend 60 to 75% of their time) and a Centre de formation d'apprentis (CFA - apprentice training centre). The Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research is responsible for educational monitoring of all training courses dispensed to those who have chosen this particular path to qualification. 


The diploma awarded at the end of upper secondary schooling is the baccalauréat, which is both a sign of successful completion of secondary studies as well as the first Higher Education degree, access to higher studies being conditional upon its obtention. Pupils at professional lycées can also prepare the Certificat d’aptitude professionnelle (CAP - Professional Aptitude Certificate), or the Brevet d’Études Professionnelles (BEP – Vocational studies’s certificate). While the CAP is still very much a stream in itself, from which students can go directly into a profession, these two diplomas are now optional in order to pass the vocational baccalauréat.

Post-secondary Non-Tertiary Education (ISCED 4) is almost non-existent in France, as the diploma sanctioning completion of higher secondary studies (ISCED 3) (the baccalauréat) is also the first degree of higher educational (ISCED 5).