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France:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and 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

The French educational system implements various schemes to ensure success for pupils from deprived socio-economic and/or language-cultural environments.

Definition of the Target Group(s)

Of the schemes implemented to ensure better equality of opportunity among the young, there are some that particularly target the following:

  • pupils from deprived socio-economic environments. These pupils represent about 20% of all pupil numbers and have been the subject since the 1980s of a real support policy: the "priority education policy". This positive discrimination policy intends to reduce the effects of social and economic inequality on educational success
  • pupils who have newly arrived in France and Traveller children, among whom a good grounding in French is insufficient or whose level of education does not enable them to profit from the normal curricula of school. They account for a small number and are subject to very specific measures.

Pupils benefiting from the priority education policy

Since 1981, France has been engaged in the implementation of a policy : the “priority education policy”. This policy aimed at strengthening education provision in the most underprivileged areas. The policy consists of allocating additional resources, both in terms of teaching personnel and finance, to all primary and secondary schools in these areas. It is estimated that this policy affect about 20 % of all pupil numbers.

Pupils enrolled in schools, where social and learning difficulties are concentrated, benefit from the priority education policy. As part of this policy these schools network and pool their educational activities around the same formalised educational project in a contract drawn up with the academic authorities. They also benefit from particular support measures.

For the entire priority education, the collège prespresents "the network's reference unit that it constitutes with elementary and nursery schools from which the pupils come" (circular no. 2006-058, published in official journal no. 14 of 2006). The criteria that led to selecting the head-of-network collèges of the priority policy were decided upon at the national level. The following were taken into account: the proportion of first-year collège pupils (the "6th-year class") from deprived social backgrounds; the proportion of 6th-year class pupils lagging behind by 2 years or more; the proportion of 6th-year class pupils with a low assessment score upon entering the 6th-year class ; the proportion of non-French-speaking children; the proportion of pupils benefiting from the highest grants; the proportion of parents receiving the RSA (revenu de solidarité active) in the collège environment; the unemployment rate [amoge parents] in the collège environment.

At present the priority education policy the schools in the network that comply with the ÉCLAIR programme (the schools, collèges and lycées for their ambition, innovation and success) and the RRS (educational success networks). At the beginning of the 2012 school year, the ÉCLAIR programme included 2,139 primary schools and 301 collèges, i.e. 6.3% of pupils enrolled in primary schools (public sector) and 1 pupil out of 20 enrolled in collèges. The RRS convenes 4,457 primary schools and 781 collèges, i.e. respectively 11.4% of pupils enrolled in primary schools and 14.1% of pupils enrolled in lower secondary schools (RERS, 2013. pages 66-69).

The “priority education policy”, which has been revised several times since its implementation, is not considered satisfactory in terms of the results it delivers. In fact, the studies conducted by the Department for Education (Depp) reveal that the pupils enrolled in the schools targeted by this policy are those who continue to suffer from the greatest learning difficulties (Depp, Note d’information n° 13.07, mai 2013).

Moreover, international comparative surveys have found that the gap between the academic performance of these pupils and those of the more advantaged pupils is particularly profound in France. PISA 2012 results illustrate France is the OECD country in which a pupil’s socio-economic background is most likely to determine their academic performance and that this situation has deteriorated since 2003.   

In light of this situation,  and following a consultation with the relevant stakeholders, the Minister of Education decided to reform the manner in which the “priority education policy”, is implemented (eligibility criteria, responsibilities, funding ...), while reaffirming its underlying principles. The new mesures have been annonced in January and will be adopted in September 2014 (see below, section specific support and mesures).


Newly arrived pupils in france and Traveller children


Newly arrived children in France

The term "newly arrived pupil in France" describes a pupil not enrolled in France the previous school year (non-French speaking or French-speaking) and not having a good enough grounding in learning that would enable them to immediately enter a class with an ordinary curriculum. These pupils, like all other children from 6 to 16, are subject to compulsory education between those ages.

Traveller children

The non-sedentary population in France includes Travellers and other families who for professional reasons are itinerant (boatmen, fairground employees and circus people, for example).
Children of non-sedentary families are, like all other children from 6 to 16, subject to compulsory education. The fact that a family may be temporarily residing in an area has no effect on the right to schooling. Indeed it is by residing in a given area that determines the school which the child must attend (article L. 131-6 of the education code). Enrolment is thus done in schools or institutions of the communities where they have chosen to live.

Specific Support Measures


The priority education policy

The schools implicated by the priority education policy is built in networks. These schools belonging to the ÉCLAIR programme (Schools, collèges and lycées for their ambition, innovation and success) where the social and educational difficulties are concentrated, and the RRS (educational success networks), which receive a more socially heterogeneous public. This organisation favours the continuity of learning pathways from nursery school to collège with particular attention paid to the transfer from nursery school to elementary, then from elementary to collège.

The activities implemented in primary or secondary school classes concur to ensure learning, a good command of common grounding by all pupils and ambitious success pathways. The use of innovation and experimentation, called for by article 34 of the law of 23 April 2005, orientation and programme for the future of schools, enables the development of individual and collective teaching practices so as to better take into consideration the diversity of pupils in order to ensure their success.

By making the activities used consistent, both in school time and outside school time, a first element is laid for the success and self-fulfilment of all pupils. All collègiens and primary school pupils in priority education benefit, if they so wish, from educational supervision after class.

All primary schools and collèges in priority education benefit from an allocation of reinforced staff (additional teachers and teaching assistants) offering greater or lesser flexibility in organising class hours. These staff members act as support for stimulating teaching dynamics within the network. They facilitate care for the pupils experiencing learning difficulties whether in the classroom or in aid schemes and support such as the personalised programmes for educational success (PPRE).

The inspector corps is mobilised to better supervise the teaching teams and ensure network follow-up. They contribute their expertise to network steering groups, in educational team meetings or teams of school leaders or as part of academic days and training course.


Reforms on "priority education policy" (school year 2014-2015)

The Minister of Euducation announced in January 2014 new mesuresto improve the efficacy of the priority education policy. They will be implemented at the biginning of the school year 2014-2015 :

  • On-going support until 4:30 p.m. for students in the first year of collège (lower-secondary school). Pupils in first year of lower secondary school will receive help with homework, methodological support, or tutoring during free time between classes, by remaining in school until 4:30 p.m.
  • Extending the digital service D’Col to all lower-secondary schools in the priority-education sector. D’Col is a personalised, interactive support service (covering French, mathematics, and English) for 30,000 classe de 6ème (sixth-year) pupils in priority education. They are enrolled based on being put forward by their schools and with the agreement of their parents. D’Col is one of eleven new services to bring schools into the digital era. A reference teacher takes responsibility for students and guides them for two hours a week in digital educational activities.
  • Developing arrangements to increase pupils’ ambition and curiosity, and help them to build their career paths.
  • Setting up internats (reception schools) close to collège (lower-secondary school) students.
  • Time will be given over to training, team work, and monitoring students in the most difficult networks. In primary schools: nine days per year. In lower-secondary schools: one and a half hours per week.
  • Three annual lifelong-training days, educational teams supported by field experts, and tutoring for new teachers will be guaranteed in the most difficult networks of schools.
  • In order to stabilise educational teams (and, in particular, to avoid teachers leaving after having spent a limited amount of time in priority-education schools), they will be offered a more attractive level of remuneration. The government plans to reassess indemnities paid annually to teachers who work in priority education. Those indemnities currently stand at €1,156, and are paid annually to all priority-education teachers. From 2015, that amount will be increased by 50% for all teachers, and by 100% for teachers working in the most difficult areas. In addition, the priority-education pathway will be emphasised in teachers’ career progression.
  • Reference material drawn up following meetings that bring together all stakeholders in priority education will serve as a basis for building network plans and for developing educational practices. The means allocated on that basis will be guaranteed for a four-year period.
  • An fund at académique level will be made available to finance innovative educational actions for students.
  • Each morning, guaranteed reception arrangements will be in place for parents, to help them become better involved with school life.
  • 500 additional safety and prevention assistants will be appointed to schools that are the most in difficulty, in order to improve the school climate.
  • A school nurse and an additional social assistant will be appointed to the most difficult networks.



"Boarding schools of excellence"

Boarding schools of excellence are aimed at motivated collégians, lycéens and students living in an environment not conducive to academic success. This means giving pupils who are most in need an institution innovative in the way it operates and its teaching and educational offer.

In boarding schools of excellence pupils benefit from a framework that is conducive to study, systematic help for their homework, and an opening to culture and sport provided by partnerships that facilitate opening up to the world. Pupils develop self-respect by active, civic participation in the life of the institution and encourages educational ambition in each.
This choice is proposed by educational teams or requested by the pupil's family. It figures in the pupil's educational project.

There are two kinds of boarding schools of excellence.

"Boarding schools of excellence" institutions

These institutions develop an innovative teaching and educational project conveyed by volunteer teams, focusing on personalised reception and supervision of pupils. After class they propose cultural, sporting and scientific activities. Another priority pathway is access to information and communications technologies. In all in 2011, 26 boarding schools of excellence in 19 academies received pupils.

Places labelled "boarding schools of excellence"

Institutions throughout France reserve places for boarding pupils who come under the measure for boarding schools of excellence. They arrange for personalised supervision. A large number of pupils may therefore benefit from places in boarding schools of excellence throughout the country whatever their educational choices or where they come from. The labelled places also promote social mixing inside the institutions.
A lot of these boarding schools build attractive educational projects around a dominant theme: art, languages, sport. These projects give value to the pupil's choice to involve the educational team.

The institutions with labelled places sign a charter with the academy rector that formalises the six points they agree to implement:

  • develop an ambitious and innovative teaching and educational project
  • recruit boarders on strict criteria
  • involve all teams
  • guarantee quality infrastructures and a voluntary transport policy
  • offer affordable boarding costs
  • assess the number of partipants in the scheme


Schemes for newly arrived pupils in France and Traveller children

Circular no. 2002-100 of 25 April 2002 details the enrolment and schooling methods of this category of pupil.

Law no. 2013-595 of 8 July 2013 asserts the principle of school inclusion for all children, with no distinction.

Two circulars were published on 11 October 2012: one on organising the schooling of newly arrived non-French-speaking children, and the other on organising "Academic centres for the schooling of newly arrived non-French-speaking children and children from Traveller families" (Casnav).

These circulars set the principles intended to:

  • crack down on discrimination;
  • harmonise welcome procedures;
  • guarantee that the Common Base of Knowledge, Skills and Culture is acquired;
  • take into consideration the multilingual wealth of these children.


Pupils newly arrived in France

Any newly arrived pupil in France must, upon going to a school, be able to benefit from an assessment that demonstrates the following:

  • their ability to speak French to determine if they are totally new or they master elements of written and spoken French
  • their educational skills built in their previous schooling language and their degree of familiarity with school writing (exercises in their first school language could particularly be used)
  • their acquired experience in various fields as well as their interest that might be important teaching support points


At the nursery school and elementary school levels newly arrived pupils are enrolled in ordinary classes. Yet pupils enrolled in the first, second or third years of elementary school are grouped into specific classes called "initiation classes" (CLIN) where they receive teaching in French as a second language on a daily basis for a variable period of time (and revisable in time) depending on their needs. The purpose is to enable them to pursue all teaching as quickly as possible in a class with an ordinary curriculum. To favour their integration into a school more substantively these pupils are integrated upon their arrival insofar as possible in ordinary classes where well grounded written French is not fundamental (sports, music, plastic arts, etc.).

On secondary school level there are two kinds of welcoming classes depending on the educational level of newly arrived pupils: welcoming classes for not previously schooled pupils (CLA-NSA) and ordinary welcoming classes (CLA). Assignment to one or the other of these two classes is determined after an assessment is done upon their arrival at the school.

Welcoming classes for not-previously schooled pupils (CLA-NSA) make it possible for pupils with little or no schooling before arriving in France and being old enough to attend collège to learn French and acquire basic knowledge corresponding to cycle III of elementary school. Except in exceptional cases the size of these classes must not surpass 15 pupils.

Welcoming classes for previously normally schooled pupils (CLA) provide teaching adapted to the pupils' level according to the assessments made upon their arrival. These pupils are enrolled in ordinary classes corresponding to their educational level without surpassing an age difference of more than two years with the reference age of the teaching proposed in an ordinary class, all the more so in subjects where their skills are visible (modern languages, mathematics, etc.). An individualised schedule is defined in such as way as to allow them to follow as well as possible the teaching offered in an ordinary class. In all school hours should be identical to those of other pupils enrolled on the same level.
Welcoming class sizes should be comparable to those of the ordinary curriculum classes of the school they have been assigned to; nonetheless their flexible operations should make it possible for teachers not to have more than 15 pupils in class at a time.
Liaisons between collèges and lycées or vocational lycées should be encouraged by networking secondary schools that welcome these young people.

Traveller children

Children of non-sedentary families are generally speaking schooled in ordinary classes. Specific schemes may, if necessary, be considered as a temporary measure but only as bridges toward more ordinary schooling. The best possible solution would often consist in welcoming pupils in ordinary classes corresponding to the pupils with the organisation, insofar as possible, of temporary weekly groups for support in certain subjects (in particular French and maths),while ensuring that the pupils remain in the class dynamic. These pupils must be able to benefit, in the same conditions as the other, from activities favouring pupils in difficulty.
The implementation of teaching follow-up tools, entered into their report books, is an essential condition for the effectiveness of the school career of pupils of non-sedentary families. These teaching follow-up tools must give information about the work programme, the teaching materials used and include significant production by the pupil at the same time as an evaluation of their acquired knowledge. The purpose is to make it possible for teachers in the various schools attended to become immediately aware of the level reached and to ensure continuity in their learning.