French Curriculum


Primary schools consist of pre-school and elementary school grades


In middle school, there are 3 cycles spread over 4 grades

High School

At the lycée, students have to pass three grades: Seconde, Première  and  the final terminale.

Pre-school and elementary school

Primary schools consist of pre-school and elementary school grades.
Pre-schools are for children under the age of 6 and elementary school offers education for scholars 6 years and up. As it is required for children between the ages of 6 and 16 to be educated, elementary school is compulsory and prepares the children for middle school.

The French primary school educational structure

Within the parameters set out by the AEFE, the head teacher is usually also the vice-principal and is the school representative to the district and the parents.
The head teacher performs both educational and administrative duties.
A teacher’s council meeting is held once every quarter and is attended by the teachers and the head teacher.

Discussion on student progress and planning for each of the three cycles of primary school education (early learning cycle, fundamental learning cycle and cycle of in-depth learning) is done at a Cycle teacher’s council and is attended by the teachers and head teacher.

The school principal is present at these council meetings should schedules allow.

In France, the primary school council includes the head teacher, the mayor, the municipal councilor of school affairs, the teachers of each classroom, the parent representatives, the administrative department’s educational representative and the national education inspector.
This meeting is held at least once a quarter and, in particular, votes in the school’s rules and regulations and provides opinions and recommendations on the running of the school.

Within the AEFE network, the primary school head teacher and the school principal, the French embassy’s cultural cooperation advisor (if he/she is available), the teachers of each classroom and the parent representatives make up the primary school council.

In addition to these various meetings, the Lycée Jules Verne has forged a “bilingualism committee” steered by the principal to monitor the implementation of the equal-schedule French-English bilingual education.

The role of parents at the school

Since 1989, parents have been partners of the school in their own right.

They are entitled to meet with the teachers and the head teacher for any matters related to their child’s education.
Parent representative elections take place every year at the primary school council. The list of parent candidates is taken from:

  • parent organizations affiliated to a national federation or union;
  • local parent organizations not affiliated to a national federation or union;
  • parents not affiliated to any organizations.

The purpose of the parents association is to defend moral and material interests of the school’s parents and also take part in the school councils through its elected representatives.

The secondary: middle and high school

The secondary school system consists of two cycles, the first being Middle School (Collège) and the second being High School (Lycée).
In both cycles the school year is divided into three terms that run from September to June.

The school calendar is scheduled to have an approximately two-week holiday after every seven weeks of school.

Middle School

In Middle School there are three cycles spread over four grades.

The adaptation cycle in 6ème mainly aims at consolidating the fundamental knowledge of primary school.
During the central cycle in 5ème and 4ème (grades 7 and 8), students build on the fundamental knowledge and skills of the 1st cycle and prepare for the orientation cycle.

3ème (grade 9) prepares students for their subject and orientation choice in the high school general or professional cycle.

Moving from one cycle to the next is done according to orientation/subject levels. A grade meeting meets after each term and advises on a student’s advancement from one level to the next.
The principal releases the orientation decision.

High School

At high school students have to pass three grades, Seconde, 1ère and the final Terminale.
Seconde (grade 10) is the determination year during which students gain much general knowledge through common subjects, while discovering new subjects in the literary, economics, scientific or technological fields.

In the last two grades, 1ère (grade 11) and Terminale (grade 12) students specialize in one field (Literature, Economics, or Science) and it is sanctioned by the baccalaureate examination.

Just as in middle school, moving up from seconde to 1ère occurs after an orientation procedure has been set up (family wish, class meeting advice, principal’s decision).

Administration and parents representation

The secondary cycle is headed by a principal, administrative staff in the civil service and seconded to the AEFE.

The Pedagogical Committee is a body made up of high school teachers and determines and defines pedagogical policies. This committee meets at least once a term.

At the end of each term, the Grade committee meets to draw up a collective review of the grade as well as an individual review of each student. It is comprised of grade teachers, two students and two parents and expresses an opinion of the family’s orientation choice.

The School Council is a tripartite body made up in equal numbers of ex-officio members representing the school management, school staff, parents and students. It rules on any matter regarding education and the school’s educational matters (see also dedicated article).