schooling in france

International or French school: what’s best for your child?

Deciding on the best schooling for their child is crucially important for all parents. For those who have recently moved to France or are considering it, there are some differences between the French educational system and other countries; below are a few points to think about.

Children are entitled to receive a free education in France and it is compulsory from the age of 6 to 16 (although many children start younger), with students needing to sit a baccalauréat exam at the end of their studies. Generally speaking, the standard of French education is regarded as high although there are a number of considerations, including whether the child would benefit from a local or an international school.

1. Bilingual. It’s likely that by going to a local school, a child will be able to immerse themselves in the French language more easily and quickly, especially in the case of younger children. However, for older children (e.g. in their teenage years) or for parents who wish them to maintain their proficiency in English, attending an international or state bilingual school (which do exist in France, including the Bordeaux International School which is bilingual) may be a better option.

2. Travel distance. There are obviously far fewer international schools in France than state schools, with most British or US schools located in and around Paris. There are many different stages of schools in each community in France (e.g. Ecole Primaire, Collège and Lycée) depending on the age of the child.

3. Cost. The fees for an international school will typically be in the range of 10,000€ – 25,000€ per year. Whilst access to state education in France is free, there will be other costs to plan for. These include stationery, lunch, school trips and other after-school activities. Parents are required to take out insurance to cover certain activities. Our school insurance policies are designed to protect families and look after their everyday needs. Contact us for more details.

What’s your experience of educating your child at either an international or local school? Share your comments with us, we’d love to hear from you.

AXA Marthon is the authorised AXA representative for the Marthon area in the Poitou-Charentes, providing a professional service to 1,500 English speaking clients in the Charente and Dordogne. We have access to the best insurance and financial services deals in France with bi-lingual, English speaking friendly staff.

Phone us on +33 (0)5 45 70 43 76 or visit our website

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