8. French Lower Secondary School - Collège
8.2. Enrolment into a Collège
Parents are normally expected to send their child to school in their catchment area, although they can send their child to a school outside the area if there are places available.
In order to make application to go to a school outside of the catchment area it is necessary to make a une demande de dérogation. The application will be considered by local officials and representatives, with the final decision taken by the Inspecteur d’académie.
Where the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, then priority is given to those applicants who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Disabled/learning difficulties;
- Receiving medical treatment near to school;
- Recipients, or potential recipients, of a school grant;
- Seeking to study a particular subject;
- Brother or sister at the school;
- Living near to the school.
One of the most frequently cited reasons why parents may choose to do so is so that their child can be taught a specific subject not taught by the local school, e.g. music, language.
In order to enrol your child at the local collège, you should visit the local school and speak to the headteacher.
If the child has not passed through primary school in France they may be asked to take an entrance examination, although this practice is increasingly the exception rather than the rule.
They may otherwise see a conseiller d’orientation psychologue, who will give them basis tests of literacy and numeracy to see how they perform.
However, these tests will be in French, so the more information you can bring to France about the level of attainment of your child the more chance there is of a correct assessment being made.
If your child has been taught French then a report from their French teacher (and contact details) would be particularly useful.
Enrolment normally takes place in the spring of the year proceeding attendance at collège.
You will be asked to complete a registration form and produce a range of documents. They may include, previous school reports (whether in France or elsewhere), some evidence of permanent home address, two photos of the child, birth certificate and their passport.
You will also be required to provide a letter from your local French doctor attesting to their suitability to attend school and evidence of vaccinations.
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