4. General Operation of French Schools

  1. Services for Overseas Arrivals
  2. School Term Dates
  3. School Transport
  4. Boarding Your Child
  5. Discipline & Attendance
  6. Costs & Insurance
  7. School Lunches

4.4. French Boarding Schools

It is not unusual for mainstream public collèges and lycée’s in France to provide boarding facilities for children.

A child who is a boarder is known as an internat or pensionnaire.

Fees for boarding at public schools are very reasonable.

On average parents might be expected to pay approximately €1,000 per annum and, for those on low incomes, financial assistance is available through the system of grants that are available.

Most of the schools only offer weekday boarding, so parents need to arrange to pick up and deliver their child at the beginning and end of every week, or for the child to travel to and from home by public transport. Once again financial assistance is available through a bourse for travel costs.

It would be wise to consider very carefully whether it would be in the best interests of your child to become a school boarder.

As a new young arrival to a strange country they are likely to want the support of their parents, and there is anecdotal evidence that pupils who do board do not always perform to their best ability.

Moreover, boarding at school in France is the not a privilege of the middle classes as is the case with (private) boarding schools in the United Kingdom and many other countries. Many of the French children who board do so on an assisted basis because they have difficulties at home.

In other cases it is simply because the child lives too far from the school to be able to commute there on a daily basis.

Some private schools are very good, and often demonstrate a success rate higher than that of many public schools (notably a number in the Paris region).

However, you would be wise not to draw the automatic conclusion that all private schools offer a superior education, because that is most definitely not the case.

School practices differ on the level of freedom that is offered to boarders out of school hours (you will be consulted) but, in some cases, there are grounds for thinking that supervision standards could be improved.

If you are concerned that your child may not be able to fully apply themselves to their work without your supervision, or that they might be unduly influenced by others, then the local school may well be a less risky option.

Refer also to our advice on language tuition, which we provide in the section Services for Overseas Arrivals.

Next: Discipline & Attendance

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