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

4.3. French School Transport/Bus

As a general rule, a school bus is provided for those attending the local primary school and collège up to the age of 15, but there is less specific provision for lycée pupils beyond this age.

In many areas the transport is provided free of charge, whilst in others it may simply be subsidised, with parents expected to pay a proportion of the charge.

Where a school bus is not provided then you will either need to take the child yourself, or they will need to make their way on the public transport system.

If your child uses public transport then they will be entitled to receive a reduced tariff for school journeys.

If you need to take them yourself it is possible to obtain a grant, called a bourse, towards the cost. You should contact your local mairie in the first instance for further information.

In order be allowed on the school bus or receive entitlement to subsidised public transport your child will need to obtain a school transport pass, called a Carte de transport, which is issued by the Conseil General.

The pass is renewed every year, but if you do not change address it will be sent to you each year. You will need to attach a photo of your child to it.

The pass is also available whether or not your child attends a public or private school, provided the private school operates under a contract with the government, as almost all do.

Where you intend to school your child outside of your département (as is sometimes the case with private schooling or attendance at lycée) then you may well find that you need to make your own transport arrangements, and that no financial assistance is available, unless offered by the receiving education authority.

If your child is disabled, and is unable to use the normal means of transport, then full reimbursement of transport costs is made, even if the child needs to travel using a taxi. An assessment of the child’s needs is carried out by the Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées (MDPH), whose details you should be able to obtain from your local mairie.

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