Guide to French School Education

2. Structure of Responsibility

  1. Ministry of Education
  2. Local Education Authorities
  3. School Councils

2.1. Ministre de l’Education Nationale

The division of responsibility within central government is summarised in the following table:

Table: Government Responsibility

Level Responsibility
Government Ministre de l’Education Nationale
Region Recteur
County Directeur académique des services de l’éducation nationale
Inspectorate IGAENR

State responsibility for education is undertaken through the Ministre de l’éducation nationale.

Although in recent years there has been some limited decentralisation, the system is still highly centralised, with strong control from the centre over standards, financing, curricula, organisation, teacher recruitment and training.

The government also determines the structure of schools in each region and the general rules that apply in the management of schools. School holiday dates are also determined centrally, with limited local discretion.

Administrative responsibility for education at a regional level is undertaken through 18 régions académiques, which contain 30 académies, each of which is headed by a Recteur who is a civil servant and an appointee of the Minister.

As well as having responsibility for school education the Recteur is also Chancellor of the universities in the region and manages the contracts between private schools and the government.

At a county level (département) there is an Directeur académique des services de l’éducation nationale (formerly l’inspecteur d’académie) who reports to the regional Recteur.

The Directeur académique des services de l’éducation nationale is responsible for implementing the policies of the government and overseeing the management of the primary and secondary school educational establishments in their area.

Their role is more limited in relation to lycées, where regional councils have more power. Neither do they have any involvement in nursery schools, which are the responsibility of the local councils.

Although the Académie has a role in supervising school standards, primary responsibility for both school and higher education inspection is carried out by the inspection body called IGAENR - L’Inspection générale de l’administration de l'éducation nationale et de la recherche.

IGAENR also undertake more general reports about the development of education in the country and have a representative on each governing School Council.

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