2. Responsibility for French School Education

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

2.3. School Councils in France

All schools have a school council, comprising parent representatives, teachers, the education authorities and pupils (at secondary schools).

At nursery school the school council is called a Conseil d’école, whilst at collège and lycée it is called a Conseil d’administration.

The school council has limited powers but a strong consultative role. It meets three times a year.

The role of the school council at collège and lycée is stronger than that at nursery school. It agrees the school budget, rules and regulations, discipline procedures, and the costs of certain services.

The chair of the school council is the head of the school.

Parents are elected annually by a secret ballot from amongst the parents of children attending the school.

In secondary schools there is also a Conseil de classe, which deals with pedagogical issues, notably the academic orientation of each child, and whether a child should repeat a year.

Both parents and pupils are also represented on the Conseil de classe

Finally, at secondary schools there is also a Conseil de discipline, which deals with serious disciplinary cases, involving the possible temporary or permanent exclusion of a child from the school.

Once again, both parents and pupils are also represented on this committee.

There are also further joint structures at departmental level

Daily management responsibility for schools is vested in the Headteacher, whose title varies according to type of school, as follows:

Table: Management Responsibility

School Headteacher
Primary School Directeur d’ecole
Lower Secondary School Principal
Upper Secondary School Proviseur

Headteachers may or may not also be members of the teaching staff, depending on local arrangements. Increasingly, they are becoming full-time managers. Headteachers do not actually have responsibility for the appointment of staff, but this is beginning to change.

Since 2019 provision has been made in the law for greater integration in the management structure of schools, particularly as between primary and lower secondary schools, and it remains to be seen how this develops.

Next: Basic Structure of School Education

Back: Local Education Authorities

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