9. French Lycée - Upper Secondary School

  1. Types of Lycée
  2. General/Technological Lycée
  3. Vocational/Professional Lycée
  4. Baccalaureate Exam
  5. School Choice

9.5. Choice of Lycée in France

You do not necessarily have complete freedom of choice when it comes to the choice of the lycée.

At the end of their final year of collège, the conseil de classe (a committee comprising the school teachers, school officials and representatives of parents and pupils) will carry out an assessment of the ability, aptitude and motivation of your child.

This report will recommend the type of upper secondary education that they consider most appropriate for the child.

In coming to their decision the expressed wishes of the parents will be taken into consideration.

In the event of disaccord between the conseil de classe and the wishes of the parents, the final decision rests with the head teacher of the collège.

If you do not agree with the decision of the conseil de classe there is a general right of appeal to the Inspector d’académie, but only three days to make the appeal from the decision of the headteacher.

You would then need to attend a formal hearing at the académie, when the case from both sides is considered. Rarely is this necessary, as most disagreements are resolved on an amicable basis.

If the performance of the child has been satisfactory, then the freedom of choice will be greater; if the results and outlook are less favourable then the collège will indicate the type of education that the child should pursue at lycée e.g. general, technological, or vocational.

In large measure, therefore, the collège report will influence the type of higher education that is recommended for the child, rather than any particular lycée they must attend.

Accordingly, parents can send their child to a lycée outside the catchment area, provided there are sound educational or other reasons for doing so.

This may be because the child wishes to pursue a course of study that is not available in their catchment area or other family reasons.

In general, there will be greater difficulty if you wish your child to attend a lycée outside of the département and the level of financial support that might be otherwise be available will normally be reduced, e.g. transport costs.

Nevertheless, if your child has performed well at school, and is in receipt of a school grant, your choice will be far greater, and you will not necessarily suffer any financial penalty, wherever you decide to send your child. The same will apply if they have special educational, family or medical reasons for needing to go to the school of their choice.

Some schools offer boarding facilities, which may be full-time or mid-week only. For those on a low income financial assistance is available to meet boarding costs.

If you wish to obtain an appreciation of the performance of a particular lycée in terms of results then an excellent comparative summary (in French) can be found at Les indicateurs de résultats des lycées .

These tables have been prepared by the Education ministry and seek to take account of the 'value added' performance of lycées based on their selection policy and social intake.

Some very useful publications (in French) on lycées, their qualifications and the professions leading from them is prepared each year by ONISEP, a government sponsored information agency on educational matters.

You may wish to consider sending your child to a private lycée, a topic we consider at Private Lycees in France.

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