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French School Calendar 2017/18

Friday 08 September 2017

'La rentrée scolaire' has started in France, and this year local councils have greater discretion on the organisation of the primary school week.

There are 36 weeks of schooling each year in France, separated by 4 holiday periods.

As a general rule, in maternity and primary schools, each week comprises 4.5 days of schooling, with the half-day each Wednesday (in a small number of cases, Saturday morning).

However, this year these schools have been given discretion to opt for a 4-day week (a return to the pre-2013 order), leaving Wednesday free of classes. Around one-third have chosen to do so, mainly rural schools. Most have done so for financial reasons, as it generates savings on school transport and in extra-curricular activities.

This means the school days are longer/holidays slightly shorter for those only attending 4 days a week in order to comply with the minimum annual hours. The maximum permitted number of hours each week is 24 hours.

The change is a hugely controversial one (and subject to perennial debate and change) due to the concentration of school hours over a shorter week. It means that pupils on 4-day week attend school for 144 days a year, when the average in the OECD is 187 days.

At collège (lower secondary) and lycée (upper secondary) there are 5 days of schooling each week.

In the interests of traffic and tourism management the country is divided into different geographic zones for school term and holiday dates.

The primary aim of this division is to ensure that there is no negative impact on the economy of the ski resorts in the Alps.

Around 30% of the annual income from tourism in France is brought in by the ski resorts, which have suffered in recent years over the spring period by the positioning of school holiday dates at the end of April/beginning of May. To deal with this problem in the past couple of years the spring holiday has been brought forward.

The following graphic shows the three zones:

  • Zone A - Orange
  • Zone B - Blue
  • Zone C - Green

  • The school calendar for 2017/18 for each of these zones is shown below. Those schools with no Saturday classes finish on the Friday.

    In the académies of Caen, Nantes, Orléans-Tours, Rennes and Rouen, the spring holiday is (exceptionally) runs 25 April to 14th May rather than 21st April to 7th May.

    School Term and Holiday Dates 2017/18
    Holidays Zone A Zone B Zone C

    Besançon, Bordeaux,
    Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon,
    Grenoble, Limoges,
    Lyon, Poitiers
    Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen,
    Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes,
    Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims,
    Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg
    Créteil, Montpellier, Paris,
    Toulouse, Versailles
    Start of School TermClasses start Monday 4th Sept
    All Saints Holiday End of classes Saturday 21st Oct
    Classes return Monday 6th Nov
    Christmas HolidayEnd of classes Saturday 23rd Dec
    Classes return Monday 8th Jan
    Winter HolidayEnd of classes Saturday 10th Feb
    Classes return Monday 26th Feb
    End of classes Saturday 24th Feb
    Classes return Monday 12th Mar
    End of classes Saturday 17th Feb
    Classes return Monday 5th March
    Spring HolidayEnd of classes Saturday 7th April
    Classes return Monday 23th April
    End of classes Saturday 21st April
    Classes return Monday 7th May
    End of classes Saturday 14th April
    Classes return Monday 30th April
    Summer HolidayEnd of classes Tuesday 7th July
    Classes return 3rd Sept

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