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International schools in France

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

In this article, we provide an overview of the many categories of foreign schools in France, as well as the numerous educational programs that are available and the enrolling procedure for parents.

If you are relocating to France with your children, you will discover that the country has a large number of excellent local French schools, as well as private and international schools, that are designed to meet the requirements of expat children.

Many youngsters have little trouble adapting to the traditional French education system and benefiting from the excellent quality of teaching that is provided at public schools in France. However, there are also a lot of advantages to going with international education, such as the opportunity to teach your kid according to the curriculum of their new country, which will make it easier for them to adjust when you all move back. Alternatively, you could just be interested in the concept of a multi-cultural classroom setting.

The French education system

As of the 2019 school year, children in France must begin their formal education at the age of three. Free, open to both genders, and devoid of religious instruction, the overall educational quality in state schools is quite excellent. The majority of private schools in France are supported by the state, although enrolling just a fraction of the country's pupils (about 20%). In addition, the curriculum is the same in private schools, which also collect tuition that is not too expensive.

In addition, there are a few schools that are completely independent of any other organization, known as hors contrat schools. These schools often provide religious education and may accept students from other countries. In our comprehensive reference to the educational system in France, we go into more detail on this topic.

International schools in France

In France, one may pick from a wide variety of educational options, including numerous kinds of foreign schools and programs. This applies to schools that use English as the primary language of teaching, as well as schools that provide a fully bilingual curriculum in several other languages and French schools that include an international division. The latter provides students with the opportunity to learn a few hours each week of any one of 17 different languages.

Schools that provide students with the opportunity to study abroad often have a history of academic success and are frequently sought after. There are now 199 middle schools and 126 elementary schools in France that provide this international option. In France, primary schools are referred to as collèges.

Lycée Joffre secondary school in Montpellier, France

After secondary school (lycée), foreign students in certain institutions have the option to appear for a bilingual examination. Examples of these exams are the Franco-German baccalaureate and the Baccalauréat francais international, which are offered in 14 different languages. On the other hand, the Franco-American baccalaureate is something that schools in the United States of America are the only ones that provide at this time.

In contrast to the International Baccalaureate (IB), which is taught all over the world, the Baccalauréat francais international (BFI) is a component of the examination system in France. You may also discover foreign schools in France that follow the curriculum of either the United Kingdom, which leads to GCSEs and A-Levels, or the United States, which leads to a High School Diploma, SAT, and PSAT. Both of these curriculums are offered.

Accreditation may be conferred to educational establishments in France by any one of several international organizations. These are the following:

● The British Council

● Council of British International Schools (CoBIS)

● Council of International Schools (CoIS)

● Middle States Association (MSA)

● European Council of International Schools (ECIS)

Types of international schools in France

France is home to several international schools, each of which caters to a certain age group and provides a diverse variety of educational programs and opportunities. In the latter years of schooling, students often have access to a selection of different programs from which to pick.

The International Primary Curriculum (IPC)

The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) was initially presented to the education community for the first time in the year 2000 by Fieldwork Education, an organization that delivers international curriculum as well as opportunities for professional development to schools and teachers all over the world. More than one thousand schools have been given this certification, which encourages students aged three to ten to develop an open-mindedness toward people and cultures from other countries.

Students are encouraged to acquire an interest in other cultures and points of view from across the globe as part of the course work, which is designed to help them become internationally capable citizens. The instruction emphasizes the academic growth, as well as the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development of a kid. Additionally, it fosters investigative thinking, creative expression, and hands-on education.

Only two schools in France, the Forest International School Paris, and the ICS Paris International School, now offer the IPC to their students. These institutions are located in Paris.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) in France

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a curriculum for higher education that is recognized on a global scale and is implemented in more than 143 countries and 3,000 schools throughout the world. There are 23 International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in France that provide bilingual education or an education in just the English language for students aged three to nineteen. Students have the option of enrolling in either a Diploma Program or a Career-related Program once they reach the age of 16.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma requires students to study a total of six distinct disciplines over two years, and each subject area offers a variety of classes. Languages and literature, language learning, persons and communities, the natural and social sciences, mathematics, and the arts are some of the topics covered in this course. In addition to this, students are required to take an extra course in philosophy, participate in either creative activity or community service, and compose an extended essay that is 4,000 words long.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is acknowledged as a qualification equivalent to that required for entry into universities all across the globe. Because of this, it is an enticing choice among expat parents who want to provide their children the possibility to pursue higher education in a foreign country at a later point in their lives. On the official website of the IB, you may get additional information regarding this topic.

The Baccalauréat français international (BFI)

Students at some foreign schools in France are allowed to study for the Baccalauréat francais international (BFI), which was originally known as the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB). This is available in a total of 14 different languages.

The British Foreign Institute, on the other hand, should not be confused with the International Baccalaureate (IB). It is designed only for students who are proficient in both French and their native language and who want to apply to study at a French institution.

One of the baccalauréats généraux offered in France is called the BFI. Students essentially have the option of choosing from the following three study tracks:

● L (French, Languages or Arts, Philosophy)

● ES (Economics, Mathematics)

● S (Mathematics, Physics/Chemistry, Earth and Life Sciences)

In addition, pupils have the option of choosing a subject that focuses on another country, such as literature, history, or geography. This is imparted to them in their native tongue, and the standards for it are defined and evaluated by the educational authorities of both France and their home country. The BFI satisfies the requirements for entry into higher education in most countries across the globe and grants students immediate entrance to higher education in France.

Schools located outside the United States that offer the Advanced Placement curriculum (AP)

Some institutions, such as the American School of Paris, provide an education that is based in the United States and may lead to the completion of a High School Diploma. This helps students get ready for the College Board SAT examinations, which are a requirement for admission to institutions in the United States. Students have the opportunity to receive college credit via the school's Advanced Placement (AP) program, which offers a variety of programs. They also have the option of selecting a mix of courses from the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate curriculum, which provide instruction on a wide variety of topics, including the arts, sciences, and humanities.

British international schools

Two schools in France have been granted accreditation by the Council of British International Institutions (COBIS). These schools are the British School of Paris and the Mougins School on the Côte d'Azur. These schools are representative of the British independent school education approach while also serving as home to a diverse population of students from across the world. Students at these schools are prepared to take the English GCSE as well as the English A-Level.

The International GCSE (IGCSE)

Several test boards, including Edexcel, Oxford AQA, and Cambridge, are responsible for the administration of the International General Certificate of Education, also known as the IGCSE. It is the same as the GCSE, which is a standardized test that pupils in the English education system prepare for in the tenth and eleventh grades.

Students who want to earn their IGCSE must complete coursework in a variety of disciplines, including mathematics, English, natural sciences, and the humanities. After students have completed the IGCSE, they have the opportunity to continue their education by pursuing A-Levels, the marks they get on which determine whether or not they are admitted to a university. These certifications are offered as part of the secondary education program at several prestigious international institutions.

The European Baccalaureate (EB)

The European Baccalaureate is taught at European Schools, which are primarily geared toward catering to the academic needs of the offspring of people employed by the European Union (EU) (EB). The European Curriculum is offered in several foreign schools in France, notably the Ecole Internationale PACA Manosque, although France does not have any recognized European Schools.

More than 1,500 students take the European Baccalaureate (EB) exam every single year. This exam is well regarded around the world for its stringent requirements. There are a total of five written examinations, some of which include mathematics, English, and French. In addition, students are required to pass two tests in optional subjects and three oral exams. On the website for European Schools, you'll discover further details on the EB.

Other ‘national’ international schools

In addition, there are foreign schools in France that provide a curriculum that is unique to the nation and is governed by the educational authority of the school's home country. As a result, these curriculums are taught in the schools in their native tongue, with extra sessions offered in French. Some are merely elementary schools, while others provide instruction to students of all ages, from three to eighteen.

Some of these schools include:

● International Deutsche Schule Paris

● École Japonaise du Nord-Pas de Calais

● Swedish School in Paris

● Alye Parussa bilingual Russian school

You are welcome to go through our database of international schools in France to locate one or more that are located in your neighborhood.

Religious schools

In France, all religious schools are independent private institutions, and the majority of them teach in French. However, although some schools can offer high-quality general education in addition to religious instruction, other schools may be insular and have low academic performance. Because of this, you should consider doing some study about their rating before giving them any consideration for your kid.

Children from international Jewish families living in Paris have the option of enrolling their children at the Ecole Juive Moderne, which provides primary and secondary school instruction in English, French, and Hebrew to its student body.

On the other hand, Catholic families may wish to think about enrolling their children in one of the Catholic schools that provide instruction in English. Among them are the Marymount International School of Paris, which serves kids from the ages of two to fourteen, and Chavagnes International College, a Catholic residential school for boys that helps pupils get ready for the English test system (GCSEs and A-Levels). In addition, there are private Islamic schools in France, the majority of which are devoted to teaching Arabic as their primary subject.

Method schools

Montessori and Steiner-Waldorf schools are both recognized in France by the country's official educational authority. These schools have the autonomy to teach a curriculum that is derived from their distinct educational ideas, which sets them apart from other schools.

Although the majority of these schools are geared toward younger children (pre-school and primary level), some of them do accept older students and may provide traditional certifications, such as the French Baccalauréat, which is the requirement to enter higher education in France.

You may contact the Association Montessori de France and La Fédération des écoles Steiner-Waldorf en France for further information.

Should you enroll your kid in an international school if you're going to be living in France?

France is home to a diverse selection of prestigious international educational institutions. Nevertheless, how can you pick between a local school and one that is international? The following is a rundown of some of the primary benefits and drawbacks associated with attending an international school in France.


● Provide students with a wider variety of extracurricular activities and upgraded facilities.

● Provide globally recognized qualifications

● Create a network of students and educators from all around the world.

● Put a heavy focus on multiculturalism as well as the study of languages.

● Maintain a high teacher-to-student ratio together with decreased class sizes.

● A curriculum that is particular to a nation or the IB program provides continuity for any future movements.

● Parents can speak with one another in their tongues.


● However, there are opportunities for financial aid in the form of scholarships, bursaries, and payment plans, and some businesses even contribute to their employees' educational expenses.

● There is a possibility that children may assimilate into the local culture and language less.

● A kid's academic talents may be evaluated through an entrance exam during the admissions process; as a result, your child may feel added pressure as a result of this.

● Since the vast majority of schools are concentrated in and around Paris and other large cities, none may be situated in your immediate vicinity.

● Your kid will obtain a good education no matter which path you decide to choose since the educational standards in France are normally quite high.

Choosing an International School in France: What to Look for

If you have determined that your kid might benefit from attending a school in another country, the next step is to choose a school. When looking for the ideal foreign school for your kid in France, the following is a list of considerations that should be given priority.

● Location: You have a wide variety of possibilities in and around Paris, but outside of the city, your choices are more restricted; nonetheless, some institutions provide boarding facilities for their students.

● Education system: What kind of schooling or instructional approach would be most beneficial for your child?

● Are nationalities present: Are the majority of the instructors natural speakers of the primary language spoken at the school or do they speak French? Are the bulk of pupils from a single nation or do they come from a variety of countries all over the world?

● Main languages are spoken: Some schools provide instruction in both English and another language, while others teach topics in many languages.

● Qualifications available: Students can get several certifications within the same institution, which is very helpful when getting ready for further education in a given nation.

● Reputation: If you don't already have a network, this might be challenging, but The Good Schools Guide can assist.

● Academic results: It is important to determine the proportion of students who go on to further their education after completing secondary school.

● Fees: However, some firms do provide financial assistance to their employees in the form of tuition reimbursement or other forms of assistance.

● Admission and enrollment procedures: Assessments focusing on academics, languages, and personalities are sometimes necessary before enrollment at some institutions.

● Extracurricular activities and facilities: Many schools now include extracurricular opportunities such as clubs, activities, field excursions, summer camps, and language classes.

Grants and other forms of financial assistance are available to students attending overseas schools in France.

Beginning with the primary school age of six years old, the state provides financial assistance to families with modest incomes. These might be of assistance in covering the price of school supplies, school lunches, and transportation to and from school. The Allocation de Rentrée Scolaire (ARS) is another option for families with children who have special needs; the amount ranges from around €370 to €400 per year, depending on the child's grade level.

If your kid attends a private secondary school that offers boarding options, you may be eligible for the Prime à l'Internat program. However, this is only applicable if your kid is receiving financial assistance in the form of a bursary or scholarship that is determined by the level of parental income. Additional scholarships based on merit may be given out, but only to boursier students who have shown exceptional achievement.

Scholarships based on academic achievement or skill may be made available by individual educational institutions. For instance, the Kingsworth International School in Paris provides scholarships that range from a ten percent to fifty percent decrease in the total cost of attending the school. Therefore, it is worthwhile to contact the schools in your immediate area to determine whether or not such awards are available.

How to apply for financial aid

When applying for a bourse scholarship at the national level, the application process is different depending on whether you are applying to a public or private school, as well as a collège or lycée. You can finish all administrative processes for your kid's public school enrollment using the Scolarité Services site. This is the case if your child attends a public school.

On the other hand, if your child attends a private school, you will need to submit the relevant documents by contacting the school's secretariat directly. Scholarship applications may be sent in by either students or their parents at the beginning of each academic year. On the website for Aide Sociale, you will find a tool that will allow you to determine whether or not your family is eligible for these benefits.

Useful resources

● Council of International Schools (CoIS) – the group of member institutions that comprise international education

● ELSA – the English Language Schools Association

● Middle States Association (MSA) – the organization responsible for the accreditation of schools teaching the American curriculum

● European Council of International Schools (ECIS) - the educational cooperative for schools located all across the world

● British Council Worldwide Education Services is the name of the United Kingdom's international organization that promotes educational opportunities and cultural exchange.

● French Ministry of Education – the French government website for education

● The official website of the International Baccalaureate (IB), is a certification that is recognized all around the world.

● The rankings of French lycées, often known as the rankings of French secondary schools

● You may search for and compare schools in France using the Good Schools Guide.



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