International schools in France
When moving to France with children of school age, one of the primary areas of concern is ensuring that they can continue with their education.
For younger children, the local state schools are a good option for those moving long-term, as it helps them to integrate and pick up the language. However, this can be harder for older children, particularly when getting closer to exam age: the time spent learning and understanding French is time lost studying the essential subjects needed to earn qualifications.
As such, many British expats who move to France send their children to one of the international schools in France where classes are taught in English.
Picking a school
International schools that teach the British curriculum are a popular option, as this allows for continuity in learning. This is especially useful for expats who are moving on shorter or medium-term contracts where a move back to Britain at some point is likely. It’s also useful for those who move around a lot for work, as international schools in France and different countries are generally all of the same high standard and offer similar teaching methods and qualifications.
The other advantage of an international school is that it can help children to make new friends quickly and easily. The schools will introduce them to other children who have relocated to France and this can help them to feel more at home.
Most international schools in France are day schools, though some do offer boarding options if required. Fees can be high – on a par with and sometimes higher than private school fees in the UK – and there may be a long waiting list, so it is something that needs to be considered and researched early in the relocation procedure.
A lot of the best British international schools are located in and around Paris, though there are some further afield. There are even some international schools in France that offer a bilingual education, which can be a good compromise, as it means that children can be taught French alongside their English lessons.
Some of the British international schools will offer GCSE/A-Level examinations or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). The IGCSE is equivalent to school years 10 and 11 in the UK, so it’s a transferable qualification should older children choose to return to the UK for university, for example.
Some international schools in France will teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, which is offered around the world. This internationally recognised certification can be used for university admission in many countries and gives a good general grounding in key subjects, similar to GCSE level in the UK.
Schools to consider
There are a lot of international schools in France to look at, but here are three based in different regions of the country:
The British School of Paris
With 750 pupils representing over 50 nationalities, this is one of the most-established international schools in the world. Based in the western suburbs of Paris in Croissy-sur-Seine, the school follows the National Curriculum for England and Wales with exceptionally high results.
Bordeaux International School
The only bilingual international school in the Bordeaux and Aquitaine region, this is a good option for those who want their children to learn French as well as be taught in English. It’s a popular option for those with younger children in particular, who can adapt well to a new language.
This school gives pupils the chance to follow the British curriculum in the Côte d’Azur. It offers state-of-the-art facilities for its 500 plus attendees, who come from 40 nationalities. It has excellent results with a 100% pass rate at A-Level for five consecutive years.
If you’re moving to France, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.
Information correct at the time of publication.