School Education in France

The common core of knowledge and skills [anglais]

Nursery, elementary and lower secondary education must allow pupils to acquire the Common Core of Knowledge and Skills.
It is based on the recommendation of the European Parliament and the European Council on 'key competences for education and lifelong learning'.


The framework for drafting syllabuses

The Common Core of Knowledge and Skills is the ‘cement' of the nation and constitutes a framework for developing the curriculum for primary and lower secondary education.The text presents the set of values, knowledge, languages and practices that need to be mastered in order for each pupil to successfully complete his or her schooling, continue his or her education, build his or her personal and professional future and be a successful member of society. It sets out the minimum standards to be attained by all by the end of compulsory schooling.For modern languages, the curriculum has been designed and drawn up in application of the ‘Common European Framework of Reference for Languages' (CEFRL).

Key competences

The Common Core of Knowledge and Skills is organised around seven
key competences:

  1. command of the French language;
  2. proficiency in a modern foreign language;
  3. the key elements of mathematics, scientific culture and technology;
  4. mastery of ordinary information and communication skills;
  5. humanist culture;
  6. social and civic skills;
  7. autonomy and initiative.

Each of these key competences is intended to be a combination of basic knowledge, skills to be used in various contexts and essential attitudes throughout life.

Three stages of the common core of knowledge and skills

The first stage of assessment is at the end of CE1 (year 2 at primary school). It measures the acquisition of three competences: proficiency in the French language, basic mathematics, social and civic skills.

The second stage is also in primary at the end of CM2 (last year of primary) and allows pupils to be assessed at the end of primary in the seven competences. There is a third and final assessment at the end of compulsory schooling, usually in troisième (year 9, last year) of lower secondary. Since 2011, command of the seven skills - as certified by the head teacher at the end of troisième - is a compulsory prerequisite for the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB), the end of lower-secondary school exam.

Competences are acquired progressively throughout compulsory schooling. Pupils who have difficulty acquiring the common core of knowledge and skills are offered a tailored programme of support. This syllabus can be continued in lower secondary as needed.

Last updated May 27, 2013
fermer suivant précédent