School Education in France

Éduscol - Main Website [anglais]

The main Éduscol website is one of five categories of websites available in the Éduscol Portal. The main Éduscol website is aimed primarily to help teachers, as well as educational professionals, by providing information, official texts, and resources available to support teachers and educational professionals in their work within schools.

As such, Éduscol offers an overview of the French school system and its main characteristics and themes. On the main Éduscol website, there are eight sections. Five of these are located in the purple bar below the logo: Content and Teaching Practices, Student Centered Support, Schools and Scholarly Life, Education Policies and Partnerships, and Teacher Training. The final three sections: Digital Policies, Europe and the World, and WebTV, are located in the black bar at the top of the screen.

For further information in English on the French education system

Content and Teaching Practices

The Common Core of Knowledge, Skills and Culture

The Common Core of Knowledge, Skills, and Culture identifies the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary for a student to be successful in their schooling, personal life, and life as a future active citizen; students are expected to know and master the Common Core by the end of their obligated schooling, age 6-16. In 2013, the Common Core was redefined to include the concept of Culture, so as to ensure students were educated about the common identity shared within the French culture and what it means to live in France as a citizen. The Common Core is organised into four teaching cycles: Cycle 1 starts at nursery school through age 6, Cycle 2 concerns the first three years of Primary school, Cycle 3 teaches the final two years of primary school and the first year of Lower Secondary school, lastly Cycle 4 teaches the final three years of Lower Secondary school. The 5 domains that the Common Core teaches are: Languages for Thinking and Communicating, Methods and Ways for Learning, Forming the Person and the Citizen, Natural and Technical Systems, and Representations of the World and Human Activity.

Primary Schools and Lower Secondary School (Collège)

Primary School consists of Nursery school and Elementary school. Obligatory schooling begins at age 6 in elementary school, however, most French pupils begin their schooling at Nursery school, age 3. In elementary school, students are taught several different subjects and disciplines. Each subject is taught so that students learn basic facts and information, as well as the methodology on how best to learn and engage with this new material. 

In order to help students transition from Primary school to Lower Secondary school, key learning stages have been redefined to help students progress in a new environment. Students continue learning the Common Core of Knowledge, Skills and Culture through Lower Secondary school as well. They are expected to know the Common Core thoroughly before advancing to Upper Secondary school after age 16.

Upper Secondary School (Lycée)

At this level, students choose between three paths of study: general, technological, or vocational.

  • the voie générale et technologique (general and technological path) where pupils go into a common seconde class which is the initiation cycle, then go on to choose either the cycle terminal or the cycle technologique,
  • the voie professionnelle (vocational path) where pupils go into a seconde class then go on to study towards a vocational baccalaureate.

All students must take one of the three versions of the baccalaureate exam at the end of their last year of Upper Secondary school in order to receive their diploma.

Student Centered Support

Schools have a duty to safeguard equal opportunities. They must ensure the attainment of all pupils through the national curriculum and national exams.

They do this by offering a differentiated response to learning difficulties and through continuous training provision for adults.

For further information in French on "Personalising pathways"

Schools and Scholarly Life

The school is a place of teaching but also of community. The organisation of school life, as well as specific provisions put in place - whether individual support, health and social actions, awareness of the arts and culture, sport development - all come under its internal educational policy.

These actions place a particular emphasis on the development of the pupil's personality and learning how to live together. Their aim is to give the pupil a sense of responsibility, a taste for getting involved with projects and a personal cultural life.They favour an active approach and in most cases involve outside partners working alongside teachers.

A school's educational action is an aspect of training: school is a place where a shared vision of societal values is transmitted.

For further information in French on "School and school life"

Education Policies and Partnerships

The French Ministry of Education works with other educational authorities within France and around the world. This includes multi-country projects, working with EU policies, new educational policies and programmes at school, developping technology-based pedagogical practices, partnerships with the professional world to create internships and provide resources, and education in the different French territories.

Teacher Training

Teacher training contributes to the quality of state education provision and the attainment of all pupils. At the heart of the implementation of the reforms of the school system and developed around national priorities, each year it is aligned with local authority action whilst responding to its own needs.

Training must allow each teacher:

  • to do their job as well as possible,
  • to develop their knowledge and professional skills acquired from the work placements aimed at students studying for a masters,
  • to constantly adapt and progress thanks to lifelong training.

For further information in French on "Teacher Training"

Digital Policies

Innovation and Experimentation

Within the National Education Ministry, several institutional stakeholders contribute to developing innovation and experimentation to promote pupil attainment:

  • the network of 30 local authority advisors (CARDIE),
  • the Département recherche-développement, innovation et expérimentation (Department for Innovation and Experimentation Research and Development - DRDIE) of DGESCO.

Their role:

  • to develop the initiatives of teaching staff in schools,
  • to pool and build on knowledge,
  • to promote links with research.

For further information in French on "Innovation and Experimentation"

Teaching with Technologies

Teaching with new technologies means being organised in a different way for the success of all pupils and a better school system.

Over the last ten years the French Education Ministry has been rolling out flagship schemes - in partnership with local authorities - to help pupils and teachers to benefit from the added value of using new technologies in education.

Teaching staff can draw on a network of ICT contacts at local authority level, supported at the national level by experts in the discipline to develop the use of new technologies.

The scheme is managed nationally by the bureau des usages numériques et des ressources pédagogiques (The Office for New Technologies and Pedagogical Resources) as well as the Mission Infrastructure et Services (Infrastructure and Services Instructure) of the Direction Générale de l'enseignement Scolaire (Directorate-General for Schools - DGESCO). This work is conducted in partnership with the network of local authority and Inspectorate General ICT advisers.

For further information in French on "Teaching with New Technologies"

Europe and the World

All education systems are now part of a constantly changing European and global context. The purpose is to train global citizens, to facilitate further study in another country, to enable job-seeking in an extended labour market. Opening minds to the knowledge and understanding of the diversity of cultures and societies is a key part of the curriculum. Various exchange and mobility schemes are the practical component of this international policy.

For further information in French on "Europe and the world"


The WebTV resource provides links to videos in French which are centered around different educational themes.

For further information in French on "WebTV"

Last updated November 23, 2017
fermer suivant précédent