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College ( secondary school) in france

(6 Posts)
Matchpoint2 Wed 29-Jul-15 22:24:04

DD is starting college in september after doing all her primary school years at a local french school. Both DH and I are english.

I have heard a few negative comments about french secondary education, and english parents who dont want their children to be educated in france.

Is it so bad? Any tips on how to manage the transition and cope please.

TIA

pastaofplenty Thu 30-Jul-15 07:42:12

Hi Matchpoint2

We've just "finshed" our French education - DD did Bac this year and is going to university in September - so have fairly fresh memories of college.

I think the negatives to college are the same as with primary to be honest - strict teaching, lack of imagination for many teachers, inflexile curriculum, lack of opportunities for extra-curricular activities, increased amount of homework and very long hours - however if you have been in the system so long then it is no surprise.

I think it's best to view college as a stepping zone - lycee (and 3eme) is where academically and socially things come into their own. My DD had a tough time in college but that was the age/teenage/hormone thing that you would find anywhere - 11-14 year old girls can be horrid and there are cliques and nastiness but I know that that can occur anywhere. Colleges are more aware of bullying and giving additional support but are perhaps (it depends where you are I suppose) a bit "behind" schools I have seen in UK (experience of friends etc...)

I think my advice would be to be prepared for a very tired DD for first term, let your DD embrace her "Englishness" - it has advantages at college (eg choosing another LV in 6eme and helping other students/staff), prepare her for the usual early teen dramas (would happen anywhere), get involved with the college early on (PTA, parent's evenings etc..), accept that you will be less informed that you were at primary school (I "lost" a lot of school-gate friends when DD went to college and consequentially my French took a dive!), don't let your DD fret too much about moyens and school reports, find something away from college for your DD to do (on Weds or Saturdays) to boost her self-esteem, circle of friends and interest in other things (my DD did music and art classes - she's not sporty).

Finally, try not to worry - she'll pick up on this! It is a lot easier for them than us and as she's been in the system then it will be a breeze. Despite all the negatives I've highlighted DD has no regrets about being educated in France and she has advantages and experiences now that have set her up for the future.

Best wishes

Matchpoint2 Thu 30-Jul-15 21:03:10

Thanks pasta of plenty, really helpful.

brittanyfairies Thu 30-Jul-15 21:12:57

My DS1 did 6eme last year and DS2 is off in September. I thought the college handled the transition into 6eme brilliantly, the first week was just a week of outdoor activities and activities that got all the kids to mix together and get to know each other. My DS' college were aware kids get tired and made allowances for this, my DS has ASD so I have regular meetings, they made me aware that they noticed he was struggling just before Christmas last year, but then after the holidays they let me know he was fine and back on form, so was obviously needing the holidays to recharge.

DS1 prefers it to primary, he's been allowed to expand, in primary both my DS' have been told they'll never be as good as the French kids because they're English. In college DS has been told how well he's doing and that if it wasn't for his very English name they would think he's French. The college has a totally different attitude to things.

There are lots of extra curricular activities too, but our college is private so this may explain the differences. However, I work in a state lycee and I'm very impressed with the education levels of children coming through.

I'm very happy with the French education system.

Matchpoint2 Fri 31-Jul-15 21:02:35

Thanks for your information brittany. And glad to hear you have had a positive experience.

LillianGish Fri 31-Jul-15 23:25:26

Brilliant post from Pasta - should be saved somewhere for future reference for all other queries along the same lines!
I think the most important thing is that your dd is already in the French system - remember, however awful it may sometimes seem to you and dh compared to the English system your dd doesn't know anything else. For my dcs it's just school and actually they love it (even when dh and I are sometimes tearing our hair out). The French system is what it is - you already know what it is and college is just more of the same. 6eme is about getting super organised - going from having one teacher to lots of different teachers and needing different books on different days. Make sure you know what she needs and help her to get really organised at the start. She'll be fine.

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