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How does French school work?

(11 Posts)
Walkthedinosaur Tue 26-Aug-08 14:02:17

I thought I had this sussed but have just had the info sheet in today's post for la rentree and now I'm confused.

On Tuesday DS1 goes into CP, he's just had his 6th birthday in July. The sheet I've had home from school says CP: 21 eleves Mme so and so, which is what I understood and that's about the number of children in his class. Then it says CP-CE1 6 & 15 eleves with Mme so and so, who I actually thought was the classroom assistant in CP. Then CE1 is 25 eleves.

So I'm a bit confused about what the CP-CE1 thing is. Is this the older/brigher ones from the CP class combined with the younger ones from CE1, or possibly maybe the ones from last year's CP who maybe have to stay back a year? Unfortunately while my French is now good enough to pass the time of day, it's not really good enough to go into the intricacies of school life with the teacher.

Also, can anyone tell me if the age of the children is the same as in the UK, ie, my son as a July baby would be one of the youngest in the class in the UK, or is it a January to December thing in France? Which makes him slap bang in the middle. I know several children in his class have had their 6th birthday before school broke up.

So many questions I know.

Anyone who's been through this and understands I'd be grateful if you could set it out for me, I'm just curious and also if my son says to me so and so was teaching me today it would be nice to think oh yes, that's why.

FluffyMummy123 Tue 26-Aug-08 14:02:50

Message withdrawn

Othersideofthechannel Wed 27-Aug-08 18:06:42

Jan to December. DD is Dec birthday and the youngest in her class.
I expect they have too many children in CP and CE1 so they have made a mixed class with a third teacher. Usually nothing to do with their ability.
They had this for a while in our school but now this group of children are higher up in the school.
Quite common to have mixed classes in rural schools. This is only the second year moyenne and grande section have not been together in our school.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 27-Aug-08 18:07:12

DS also goes into CP next week.

Walkthedinosaur Thu 28-Aug-08 08:41:06

Thanks for the explanation that makes sense, I think 2001/2 must have been the baby boom years, and from what I can see 25 must be the maximum for a class. Makes a difference from when I was at school, we were a class of nearly 40 and just a teacher to control us.

Is your DS looking forward to CP? My DS is so excited he's counting down the sleeps to going back to school. I really hope that I'll be able to support him in his learning, but am thinking of maybe getting a BAC student in from the village a couple of times a week to help him do his reading in French. I'm sure I'm worrying unduly he corrects my French when I'm chatting to people so I'm sure he'll correct me when we're doing reading etc.

lottien Thu 28-Aug-08 09:10:56

Hi - DD goes into CP next week too - we should form a club! We go to the school tomorrow to meet the Directrice (scarey). The double level class thing may be because of class sizes but does also have an ability element, DD can read and write a bit already and her teacher in Vincennes said we should see if her school has a mixed class because it would do her good to go a bit faster.

I'm glad I'm not the only one worrying about MY ability to keep up! Like you I have DD correcting me all the time and I'm finding myself rushing to the dictionnary all the time to check the simplest spellings.

Othersideofthechannel Thu 28-Aug-08 09:19:22

Yes, DS is looking forward to going back to school. He is proud to be going into CP because his classmates are too but mostly he is looking forward to being in the same playground as DD for the first time. (School is on two sites).

I'm not too worried about the reading etc because my French is fluent. Bit concerned that we haven't cracked reading in English yet and I was hoping to do that over the holidays. Trying to stave of the French becoming dominant as long as possible. I know he could do it but he's not particularly interested and I can't force him. Still, perhaps being able to do it in French will motivate him.

Walkthedinosaur Thu 28-Aug-08 10:23:18

Funny you should say about the English, I've been reading with DS in English and he actually has an English lesson every week with an ex teacher who lives nearby. He's really come on now and particularly over the school holidays while we've had time to concentrate. However his teacher in GS was NOT happy about this she thinks I should have left the English alone and in his end of term report, wrote in several places that he was getting confused with his English and French alphabet - she made a big beef about it, where I was of the opinion well he recognises the letter regardless of whether it's in French or English. However, I feel that now he's got to grips with the English it shouldn't really affect his French, maybe he will be a bit slower initially I don't know.

I am however of the opinion that it's all very well our children being bilingual but they really should be biliterate too. When we first came to France we met a few 15, 16 year olds who had been here since they were about 9 or 10, their English reading and writing levels hadn't really advanced since leaving school in the UK. I presume because they were older they and their parents had to drop the English to get to grips with French as quickly as possible to keep up with school, I'm hoping that because my DC's have started school virtually as babies, then this shouldn't be a problem, but it's difficult isn't it? English is still very much my DC's first language, although DS2 in particular only knows certain words in French so he often shoves them into an English sentence, and I've found we all tend to copy him grin

Now that Saturday school has finished our school has also proposed that those children who are struggling will have two 45 min sessions a week either after school or lunchtime to help them keep up with the class. While I think this is a brilliant effort by the teachers I also think it's too much for the children in an already long school day. I'm complaining in advance because I know DS1 will be in one of these groups as he's dyspraxic so struggles a little bit with handwriting etc.hmm

Othersideofthechannel Thu 28-Aug-08 12:27:04

"I am however of the opinion that it's all very well our children being bilingual but they really should be biliterate too."

Yes, me too. I don't know much about this but I feel confident DS will figure out differences between 'I' and 'E' and 'G' and 'J' eventually.

Othersideofthechannel Thu 11-Sep-08 12:23:11

How's CP going for your DCs?

DS is already fed up with homework. He has to learn to write two words a night 'sans modèle'. (It would be really quick if it wasn't for all those flourishes!) I expect I'll soon be starting a thread along the lines of 'tips for motivating overtired boy to do homework'.

Anna8888 Thu 11-Sep-08 12:29:35

My younger stepson was in a mixed class in his last year of primary school - so CM1 and CM2 with the same teacher, and about 26 pupils in total. His was a large urban state primary school in Neuilly-sur-Seine that didn't have enough pupils at the top of the school as they were all leaving to go to private schools to ensure they got a place in the private collège. By mixing classes, a school ensures that a class remains "ouverte". Once a class has been closed, it is very difficult to reopen it, apparently.

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