ALL ABOUT FRENCH SCHOOLS ABROAD
1) FEATURES OF FRENCH SCHOOLS ABROAD
Mrs PIAU is qualified to help you with disciplinary boards at French schools abroad or with orientation procedures.
The schools abroad are approved by the national Ministry of Education and offer teaching which meets the requirements of the national curriculum.
The French Education Abroad Agency
Under the aegis of the Foreign and International Development Ministry, the AEFE ensures monitoring and advancement of the schools abroad network.
The AEFE is a national, public, administrative organisation under the aegis of the minister in charge of foreign affairs and the minister in charge of cooperation.
To find out more : www.aefe.fr
75 of these institutions are directly managed by the AEFE (EGD “Directly Managed Institution”);
156 have agreements with the AEFE (contracted institution); and 257 others are partner institutions.
List of approved schools
The list of French schools abroad is drawn up by the minister for education, in agreement with the minister of Foreign Affairs and with the minister for cooperation. It is reviewed every year.
Only this list may include first or second degree schools, which are open to French children residing outside France to whom they provide education in accordance with the curricula, educational objectives and organisational rules applicable in France to public educational institutions.
French schools abroad must prepare students for the examinations and diplomas taken by state schools in France.
They can also welcome foreign students.
Continuity of schooling in France and abroad
The schooling completed by pupils in French schools abroad is considered for the purpose of pursuing their studies and the awarding of diplomas as carried out in France in a state educational institution, according to Article R.451-15 of the Education Code.
Decisions concerning pupils’ schooling, particularly the decisions regarding orientation, taken by French schools abroad, apply in France in state educational institutions and in private educational institutions under contract; they also apply in other French schools abroad.
Schooling in French schools abroad is organised in cycles, in accordance with Article L.311-1 of the Education Code.
For each cycle, these schools apply the objectives and curricula in-line with the Education Code.
However, French schools abroad may make certain adjustments to take into account the particular conditions in which their educational activities are carried out and to strengthen their cooperation with foreign education systems.
Students’ rights and duties
The rights and duties of the students and the rules of participation of the members of the educational community are defined by the internal rules of the school, in accordance with some of the general principles of the French Education Code, and secondly the law of the State in which the institution is located.
2) REFUSAL OF REGISTRATION
Refusal of registration for lack of available places is illegal. The AEFE has undertaken to ensure that French children abroad have access to public services related to compulsory education. Therefore, the AEFE cannot cite the lack of available places in a French institution abroad under direct management as a reason given to families of French children.
This was established by a legal ruling declaring illegal the decision of the headmaster of a French school in Germany who had rejected an application for registration of two French children, aged 3 and 5, for lack of available places (Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris, March 20, 2012, French Education Abroad Agency, Ref. Legal information latter, No.169, 2012, p6.).
3) PAYMENT FOR SCHOOLING
The principle of the collection of tuition fees by French schools abroad managed by the AEFE was established by law. Families of French children residing abroad may be subject to tuition fees because they are placed in a different situation from the families of children residing in France.
4) DISCIPLINARY BOARDS AND EXCLUSION PROCEDURES
Valérie Piau is qualified to help you with disciplinary boards at a French school abroad.
The sanctions given by the disciplinary boards of institutions under direct management are administrative decisions and those given by the disciplinary boards of the institutions under agreement are acts of common local law.
Appeals against the decision of the disciplinary board for institutions under direct management
In the French schools abroad managed directly by the AEFE, disciplinary board decisions can be appealed through the Administrative Court.
Annulment procedure. It is possible to go to the relevant Administrative Court if there are causes for an annulment of the decision within a period of two months from the notification of the decision.
Referred suspension. The Administrative Court may also be called into session for a request for a suspension of the disciplinary board’s decision by applying Article L.521-1 of the Administrative Justice Code. Parents may act in summary proceedings if there is on the one hand an urgency to suspend the execution of the exclusion decision in view of the risk of dropping out of the excluded pupil, and on the other hand a serious doubt about the legality of the decision.
Principle of returning to school. In case of exclusion, pupils under 16, subject to compulsory schooling, may invoke the right to return to school, which requires re-registering at a school equivalent to the one from which they were excluded according to the principle of educational continuity, namely a French school allowing them to follow the French curricula to obtain a French diploma according to the French school system. However, there is often only one French school in the foreign country and generally no other French school near the home of the excluded student.
Appeals against the decision of the disciplinary board for contracted institutions
The AEFE states that the sanctions given by disciplinary boards of the contracted institutions are acts of common local law and not administrative acts.
Disciplinary sanctions taken against pupils by a contracted institution do not fall within the jurisdiction of the administrative judge. The means of appeal include contesting the act of common local law of the country concerned.
5) PLACEMENT PROCEDURES
Mrs PIAU is qualified to help you to challenge the placement of your child in a French school abroad.
1) Placement in nursery and primary
In nursery and primary schools, notwithstanding the provisions of Article D 321-3 of the Education Code, when parents challenge the proposal for guidance, their reasoned appeal is brought before a commission set up by the head of the diplomatic post, presided over by them or someone they appoint, a representative of the teachers from the school and a representative for the parents of the pupils proposed by the parents association. The commission decides definitively, according to article R.451-4 of the Education Code.
2) Placement in secondary
In secondary school, the class council formulates proposals for placement or repetition within the framework of the orientation paths defined in Article D.331-36 of the Education Code.
When the proposals of the class council are not in accordance with the family’s requests, the headteacher has the obligation to meet with the pupil and their parents or the adult pupil to inform them of the proposals of the class council and to get their observations. The school head then makes the decision regarding placement or repetition, according to Article R.451-6 of the Education Code.
Guidance decisions made by the school head that do not comply with the family’s wishes must be well-reasoned. They are sent to the parents of the pupil or the adult pupil who make it known to the school head whether they accept the decisions or if they will appeal, within eight days from receiving the notification of these decisions, according to Article R.451-7 of the Education Code.
By way of derogation from Article D.331-35, the appeals commission is set up by the head of the diplomatic post, presided over by them or someone they appoint, a representative of the teachers from the school and a representative for the parents of the pupils proposed by the parents association.