FAQs

Year groups in France are made up according to the child’s year of birth running from January 1st to December 31st.


Equivalent year groups

French Year GroupUK equivalentAgeBorn
Petite SectionNursery3-4 years old2017
Moyenne SectionReception4-5 years old2016
Grande SectionYear 15-6 years old2015
CPYear 26-7 years old2014
CE1Year 37-8 years old2013
CE2Year 48-9 years old2012
CM1Year 59-10 years old2011
CM2Year 610-11 years old2010
6èmeYear 711-12 years old2009
5èmeYear 812-13 years old2008
4èmeYear 913-14 years old2007
3èmeYear 1014-15 years old2006
SecondeYear 1115-16 years old2005
PremièreYear 1216-17 years old2004
TerminaleYear 1317-18 years old2003

 

Primary children joining the British Section at the École Internationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye are usually given an “externé” place. What exactly is this?

Many years ago, we were faced with a major problem: there were far more primary-aged pupils who could benefit from a bilingual education than there were full-time places available at the École Internationale. ‘Full time’ in this sense means that the child obtains a place both in a French class at the École Internationale and one of the 14 national Section classes.

With the cooperation of surrounding local French state primary schools, and by special agreement with the French school authorities, it was agreed that children could be enrolled in their national Section class at the École Internationale for two half-days per week while continuing to have their French education for the rest of the week in the school (either publique or privée sous contrat) nearest to their home. Local teachers co-operate by avoiding the teaching of foundation skills in French and Maths while their bilingual pupils are absent.

The system started with a limited number of children in 1978 and has flourished, with currently more than 700 children benefitting every year from age three to 11 (nursery to Year 6). Around 70% of the British Section primary pupils at the École Internationale are externés, enabling us to more than double the number of pupils who would otherwise not have been able to benefit from a bilingual education.

In addition to a bilingual education, externé children benefit from a French education close to home, making friends nearby, and enjoying local after-school activities.

Inevitably, the system imposes some challenges: parents have to provide the lunchtime transport between the two schools as, although there are often school buses at the beginning and the end of the day, there are no buses at midday. However, many parents get round this by arranging car pools with parents of other externés (not necessarily British Section) at the same local school.

The externé system only operates at the École Internationale in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Children living within the Le Pecq catchment area (Le Pecq, Montesson, Le Vésinet, Croissy, Rueil-Malmaison, etc.) attend the École Jehan Alain (from Grande Section, Year 1) and École Félix Éboué (Year 2 to Year 6) where British Section children are full-time as of Grande Section. The externé system ends when the children enter secondary school in Sixième (Year 7, age 11-12). Externés and full-time pupils are given equal consideration for secondary places.

As an externé, your child will attend British Section classes two half-days per week. See the table below for your child's class schedule and those classes which take place at the same time for carpooling purposes.

ClassMorningAfternoon
Petite SectionThursday-
Moyenne SectionMondayThursday
Grande Section1TuesdayFriday
Grande Section2FridayTuesday
CPWednesdayMonday
CE1MondayThursday
CE2TuesdayFriday
CM1FridayTuesday
CM2ThursdayMonday

NB. There are two Grande Section classes:
- class1 : takes place on Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon, and
- class2 : takes place on Friday morning and Tuesday afternoon.

No, we are unable to take pupils during the school year. All new students will start at the beginning of the school year in September.

No, the nationality of the family and/or child is not a condition for entry to the British Section. Your child will be assessed on his/her level of English and potential to thrive in a bilingual and bicultural learning environment.

No, due to the pressure of demand for places with the British Section, we are unable to keep places for children returning from abroad. Returning families should contact the Admissions Officer as soon as they are aware of their return to France. Former pupils will be assessed in accordance with the applications procedure.

The British Section is hosted at five French state schools but employs its own teachers and staff as a non-profit 1901 Association. At the Lycée International, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the British Section is one of fourteen international sections, half of which are fee-paying. The remainder are subsidised either wholly or partly by their national governments. The British Section receives no funding from the British government.

British Section teaching programmes are based on the British National Curriculum. History/Geography are in addition, also derived from elements of the French school programme. Our students work towards the international version of the French brevet and then IGCSE in English Language and Literature and in History. In their final two years of schooling, students prepare for the international option of the French Baccaleaureat (the OIB). We work hard to develop a learning environment which stimulates our pupils to become independent and creative thinkers. The unique access to both the French and British educational systems, with their complementary pedagogical approaches, also enable our pupils to become well-rounded and flexible learners. The curriculum is enhanced by access to excellent library facilities on all sites and an extensive support system for university entrance to prepare our students for further education. See our pages on Learning for more information.

The British Section offers a number of extra-curricular activities. For more information see Beyond the classroom.

In Maternelle, canteen facilities are available at École Jehan Alain in Le Pecq but not at the École Internationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

In Primary, canteen facilities are available at the École Félix Éboué, Le Pecq and available from CP (Year 2) at the École Internationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye for those with a full-time place. There are no canteen facilities available for externé pupils based at the École Internationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

In Secondary, canteen facilities are available at all British Section sites.

Please note that canteen facilities are provided by the host school and are not included in the British Section annual tuition fees.

Maternelle & Primary

We are looking for age-appropriate ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English, and the potential and support to maintain development of these skills whilst being educated in a primarily francophone environment.

Petite Section to CP

Candidates are assessed orally for their communication and language skills, and their potential for development, using a selection of resources chosen to stimulate discussion. We also consider depth and range of vocabulary, accuracy in the use of English, the extent and use of general knowledge in conversation, willingness and ability to sustain a conversation, perceptiveness, engagement whilst on a task, and the ability to deal with simple and multi-step instructions. Interviews are held individually and last for approximately 20 minutes.

CE1/CE2

In addition to the above, there is a writing assessment. We are looking for fluency and understanding in speaking and reading, as well as understanding of sentence structure, syntax and grammar in writing appropriate to the child’s age. The assessment is organised individually and lasts for approximately 45 minutes.

CM1/CM2

Candidates are assessed using a standardised reading test, as well as comprehension, spelling and creative-writing tasks. We are looking for imagination/creative thinking and logical thought, as well as a good vocabulary, effective sentence construction, and accurate spelling and punctuation appropriate to the child’s age. The candidates may also participate in a (group) discussion with a British Section teacher. The assessment lasts approximately two hours.

Français spécial (CE1 to CM2)

In addition to the tests mentioned above, individual interviews are arranged in English and French to assess the child’s potential to learn in a bilingual and bicultural environment; in particular, their processing skills, perceptiveness, willingness to learn and resilience. Candidates are not required to bring books, projects or other work with them to interview.

Secondary

Mainstream British Section classes:

Candidates take a written examination in English. We set our own assessments which involve reading comprehension exercises, open-ended writing tasks and language exercises. We are looking for creative thinking and logical thought, as well as a good vocabulary, effective sentence construction, and accurate spelling and punctuation appropriate to the child’s age.

Interviews will be arranged for candidates who demonstrate strong potential in the written test. Interviews last approximately 20 minutes. The aim of the interview is to explore the candidate’s analytical skills, creative thinking and potential to thrive in bi-lingual education. The style of the interview is intended to be an informal discussion. Candidates are not required to bring books, projects or other work with them to interview.

Francophone students:

Fast-track English (6ème):

Candidates take a written test at the Collège Pierre et Marie Curie in the winter term (see Fast-track Admissions for details). Candidates who demonstrate sufficient linguistic potential will normally be invited to an interview lasting approximately 15 minutes. Evidence of the candidate’s motivation and commitment to learning English at native speaker level is considered a crucial criterion for admission, as is the family’s support for the bi-lingual curriculum and British education and culture more generally. It is not necessary for candidates to have been educated in English nor to have lived in an anglophone country, although some candidates may have. Students in the Fast-track English class are assessed for their ability to study a native speaker English Literature and History/Geography curriculum during the final two years of collège and they are expected to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the British Section curriculum to be considered for admittance to the mainstream British Section classes at the Lycée International in Seconde.

Seconde Accueil:

Selected candidates take a written test at the Lycée International in January or early February (see Seconde Accueil Admissions for details). Candidates who demonstrate a sufficient level of English language proficiency (CEFR/CECRL level B2) and advanced analytical thinking skills will normally be invited to interview. Students admitted to the Seconde Accueil class are assessed for their ability to study a native speaker English Literature and History/Geography curriculum by the end of the year. They are also expected to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the British Section curriculum to be considered for admittance to the mainstream British Section classes at the Lycée International in Première.