French Education

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Short term schooling for primary age children

We are looking into spending a few months (around 3) in France to get a taster before deciding whether we want to make the big move. We have children age 5 & 6 and wondered whether it would be possible to get them into a local school for this period? Does anyone have any knowledge about this please?
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Re: Short term schooling for primary age children

Hi, on a practical level, assuming you are EU citizens and can provide a bona fide French address, unless the local school is full you wouldn't have any difficulty enrolling your two children, even for a short period (although whether or not you tell the head teacher of the length of stay would be another matter).

My main concern would simply be that 3 months is nowhere near enough time to get a feel of whether you'd settle permanently. The children would almost certainly hate being there, in mine and many others' experience it takes 6-12 months for children to adapt to the language and their new environment. For us it was like pushing a large boulder up an increasingly steep hill. We eventually reached the top of that imaginary hill, 'exhausted', after about a year. The boulder then thankfully rolled freely down the other side and smiles reappeared all round! After 2 years here our son said he didn't want to go back to the UK and is completely happy with life, school and the language. He was 10 when we arrived and your children, being so much younger and having each other for company may of course find it easier.

If you can possibly manage it, I'd advise that you try to make more time for your experiment, it will have a much better chance of being an honest representation and have a successful outcome.

Hope that helps
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Re: Short term schooling for primary age children

One school or another will take them. If the local state school is full, then there will probably be a private school. Where I used to live they used to base fees on income, but I don' t think that they all do that. They are usually not too expensive, although school meals can be, well I think so.

No idea as to whether such a short trip would be enough to judge, for you or them and I do think that ecole maternelle is the very best, which is where I would suggest that you were getting them into for now.

Also you do not say which year they were born, that is the most important in France with regards to the start of official school as that starts in the September of the year that the child is 6.

And kids, well, for us the biggest mistake we made in our lives was not moving back to the UK when they hit college age, and I shall regret that to the end of my days. Would my kids have been happy about the move 'then', I doubt it, they had good friends then and still have many of the same friends now.

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