French schools

French education is excellent. Almost 6% of the gross domestic product goes to education, compared with less than 4.5% in the Netherlands. In the countryside of France, there is often still a discipline in schools that was commonplace in the Netherlands in the 1950s. A lot of work is done on competitions, competition, ‘who is the best?’ etc. The master is just master. Much is memorized and worked individually. Sports, group discussions, music, museum visits, it is all there but on a small scale.
The school days are long, but in the afternoon there will be plenty of pauses. A lot of homework is also given in France. There is a possibility (not free) after school to make homework at school. The day job for the school-age child is then after the homework guidance at six o’clock in the evening. In general, the classes are somewhat smaller than in the Netherlands. If there are no urgent reasons, it is advisable not to send the children to an international school. Going to a regular school means getting in touch with French children. Experience shows that the language problem has been solved in half a year to a year, because children learn this exceptionally quickly. In English, the French hardly speak in the countryside, so they do not go further with that (of course on the collège). It is really a question of pioneering in the smaller places and hope that the teacher (es) wants to make some extra effort for the foreign children.
The French school system – where reforms take place just like in the Netherlands – is also rather complicated at first glance. Education is entirely a government task: the state determines the education programs and appoints the teachers. There are three categories in ‘primary education’: public schools (école publique), and two forms of private education (école privée sous contrat and école privée hors contrat). Approximately 80% of pupils attend public, free education, but the interest in private schools increases every year. Parents feel that their children enjoy better education in such schools. In France, a child between 6 and 16 years of age is obliged to attend school. But the kindergartens and kindergartens (écoles maternelles) already include children from the age of 2.5 years. The kindergarten (free) is divided into three sections: petite section up to 4 years, then moyenne section up to 5 years and then grande section up to 6 years.