Advice concerning secondary schooling in France, please.
Thread poster: Melzie
Melzie
Local time: 17:20
French to English
+ ...
Sep 17, 2010

Hello,

Just to set the scene.
Our daughter has just started CM1 in our excellent small village school in rural France.
I am English, a qualified EFL teacher and French/English translator.
My husband is French. We follow the 'one parent, one language' rule.
I am investigating our options for her move to secondary school.
We live near Lyon, but not close enough for her to attend any one of the three multilingual schools there daily; none of them have boarding facilities.
We are currently thinking that she will be able to do the travelling on her own from 'seconde'. However, in order to meet the school's entrance requirements, she will need to have a very good level of written and spoken English for that.
Though the French education system seems to be opening up to Western European multilingualism, I am extremely reluctant to put her into any English class where the teacher will feel threatened by her knowledge (in addition, the number of errors I see written by French teachers of English for their pupils to learn scares me, not to mention the errors in text books where the editors don't seem to feel the need to have things proofed by a qualified native English speaker).
The nearby collège does have a 'classe bilingue' in English and German. There are no possibilities locally for a child to study any language other than English as their 'first' language.
At the moment, I would say that her level of English is about a year behind that of her French but that she is catching up very quickly.

Has anyone out there been in this situation?
What options would you recommend?
How did your child deal with it?

I have been thinking of negociating for her to not go to English classes and do a correspondence course instead. Has anybody else done this? If so, what course did your child follow and would you recommend it?

Once our daughter has 'opened the route', it will be much easier for our son to follow on.

Thank you in advance for your time and suggestions.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:20
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
not sure you meant CM1 in the French system Sep 17, 2010

Melzie wrote:
Our daughter has just started CM1 in our excellent small village school in rural France.
...
I am investigating our options for her move to secondary school.
We live near Lyon, but not close enough for her to attend any one of the three multilingual schools there daily; none of them have boarding facilities.
We are currently thinking that she will be able to do the travelling on her own from 'seconde'.


Melzie,

I'm a bit confused because CM1 is the 4th year of elementary level school (after the 3 pre-school years).

You mention "seconde" which is the third out from last year of the secondary level cycle.

Maybe you meant that she is in some level like "quatrième" or "troisième".

Jeff


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Melzie
Local time: 17:20
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, I did mean both CM1 and seconde Sep 17, 2010

"However, in order to meet the school's entrance requirements, she will need to have a very good level of written and spoken English for that."

She is 9. I am looking at the period of secondary education from 6eme to seconde.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:20
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
OK, seconde was the end of the middle school range of years Sep 17, 2010

ah OK, you are looking at the middle school range and what to plan on since the last year of that cycle (seconde) is the earliest that you could consider for her to be doing commuting back and forth.

That makes more sense now.

My oldest is in CE1, but I have many friends who are doing the bilingual and international school paths.
Let me ask around.

Jeff


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 17:20
French to Dutch
+ ...
Some answers Sep 17, 2010

My two sons, French mother tongue, are in what is called the "classe européenne" system. At collège (6ème) they had English as their 1st foreign language, German as 1st foreign language (this is not a typing error) and both languages are teachad at the same, (reasonably) high level, in accordance with their age. Some of the pupils have English or German parents. My sons are 15 and 16 now (lycée) can choose to have "English reinforced" or "German reinforced" (2 supplementary hours/week). I have been told that when registering for the baccalauréat one of the langages becomes the 1st foreign language and the other one the 2nd foreign language. I can strongly recommend to follow this system as long as possible, and therefore the collège should be followed by a lycée which offers the same possibilities. I cannot recommend you to have them out of the school system in this stage, maybe when they are at lycée level. If the English lessons are too easy, use this time to have them learn a third language.

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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Make them live in English Sep 17, 2010

I am in a similar situation but in Spain. My wife is Spanish and at home we speak both Spanish and English. My son (18) and daughter (14) attend a Spanish church school in a small town. My son was excluded from English classes at an early age because of boredom, but the new English teacher has asked my daughter to be a teaching assistant (unpaid) and given her a group of pupils for intensive conversation classes.

At home we simply insisted that our children did most of their leisure reading in English and gave them weekly essays to write in English. We also insisted that their television viewing (weekends only) was also mostly in English. We found that trips to London made them very proud of their ability to speak and be understood in English.

Last year my son sailed through the Cambridge Advanced English exam with the top grade and we will enrol my daughter for the exam as soon as she is old enough.

In short, we didn't teach our children any English, we just insisted that they live part of their lives in English. I have never taught them any grammar and simply mark each sentence of their essays as right or wrong. Teaching grammar was largely unnecessary as they received huge doses from their Spanish language classes and found it easy to transfer the concepts to English. I believe French language education is similarly reliant on analysis and grammar.

My son starts at the University of Valencia next week (after completing his Spanish baccalauréat) and so our focus on English at home has not damaged his Spanish academic performance in any way.


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Advice concerning secondary schooling in France, please.

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