Children’s schooling and education

In France, education is compulsory for children from the ages of 3 to 16, including foreign nationals.

The French education system

The French education system is organized into different levels corresponding to age brackets and learning stages.
In the same way as for higher education, there are state-funded school and private schools.

Education is free in state-funded schools and must be paid for in private schools, but the syllabus is the same in both because it is defined at national level.
In Grenoble, there are also several schools with international divisions.

In cities where there are several different schools, your child will be allocated a place in the school that corresponds to your home address.

The French education system has the following structure:
  • Preschool or nursery school (‘école maternelle’): 3 to 6 years
  • Elementary school (‘école élémentaire’): 6 to 11 years. There are 5 levels: CP (‘Cours Préparatoire’), CE1 and CE2 (1st and 2nd year ‘Cours Élémentaires’), CM1 and CM2 (1st and 2nd year ‘Cours Moyens’)
  • Middle school (‘collège’): this is made up of 4 year groups: 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd (ending in the ‘Brevet des Collèges’ exam)
  • High school (‘lycée’): there are 3 classes: ‘Seconde’, ‘Première’, and ‘Terminale’ (ending in the ‘Baccalauréat’ exam).
The academic year, divided into terms, begins in September and ends at the beginning of July in the following year.

Enrolling your child at a state-funded preschool or elementary school

You must begin your enrollment procedures at the ‘Mairie’ (town hall) or the ‘Maison des Habitants’ (citizens administration center), then continue them with the school your child will attend.

Enrolling your child at a state-funded middle school or high school

To enroll your children at a state-funded middle or high school, you must begin the process by making an appointment at the education information center (‘Centre d'information et d'orientation’ - CIO) that is nearest to your home.
Published on  January 8, 2021
Updated on April 1, 2021