A short guide to the difference in the organisation of year groups between France and Britain.
1 A child’s year group is based on the child’s age on:
France – 1st January
Britain – 1st September*
2 Public exams:
3ème (Y10) Brévet
Premier (Y12) Bac français
Terminal (Y13) Bac
Year 8 (5ème) Common Entrance
Year 11 (2nde) GCSE
Year 13 (Terminal) ‘A’ levels or I.B.
Penultimate year of Prep school or first year of some Public schools
Avant-dernière année de la Prep school ou première année dans certaines Public schools.
Final year of Prep school. Common Entrance in June, followed by a special ‘Leavers’ Programme’, therefore very few Prep schools accept pupils for the final term only (see note a).
First year of most Public schools.
Pupils choose 9-11 subjects and start the GCSE syllabus
Pupils revise for and take the GCSE exams in May and June, leaving school once they have finished (see note b)
‘A’ level: pupils choose 3-4 subjects and start the two-year syllabus
I.B: pupils choose 6 subjects, including Maths, a language and a science
Pupils revise and take the I.B in May or ‘A’ levels in June. There may be a period when ‘A’ level pupils can study at home before the exams (‘Study Leave’).
a) Spotlight on YEAR 8/5ème
For a stay of one term (summer term) the options would be:
i according to date of birth, academic ability, level of English and maturity, a pupil could go into Year 7 or Year 9;
ii a Prep school which accepts a number of international pupils in the summer term and organises an adapted programme;
iii a traditional Prep school which will accept a pupil in the mainstream Year 8, taking into account that they will be obliged to follow an adapted timetable; this is very rare.
b) Spotlight on YEAR 11/2nde
For a 1 year stay the options are:
i according to date of birth, academic ability, level of English and maturity, a pupil could go into Year 12 or Year 10;
ii a special one year Year 11 programme which a number of schools now offer. A small group of international pupils have specially-adapted classes together for the year, within the main boarding school. The accent is on perfecting written and spoken English and preparing pupils for the remaining 2 years of school in England (although not all pupils will stay in England). Pupils study about 6 subjects and take GCSE exams in a number of them at the end of the year;
iii to find a school which will accept a pupil in the mainstream Year 11, taking into account that a pupil will have to spend a significant amount of time revising and taking exams, without having the preparation of the other pupils.
For a stay of one term (summer term) in Y11 the options would be:
i for a pupil to go into Year 12 or Year 10, according to date of birth, academic ability, level of English and maturity;
ii to spend a term at a specialised college for international pupils, but based on the British boarding school style, with intensive English lessons
*with the exception of some schools in Scotland, where it is 1st March…..