Presentation of the French Education System > Middle Secondary School (Collège)
Collège is the institution which welcomes all children who have graduated from Primary School.
Teaching at this level is structured into disciplines: French, Mathematics, History-Geography, Civic Education, Life and Earth Science, Technology, Visual Arts, Music, and Sport. The objectives for each subject are set on a national level.
Collège welcomes all students at the end of primary school without requiring an entrance exam. It allows for students to receive an education in a unique environment.
The school encompasses four years of compulsory secondary study (Years 6, 7, 8 and 9) which are organised into three cycles.
6e (Year 6) – the adaptation cycle
The objective of this year is to consolidate skills acquired in primary school and to initiate students to the study methods required for secondary school. A particular focus is given to welcoming the students and advising them on how best to manage their homework. Nationwide testing occurs at the start of the school year.
In Year 6, children choose their first foreign language.
5e and 4e (Years 7 and 8) – the central cycle
The objective of this cycle is to deepen the student’s knowledge and understanding. This cycle is characterised by coherent teaching over the 2 years and the progressive integration of optional subjects. A particular focus is given to learning difficulties and the introduction of career orientation.
In Year 7 the students begin studying Physics and Chemistry. They also have the possibility to learn a non-compulsory old language (Latin).
In Year 8 the students choose to study a second language, either foreign or regional.
3e (Year 9) – the orientation cycle
This cycle enables students to consolidate their learning from collège and to prepare for general, technical or professional training. In Year 9 the students continue learning the foreign languages chosen in Year 8. They can also choose another non-compulsory subject; either an old language (Greek), a second language (regional or foreign) or a professional discovery subject of 3 hours or 6 hours per week. For the latter choice, the students are exempt from learning a second language.
At the end of Year 9, the students sit the diplôme national du brevet (equivalent of the School Certificate) and can then choose to attend:
- either the class of seconde (Year 10) in an upper secondary school
- or the professional class of seconde (Year 10) or a first year of preparation for a certificate d’aptitude professionnelle in a professional upper secondary school.