Presentation of the French Education System > Primary School
Co-educational, and free (if public), primary school welcomes children between the ages of 6 and 11.
The programs are nationally coordinated and are compulsory for all teachers and students.
Since 1990, students’ expected skill levels are fixed for each cycle within the primary school. Evaluation tools are provided for teachers who also have access to national benchmarks.
Learning at a primary school level
Primary school teaching is structured around two main functions:
- mastering language and the French language
- civic education
From the 2nd cycle (Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2) (fundamental learning), children are exposed to foreign or regional languages, mathematics, discovery activities, artistic education (visual art and music education) and physical education.
In the 3rd cycle (Years 3-5) other subjects are studied in more detail; literature, history and geography, experimental science and technology. Information and communication technology are tools required for many other school activities and their understanding leads to the first level of the computer and internet component of the Brevet (equivalent of the School Certificate). Nationwide testing takes place at the start of CE2 (Year 3) and at the start of Lower Secondary School (Year 6) to identify what each child has assimilated. This testing enables nationwide benchmarks to be established.
This level of schooling takes into account the plurarity and the diversity of each student’s skills. As well as reasoning and intellectual reflection, other skills are developed, such as observation skills, experimentation, sensitivity, motor skills and creative imagination.