France background information


How the official decision of special educational needs (SEN) in the country relates to the agreed EASIE operational definition

Operational definition

An official decision leads to a child/learner being recognised as eligible for additional educational support to meet their learning needs.


Criteria for an official decision of SEN

  • There has been an educational assessment procedure involving a multi-disciplinary team
  • The multi-disciplinary team includes members from within and external to the child’s/learner’s (pre)school
  • There is a legal document which describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive and which is used as the basis for planning
  • The official decision is subject to a formal, regular review process

Educational assessment procedure in the country

Law no. 2005-102 of 11 February 2005 on equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of people with disabilities defines disability as follows:

According to the definition of the present law, a disability is constituted by any limit on activity or restriction on the participation in social life endured by a person in their environment due to a substantial, durable or permanent alteration of one or several physical, sensorial, mental, cognitive, or psychic functions, to a multiple disability or to a disabling health problem.

The Commission on Rights and Autonomy (CDA), referring to the list of impairments, disabilities and disadvantages (order of 9 January 1989) and to the guide table (decree no. 2008-110 of 6 February 2008) decides on the degree of disability and on the educational, therapeutic, material and human assistance that can be provided to the person with disabilities.

How the multi-disciplinary team is comprised in the country

In the local regional authority for people with disabilities (Maison départementale des personnes handicapées), a multi-disciplinary team evaluates the educational needs, proposes annual goals and determines syllabus modifications, examination accommodations, counselling and special services to meet the child’s/learner’s needs. This results in a personal compensation plan which includes the child’s/learner’s individual education plan and also considers the wishes of the child/learner and their parents.

The multi-disciplinary team’s external members include one or several doctors, a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a nurse and a school social worker. In some cases, it may call on experts, either at its own initiative or at the parents’ request. Its internal members include a contact teacher, an occupational integration instructor and a primary or secondary teacher, according to the level of the child/learner.

The legal document used in the country to outline the support that the child/learner is eligible to receive

The Compensation Needs Assessment Guide (GEVA-Sco) contains the main information on the situation of a child/learner, so that it can be taken into account when assessing their compensation needs in order to develop the individual education plan. When the application concerns the schooling and training path of a child/learner, the GEVA-Sco is also attached so that the multi-disciplinary team can carry out the evaluation. It is therefore based on the concepts and definitions of disability laid down in the law of 11 February 2005 and inspired by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF, adopted by the World Health Organization in 2001). A contact teacher is tasked with monitoring the situation and co-ordinating the use of the GEVA-Sco. The GEVA-Sco is therefore a support for collecting information on the course of schooling and/or training of the child/learner with disabilities. The content of this support helps to analyse the situation and needs and is an aid to decision-making.

How the document is used as the basis for planning in the country

This document is individual and nominative; it cannot be used for planning purposes.

The formal, regular review process in the country

Each year, the contact teacher organises a meeting with the teaching staff and parents to gather information. The teacher finalises the drafting of the GEVA-Sco reconsideration. The effects of the support implemented (human assistance, educational adaptations, specific equipment, etc.) are identified within this framework and renewed if necessary.


Proxy indicator for the 80% benchmark used for the country’s data collection

The EASIE work uses an 80% benchmark of inclusive education. This is defined as:

An inclusive setting refers to education where the child/learner with SEN follows education in mainstream classes alongside their mainstream peers for most – 80% or more – of the school week.

Proxy indicator used

Placement in a mainstream class implies over 80% or more.

Details on what the country proxy is

This is not a proxy.

Why this proxy was used

France does not use a proxy.


Detailed description of what ‘out of formal education’ means within the country

The 2011 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) defines ‘formal education’ as follows:

[…] education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned through public organizations and recognised private bodies and, – in their totality – constitute the formal education system of a country. Formal education programmes are thus recognised as such by the relevant national education or equivalent authorities, e.g. any other institution in cooperation with the national or sub-national educational authorities. Formal education consists mostly of initial education […] Vocational education, special needs education and some parts of adult education are often recognised as being part of the formal education system. Qualifications from formal education are by definition recognised and, therefore, are within the scope of ISCED. Institutionalised education occurs when an organization provides structured educational arrangements, such as student-teacher relationships and/or interactions, that are specially designed for education and learning.

(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011, International Standard Classification of Education ISCED 2011, p. 11).

Do the country definitions of formal, non-formal and informal education differ from the ISCED definitions?

No, France uses the same definitions as ISCED.

How specific cases – such as home-educated children/learners – are considered

If parents provide home education, the children are not taken into account in the statistics. If children at home follow correspondence courses, they are part of the annual survey.

Children/learners who are considered out of formal education (meaning those not in formal education as defined by ISCED)

There are no sources about children/learners out of formal education.

How the population of children/learners who are out of formal education is defined

They are probably out of any form of provision.


Provision of data on private sector education

The data collection covers all sectors of education, including numbers for the child/learner population in the private sector.

Private sector education in the country

Most private schools are financed by public funds. They are placed under the authority of the Ministry of National Education. Separate special schools are placed under the authority of the Ministry of Health. They can be public or non-profit organisations, but most of the teachers in those schools are paid by and answerable to the Ministry of Education.

Child/learner population counted for each relevant question

Public and private schools have the same obligations for data reporting.

Specific issues with providing data on private sector education and how these have been overcome in the data collection

There are no specific issues.


ISCED level age ranges

The following are the most common (pre)school entrance ages and (pre)school leaving ages for the different ISCED levels:

Age range in the country at ISCED level 02 (pre-primary): 3 to 5

Age range in the country at ISCED level 1: 6 to 10

Age range in the country at ISCED level 2: 11 to 14

Age range in the country at ISCED level 3: 15 to 17



Additional remarks, comments or explanations on the country background information

The different ISCED levels (02, 1, 2, 3) include children/learners in separate special schools, regardless of their age, up to 21 years old. They are counted according to their competence level.


2012/2013 and 2014/2015 data background information

This country updated its background information for the 2016/2017 dataset. A PDF of the background information for the 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 datasets is available.

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