France - Country Background Information

Describing the forms of education in the country

The EASIE data collection covers all recognised forms of education at ISCED levels 02, 1, 2 and 3.

This means any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector: municipality, local or regional educational provider from the public or private sector, working with/for ministries responsible for education and areas such as health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.

What is the compulsory education age range in the country?

Since the start of the 2019 school year, education is compulsory for all children, French and foreign, aged 3–16 (article L131-1 of the Education Code). Compulsory education is provided in public or private schools. It may also be provided within the family.

Upcoming changes:

  • Starting in the 2020–2021 school year, training will be compulsory for young people aged 16 to 18 (Article L 114-1 of the Education Code). Young minors who have dropped out of school without any qualifications and those who graduated and are not in employment, education, or training will be obliged to take training.
  • Starting in the 2021–2022 school year, home schooling will be provided by way of derogation only.

What are the typical age ranges for the ISCED levels?

3–5 6–10 11–14 15–17
Is private sector education covered by the data provided for the country?

Most private schools are financed by public funds. They are placed under the authority of the Ministry of National Education. Education is provided in accordance with the rules and school curricula of the national education system.

Is recognised public or private education organised by sectors other than education (i.e. health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.) in the data provided for the country?

The Ministry of Agriculture also provides vocational education at the lower- and upper-secondary levels. Learners enrolled in schools under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture are considered as being schooled in mainstream education.

When deemed necessary, children with a disability and ill children can be schooled in separate special schools or units placed under the authority of the Ministry of Health. Such schools or units 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.

Are there recognised forms of alternative education covered by the data provided for the country?
Are there recognised forms of home schooling covered by the data provided for the country?

If parents provide home education, the children are not taken into account in the statistics. If children at home follow correspondence courses with the CNED (Centre national d'enseignement à distance, French national centre for distance learning), they are part of the annual survey. Disaggregated data on children in a recognised form of distance learning are only available for children with a disability.

Identifying an ‘inclusive setting’ in the country

In the EASIE data collection, an inclusive setting is operationally defined as:

A recognised form of education where the child/learner follows education in mainstream classes alongside their peers for the largest part – 80% or more – of the school week.

The 80% time placement benchmark clearly indicates that a child/learner is educated in a mainstream class for the majority of their school week. At the same time, it acknowledges possibilities for small group or one-to-one withdrawal for limited periods of time (i.e. 20% or one day a week).

Very few participating countries can provide exact data on children/learners spending 80% of their time in a mainstream group/class. However, all countries can apply one of three agreed proxies that provide an approximation to this benchmark:

  • Placement in a mainstream class implies over 80% or more
  • Data is available on the number of hours of support allocated to a child/learner
  • Placement in a mainstream class implies over 50% or more.
Are you able to provide actual data to verify the 80% placement benchmark?
If no, which proxy are you using
Placement in a mainstream class implies 80% or more
What an ‘official decision of SEN’ means in the country

In the EASIE data collection, the agreed operational definition is:

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

Countries may have different types of official decision, but for all official decisions:

  • There has been some form of educational assessment procedure involving different people. This procedure may involve the child/learner, parents, school-based team members, as well as professionals from multi-disciplinary teams from outside the child’s/learner’s (pre-)school.
  • There is some form of legal document (plan/programme, etc.) that describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive, which is used as the basis for decision-making.
  • There is some form of regular review process of the child/learner’s needs, progress and support.
Please describe what an ‘official decision’ is in the country.

Data on learners with an official decision of SEN relate to learners with a disability. According to The Law 2005-102 of 11 February 2005 on equal rights and opportunities:

'A disability is any limitation of activity or restriction of participation in society suffered by a person in his/her environment due to a substantial, lasting or permanent impairment of one or more physical, sensory, mental, cognitive or psychological functions, a multiple disability or a disabling health disorder.'

What educational assessment procedures are carried out and who is involved?

If learners with SEN have (or potentially have) a disability, their family approaches the département-based centres for people with disabilities (maison départementale des personnes handicapées (MDPH), one for each French département).

A multi-disciplinary team of the MDPH evaluates the child’s educational needs, proposes annual goals and determines syllabus modifications, examination accommodations. It also notifies schooling modalities (i.e. schooling in a mainstream class, schooling with the support of a ULIS facility, schooling in a special unit or school organised by the Ministry of Health, etc.), human help and external support provision 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 reference teacher, an occupational integration instructor and a primary or secondary teacher, according to the level of the child/learner.

What formal, regular review processes of a child/learner’s needs, progress and support are linked to an official decision?

The education monitoring team meets at least once a year to assess the Individual Education Plan and its implementation. This evaluation makes it possible to measure the adequacy of the means implemented to meet the learner’s needs. In both mainstream and special education, the school head teacher and any health professional supporting the child’s schooling can participate in the education monitoring team. The team includes the children or their parents, as well as the learner’s referent teacher responsible for implementing the Individual Education Plan.

What ‘out-of-education’ means in the country

Within the EASIE data collection, specific questions examine children/learners who are out of education. This means children/learners who should, by law, be in some form of recognised education, but who are out of any form of recognised education. A recognised form of education is any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector.

Is there a formal definition of ‘out-of-education’ in the country?
Please describe which learners are considered ‘out-of-education’ in the country

Children out of any form of education provision. No data is collected/available on out-of-education children.