Back to school: the French schools network in the UK [fr]
This week, over 6,900 pupils are returning to lessons at French schools in the UK. So we thought it would be a good opportunity to provide an overview of the French schools network in London and beyond
An increased number of places in London since 2008
In 2007, London had seven schools, including just one secondary school (Lycée Charles de Gaulle).
In 2008, the French Embassy in the UK drew up its Schools Plan, in consultation with all stakeholders - in particular elected representatives, heads, teachers and parents - which enabled the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres (CFBL) to be built in 2011 and the Lycée international Winston Churchill in 2015. Two other private-initative schools have added to London’s French schools landscape: the Ecole internationale de Londres (EIFA) and the Ecole Jeannine Manuel.
The Plan’s initial target to create 1,500 new school places at French schools in the capital has been achieved by a wide margin, since more than 2,500 additional school places have been created at French schools in London.
Several bilingual sections have been set up, mainly in Greater London, supported by the Institut français in the UK, which is working to create other sections, particularly in east London.
London currently has 15 accredited French schools, catering for French and non-French children:
Lycée et collège Charles de Gaulle (LFCG)
Ecole primaire de South Kensington (LFCG)
Ecole primaire Marie d’Orliac (LFCG)
Ecole primaire André Malraux (LFCG)
Ecole primaire de Wix (LFCG)
Lycée International de Londres-LIL-Winston Churchill
Ecole Jeannine Manuel (accredited from nursery level to year 11)
Collège Français Bilingue de Londres - CFBL
Ecole française de Londres-Jacques Prévert
La Petite Ecole Française
L’école des Petits - Battersea
L’école des Petits - Fulham
Ecole le Hérisson
L’Ecole Internationale Franco-Bilingue-EIFA (School belonging to the Mission Laïque Française, MLF, accredited from nursery level to year six)
Among new developments in the 2019 autumn term, the Ecole Jeannine Manuel is now accredited (from pre-school to year 11) and the Lycée Churchill and Ecole Jeannine Manuel have gained IB accreditation, allowing them to offer the International Baccalaureate to their pupils.
A French presence extending beyond the UK capital
The French presence is not confined to London, as there are two schools outside the capital:
L’Ecole française de Bristol (accredited from nursery to reception level)
Ecole Total à Aberdeen (MLF school)
While some towns and cities have no French schools, many FLAM (Français LAngue Maternelle) schools exist across the UK – for example in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which host La Petite École d’Édimbourg and L’École Buissonnière de Glasgow respectively. Thanks to the Schools Plan, these voluntary organizations – which provide French language lessons to French-speaking or bilingual children going to British schools – have increased in number. There are currently 55 of them, taking in more than 4,250 children; this makes them the world’s largest FLAM network. They have clubbed together under the “FLAM umbrella” (http://www.parapluieflam.org/) and thus enjoy the support of the Agency for French Education Abroad.
Making education accessible to all
In addition to existing French schools, the French Embassy in the UK encourages the development of bilingual sections in the British system. Two schools in the UK today have been awarded the LabelFrancEducation quality seal (reinforced instruction in French - with at least 20% of the national curriculum taught in the language): Shaftesbury Park Primary School and Saint Jérôme Church of England Bilingual School.
For other accredited French schools, the parents of French children can apply for school bursaries from the French state, awarded on the basis of social criteria. The second phase of the 2019/2020 bursaries programme is under way. Applications can be made until 20 September 2019, by appointment only (appointments can be made two months prior to the desired date). For further information, please consult the French Consulate General in London’s website.
We wish everyone a happy school year!
Text by Lola Tiphagne.