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Enrolling your children in a French or international school

In France, school is compulsory for children between 6 and 16, regardless of their nationality. Public schools are free. Most children aged between 3 and 5 attend nursery school.

How can I enroll my children in a French school?

To enroll your children in school, you have to go to the city hall with the following documents:

  • your child’s valid passport,
  • his/her birth certificate translated into French by a certified translator,
  • his/her health record: to enroll in the French education system, your child must be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis ("DT-Polio"),
  • a proof of residence (lease, rent receipt or an electricity bill).

If there are several public schools in your city of residence, you will be told at the city hall which school your child must go to. If you want to enroll your children in another school, you will need to fill in an application at the city hall.

Once you have enrolled your child, the city hall issues a certificate. In order to complete the enrollment, you will then have to go the school with this certificate.

Nursery school ("école maternelle")

From age 3, your child can go to nursery school. It is optional. However, in France, most children between 3 and 5 attend nursery school.

Primary school ("école primaire")

From age 6, school is compulsory in France. During the year they turn 6, all children must be enrolled in an elementary school before the start of the school year (usually in September).

Secondary school ("collège")

Secondary school is mandatory for any teenager between 11 and 15. To enroll your children, go directly to the school they are assigned to. To learn more about secondary school, visit the regional education authority website.

High school ("lycée")

Teenagers between 15 and 18 can attend high schools that offer either a general education leading to the baccalaureate or various vocational programs. To find out more about high school, visit the regional education authority website.

International schools

Here is a list of some of the region’s international schools if you want to enroll your children in a multilingual school:

Please note that some of these schools require entrance exams and some of them charge tuition.

After school options

Collective childcare: recreational centers and child-minding facilities
Outside school hours, recreational centers and child-minding facilities organize leisure activities for children. Before and after school, your child can be taken care of in the nursery school facilities. Every Wednesday and every day during school breaks, your child can go to a recreational center all day.

Individual childcare: Certified child minders ("assistantes maternelles") or nannies ("nourrices") looking after your child at home
Your child can be taken care of by a certified child minder before and after school. You can also hire a nanny who works directly at your house. If your child is under 6 you may be entitled to receive financial support from the “Caisse d’Allocations Familiales” (Family Allowance Fund).

To find more information on the schooling system in France, visit the French Entrée website (in English) or the Public Services website (in French).