Schoolboys in France, our take!

This is an older post that believe good to update and hoping it serve as a base to research any family with young children moving to France at minimum perhaps Europe. This is our story of our boys going to school here. Read on, it might be interesting for you too. Any comments are welcome on the schoolboys in France, our take!!!

This is my 18th year living here and 21th as citizen of France. Basically, broken down evenly now between the Yvelines 78 (ïle de France), and the Morbihan 56 (Bretagne).  One subject dear to me and the family I have not touch in my blog yet, and its about time, is the question of schooling for the kids. I have 3 boys now young men. When I first had the idea from my dear late wife Martine (French native of Meaux ,Seine-et-Marne 77, ïle de France), the first thing we thought was the schooling for the boys. Back in the previous old home of Florida there were in A rated schools by the school system there so we wanted to stay the same in France.

We went out and spoked with the French family on the schooling and was a bit surprise of the strict ruling as compare to what we knew. Also, the easy school days as they are no substitute teachers here, and kids are sent home. The homework was constant every day! In all subjects! Mind you our boys already spoked French and even their grades were better than the average on first go! And this of course, was a huge advantage.

We did not want to just listen to the  French family here so we went out to the French-American community in and around Paris (there is an estimated 100K Americans living in France most around Paris) . By doing this approach we were directed first to the  AAWE organisation or the Association of American Wives of Europeans. They published a book detailing the differences and equalities of the US and French educational systems that was invaluable. Their webpage:  https://www.aaweparis.org/

The landing was easy ,soft and we found out our boys were getting good notes from the start. Due in fact for the training at home with the mother, an import/export custom agent who was very good of grammar , an important subject in French schools. We were told of sending them to private school and there were good one near us in Saint Germain en Laye and Versailles. However, I was a product of public schools and did well with high notes at university (Dean’s list and Honor Roll student) so figure to put them as well in public schools here.

We got in and found out the schools ;free public schools were better in the smaller towns in Yvelines. I end up sending them to the town of Verneuil-sur-Seine and the collége John Zay was super and the staff always gave us compliments of our boys. It was a nice trip for them fully enjoyed with the bus and train as it is usual here. It gives you freedom. Here all 3 boys came together to the college is like a middle school back in the USA fyi. The school webpage: http://www.clg-zay-verneuil.ac-versailles.fr/spip.php?rubrique127

Then, came the Lycée or high school Blanche de Castille in the nearer town of Le Chesnay (now call Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt) semi private this time.  It was fantastic! Very high ranking on passing BAC tests here! We really enjoy it and the nearby Bel Air castle complex with many friends meeting on the park, and a miniature statue of the Eiffel tower! The bus system was the same as the one in Versailles so very convenient and the boys love it so did we! The school webpage: https://www.blanche-de-castille.fr/lycee-blanche

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Then came big decisions. The university system here as compare to the USA is very weak, but practically free. The ones we saw near us were about 500 euros per year! Most of the best jobs are had in the Grande Ecoles and they are like Ivy league schools ,very expensive. I had experience with universities and my skills were home grown , not too positive about universities; I think they are just business. My opinion of course. Therefore, I told my boys to choose: univ or special technical schools that provide a skill and a job. They chose the later one!

My boys were split with my twins going into specialized schools in gardening, building/ plumbing, and wood work which gave them job experiences . France does not have a system of funnelling the students into jobs so the youth unemployment is very high ; according to the EU is 17.1% as of May 5th 2021, but France is at 19,5% .The young spent a lot of time in interim, training jobs for long periods and unemployment until finally with lots of work experience they can land a permanent job. They are now on permanent job for the older and still interim for the twin boys.

My oldest boy, went to commercial business school , very good CFA Affida at La Verriére 78 Yvelines.  There he got his commerce training as he wanted to go into Sales and did had the chance to work at the Chateau de Versailles and the gift stores across from the rive gauche château train station in Versailles. Moving over to Bretagne, he went to the IBEP Vannes. Got his driving license and found a permanent job in Vannes!

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For info the CFA Affida school webpage: https://www.affida.fr/le-cfa-affida/qui-sommes-nous

The IBEP school webpage: https://www.ibepformation.fr/qui-sommes-nous/centres-de-formation/centre-de-formation-vannes/

My twins finished off their studies at the high school or Lycée Kerplouz LaSalle in Auray, where they work on certificates in gardening and buildings which allows them to get several interim jobs all over the Morbihan dept 56 and received an allocation something like a support for return to full time employment and continue to be on call for more jobs until finally get their permanent one. This is after graduation, they are assigned a counselor who works with the local Mission Locale house that help and guide youngsters to the job market. Its ok they get to choose missions all over from Vannes, Crac”h, Pontivy, Val d’Oust (old le roc st andré), and Auray. They are provided help on transporation, lodging, and food. The school webpage: https://www.kerplouz.com/informations/informations-generales-et-tarifs/

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The life here is nice and friendly but the will to excel is a bit behind. If you have experience then coming will be no problems I found mine before arriving for a big CAC 40 company  (sort of dow jones )in management and even went to top management now in the process of retirement June 2021. However, for the young, inexperience, its an uphill battle. Of course, if  want to continue to university, there is another battle with housing, transportation, acceptance, etc and parents help. This is something I got away with!

Hope it gives you another look on France from a worldly person and experiences on both sides of the pond!  Schools included!!  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

One Comment to “Schoolboys in France, our take!”

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