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What kind of school in France is best for my kids?

Examples of these schools are the Ecole Massillon, a Catholic school in Paris which has British and German sections that run all the way from the last year of nursery through to the end of the lycée, and the Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel in Paris which also has a branch in Lille.

Sara Pax, who’s originally from the UK but spent decades in the US, decided to put her daughter in a semi-private bilingual school, Ecole International Bilingue Monceau (EIB) in Paris.

“I really wanted (my daughter) to get a solid education in French. I also wanted her to speak English well enough that she could go back to live and work in the States,” Pax said. 

Again, these schools are highly sought-after and there is generally an entrance exam so if you want your child to attend one of them, it’s best to get in early. And again you’ll have to think about moving house if you are already in France.

Other private schools receive no state subsidies and are free to follow their own independent curriculum. They are called “hors contrat” and are obviously much more expensive.

One example is the British School of Paris in Croissy-sur-Seine to the west of the capital, which follows the British Curriculum.

Parents who may only be in France for a set amount of time often choose this option.

(Photo: International School of Paris)

That’s the option UK expat Nikki Wilson went for.

For her, it was purely practical to enroll her boys in the British School of Paris, where lessons are taught in English. Her family came over to France for her husband’s job, and knew they wouldn’t be staying long term

“The boys were too old to start their education in France,” she said of her two teenage sons. “We didn’t know when we were going back. So we needed to able to slip back into the British education system.”

Also, the boys don’t speak French: “It’s just a matter of practicality. If you had to learn physics and chemistry in another language you wouldn’t understand and it wouldn’t be too much fun.”

International schools generally have a much higher number of children from international parents enrolled in them. So you will be well and truly surrounded by other international parents, which may be an advantage although you might feel less integrated in French life.

Other examples of these schools in Paris are the bilingual “Cours Molière” in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, the American School of Paris in Saint-Cloud to the west of Paris and the International School of Paris, under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, which has built a new campus and believes it will benefit from the “Brexodus” of people whose jobs move from the UK to France after Brexit.

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