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International schools in Paris (Ile de France): Info for expat parents

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Paris and its surrounding region (Ile de France) host numerous prestigious international bilingual schools. This expat parents' school guide will walk you through different educational programs, the school registration process, top international schools in the Paris region for expats, and essential tips and resources for expat parents in Paris. 

Overview of International School Educational Programs in Paris

International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs

The IB program (International Baccalaureate) is recognized for its rigorous academic curriculum and holistic approach. 

International schools in Paris offer three main International Baccalaureate (IB) programs:

  • Primary Years Programme (PYP): This program is for students aged 3 to 12 and focuses on the whole child's development.
  • Middle Years Programme (MYP): For students aged 11 to 16, emphasizing intellectual challenge and life skills.
  • Diploma Programme (DP): Preparing students aged 16 to 19 for university education and beyond.

International Baccalaureate schools in Paris:

  • International School of Paris (Paris 16th District)
  • Ecole Jeannine Manuel (Paris 15th District)
  • ICS Paris International School (Paris 15th District)
  • Ermitage International School (Maisons-Laffitte 78600, Ile de France)
  • Lab School Paris - Network | École Bilingue (Paris 11th District)
  • American School of Paris (Saint-Cloud 92210, Ile de France)

Advantages of International Baccalaureate (IB):

1. Global Recognition and University Readiness:
The IB diploma is highly respected by universities worldwide, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. It gives students an entry advantage and prepares them well for pursuing higher education in many countries.

2. Holistic Development:
The IB focuses on intellectual, personal, emotional, and social growth through a balanced curriculum, including core components like the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS).

3. Multilingualism and Cultural Awareness:
Students must study at least two languages, promoting communication skills and cultural understanding while fostering a diverse, international learning community.

explaining the American Programs

American Curriculum

Based on the American educational system, the American program often includes a wide range of AP (Advanced Placement) courses. Key components include:

  • Elementary School: Kindergarten to Grade 5.
  • Middle School: Grades 6 to 8.
  • High School: Grades 9 to 12, ending with a High School Diploma. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are often available for college-level studies.

International bilingual schools in Paris offering the American Program in Paris are:

  • American School of Paris - ASP (Saint-Cloud 92210, Ile de France)
  • Ecole Jeannine Manuel (Paris 15th District)
  • Notre Dame International High School Paris - American Boarding School in France (Verneuil-sur-Seine 78480, Ile de France)
  • Lennen Bilingual School (Paris 7th District)
  • American Section - Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Saint-Germain-en-Laye 78100, Ile de France)

Advantages of American Programs:

  • Flexibility in course selection.
  • Suitable for students planning to attend university in the United States.
  • Offers a wide array of extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and organizations

explaining the American Programs

Photo by EduAdvisor

British Curriculum (National Curriculum of England) 

Based on the National Curriculum for England, the British Program offers a structured and rigorous educational experience from early years to post-secondary levels, culminating in internationally recognized qualifications such as GCSEs and A-Levels. Key stages include:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): For children aged 3 to 5.
  • Key Stage 1 and 2 (Primary School): For children aged 5 to 11.
  • Key Stage 3 and 4 (Secondary School): For students aged 11 to 16, culminating in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams.
  • Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form): For students aged 16 to 18, leading to Advanced level (A-Level) exams.

Schools Offering the British Program in Paris:

  • British School of Paris - BSP (Croissy 78290, Ile de France) 
  • Malherbe International School (Le Vésinet 78110, Ile de France)
  • Kingsworth International School (Paris 16th district)
  • Open Sky International France (92100 Boulogne-Billancourt 92100, Ile de France)
  • British Section - Lycée International (Saint-Germain-en-Laye 78100, Ile de France)
  • Trillium International School (Marly-le-Roi 78160, Ile de France)
  • Rainbow School Paris (La Garenne-Colombes 92250, Ile de France)
  • SIS Paris Ouest (Sèvres 92310, Ile de France)
  • Forest International School Paris (78750 Mareil-Marly, Ile de France)
British School of Paris - BSP (Croissy 78290, Ile de France) 

British School of Paris - BSP (Croissy 78290, Ile de France) 

Advantages of British Programs:

  • Internationally Recognized Qualifications: GCSEs and A-Levels are highly regarded worldwide, facilitating access to universities globally.
  • Structured Learning Pathway: With clear key stages and qualifications, British Programs provide a structured educational journey, ensuring students progress systematically.
  • Strong Academic Foundation: British programs emphasize subject knowledge and critical thinking skills, fostering a rigorous academic environment conducive to intellectual growth.
  • Preparation for Higher Education: A-Levels offer specialized study in chosen subjects, preparing students for the demands of university-level education and enhancing their prospects for academic success.
  American Curriculum British Curriculum
Structure More flexible with wider range of courses and electives More structured, with a set curriculum followed by all schools
Testing and Assessment SAT and ACT IGCSE and A-levels
Teaching Style Interactive method with a lot of group work Traditional method through lecture and class discussion
Content Wider range of topics including language arts, social studies, math, science, humanities, and arts More emphasis on core subjects like math, science, and English
Global Perspective Focus on developing cultural awareness and understanding Focus on history and culture

Key Differences to Consider Between the American and British Curriculum

International School’s Registration Process in Paris

International schools in France have specific school admission processes, timetables, and document requirements. Here's a comprehensive guide to the Paris school admission for expat families in Paris:

International School Admission Timetable:

  1. Early Planning: Start researching schools at least a year in advance. Some schools have rolling admissions, but many have specific deadlines.
  2. Application Deadlines: Typically, applications are due between January and March for the following academic year. Check individual school websites for exact dates.
  3. Open Houses and Tours: Attend open houses or schedule tours in the fall or early winter to get a feel for the schools.
  4. Entrance Exams and Interviews: These usually happen between February and April.
  5. Admission Decisions: Most schools notify applicants of their decisions by April or May.
  6. Enrollment: Once accepted, you must confirm enrollment by paying a deposit and completing additional paperwork.

Documents Required for applying for an international school in France

  • Application Form: Completed and signed application form (available on the school's website).
  • Birth Certificate: A copy of the child's birth certificate.
  • Passport: A copy of the child's passport (and sometimes the parents' passports).
  • Previous School Records: Transcripts or report cards of the prior school (usually for the past 2-3 years).
  • Recommendation Letters: Letters from current teachers or school counselors.
  • Proof of Residence: Documentation proving your residence in Paris (utility bills, lease agreement, etc.).
  • Health Records: Immunization records and any other required health documentation.
  • Identity Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs of the child.
  • Application Fee: Payment of a non-refundable application fee.

Tips on Preparing for International School Registration in Paris

  • Research Thoroughly: Understand each school's curriculum, ethos, teaching languages, student composition, and extracurricular offerings to ensure they fit your child well.
  • Prepare Documents Early: Gather all necessary documents well in advance to avoid last-minute stress.
  • Entrance Exams: Some schools require entrance exams. Familiarize your child with the format and content of these exams. Consider hiring a tutor if needed.
  • Interviews: Practice common interview questions with your child. Ensure they are comfortable talking about their interests, experiences, and reasons for wanting to attend the school.
  • French Language Proficiency: If the school requires French proficiency, ensure your child meets the basic requirements. Consider enrolling them in French classes or getting a tutor if needed. Younger kids tend to pick up new languages quickly and can become fluent in French in a year or less. However, after about age 10 or 11, learning a new language often becomes harder. Also, starting in sixth grade, the workload and intensity of French instruction in the school system increase significantly, which can be challenging for kids who aren't fluent in French, but it's not impossible.
  • Stay Organized: Keep a checklist of application deadlines and required documents for each school applied.
  • Financial Planning: Know each school's tuition fees and other costs. Some schools offer scholarships or financial aid; inquire about these options if needed.

Additional Considerations

  • Visit the Schools: Whenever possible, visit the schools to get a firsthand impression. Meet with teachers, see the environment, and administrators to ask any specific questions you have.
  • Networking: Connect with other expatriate families and parents of current students to gain insights and advice.

students in International school

Costs and Tuition Fees for International Schools in the Paris Region

International schools in the Paris region offer a wide range of tuition fees and additional costs. Here's an overview to help you understand the financial aspects involved:

Range of Tuition Fees for International Schools in the Paris Region

Tuition fees for international schools in Paris vary widely based on the school's reputation, curriculum, facilities, boarding, or non-boarding. Here's a general breakdown:

  • Preschool (Nursery and Kindergarten): €7,000 to €34,020 per year.
  • Primary School (Grades 1-5): €10,000 to €39,235 annually.
  • Middle School (Grades 6-8): €15,000 to €39,235 annually.
  • High School (Grades 9-12): €20,000 to €39,910 annually.

Examples of specific schools:

  • International School of Paris: €24,300 to €36,750 per year.
  • British School of Paris: €20,082 to €33,073 per year.
  • American School of Paris: €21,270 to €39,910 per year.
  • Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye: Due to the region's support, fees are generally lower than those of other private international schools. They range from €1,739 to €5,232 per year.

Additional International Schooling Costs 

Beyond tuition, parents should consider the following additional expenses:

  • Transportation: Depending on the location and distance from the school, transportation costs (school buses or public transport passes) can range from €1,000 to €5,000 per year.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Fees for sports, arts, clubs, and other extracurricular activities can add €500 to €2,000 per year.
  • Uniforms: Many international schools require uniforms, costing between €300 and €800 per year.
  • School Supplies and Books: This can range from €200 to €500 annually.
  • Field Trips and Excursions: Trip costs can vary widely, typically from €100 to €5,000 per year, depending on the destination, the nature and frequency of the excursions.
  • Meals: School lunch programs, if not included in tuition, can cost €500 to €1,500 per year. If you can bring your own lunch, there's usually a small fee to use the cafeteria. Some schools in France let your child eat at home instead of paying for lunch, while others give you the choice of either paying for lunch or eating at home.

International school sports activities

Financing Options and Financial Support

To assist with the high costs, various financing options and financial supports are available:

  • Payment Plans: Many schools offer the option to pay tuition fees in installments, either monthly, quarterly, or three times rather than in a lump sum.
  • Corporate Sponsorships: Expatriate families relocating to Paris sometimes receive education allowances from their employers to cover the costs of international schooling.

Best International Schools in Paris and Ile de France 

Paris is home to several renowned international schools offering high-quality education with various curricula to cater to the diverse expatriate community. Here's a list of some of the best English-speaking schools in Paris:

International School of Paris (ISP)

ISP is a fully English-speaking International Baccalaureate (IB) World School located in the 16th district of Paris, offering programs for students aged 3 to 19 years old (Nursery - Grade 12):

  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) - PYP, MYP, DP.
  • Languages: English is the primary teaching language, with solid language support and opportunities to learn additional languages, including French and others like Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, etc.
  • The ratio of local students to international students is 1 : 3 (For every 1 local French student, there are 3 international students.)
  • Highlights: The ISP is highly regarded for its rigorous IB program, diverse student body, and strong academic results. It also offers state-of-the-art facilities and extensive extracurricular activities.
  • Yearly fees: from €24,300 to: €36,750
  • School bus: Yes, covering Paris' 7th, 8th, 15th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements and some nearby suburbs of Neuilly-sur-Seine and Boulogne-Billancourt.
  • Location: Central Paris, 16th arrondissement

- Nursery and Primary School: 96 bis, Rue du Ranelagh Paris 75016

- Middle School: 45, Rue Cortambert Paris 75116

- High School: 6 Rue Beethoven, Paris 75016 

International School of Paris (ISP) Paris 16th district

International School of Paris (ISP)

American School of Paris (ASP)

Located in the charming Paris western suburb of Saint Cloud, the American School of Paris (ASP) is a prestigious international school known for its comprehensive American-style education, founded in 1946. The schools offer a 100% English-speaking curriculum for students aged 3 to 18.

  • Curriculum: American (including AP courses) and International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Languages: The primary language of instruction is English, with extensive French language programs and other language offerings.
  • The ratio of local students to international students is 1 : 4 (For every 1 local French student, there are 4 international students)
  • Highlights: The ASP is known for its comprehensive American curriculum, intense community atmosphere, and excellent college admissions record. The school also provides a wide range of extracurricular activities and sports.
  • Yearly fees: from €21,270 to €39,910
  • Location: Saint-Cloud, western suburbs of Paris.
  • School Bus: Yes, covering the nearby suburbs and western Paris, including 7th, 8th, and 16th, for additional costs

American School of Paris (ASP) Saint Cloud

American School of Paris (ASP)

British School of Paris (BSP)

Located in Croissy-sur-Seine, a charming suburb west of Paris within the Yvelines department (14 kilometers/about 9 miles west of the center of Paris), the British School of Paris is one of the oldest and largest international schools in the Paris region. It is based on the British National Curriculum and offers programs for students aged 3 to 18.

Location of Croissy comparing to Paris

  • Curriculum: British National Curriculum for England, offering IGCSEs at the end of Key Stage 4 and A-levels in the Sixth Form
  • Languages: English is the primary instruction language, with solid French language programs and opportunities to learn other languages.
  • The ratio of local students to international students is 1 : 5 (For every 1 local French student, there are 5 international students)
  • Highlights: It offers a traditional British education emphasizing academics, sports, and the arts.
  • Yearly fees: from €20,082 to €33,073
  • School Bus: Yes, buses cover the center of Paris, including the 7th, 8th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements, and several Parisian western suburbs, such as Boulogne-Billancourt, Courbevoie, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Rueil-Malmaison, Saint-Cloud, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, etc.
  • Location: Croissy-sur-Seine, western suburbs of Paris

- The Senior School Campus (Ages 11 to 18): 38 Quai de l'Écluse 78290 Croissy France

- The Junior School Campus (Ages 3 to 11): 2 rue Hans List 78290 Croissy-sur-Seine France

British School of Paris (BSP) Croissy

British School of Paris (BSP)

Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Located in the charming Paris western suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the Yvelines department, approximately 19 kilometers (about 12 miles) west of the center of Paris, Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye is one of France's most prestigious international schools. Founded in 1952, it is known for its rigorous academic programs and multicultural environment for students aged 5 to 18.

Location of Saint-Germain-en-Laye comparing to Paris

  • Curriculum: Lycée International offers the French national curriculum enriched with international sections (American and British programs), leading to the French Baccalauréat and the International Option of the French Baccalauréat (OIB).
  • Languages: Instruction is primarily in French, but the school offers several international sections where instruction is in other languages
  • Highlights: It combines a French curriculum with bilingual education in multiple languages, including English, German, Spanish, and others. It is highly reputed for its academic excellence and multilingual education in Paris.
  • Yearly fees: from €1,739 to €5,232
  • Location: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, western suburbs of Paris (Yvelines).

Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

École Jeannine Manuel

École Jeannine Manuel, founded in 1954, is a prestigious French bilingual school located in central Paris's 15th district. It is known for its rigorous academic programs and emphasis on bilingualism and multiculturalism for students aged 3 to 18.  

  • Curriculum: Bilingual French-English, International Baccalaureate (IB) available.
  • Languages: The school's primary languages of instruction are French and English, with students expected to achieve high proficiency in both languages.
  • The ratio of local students to international students is 1 : 4 (For every 1 local French student, there are 4 international students)
  • Highlights: It is known for its bilingual curriculum and high academic standards. It offers many extracurricular activities and strongly focuses on developing global citizens.
  • Yearly fees: from €9,560 to €29,806
  • Location: Paris, 15th arrondissement.
    École Jeannine Manuel Paris 15th district

École Jeannine Manuel - Paris 15th district

Top French Schools in Paris for Expat Children

In addition to international schools, several French schools, private or public in Paris, are well-suited for expat families. These schools offer high-quality education, often with bilingual programs or exceptional support for non-French speaking students. Here are some notable French private schools in Paris:

Collège – Lycée Montaigne Section Internationale

The Collège —Lycée Montaigne is a prestigious public school in the 6th district of Paris known for its high academic standards and competitive entrance process. The school offers a French curriculum and international sections.

  • Curriculum:

- British international section (all levels)

- Polish international section (all levels)

- Portuguese international section (all levels)

  • Application and registration: To enroll at Lycée Montaigne in Paris, you must live in the 5th, 6th, 13th, and 14th arrondissements and undergo the *Affelnet procedure.
  • Ages: Secondary school (approximately ages 11-18)

*The Affelnet (Affectation des Élèves par le Net) procedure in France is a centralized online system that assigns middle school students to high schools based on their preferences, academic performance, geographic proximity, and other criteria. Students and parents list preferred high schools, and the system uses a points-based method to allocate placements fairly and transparently. This process aims to streamline and ensure equitable access to high school education.

Lycée international de Paris Honoré de Balzac

The Lycée International de Paris Honoré de Balzac is a prestigious French general public high school located in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. It offers the possibility of studying in an international section. It is renowned for its teaching of foreign languages, including Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic.

Lycée international de Paris Honoré de Balzac

Lycée international de Paris Honoré de Balzac

The school calendar in France

In France, the school year usually starts in early September and ends in late June, divided into three terms. The typical rhythm of school is 6 weeks of classes followed by a two-week vacation. Throughout the year, there are several holidays and breaks:

  • A two-week break in October
  • A two-week break around Christmas and New Year
  • A two-week break in February
  • Another two-week break in April

Specific dates for these breaks can vary slightly depending on the region and individual school schedules.

In France, primary schools have different schedules depending on the municipality. Some primary schools operate four full days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), while others have classes on these days plus a half-day on Wednesday. However, middle and high schools typically have classes five days a week.

Relocation to Paris: Resources and Tips for Expat Parents Navigating International Schools and Parenting

Parenting is a journey best shared, especially when navigating the complexities of raising children abroad as expat parents. Here are some great resources to connect with other parents and professionals to exchange advice about Expat education in Paris:

Facebook Groups

International Parents Network: Join this vibrant community where parents from around the world share their experiences and advice on everything from schooling to cultural adaptation.

Expats with Kids: Focused on expatriate families, this group offers support and insights for those far from home.

Paris Local Expat Parents Community Groups

  • Meetup: Discover local parent groups that organize regular meetups, playdates, and activities. These are beautiful ways to build a support network.
  • Message Paris: Message Paris is a diverse, supportive community of English-speaking families living in and around Paris. Its key goal is to help each other feel at home with families from 60 countries speaking over 20 other languages.
  • International Schools' PTAs (Parent-Teacher Association): Many international schools in Paris have active Parent-Teacher Associations, which provide an excellent platform for expat parents to connect and support each other. For example, the International School of Paris has its own PTA, which organizes various social activities and information sessions for parents throughout the year.

Event for parents and students

Online Forums and Communities

International Schools Database: https://www.international-schools-database.com/
It allows you to search for international schools based on location, curriculum, teaching language, tuition fees, and more.

Navigating the diverse educational options in Paris can be challenging. Still, Paris offers prestigious schools with English curricula tailored to expatriate families, whether you choose the IB programs or the American or British curriculum. For assistance in finding a furnished apartment for rent in Paris near your chosen international school, the Paris Rental Agency, with its multilingual team, is here to help, ensuring a seamless relocation to Paris. At the same time, you can focus on your child's education and well-being. 

Editor: Siyi CHEN

Credit photo @ Unsplash+

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