Educating future stars of sport, stage and art

Promising volleyball player Romane Zillhardt trains for four hours a day as part of her daily school routine

Options are available for children who show an aptitude for, or interest in, sport, music, art, dance or theatre, Jane Hanks learns

If your child has an interest or gift in sport or the arts there are state schools where they can mix normal school work with additional lessons in their specialist subject.

Some 2,000 secondary school collèges and a smaller number of lycées have a section sportive (you may also hear them called sport-études) and they cover about 90 sports.

Many specialise in football – there are 615 across the country that focus on “the beautiful game”, followed by 281 in handball and 218 in rugby.

Others teach swimming, tennis, gymnastics and skiing, while two schools are specialists in squash and one in boxing. Four schools have a sports section for disabled pupils.

Pupils follow the same mainstream lessons as everyone else in the country but with an extra three to eight hours of sport a week, plus competitions at weekends or in the evenings. This is on top of EPS sports lessons written into the timetable for all pupils.

It is difficult to get a place, however, as they are popular and accept only between 15 and 20 in each class. Students must have ...

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