Make sense of... French private schools

Image by Perry Taylor: teacher and pupils

Private schooling is increasingly popular in France but bears little resemblance to the UK

Private schooling is more common in France than the UK but most ‘private’ French schools are in fact heavily state-subsidised and far more affordable than their British counterparts.

An estimated 17% of children are schooled privately in France but most go to sous contrat schools. These schools follow a national curriculum and, even if they have a religious ethos (many are Catholic), they must avoid overt ‘proselytism’ and not select on religious grounds.

They are different to the much smaller number of ‘completely private’ – hors contrat - schools which include ‘international schools’ offering teaching in English and studies for the International Bacca­lauréat. At the International School of Nice, for example, fees depending on age (not including meals, after-school activities or boarding) range from €11,000 to €18,000 a year.

On the other hand sous contrat school fees are often ...

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