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Living in Auvergne
You are about to start living in Auvergne and you are looking for a primary, secondary or high school, University or other further education establishment for your children? Here is some useful information.


School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. This requirement covers both primary school (ecole elementaire) and lower secondary school (college).

Nursery schools

Nursery schools (ecoles maternelles) are the only educational establishments that all children aged over two years on the first day of term may attend. The percentage of children attending nursery schools is higher in France than in any other European country, except Belgium; it ranges from 34% for two-year-olds to 100% for five-year-olds.

Attendance is optional but it is strongly recommended that children attend regularly so that they can adjust better to being with other children and draw the maximum benefit from this first experience of school. Attendance at public institutions (which represent 85% of all the establishments) is free of charge. The remaining 15% is mostly made up of denominational or non-State (private) institutions, which receive State and/or regional support and financial contributions from the individual families.

The children are generally divided by age into three sections: lower, middle and upper. This division is flexible in order to take account of the different learning rates and degrees of maturity of the various children and the skills they have acquired. The teaching team, in consultation with parents, can choose to place a child in the section that best suits his or her needs, even if it does not precisely correspond to the child's age.

Primary School

Primary education lasts five years from the age of 6 to the age of 11. It is offered by "ecoles elementaires or ecoles primaires" (6-11 years). These primary schools are run and financed by the local authorities. All compulsory schooling is provided free of charge. The cost of books and other teaching material used by all the children is often borne by the local authorities in the case of primary schools.

Secondary School

Education at a college extends over four years. At the end of this cycle, pupils are awarded, after passing an examination, the national certificate or diploma (brevet) depending on the type of schooling followed.

Higher Secondary Education

Higher secondary education is divided into two streams: general and technological education, and vocational education.

  • General and technological education extends over three years (second, first and final [terminale]), culminating in the general and technological baccalaureat - the national school-leaving certificate that gives access to higher education.
  • "Enseignement professionnel" aims to provide young people at secondary-school level with qualified vocational training. Initial vocational training nowadays comes in two varieties, corresponding to the two approaches to the diplomas in question: pupils can choose between training as a student in a vocational lycee or partially work-based training (apprentissage en alternance).

Higher Education

Higher education is characterised by a great variety of institutions. Organisation and admission vary according to the type of institution and the purpose of the education provided. Higher education institutions include:

  • Universities, which offer short courses (Baccalaureat + 2, first cycle) or long courses (Baccalaureat + 3 or more, second and third cycles);
  • Public or private colleges or institutes, which provide higher vocational education under the supervision of various ministries. This takes the form of short courses (technological, commercial or paramedical training etc.) or long courses of three or more years after the Baccalaureat (political science, engineering, commerce and management, veterinary science, notarial skills, architecture, telecommunications and art).
  • Post-baccalaureat courses are offered by general and technological lycees: classes preparatoires aux grandes ecoles (CPGE); higher technical sections (STS), which prepare students in two years for the brevet de technicien superieur (BTS).

The higher education establishments

The Auvergne offers higher education courses in many fields. In fact it has two Universities (the
University of Auvergne (www.u-clermont1.fr ) and Blaise Pascal University (www.univ-bpclermont.fr ) and seven Higher Schools of Engineering and Management:

For more information, ask the local authorities at your nearest town hall or find out more on the following French Websites:

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