An International Section is an optional curriculum available in four Parisian state schools: Camille Sée in the 15th arrondissement (south west), Montaigne in the 6th arrondissement (central – currently collège only), Voltaire (first year admissions 6ème in 2021), Balzac in the 17th arrondissement (north west) and Maurice Ravel in the 20th arrondissement (east). It offers a tuition-free bilingual education to English speaking pupils with 6-8 hours of English language and literature per week and up to four hours of history and geography in English.
Recognised by the French Education Ministry, the International Section prepares pupils to sit the OIB (option internationale du baccalauréat), a prestigious set of supplementary examinations that are part of the French baccalauréat at the end of their schooling. The British version of the OIB is an integrated Franco-British school-leaving certificate. There are two supplementary exams: one in English, one in History and Geography which are modelled on the British A-level exams. The OIB combines the breadth and rigour of the French baccalauréat with the extra subjects taught and examined in English to A Level standard, in a single certificate.
- It is jointly certified by University of Cambridge International Examinations and the French Ministry of Education.
- It makes academic and linguistic demands to an equal level in both English and French.
- It provides students with an internationally-recognised university entrance qualification. The OIB is regarded as a plus in applying for foreign universities as recruiters are aware of the extra workload that it involves and see it as evidence of diligence and an appetite for hard work. However, some universities still ask for English language proficiency tests for proof of language level.
Pupils must be fully bilingual and capable of following a demanding academic programme comprising grade-level language study in both French and English. Successful students are both bilingual and bicultural, typically with at least one English-speaking parent. The programme is also open to French pupils and other nationalities who have lived in an English-speaking country or previously been enrolled in a bilingual programme.
A child can attend an international section for all or part of collège to consolidate his/her bilingualism, and then go on to a regular lycée and take any French baccalauréat — général, technologique, or professionnel. Most of our students stay on in the programme to complete an OIB.
It means that the children have mother-tongue or near-native competence in both English and French. The programme follows the normal French secondary school curriculum, plus additional hours for language and literature as well as history and geography taught in English. Children must be capable of speaking, reading, and writing in both English and French at a level expected of their peers in the UK and France. If you are not sure, ask yourself if your child would be capable of following an English or History class in the same year group in the UK or France.
For the 6ème test, allowances are made for the fact that many of the children entering will have come from a French primary school and focused day-to-day writing practice in English will not be part of their school schedule. (They are understanding about spelling.)
- English language instruction at grade level — i.e., native English literature and history and geography courses, and not English as a foreign language
- Validation of bilingual and bicultural heritage
- Upon successful completion of the OIB, A Level standard qualifications in English, which may facilitate acceptance into universities in English-speaking countries.
- Longer daily commute to and from school depending on where you live.
- About one hour per day (on average) in addition to the standard French curriculum, resulting in a longer school day.
- Potentially heavier homework load.
To be accepted for the International Section, a student must pass a written and oral test, designed to determine whether s/he is capable of following grade-level instruction in English.
As the International Section programme is demanding, and most pupils must travel some distance to school every day, teachers also review a child’s school reports to determine whether s/he is likely to be capable of managing the additional workload of the International Section. Not all of the students who apply to the programme have either the level of English or overall academic qualifications that the teachers look for when assessing which pupils they believe will be successful — and happy — in the programme.
For collège, the written test typically includes an extract from a work of children’s literature, followed by reading comprehension questions and a short essay. The oral component is an examination based on a text (given on the spot), such as a poem, a passage from a novel, or an article, followed by a ten-minute interview with the English teachers. Of course, each test is adapted accordingly to each age and year group.
The IS teachers will take into account the child’s record from their current school: their file is analysed in depth to assess if they are serious and motivated pupils.
The individual schools follow closely those students who have taken the test at their establishment but ultimately, the Rectorate controls the final selection.
It’s truly international – bicultural and bilingual – a fantastic mix of cultures and experiences: francophone families who have lived abroad and whose children have the required level of English from studying in an English speaking school system; children whose parents are native-English speakers but have lived in France for some years; families who have one French parent and another native-English speaker; and even, in a few cases, children with 2 native English speaking parents, and recently arrived in France. Most of the children in the Section have lived abroad or have had one English speaking parent at home.
Mrs Popa-Jones, the coordinator of the Section is British; Mrs Joubert is South African and Ms Okunhon spent her formative years in an American public school. All have extensive experience in teaching international and OIB classes, either in France or abroad. Our history and geography teachers are bilingual and also have extensive experience teaching international college and lycée students.
Class sizes vary according to demand, but do not usually exceed 28-30 pupils in collège. In lycée, up to 32 places can be given to each year.
There may be places available in several grade levels from 5ème through to Première, although this is not always guaranteed in any one given year, with the exception of 6ème. However, it is definitely worth applying if your child is bilingual and would benefit from native English teaching. The school tries and welcomes as many students as possible but the number of spaces available will vary from year to year.
For lycée, there are usually more places available in 2nde – there is naturally some movement in this class as some students in 3ème decide that they don’t want to study Shakespeare for their baccalaureate! The Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) involves an increased workload and is not for everyone. Also, owing to the new reforms, all the students, including those who are already in the section are now assessed (alongside new applicants) to enter the lycée.
Students benefit from a selective and rigorous bilingual programme but there are a range of opportunities outside the classroom for them to expand their skills and experiences. Lunchtime clubs include the choir, Debate Club, Theatre Club and the International Section Yearbook. The Association Sportive offers numerous sports activities, mainly on Wednesday afternoons, such as swimming, table-tennis, climbing, futsal and fitness/hip hop. IS students also regularly participate in Paris-wide competitions including Poetry by Heart, the YAFF creative writing competition and the French Debating Association high school tournament. The teachers work hard to find projects which will encourage the students to work in groups and be given the opportunity to speak in front of an audience. For example, for the past three consecutive years, the Beauville Arts group has been invited to the school to work with the 5ème and 6ème classes to stage the musicals Oliver Twist, Matilda and Mary Poppins.
Many teachers organize visits to exhibitions, performances and other educational activities in Paris. Past years’ outings have included creative writing at Festival America and the Salon du Livre de Jeunesse, a US presidential debate, the Oscar Wilde and Colour Line exhibitions, theatre trips and volunteering projects. International Section teachers also regularly organise trips. Over recent years students have visited England (London, Stratford, Bath), Scotland and Ireland.
In 2020, outings included:
- Musicals and Opera: Wonderland, 42nd Street, The Barber of Seville, An American in Paris, Westside Story, Saul
- DC Superheroes Comic Books, Aardman Studios, Musée Arts Ludiques
- Theatre: The Hound of the Baskervilles / The Importance of Being Earnest / Dracula
- Shakespeare in the Park : Much Ado about Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear
- Globe Theatre workshop
- The American Library : A scavenger hunt
- Tolkien exhibition at the BNF
- Festival America, Vincennes
All 5e students at Collège Camille Sée have the opportunity to participate in a week-long classe découverte in the Lozère region of France each year.
Yes! In the past, one has been able to attend the annual Open House, typically held on a Saturday morning between January and March. Faculty, administration, parents, and current students are on hand to present the International Section and answer questions. No registration is necessary. In 2021, a virtual open day was held in March and we hope open days will be able to resume in person in 2022.
In the past four years, we have seen the following results:
2017 100% success, 92% mention and 33% mention très bien
2018 100% success, 66% mention très bien and 20% mention bien
2019 100% success, all students received a mention and 46% mention très bien
2020 100% success, 34% mention très bien, 38% mention bien
In collège no – the IS class stays together for all classes, apart from some mixing for the additional language options as of 5ème (Spanish, Italian, Latin, and later Greek)
In lycée, the IS classes are only together for the subjects taught in English.
Yes – there is a dedicated debating club for SI students and Camille Sée participates in Model United Nations. The school also has a francophone debate club run by students from HEC/ Sciences Po.
Some class projects involve creative work & plays. Most years 6e & 5e students have done an intensive 2 days musical theatre workshop and performance with an external anglophone theatre company that has come in especially for this. The school also has a theatre club for lycéens that does bi-annual performances (mostly in French).
Are newly arrived IS students welcomed separately and supported especially at the beginning of term?
The International Section at Cité Scolaire Camille Sée is part of the French state school system and so there are no tuition fees. That said, families do pay for minor costs of the novels studied in the year and the outings here and there.
The school day for the International Section is an average of one hour longer and there is a heavier homework load. You should consider what the daily commute to and from school will be, taking into account the children start at 8am on some days and could end as late as 5:30pm. Some IS children at Camille Sée commute from the 10th arrondissement each day and are flourishing. However, your decision has to be based on what school you respond to most positively and what you think your child can manage. It is a good idea to visit the school on the Open Day if possible.
The schools offer the same program and assess the children on the same criteria. Assignment to one establishment rather than another is based on their testing score. The Rectorate does take into account personal preference and do their best to place the child at the school the family has chosen. Pupils who achieve the highest overall marks should obtain their first choice.
As the OIB is in continual assessment in 1er and Terminale, it’s not possible to admit a child for the last year of lycée.
All pupils wishing to join the International Section should submit an application form by the end of March and sit the entrance exam in early May.
All pupils wishing to join the International Section should submit an application on the Rectorat website : http://www.ac-paris.fr/parents-eleves
The school is no longer able to test or accept children outside the fixed testing dates.
The school receives many enquiries from parents at the beginning of the school year who have missed the application dates and hoping there may be some flexibility in the system but this is simply not the case. The application process is controlled by the Rectorate and the testing dates are fixed.
The only exception might be where there are school year differences such as the Australian system but even in this case, the decision would be made by the Rectorate.
6/7 hours of English as an academic subject for the first time. The pupils follow the Key Stage 3 curriculum working on exactly the same topics as they would if they were in the UK. In English we tend to study one novel or play per six week term and add in other works of literature like poems and stories, or grammar points and functional writing that cover the same theme. Examples of class novels: 6ème: Matilda, by Roald Dahl, 5ème: Boy, by Roald Dahl, 4ème: To Kill a Mockingbird, 3ème: The Call of the Wild and Great Expectations, as well as Shakespeare (Macbeth) and poetry.
In 1ère and Terminale, the IS follows the official Cambridge OIB programme for English.
In History and Geography, the syllabus for collège aims to develop the students’ analysis skills. There are additional case studies on topics, areas and events needed for a better knowledge and understanding of the British world. Topics from the French curriculum requested by the Ministère de l’Education Nationale are followed, combined with the English KS 3 & 4 syllabus.
In lycée, the students prepare the Baccalauréat Option Internationale Britannique in three years. The OIB History Geography exam assesses both the French and the British curriculum, combining the breadth and rigour of the French baccalauréat and examined in English to A Level diploma standard, in a single certificate.
French Education Nationale and Cambridge inspectors work closely to establish several topics to be studied in class during Première and Terminale years, that will be assessed during both the written and oral examinations at the end of Terminale.
More information can be found on the official website (in French): http://www.education.gouv.fr/pid25535/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=73092
College: 6/7 hours in English and 2 to 4 hours of History and Geography in English
Seconde: 7 hours of English + 4,5 hours of History/Geography in English
Première: 6 hours of English + 2 to 4 hours of History/ Geography in English
Terminale: 6 hours of English + 2 to 4 hours of History/Geography in English
Options are not limited in the International Section: the students preparing for the OIB attend the same classes as those students taking the French baccalauréat program but with additional hours in English, History and Geography.
Although it’s a state school, the test has to be taken by every candidate: it’s the same process for each school in the Paris sector with an English Section. All these Sections are oversubscribed and as demand exceeds the number of places available so this is perceived as the only fair way of assessing which child is awarded a place. However, Camille Sée does endeavour to accommodate all children with the right academic level and language proficiency.
Camille Sée offers a class for non-francophone children arriving from abroad who do not speak French. Some children in the Section have made the transition into the International Section once they have improved their French. However, the transition from the UPE2A class to the International Section cannot be guaranteed: it would depend upon the student’s academic level overall and the number of spaces in the International Section available in the year group for which they would be applying. They would have to take the test to make the transition to the International Section.
In order to get placed in one of these sections, they would need to take an exam through the CASNAV office.
There are a number of collèges around the city that have UPE2A classes for newly arrived students. Students are placed in a program based on the collège that is nearest to their residence and it is not possible to request a specific school.
Once a student has been placed in a UPE2A class (or NF as it is called at Camille See) they would start in a class with students who are all new arrivals in France. Little by little they would be integrated into regular classes until they eventually are fully assimilated into a regular program. The goal is to have all students fully integrated into the general section after one year, although this may depend upon the individual child’s ability to reach the required level of French.
The school is not permitted to publish previous papers but we are happy to furnish you with current book lists from each year group.
The school nurse will assess your child but there are no additional special needs teachers or resources allocated to the Section to help students who are struggling with orthographic processing.
No, priority is not given to students who already have a sibling in the school. All applicants must take the entrance exam and places are offered based on test results and availability.
All applications for the International Section are to be completed online. Please refer to the school website for more details: https://www.ac-paris.fr/serail/jcms/s1_2627982/fr/deposer-en-ligne-un-dossier-de-candidature-tous-niveaux-6e-tle-pour-la-rentree-2021
The application process must be undertaken by those applying externally and existing students in 3ème Camille Sée pupils wishing to make the transition into lycée.
Application deadline 2021: April 2nd
Dérogation secteur géographique
Written test 2021: May 5th
Oral tests 2021: early May
Results 2021: mid-June for collège and June 30th for the Lycée from the Rectorat de Paris
The written and oral tests are undertaken on separate days (usually within the same week and often in early May). If Camille Sée is your first choice, the tests take place at Collège-Lycée Camille Sée, 11 rue Léon Lhermitte, 75015 Paris.
For candidates who live abroad and are unable to take the test at the school, it’s possible to take a ‘test à distance’. You should complete the document attached to the application form. If your child attends a lycée français abroad, you will be requested to name someone to supervise the test connected to the school. If it’s an English-speaking (or other) school, whether state or private, you will need to contact the Consulate, the Embassy or the Alliance Française and then provide the name of a referee who will be responsible for overseeing this exam.
If your child attends a private school or is in another state school system outside France, in addition to the English test, they will also have to take a test organised by CASNAV to test their proficiency in French and Maths. See this website (in French) for more information: https://www.ac-paris.fr/portail/jcms/p1_1951835/nous-contacter
Can families schedule an appointment by phone or in person with the Coordinator of the International Section?
Unfortunately, owing to the Section Coordinator’s teaching commitments (which straddle both college and lycée) and supervision of the application assessments, she is unable to schedule any appointments with families outside the school.
Camille Sée is located at 11, rue Léon Lhermitte, 75015 Paris. It is metro accessible via lines 6 (Cambronne), 8 (Commerce), and 12 (Vaugirard). Buses 39, 70, 80, and 88 are all within a block of the school. You can also contact parents with children in the International Section by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the email address of the parent delegates for the International Section who are happy to help answer any questions.
Firstly, it’s useful to read the following:
You will be asked to provide on the Rectorat website : http://www.ac-paris.fr/parents-eleves
1.The child’s results + reports for the current and previous years
For each subject, each year and each term (or semester) you must give:
- Your child’s average
- The overall class average
- The lowest average grade in the class
- The highest average grade in the class
If your child is in a school abroad, the academic records (current grades and reports) can be submitted in English; for other languages the Rectorate will need an official translation.
2. Photocopy of the ‘livret de famille’ or birth certificate
3. The custody certificate if you are divorced.
4. Two proofs of a Paris or Paris suburb address (tax, insurance etc).
Please note, if you are relocating and do not yet have a fixed address, it’s advisable to find a friend or relative who would be able to give you a letter attesting to temporary residence. Any work contract showing proof of your relocation to Paris would also be useful. All correspondence concerning the application from the Rectorate will be directed to this Paris address and not an overseas address. Of course, once you have settled in France, this address can be updated.
5. Your school choices
As requested on the application form, you must indicate your first choice of school, but it is strongly recommended to provide your second and third choices. If your first choice is oversubscribed, your child may be allocated a place in one of the other Parisian schools which offer the same IS curriculum.
Assignment to one establishment rather than another is based on the child’s final test score. Pupils who achieve the highest overall marks should obtain their first choice.
6. Transport time and means from home to school.
This information is non-discriminatory: the recruitment in international sections is inter-academic. Children living in the suburbs can apply.
7. The “Déclaration de pratique linguistique” (This can be downloaded from the page: https://www.ac-paris.fr/portail/jcms/p2_1996841/sections-internationales). You must complete the “Déclaration de pratique linguistique” form to inform the Rectorate about where and how your child has learnt English (or Italian for Italian SI). This enables the Rectorate (and school) to get a more complete picture of your child’s linguistic studies and assess their level accordingly.