Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

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.

Category: Introduction

Yes! This year, our annual Open House has been scheduled for Saturday 11 February 2023 at 09:30 a.m on the School premises. Faculty, administration, parents, and current students are on hand to present the International Section and answer questions. We encourage you and your child to attend!

Category: Introduction

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.

Attending the Open House is a great opportunity to meet the Coordinator and ask your questions. The next one will be  on Saturday February 11th 2023 at 09:30 a.m on the Camile See premises. You can also contact parents with children in the International Section by e-mailing CamilleSeeEnglishSection@gmail.com. This is the email address of the parent delegates for the International Section who are happy to help answer any questions.

 

Category: Introduction

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.

 

Category: Introduction

Located in the heart of the 15th arrondissement of Paris, the International Section (IS) at Cité Scolaire Camille Sée offers tuition free native English language instruction to bilingual students in a public, French middle (collège) and high school (lycée) setting. Created in 2011, there are seven classes – one in each year from 6ème up to Terminale. The IS prepares students for the Baccalauréat Français International (BFI).
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.

Category: Introduction

Choosing the Right School

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.)

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.

We organise welcome picnics before classes start, allowing new students (and their parents!) to meet future classmates before that first day. Parents are also available to talk to new families. Most support is via ASICS (the IS parents’ association) and parents in the school community.

The schools offer the same program and assess the children on the same criteria so you  should really make your decision based on the length of the commute. However, the Rectorate does take into account personal preference and does its best to place the child at the school the family has chosen.

Assignment to one establishment rather than another is based on their testing score. Pupils who achieve the highest overall marks should obtain their first choice.

 

 

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.

https://www.ac-paris.fr/accueil-inscription-et-scolarisation-des-eleves-nouvellement-arrives-en-france-122794

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 Camile Sée) 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 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.

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 that 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.

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 one English speaking parent at home.

Yes! Anyone can apply, regardless of how close they live to the school. However, please take into consideration the length of your child’s commute.

We organise welcome picnics before classes start, allowing new students (and their parents!) to meet future classmates before that first day. Parents are also available to talk to new families. Most support is via ASICS (the IS parents’ association) and parents in the school community.

English is not taught as a foreign language in the International Section and students must be fully bilingual and capable of following a demanding academic programme in both French and English.

Pros & Cons

  • English language instruction at grade level — i.e., native English literature and history and geography courses, and not English as a foreign languag
  • Validation of bilingual and bicultural heritage
  • Upon successful completion of the BFI, A Level standard qualifications in English, which may facilitate acceptance into universities in English-speaking countries.

 

Category: Pros & Cons
  • 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.
Category: Pros & Cons

Curriculum

Mrs Popa-Jones, the coordinator of the Section is British; Mrs Joubert is South African and Mme Caddeo is French but perfectly bilingual, having taught English literature at University level. All have extensive experience in teaching International section classes, either in France or abroad. Our history and geography teachers are bilingual and also have extensive experience teaching international college and lycée students. All the professeurs are ‘agrégés’.

Category: Curriculum

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

2021   100% success, 20% mention très bien (2 avec félicitations du jury)

2022   100% success, 54% mention très bien (3 avec félicitations du jury)

 

Category: Curriculum

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.

Category: Curriculum

College: 6 to 7 hours in English and 2 to 4 hours of History/Geography in English

Seconde: 7 hours of English and 4 hours of History/Geography in English

Première: 6,5 hours of English (Literature, Language, Connaissance du Monde) and 2 to 4 hours of History/ Geography in English.

Terminale: 6 hours of English (Literature, Language, Connaissance du Monde) + 2 to 4 hours of History/Geography in English

Category: Curriculum

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.

Category: Curriculum

Recognised by the French Education Ministry, the International Section prepares students for the Baccalauréat Français International (BFI), a prestigious set of supplementary examinations that are part of the French baccalauréat at the end of their schooling. The British version of the BFI is an integrated Franco-British school-leaving certificate. There are three supplementary exams: one in English; one in History and Geography, which are modeled on the British A-level exams; and a new internally assessed examination, Connaissance du Monde. The BFI 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 will provide students with an internationally-recognised university entrance qualification.

The BFI will be 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.

Category: Curriculum

6ème

Matilda, Roald Dahl
The Secret Garden, F.H. Burnett
Holes, Louis Sachar
Skellig, David Almond
Wonder, R.J Palacio
National Theatre version of Peter Pan
Always complete and unabridged versions

5ème

Boy, Roald Dahl
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien
The Giver, Lois Lowry
National Theatre version of Treasure Island
Introduction to Shakespeare
Poetry and short stories

4ème

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda N. Adichie
Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
Poetry and short stories

3ème

Animal Farm, George Orwell
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Macbeth, William Shakespeare, National Theatre version of Macbeth
Work on Shakespeare’s time (Elizabethan, Jacobean)
Beowulf
Poetry

2nde

The Tempest, William Shakespeare
Fireman’s Daughter, Angeline Boulley (with a meeting with the author at the Festival America)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Modernism (celebrating the centenary of Ulysses and The Waste Land by studying extracts from the both works, To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf)
Poetry and short stories
Presentations on Famous British authors and poets

1er and Terminale

Written:
Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare/ As You Like It, William Shakespeare/
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
Selected Poems, Keats/ Selected Poems, Percy Bysshe Shelley
Orals:
Gothic writing: Dracula, Bram Stoker; The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
6 set poems

Category: Curriculum

Extra-Curricular

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 organise 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, Canterbury, York), Scotland and Ireland.

Mrs Joubert runs an English theatre club for collège students. In 2022 the club performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This year the club will perform Hamlet. Some class projects involve creative work and plays. Collège students also take part in an intensive 2 days musical theatre workshop and performance. In addition, the school has a theatre club for lycéens that does bi-annual performances (mostly in French).

Not really in collège – you are better off finding a local art atelier outside of school. At the lycée level, students can select option art – but this will be taught on Wednesday afternoons at a different lycée.

Application & Timetable

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 to welcome 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 Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) 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.

No. As the BFI is continual assessment from 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, usually at the end of March / beginning of April. The dates for 2023 will be confirmed by the Rectorat in January 2023.

All pupils wishing to join the International Section should submit an application on the Rectorat website.

Camille Sée is no longer able to test or accept children outside the fixed testing dates as the process and dates are controlled by the Rectorat. 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.

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 as demand exceeds the number of places available; testing 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.

 

All applications for the International Section are to be completed online.

https://www.ac-paris.fr/portail/jcms/p1_2524753/les-cursus-specifiques-au-college-et-au-lycee

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.

Firstly, it’s useful to read the following:

https://www.ac-paris.fr/portail/jcms/p2_1996841/sections-internationales

You will be asked to provide on the Rectorat website : http://www.ac-paris.fr/parents-eleves

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.

  • Photocopy of the ‘livret de famille’ or birth certificate
  • The custody certificate if you are divorced.
  • 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. However, if this is impossible, please contact the parents’ association camilleseeenglishsection@gmail.com and we will advise.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Languages

On the form you will be asked for two “langues Vivantes” : LVA (LV1)  + LVB (LV2)

LVA or LV =: ‘Langue vivante A’: English (or Italian for the Italian SI).

French is not considered a Langue Vivante.

LV2 or LVB: this is for children applying for 4ème and upwards. It will depend on the LV2 language learnt at the collège. Your child must continue with the same language.

 

For 6ème and 5ème applications, the LVB can be left blank but can be completed if your child has been studying another language in school or outside. The Rectorate doesn’t expect children entering in 6ème to have studied another language. Children in the International Section at Camille Sée start learning another language in 5ème.

 

Confusing acronyms!

LVA = Langue Vivante A (first language)

LVB = Langue Vivante B (second language)

CLG = collège général

LG = Lycée Général

Application deadline 2023: 7 April at 15:00

Written test 2023:  12 April at 8:15

Oral tests 2023: 12 April – 12 May

Results 2023: 27 June

The written and oral tests are undertaken on separate days. 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 ‘hors contrat’ or is in another state school system outside France, please contact the Rectorat for more information.

 

 

The Rectorat looks at the date of birth (DOB) to determine the child’s class.

US Grade 7 =  IB – MYP 2 =  5ème

US Grade 8  = IB – MYP 3 = 4ème

US Grade 9 = IB – MYP 4 = 3ème

US Grade 10 = 2nde

US Grade 11 = 1er

US Grade 12 = T

 

Please note: if your child has entered the French system but was put behind a year to catch up with language skills, the adjustment cannot be made at Camille Sée. They need to stay in the same year when transitioning to Camille Sée (even if they are technically too old for the class).

The school will not be able to confirm the number of spaces available in any one year group before the application deadline. The number of available spaces fluctuate slightly from year to year, depending on whether families leave (and owing to the international composition of the families, work commitments abroad), and the school does not know how many students will be returning until after the application deadline.

If your child is not selected for the admission in 6ème, your child will be allocated to their school in their catchment area (secteur).

https://www.paris.fr/pages/colleges-2090#la-sectorisation

The waiting list is controlled by the Rectorat but it is not made readily available, either to the school administration or parents. You will be contacted by the Rectorat if a place is made available.

Testing Criteria

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.

 

6ème test:

Written test:

Duration : 60 minutes for 6ème

Passage 30-35 lines of fiction or non-fiction

Reading and answering questions : from global comprehension and more detailed understanding

Creative writing 15-20 lines

Oral test:

Duration: 10 minutes

Read a passage aloud

Answer questions

Short conversation

The oral interview is not just a conversation. It is a test to judge the pupil’s comprehension of a written text and their ability to react and analyse it.

The school is not permitted to publish previous papers.

 

The child’s record from their current school will also be assessed: 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.

The best way to prepare children for the entrance tests: ensure that they regularly read a variety of English-language texts; speak to them consistently in English; and give them opportunities to write in English whenever possible. Many children in the section have followed a more structured programme, via weekly courses or even language exchanges during the summer months. Some have previously attended school in an English-speaking country, or have been enrolled in a bilingual programme in Paris.

Any other questions? Contact us at camilleseeenglishsection@gmail.com