10 yr old Daughter starting school advice

Hi all new to site so please bare with me ! We have a place in collorec , finistere my husband had been living there on and off the past yr getting it ready for us to permanently move over , anyway I was hoping that my daughter who turned 10 this week is in yr 5 would have a yr in a French primary to settle and start to learn the language as she speaks very little French before starting college however I have been told that if she starts in September 2017 it will be at a college even though she will still be 10 , so I was thinking maybe if she started in April she could have 3 months in primary maybe they will let her repeat the whole yr before starting at the college might be a good idea ? So does anyone have any idea on primary schools in the plonevez du faou , carhaix , huelgoat area and college also (if she starts September ) that can recommend , thankyou .

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Or just an advice , experience of how their children found the French school system .

Your daughter will go to the village school that serves where you live unless you choose a private school.

You could ask for her to do the last year of primary (CM2) again, but that might be hard on her as if she starts in April she will have made friends and they will move on in September. It really depends on how quickly she learns French and how much you can help her at home, it isn’t just the language that will be new but the way the system works.

Redoing the year shouldn’t be a problem administratively because she will be one of the youngest in the year. That said, if I were you, I’d ask for her to be put into CM1 in April, that way she will make friends and move up into CM2 with the people with whom she’ll be in collège later on. It should be easier for her to go into that year and then go on like everyone else, than redo a year, which even if it is done for the best possible reasons, can be a bit stigmatising… that way she should get off to a good start.

Thankyou , we did mention to the director about repeating the year at one of the schools we looked at but he said it’s not so popular now and very unlikely to be allowed , never thought of putting her in at a lower year though that could work .

It would work particularly well because her birthday is in December which makes her one of the youngest in the class, like the August-born in England.
I would use this to argue for putting her in CM1. If she were a bit younger and going into CE1, say, being in the class below wouldn’t be necessary because she’d have the time she needs to get her French up to scratch before starting collège.
As it is going into collège with only 3 months of primaire under her belt is setting her up to fail and be miserable.
Insist and don’t take any pious rubbish they feed you about children learning so fast etc and possible French as a second language classes - there are very few resources and if you want her to do well in this system an extra year is worth the investment!


We have lived in Saint-lo for 3 years now, and moved when my daughter was between junior and senior school. She spoke VERY little French (had literally had a lesson a week for 3 months in the U.K. Before we moved). She went straight in to college here, and it was the best thing we did. Yes it was hard in the beginning, but the school were awesome. They gave her extra French lessons (instead of English) and she’s passed every school year so far, not repeating anything. My advice is to let your daughter go straight to college, and make firm friends she can settle with and build confidence. They then learn so quickly, and if the worst case is she needs to repeat the first year of college, then so be it. But it’s better to pay for a private lesson or 2, outside school a week if necessary, and try to keep her in the right year group.

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Except that in this case she will be 3 weeks older than the year-group and we in the Education Nationale really don’t have the resources for FLE now, as a rule.
It depends on what your ambitions are and also on your own capacity to help in French at home - if you’re aiming for vocational or technical education post-collège then fine, you’ll survive on what French you pick up at school; if higher education is your goal, be very very careful.
I am saying this as both a parent and a lycée teacher.


Hi Debbie
My son was in exactly the same position. We moved here permanently when he was 10, arriving at Easter so he started French schooling in the last term in CM2.
We opted for him to ‘redoubler’ (repeat) CM2 precisely so he could consolidate his French (he was fluent in 6 months and getting great marks in French by the time he finished his first year at Collège). We also felt it would be better for him to be in the more nurturing environment of the local école primaire for his first year in France.
He is now in 4eme and we are very pleased we took the decision for him to ‘stay down’ a year when he first arrived. It meant he started Collège feeling confident in his French and better equipped to deal with the demands of secondary school.
As a side issue, he was teased by three local lads at primary school because he couldn’t speak French. Having been in the area for a year, we were able then to choose a different college from the one everyone else was going to, so our son effectively had a fresh start with new schoolmates who only ever knew him as an English kid who spoke excellent French.


Thankyou all for your advice and encouraging words , feeling a lot more confidant that we will start get in Easter at the local primary school hopefully we will have good things to report back and can soon help someone else that may be in simalar situation x