Choosing a collège

This is probably a bit of a strange time of year to be asking this but I like to plan ahead and now that we have completed the CM2 rentree, my thoughts are turning to what lies in store for next year.

Could someone please outline what choices we will need to make going into collège? I've heard my friends talk about sports or bilingual options. I know there's also a choice of languages to take but have heard that the choice made could have an adverse affect on which "stream" the child will enter (I heard that Spanish as a second language is seen as the "easy" option).

Talking of streams, one friend suggested that the collèges stream the children on their results and on the parents' jobs. At the time I dismissed the comment as absurd but writing this post has reminded me of it. Surely not? What will this mean for my child as I am not working?

We have 3 choices of collège here, so I also want to know how I can assess each of them, please? Is there a similar thing to the UK Ofsted reports and where would I find it? When I ask my friends they all look at me as if I am mad -- they all send their child to the collège for the catchment area without asking any questions.

Finally, if I decide I want to send my child to a collège other than to the one he has been automatically assigned, I assume I will need to do a derogation. How does that work?

I hope that by posting this now, it will be fresh in your minds having just negotiated it. I would really appreciate any comments, help and advice. Thanks.

We are in the same position - interested in hearing responses. I understand that for Lycee and college you are allowed to choose, don't think you need to do a derogation....