My son's school won't accept him back next year - advice and help sought please!

Out of the blue, I've just had a call from the headteacher at my son's school, where he's a weekly boarder, to say that, as a result of yesterday evening's conseil de classe, my son will not be accepted back in September. The decision is not based on his test results/class average - I was told these were 'satisfait', but rather resulting from his behaviour.

Let me be absolutely honest, he's no angel, but his last sanction was 4 May 2012, swiftly followed by a meeting with his prof principal and one other teacher, which saw a tremendous improvement (or so we thought), in both marks and behaviour. We've had no warning whatsoever of this bombshell of a decision and wonder what, if anything we can do to appeal against the decision. I fail to understand why, 3 days before term finishes, we're told he won't be accepted for 5eme.

Do any SFN members have experience of this kind of behaviour? Is there an official appeal process and if so, what do we do? Should we have been warned this decision was on the cards?

Any advice SFN'ers?

Very good to hear that, am glad for the kid, changing schools at that age is not easy.

Good news!

I suffered from a personality clash with my English teacher at school, and that was in Scotland! So it can happen anywhere. And I survived.

Hi Karen. Delighted for you. It must be a great relief to know he's got a place for September. In my experience (having survived raising 4 girls), there's not a lot one can do with an ado who can be a bit "lippy", as one of mine was (don't know where she got it from). Just have to wait for them to grow out of it, and in your case, the fear your son felt at the threatened exclusion.

Thanks SFNers for your input and guidance on our dilemma.

In response to our written communication and several phone calls, the head has agreed to allow our son to return to school in September; although this is of course, subject to a massive improvement in his behaviour and attitude. Fortunately, the ado in question was sufficiently terrified at being excluded from the school he loves, and is now motivated to make the changes needed. We're absolutely delighted the school has given him another chance and we'll do everything we can to make sure he delivers on the promises he's made.

As to the teaching of English here in France, it's not a subject I'm qualified to comment on I'm afraid - I'd raised it as an example of a possible personality clash between student and teacher, and also as an example of one of the behaviours my son must change if he's to become the model student the school deserves.


Never say no to an "Apero" :)

Good stuff!

Although I respect what you have said Margo, I do feel that awords like cookie and garbage, freeway, highway are not traditional English words and I have always taught my children to speak up if they have mis-understood anything or have an opinion, I think the word you used "threatened" is about right. I have explained to my children that they should just ignore and try not be rude. The level of French that i was taught in my school is nothing like the French that I have learnt here, mind you, that was a long, long time ago.

Bonne Idée!! I have just found some work. Working for a French woman, who is a French teacher in a Lycee. She has two small children in school and she needed someone to take care of them going to and from school etc, some housework too, suits my hours completely as I have three children. She wanted someone who was English for the job, just so that her children could learn some English, it works to a degree, although I do find that I am approached with plain expressioned faces at times, so I try in French and get the same response :), well, at least they get to school and we do get to play, infact they are teaching me French. Nice to see some open minded people around.

It is so tough on the kids! They know the English they are being taught is wrong, "afternoon scones with marmalde" was a classic in a text book! I fthey say anything they are in trouble, but the schools aren't keen on having English English teachers, they prefer french English teachers who have crummy accents and make mistakes............... ! Any solutions? Are we linking up this doscussion with that of finding work in France?????

Depends where you are, I guess. Our boys are at a school where there's the French Bac with option internationale, and there's the American School that follows the US curriculum and teaches in English. So they are very sensitive to the differences, and indeed they say that when writing in English you are free to use US or British, but you must do so consistently.

On this subject of French teachers teaching English, infact they seem to be teaching American rather than English and my children always comment to the teachers about this and I must say that its not received very well. Best the English children just ignore and get on with learning French.

Yes I agree with this; a similar thing happened to a friend & they found other options when she refused to their proposition of her son not just repeating the year but going BACK to 6ème instead of going on to 4ème.

A bit raadocal but how about inviting the English teacher for an apero sometimes so ha can speak/learn English??????????????


Our boys have all had French English teachers who have made all kinds of mistakes, but who never accept corrections from the children. In a way it's understandable, because they have no way of knowing at the time whether the child is telling the truth or making fun of them.

Hi Annie (again). I also remember another time with my son, the same one (the school also used the "comportment" angle). This time it was his Lycee. He was due to start his last year of his course, he had been told not to report for final year (daren't tell his father until day before he was due to go back), but turned up on the first day, with father, and was accepted back.

Risky, I know. But if all else fails could it be worth a go?

Perhaps your lad should let the English teacher teach his bad English - could be safer for him to keep quiet - difficult I know.

Thanks to everyone who has provided advice and support - it's very much appreciated.

Yesterday afternoon, we crafted a very calm, measured letter to the head, emailed it and followed up with a registered letter. In the document, we outlined our astonishment at the decision, and the total lack of process i.e. warnings, exclusions, letters home, punishments etc. We have access to our son's grades on-line and accept that these weren't brilliant earlier in the year, but following a meeting with a couple of teachers, we identified specific areas for improvement, devised an improvement strategy and it has paid off - the marks for each subject offer evidence of this. We recognise that there is an issue with the prof principal (also the English teacher) and our son, (mutual contempt would sum this up accurately). Unfortunately our son feels the need to point out to the prof that it isn't correct to say "I have got 2 dogs" or "I have got a brother"; the teacher and the text books disagree.

The decision not to accept our son next year, according to the head, was based on 'comportment'. Both the head (to us) and the prof principal (to the class) confirmed our son has passed to 5eme. So far, we have been unable to establish exactly what the issue with 'comportment' is. Whilst I accept schools have the right to issue sanctions and exclusions (and I fully support this), I cannot understand why no warnings were given to at least alert us to the possibility of non-acceptance next year.

Thanks to Ben for the reference to the 'Code de l'Education', we are working our way through this at the moment.... We have notification that the head has received our email letter and we plan to let things lie today, then call tomorrow morning to ask if he has reflected on his decision. We might, if necessary, ask if he will allow a one term trial period in 5eme, or something along those lines. If he is in agreement, we will meet with him tomorrow - if not, I'll be back here on SFN asking for advice on an escalation process or appeal procedure.

Fingers crossed!

Oh Karen you must be beside yourself! Please go and talk to the school, to the teachers involved, to the head, take someone with you as a second pair of ears and a drink buyer for afterwards, teachers want the best for you son, or they should, as do you if you can fins some common ground to work on it will resolve itself!!*



Isit just the internat? If so is there someone else locally who would put your son up instead? This may well give your son some more stability and somewhere to stay.

Karen I think you can try and talk to the headmaster to get to the bottom of the problem and see what happened to have him decide not to take your son back. However, as he's a boarder, nothing can force him to take your child back in September, unless the school is the closest to your home and no other school accepts him within a wide radius. The rules in boarding schools are a little different and principals have quite a bit of latitude. I would try and get the principal not to mention your son's exclusion on his file, fighting might not be a good solution, unless things get really ugly.