Permanence instead of regular classes?

I have a question about the educational system here in Northern France…my son is a student at College Roger Salengro and his sister and him are the first Americans! And of course they entered with no french language knowledge.
I have met with the vice principal a few times and we now have Emilys schedule more fitted to her needs. But my son is spending almost 2 days in Permance…and i need advice on how i can get him back into regular classes-cause he hates Tuesday which is all permance. He days he only does about an hr of work all day and the rest he just sits doing nothing!
The school still hasnt brought in a tutor for my kids but this was promised when we enrolled them in the summer.
Im not complaining…im just concerned. He is picking up french fairly quickly by spending time with his friends and in his regular classes (all spoken in french)…He also has zero homework!!

With Emily…they put her in more art and music classes cause this is her way to learn french alot faster! She was alot more resistant to learning french but we worked together to reel her into the culture!
Any positive advice is greatly appreciated!
Thank you in advance!!

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Ask about FLE, keep asking, every day. At some stage they will get on with it.

What classes are they in?

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What is the FLE?? Im trying to get someone from the college to communicate with me (speaks english)cause my husband works late every day and doesnt have time.
He takes all the regular classes he said expect for latin and german

What is Permance… can someone enlighten me please… ??

Français Langue Étrangère - support for using French as a 2nd language (I think this came up in the previous discussion).

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Permanence, when you haven’t got a lesson so you go to étude and work or the library ( CDI) and read or work. When I was at school we called them spares. If he is doing all normal lessons I don’t know why he has so many free periods. He should be having FLE for the hours he hasn’t got lessons.

@Meghann: FLE is francais langue étrangère, ie French as a second language, he needs this to be put in place and you must insist as it is an entitlement children get only in the first year they are in the school system.
Which classes are they in, 6° 5° 4° or 3°?

One of their English teachers should be up to interpreting for you at school, send a note via a child saying pretty please/help/etc

How much schoolwork are they doing at home?


“Permanence” is also sometimes allotted to students when the teacher that they should be having is off sick, or away on training, or other work (e.g. examination jury), and the principal can’t be bothered, or simply can’t find, a replacement teacher. For example, if a teacher slips on the ice in winter, breaks both elbows, and is declared unfit for work for 6 weeks, then it can be very hard to find a replacement, even if the principal begs the rectory for one. The principal isn’t free to hire and fire in France (unless private school), so has to make do with the staff that the rectory makes available, if there are any. It was always a chronic problem with the state schools my children attended, and very frustrating, as the child completely misses out on the educational program they are supposed to be following.


@Alex Exactly, permanence is when you haven’t got a lesson for whatever reason, but are still supposed to be in school.

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Thank you for the reminder

My son does no schoolwork at home and he is 12
My daughter is 14 and has a lil schoolwork due each week.
Ive written letters to teachers, spoke (with hubby help) with vice principal about someone helping with the language barrier. Just keep being told a translator will be coming but still have not seen one.
Thanks again for everyones feedback

Which classes are they in? 6°5°4° or 3°?

Your son should be doing at least an hour of schoolwork every night, as they presumably aren’t giving him any because he doesn’t speak French then he needs to be learning French, most bookshops have sections with books that may help, or else look online. Your daughter will be expected to have more homework since she is older.
I don’t know what it is like in the USA but French schoolchildren are expected to do A LOT of work at home. Audiolingua, duolingo are free language support activities. Look at the Alliance Française website.

There are English teachers in collège, one of them should be able to help interpret for you in a meeting, ask for that to happen. You really do need to be firm with them about FLE. Your children are eligible for it only this year, after that they will be left to sink or swim.
I don’t know what their academic ambitions are but they won’t get far in the French system if they don’t have a good grasp of the language, no allowances are made.

Son is in 5
Daughter is in 3

In the US the kids had loads of homework and excelled

Ok your daughter will be the one who really needs the most help, she has the brevet at the end of the year, theoretically, then lycée. They could both probably do with repeating the year and taking this first year as a ‘learning French year’ you don’t want them shunted off into SEGPA or CAP in a lycée pro if they are academically inclined. This is a good argument to use at school, by the way.


Sound advice, as ever. If ever there was a unfair stigmatisation of children at school, being designated a SEGPA student is one of them.

We signed a paper so my daughter wont have to take the end of the year test. They acknowledge that she has progressed in french but not enough to take that exam.
She will graduate with her class and move on to the Lycee
As far as My son goes… we are still working on!

What is her average? I am assuming she has had the conseil de classe. Has she got proper French lessons yet? Is she going to her classes in all subjects or has she still got an adapted time-table?

No proper french…i believe she is supposed to have 2 hrs french per week if her teacher shows up! Not sure what you mean with her average? All her classes are in french…she is at beginner level. Husband has been working harder with us to teach us french

She goes to all classes like the other students

Children are assessed and given a mark out of 20 for assignments. All the marks are added up and turned into an average so when you hear children talking about their ‘moyenne’ that is what they mean. So is she being assessed at all? On what basis?

Realistically the moyenne générale needs to be above 12 for anyone to make a success of lycée. If you want an idea of how a child is doing academically take the non-academic subjects out of the equation and calculate the moyenne of the rest.