Where do I go to get careers advice?

I need some advice for my daughter about careers, she is signed on with the pôle emploi and she has received several emails about extra training but we don’t understand the initials being used so don’t know if any of it is any use.

She has Honours and Masters Degrees from the UK as well as a TESOL certificate so they say she can teach over here. She has sent her information to Academie de Bordeaux but they haven’t replied to say if she is on their list or not (despite several emails sent since the initial application).

We keep receiving emails about the government drive to recruit teachers but the page is full of initials and despite trying for several weeks I am unable to find what each of the courses are and if they would be of any use to her.

Does anyone know who we need to talk to in order to find out what she needs to do next?

This sounds like one for @vero - our resident French education specialist !

In which subjects are her degree and master’s degree? If she wants to teach English as a vacataire she should make herself known to the person in charge of vacataires at the Rectorat (ring up and ask for the person in charge of vacataires) what is her French like?

If she wants to teach other than casually for the state or private schools recognised by the state she will need to do the capes or the capep, which are competitive exams ie they take the first however many they need.

There is a written part covering translation into and out of English and a lit paper and a linguistics paper and a paper on being a civil servant and behaving in a responsible and appropriate manner - I think that’s it. If you get through that then you go on to the orals.

You then have a year of tuition and teaching practice and if the inspectors and your tutor and your head all have a positive opinion of you, you are confirmed as a qualified teacher and can be sent anywhere in France, because you will be a fonctionnaire d’état and, therefore, deployable anywhere in France.

If she wants to go down this route she should get her skates on as the cut-off date for online applications ( ie for entering the competition) is the 13th of October. The first actual exams are in february I think, the Rectorat site will have a link to them anyway. She will need all her certificates in triplicate, obviously. If she gets through ( and there’s no reason she shouldn’t) she’ll start next September.

You need to be more active with the Rectorat, they are victims of funding cuts as we all are and have a zillion people to sort out. Get on the telephone and keep on until you have someone to talk to!

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have further questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.


And if you are not sure what acronyms mean, google them.

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If she wants to talk to me directly, she’s more than welcome to give me a ring, or meet in a café eg on a Wednesday afternoon when I’m generally in or around Bergerac being a children’s taxi-driver - during the week I leave the house at 7ish and get home at 7.30ish so maybe telephoning at the weekend would be safer. I’m in the telephone book, look under Monbazillac.

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Thank you Véronique. Will discuss with her this morning and see what she thinks best and contact you. Thanks for the offers.

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Bonjour Véronique

Thank you so much for replying and I’m very sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner; I’ve spent most of the last week in bed with ‘La Grippe’.

I know the timing is tight but we’ll do our best to sort out what needs doing.

Cassie has a B.A. (Hons) in Photography and an M.A. (Fine Art Photography), in addition she has a certificate for Teaching English as a Secondary Language (A+), including Teaching Practice which she did at Excideuil Cité Scolaire last year whilst she was working as a Language Assistant there. Her French is level A2/B1 when she did a language examination last year but she is continuing to work on it.

As she would like a ‘proper’ job, that is a permanent or annual contract job, for preference she would like to work with students of Lycéé age or older rather than work with younger students. It seems she needs to do the CAPES or the CAPEP but I’m not sure of the difference between them. I had already Googled the different acronyms but wasn’t sure from the explanations which Cassie needed to do and what her English qualifications counted for.

I wondered if it would be better to go to l’ Academie de Bordeaux on Wednesday to speak directly with them in person unless I can find an office of theirs in Périgueux?

I don’t know if you can advise us, but any information would be welcomed and my apologies again for taking so long in replying to you and thanking you for your assistance.

Best wishes


Photography is a bit of a problem in that she won’t find a proper job in a lycée because it isn’t a mainstream school subject. I am also unsure that a a degree and master’s in photography will be considered, strictly speaking, academic enough to apply for the capes in order to teach in mainstream school (and even then, in what subject? English?) in any case if her French is B2 she won’t be able to teach in Lycée because she simply won’t get through the competitive exam as it means linguistics and literature and social comment papers in French plus a heavy-duty oral where she will, throughout, be up against people who have spent the past 5 years studying nothing but. The tesol qualification is nice but it doesn’t make up for not having a qualification in a desirable traditionally academic subject. I am sorry about this but I don’t think teaching in school is a realistic option, we like paper qualifications in subjects that are seen as relevant.
She may have more luck with private post-Bac art schools but she will have to get her French up to speed.
For any proper job in the education nationale you have to do the competition. There are rules for entering it. Her qualifications need to be recognised as academic rather than vocational qualifications as well, this distinction has been blurred in the UK but is still very marked in France and elsewhere in Europe. While the UK is still in the EU she will be able to enter for the exams, afterwards if she has only UK nationality, she won’t.
She can probably pick up odd jobs but I have the impression that’s not what she is after. Again I’m sorry to be so seemingly negative, but it is a realistic assessment I’m afraid.
If I can give you any more info I will, please be aware that the system here is radically different from that in the UK where schools hire and fire whom they choose and teachers are not officially civil servants.

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Probably the best thing is to talk to people at the rectorat, good luck with that, I have no doubt they will say she can be a vacataire teaching English as a native speaker with even an inappropriate qualification, vacataires are cheap and the rectorats are desperate for replacements, but it won’t be very nice for her esp as the stumbling block will again be her French. She should apply for the capes and the caplp if she can, it doesn’t cost anything and she will at least see what she needs to do. If she has done English for A level it might help. ( Where did she do her BA & Ma and what A levels did she do? That might also make a difference…)

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You could try the IUFM in Perigueux, 39 rue Paul Mazy, as a first port of of call, it will save going to Bordeaux and dealing with the Rectorat ( they are nice in Perigueux, in Bordeaux the admin is fairly Kafkaesque)

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pps: you don’t get a choice in what age group you work with. You are assigned to a college or Lycée but with qualifications in photography she might end up teaching BTSs on a precarious basis until she gets through the competition, I’m sure there’s a BTS métiers de la photo somewhere, look it up on the ONISEP site.

Hi @Carolyn, I hope your 'flu has gone properly - did you get any information from the Rectorat?

Hi Vero

Again sorry about the delay in replying, this is where we are now:

We spent Wednesday runing around Périgueux; IUFM apparently no longer exists but two very kind gentlemen at Périgueux University talked us through the ESPE d’Aquitaine site and gave us a load of advice including saying that Cassie should enrole anyway for the CAPES. They felt she could do it so we enroled at the last minute on Thursday morning.

We have been put in touch with a teacher of English at the local Collège and a few others who are willing to talk her through stuff and explain. Also, Amazon, (as ever) has books to help. I think we just need to wait and see if she is accepted (something I need to check my notes and things).

After all the running around last Wednesday the flu came back with a vengance so…I’m just starting to catch-up with everything, hence the second delay in replying.

Thank you for your help it was very kind of you to spend the time helping.

Carolyn (and Cassie)


Oh good, so is she signed up for it now? Good luck😃!