In France, going to school is compulsory for children aged 6 years old and over (from September 2019, it will be compulsory for children aged 3 years old and over) and until they turn 16. Children can in any case go to “école maternelle” (± preschool) when they turn 3. Public school is free and non-religious (“laïque”).

Enrolment at école maternelle or école élémentaire (elementary school) takes place in two steps:

  • You must first go to your city’s mairie (city hall) where your child will be assigned a school. You will be provided with an enrolment certificate with the name and address of the school.
  • You will then meet the head teacher (“directeur/directrice”) of the school your child was assigned and you will complete the enrolment procedure.

Enrolments for the following school year usually take place from November until the end of January.

Parents (even if they are not French) can take part in the school life through parents’ associations.

If you want to learn more about the French school system and the enrolment procedure, read the booklet of the French Ministry for Education (available in several languages). You will be provided with information about the classes’ organization in France and the enrolment procedures and rules.