Education in France: French School Grade Equivalents


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Education in France: French School Grade Equivalents

Moving to France with your children and unsure which class your child should attend? Our quick guide to French school grade equivalents is a good place to start.

Moving Your Children to a French School

Speaking French isn’t the only thing that changes for children moving to France from the UK, United States, or another English-speaking country. There are also a number of differences surrounding the school days and holidays, homework expectations, and extra-curricular activities. There are also additional things that parents might not be aware of, such as mandatory vaccinations and French school insurance.

Our guide to settling English children into a French school goes into the process in more depth, but first, let’s take a look at the school grade system in France.

France vs UK and America School Grades

Use the chart below to compare the French grade equivalents with those of the UK and America.

Which School Grade Should Your Child Join in France?

Trying to determine which school grade your child should attend in their new school system is often one of the most challenging aspects of moving to a foreign country. France, the UK, and the US all have their own school grade structures, as shown above.

However, it’s important to keep in mind though that each child is different, and how long it takes your child to adapt and settle into their new school environment will vary. This may also be influenced by various different factors, including your child’s language level, personality, home, and social situation, and current schooling capacity, and all of these elements should be considered when deciding which school grade is suitable.

Should my child stay behind a grade?

One option might be to keep children behind a grade in order to allow them to catch up with their peers. In France, this is actually a reasonably common occurrence even among native French students. Children of all ages are expected to reach class averages and may be asked to repeat a year if they don’t meet these averages for whatever reason. This does not seem to be stigmatised in France, and it may be a smart choice to give non-native children a chance to improve their language skills before moving onto a higher educational level.

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  • jane downer
    2021-09-30 04:50:27
    jane downer
    My son has just done his international brevet OIB section in maths, French, history/geography and combined science with a written exam in English and oral presentations in English and History/ Geography. He has always lived in Paris. Trying to get into an British 6th form college, I have been told by some admissions letters that he needs a grade 7 (?) in maths in his brevet international exam to be accepted. He will probably have to do an internal indivual exam to check his level and not a GCSE. I have no idea what greade 7 is in French terms as he has an average grade and individual ones out of 20 here. Ho do i convert them for each school who asks me what the GCSE equivalent is for each subject plse?


  •  Clarence Metcalfe
    2021-09-10 08:19:33
    Clarence Metcalfe
    Our house in Preixan, Nr Carcassonne was sold 2015 but as my ex wife owed me money the proceeds of sale was frozen by the Notaire until the dispute was finalized. This has now been agreed but as my ex wife says she wants go keep her money in France as I want my 50% transferred to a U.K. Bank. The Notaire says that this cannot be done so the whole amount of sale has to be kept in the Notaires clients Account. She has no legal reason to keep her 50% in France , only to stop me receiving my share. Is the Notaire correct in this case and how do I get my share out of the Notaires Account?


  •  art and design courses
    2021-08-23 03:16:25
    art and design courses
    Fantastic website. There's a lot of useful information here.The blog is well-written and useful. I'm hoping you'll start posting more posts soon. Continue to share!


  •  12345
    2021-06-13 02:23:41
    10th grade in France is called Seconde (2nd) not Deuxieme (2eme).


  • 10asa
    2016-01-13 17:04:07
    Please be aware, and I am only speaking from an English person as I do not know the USA system but this is only a guide and not accurate. The English system operates school years by the 31 August deadline, the French do not. the French work on the year the Child was born. So a Child born in say November would actually be in the Year group above in France. Obviously this applies if a French Child moved to the UK and was a November child they would officially be in the year group below this stated in the above table. Worth bearing in mind but to be honest if your from England and move to France your child would probable re double a year.


  • Ashley6345
    2015-07-20 09:17:12
    Hi, I can actually speak from experience, having switched from the US system to the UK system myself. I don't recommend switching systems to anyone over 7th or 8th grade (US). Anyone who have children below that, it should be fine because there is time to get used to the grading methods, style of teaching and the content of the syllabus. I switched over to British A-levels when I was 16(11th grade) and it was pretty challenging. For example, the way answers are structured for exams are different in both systems as well as the structure of essays. It took a while for me to learn them and it definitely put me at a disadvantage. In the end , I passed but not with flying colors like I used to in the US system. And also it made it a bit harder applying online (I live in Kenya) to universities where they ask for British O levels which I didn't have. So be prepared to have both sets of transcripts when applying. Hope this helped, Ashley6345


  • pomhorn
    2014-09-12 11:04:09
    Hi Switching from one school system to another can be rather problematic, but will very much depend at what age. eg. I switched at the age of 16 with 8 "O" levels and 1 " A" level back to France ( and I was fluent French ). I " lost " 2 years, which was quite justified ( in the 1950ties ). Of course later several languagues worked in my favor. Is it much different today? So looking for " equivalents " is certainly a little theoretical. Yours, pomhorn