If you are moving to France and looking to settle your children into a French school, the first step is to enrol your child in school. Here’s what you need to know about school enrolment or ‘l’inscription à l’école’ in France.
Where do you enrol your child in school?
The local Mairie is the place to enrol your child in a French school (to obtain information about school enrolment in France from abroad you can check the official Ministry of Education website (in French)). Under the French state school system, your child will be enrolled at the closest school to your home, as long as there is space – you are not allowed to choose which school your child attends.
When do you need to enrol your child in school?
School enrolment generally takes place between the months of February and April, but this can vary depending on the department – the latest date to enrol for the following school year is June. It’s a good idea to visit your Mairie as soon as you arrive in France in order to find out the details.
What documents do you need for French school enrolment?
If you are enrolling a child into a French school, you will be asked for various documents to complete the registration or “l’inscription”. Find out about more the process here.
- Your child’s birth certificate or passport – this will serve as a substitute for the French livret de famille
- Your passport and residency card (Carte de Séjour) if relevant
- Proof of residence – a copy of your lease or a utility bill in your name
- Evidence of insurance – (see below)
- Proof of immunization (see below)
- Your last few pay slips – required should you wish for your child to eat lunch at school (payment options are based on your income).
What mandatory vaccinations does my child need to attend a French school?
Certain vaccinations are mandatory in France in order for your child to attend a French state school and you will need to bring your child’s health records to show which immunisations they had and when. If your child was born before 2018, the mandatory vaccinations are diphtheria, tetanus, and polio (DTP). For children born from 2018 onwards, there are 11 mandatory vaccinations:
- diphtheria, tetanus, and polio (DTP) (diphtérie, tétanos et poliomyélite)
- whooping cough (coqueluche)
- Hib vaccine (infections invasives à Haemophilus influenzae de type b)
- Hepatitis B (hépatite B)
- Invasive pneumococcal infections (infections invasives à pneumocoque)
- Meningitis (méningocoque de sérogroupe C)
- Measles, mumps and rubella (rougeole, oreillons et rubéole)
See the full details here.
If your child hasn’t received any of the above-listed vaccinations, they will need to have the vaccination and produce a certificate before they are allowed to attend school. This should be arranged in good time before the start of the term.
What is school insurance in France and does my child need it?
All children attending school in France must have School Insurance and you will need to show your insurance certificate prior to starting school. This Assurance Scolaire covers your child for any additional activities at school, such as school trips, as well as for any damage your child does to school property or to another child or their property. Often this is included in your home insurance policy, but you can also take out a specific school insurance policy.
What happens on the first day of school?
Once your registration is complete, the Mairie’s office will give you a form to take to the school on your child’s first day. You will also have to complete various consent forms. You can arrange for a time to meet with the Director of the school prior to the first day, but should you wish to visit the school and its premises in full, you will need to request this upon your visit.
Studying in France?
From nursery through secondary school to higher education, university, and foreign exchange study programs—FrenchEntrée is here to answer all your back-to-school questions. Visit our Education zone for more on studying in France and the French school system, or find out more about raising children in France in our Family zone.