Institu Francdrapeau1

6 Key Differences between French and British Sections at the Lycée Français

Institu Francdrapeau1Which is better? The French Section or the British?


In the past, I have given the politically astute and truthful answer that each system has its advantages and challenges. I have also given the other noncommittal answer It depends to skirt having to answer the highly personal and emotionally-loaded question.



A French-English-speaking child’s decision about secondary school is charged with complex issues about mother tongues and family cultures, the language in which the child feels most confident, and the choice that seems to bear the brightest career prospects for the child.


There is no easy answer but what I can do is offer here what I have learned. Here are six key differences between the French and British sections at the LFCDG to consider and discuss at this fork in your child’s educational pathway.


1. Primary Language of Instruction


This is not as obvious as it sounds. For students coming from the 4e College in LFCDG, their language of instruction has been 100% in French. From the first day in the British Section, all subjects are taught 100% in English, often by monolingual English teachers.


Students can learn and make up technical vocabulary along the way but grammar is trickier. A misunderstood preposition in a maths problem might be all it takes to get the entire series of problems wrong.


This is why acceptance into the British Section is contingent on demonstrated English language competence in an oral and written entrance test.


For 2014-2015 there are 62 places for 94 applicants.


2. Subject Specialism


British education is specialist. At GCSE Level, the sciences are taught separately as Physics, Chemistry and Biology, as is English language and English Literature. At A-level, Art and Art History are offered separately as are Mathematics and Further Mathematics.


3. Teacher-Student Ratio


There are currently some 211 students in the British Section at LFCDG. This contrasts sharply with the numbers of the French Section, and the primary difference is reflected in class size and teacher-student ratios. There are classes with as few as six to seven students, which in turn make for different classroom dynamics and teacher-student relationships.


4. Cost


The British Section has its own building. This and small class sizes are important reasons that contribute to the British Section’s higher tuition. In 2013-2014, tuition for the British Section was £3,155.00.


5. Qualification Outcomes


British Section students are awarded (I)GCSEs and A-Levels, qualifications that are recognized internationally, including, the USA, Canada, China and India, to name a few.


6. Destination University Outcomes


A 2013 Study by the Association des Anciens du LFCDG showed that 83% of British Section students attend UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. There are no British Section students who attend French universities. This contrasts with 46% of French Section students who attend UK universities and 29% who go onto higher education in France.


Food for thought? I hope so. Happy discussions at the table!


Haru Yamada Mathieu, 16 juin 2014




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