Register Kids in French Schools: A Guide for Expats

Moving to France presents exciting opportunities for your family, especially when it comes to education. French schools are renowned for their rigorous standards and stellar educational outcomes. As expatriate parents, you might initially find the registration process a bit complex due to language barriers and procedural differences from your home country. That’s where we step in. We believe in making your transition as smooth as possible, providing you with all the assistance and information you need to navigate the French education system effectively.

From understanding the structure of educational stages in France to knowing exactly what documents will be required for a successful school registration, our guide is designed to ease your worries. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, ensuring that you feel confident and well-prepared to make informed decisions for your children’s education in your new home. Our commitment is to support you in making the educational transition without hassle, so you and your family can start this new chapter with ease and confidence.

Understanding the French Education System: A Primer for Expats

The French education system is highly regarded globally for its rigorous approach and comprehensive curriculum. As your partners in the expatriation process, we help you understand this system, ensuring your children benefit fully from what it offers. French schooling is largely state-funded and managed by the Ministry of National Education. It is mandatory for children aged three to sixteen, covering everything from pre-school (école maternelle) to secondary education (collège and lycée).

Education in France is characterised by a structured approach, with the school year beginning in September and ending in July. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on breadth through subjects like mathematics, science, literature, and at least one foreign language, typically English. Additionally, the baccalauréat exam, taken at the end of the lycée, is a pivotal aspect of the system, determining students’ eligibility for university education. By familiarising you with these core elements, we ensure that you are well-prepared to make educational decisions that align with your child’s needs and aspirations.

Essential Documents and Eligibility for School Registration

To register your child in a French school, certain documents and criteria must be met to streamline the enrolment process. Here is a detailed list of what you will need:

  • Proof of Residence: Provide a recent utility bill, rental agreement, or lease that shows your current address in France.
  • Identification Documents: Copies of your child’s birth certificate, passport, and residence permit (carte de séjour) are required.
  • Vaccination Records: France mandates vaccinations for school-aged children, and you’ll need to present a health record stating these are up to date.
  • Academic Records: For children transferring from schools in other countries, bring recent report cards or any relevant academic transcripts.
  • Legal Documentation: If applicable, custody documents need to be provided to clarify guardianship details.

Each child’s eligibility is also considered based on age, academic history, and special educational needs, ensuring that they are placed in an appropriate class that matches their skill level and age group. We assist you in gathering and preparing these documents, making sure that everything is in order, thus preventing any delays in your child’s educational journey. By taking care of these details, your child’s integration into the French educational system can be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Step-by-Step Process: Registering Your Child in a French School

Navigating the enrollment process in French schools may seem daunting for expat parents, which is why we are here to walk you through every step. Initially, you are required to approach the local mairie (town hall) in your area or the education office to signify your intent to enroll your child. The town hall points you towards the appropriate school that correlates with your residential zone. It’s crucial to initiate this process early, preferably around spring before the academic year starts in September, to ensure a smooth transition for your child.

Following your initial registration, the school will inform you of any additional requirements or orientation sessions. Typically, you must submit a dossier including your child’s birth certificate, proof of residence, immunization records, and a recent school report card if they were previously enrolled in a different school system. These steps are essential for securing a place for your child in the appropriate class, taking into account their age and previous academic record. We offer our expertise in gathering and translating these documents to meet the specific criteria set by the schools.

Support and Resources We Offer for Expatriate Parents

Understanding the challenges that come with relocating and enrolling your child in a new school system, we provide comprehensive support and resources tailored to expatriate families. From translating documentation to understanding the local education system, our services are designed to lighten your load and give you peace of mind. We also offer workshops and guides on the French education system to help you comprehensively understand what to expect and how to best support your child’s educational journey.

Additionally, we facilitate connections with other expatriate parents through community groups and events, enabling you to share experiences and advice. This network can be invaluable as you navigate the early days of your relocation to France. Should you need more personalised assistance, our dedicated team is always ready to help with specific queries or concerns you might encounter during your child’s educational transition.


Moving to a new country involves numerous adjustments and when it involves your children’s education, it becomes an even more pressing priority. We understand this well, which is why we offer detailed guidance and support tailored to help expatriate parents through the process of integrating their children into the French educational system. From pre-enrolment to active school years, our mission is to ensure that you have all the tools and knowledge necessary for a smooth transition.

Whether it’s understanding complex administrative procedures or finding the right French school for your child, we are committed to ensuring that your family finds a thriving educational environment in France. French Connections HCB – US site is your partner in navigating the complexities of expat life. Let us help make your move and your child’s education journey in France as seamless as possible.

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