Home schooling

3 Replies

Hello everyone, I hope to relocate to the Nice area at the end of October from UK but am unwilling to continue my childrens' education in either the state or private sectors. The children are aged 9 (Year 5), and 4 (Reception). Are there any support groups for home schooling in the area who can advise me? Are there any legal requirements I should be aware of? As a single mum, I would find it difficult to pay the fees for the international schools but wondered if there are any private tutors who would be capable and willing to continue the childrens' education, using the UK National Curriculum. Also, are there any tutors available to give French lessons to all three of us? I am looking for a two-bedroomed apartment in Villefranche area to rent on a long-term basis. Perhaps "Legend in my own lunchtime" can help me ! You seem to have all the answers. Your help would be much appreciated, Kind regards, Aideen.aideen

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legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 1063719607

As with many of my previous answers on the subject of people trying to avoid the French primary schooling system, I start off by saying to you: “Why would you do that?”


Always sensitive to a parent’s desire to do the best for their children, it is nonetheless a little difficult for me to discern from your posting just exactly what is motivating you to look at home schooling.  It is clear that you currently live in the UK and that you want to relocate to the CdA.  You say that you are unwilling (sic) to continue your childrens’ education in the state sector.  Which “state” are you talking about?  UK or France or both? Why are you unwilling?  You also mention you are unwilling to use private sector schooling yet you also say you would have difficulty paying the fees of the international schools on CdA – which is it – unwilling or unable?


You are moving to France with primary age children but wish their home schooling to use the UK curriculum.  Why?  Maybe you are just planning a very short term move?  What other opportunities will you make available to your children so that they are able to integrate?


OK – enough questions.  You’ll probably understand that I am very pro-French primary schooling. (Note I said primary and I have gradually reversing opinions as one progresses through collège, lycée and finally Université).  Unless your primary age children have EXTREMELY special circumstances, I cannot understand why you would deprive them of the excellent education they would receive in the local primary school.  As has been said so many times before in this forum – don’t worry about the language.  Get them into a good FLE program and they will be bilingual in a short period of time.


Having heaped questions and personal opinion upon you, here is now a summary of where you would stand vis-à-vis the law;

  • The law of 28 march 1882 combined with ordonnances 59 through 45 of 6 january 1959 make it a legal obligation for the parent/guardian of a child from 6-16 years old to ensure that the child is “taught” ("enseignement scolaire" in French). 

  • Just exactly WHAT has to be taught depends upon where the child is taught.  The same law prescribes that the child can be taught in a public school, a private school or by the family or by competent persons of the family’s choosing.

  • Articles 7,8,9 of the law of 1882 stipulate that the parent/guardian of a child of primary school age has a legal obligation to request of their Mairie a school place for their child or else to declare to the Mairie (and to the Inspecteur de l’Académie) that the child will be schooled in one of the other acceptable methods.

  • Article 16 of the same law states that if the teaching is home based, the family must submit itself to an inspection of academic progress at the ages of 8, 10 and 12 years for each child.

  • Some other law that I cannot locate right now defines an "école" as 3 or more children from 2 or more families receiving "enseignement scolaire".

Further to the written law – there is the more practical day to day implementation.  France and particularly French administration is PARANOID about sects.  Home schooling is perceived as subversive by the Administration except in special circumstances such as severely handicapped children.  Generally the whole Administration is very hostile to home schooling (Mairie, Securité Sociale, Allocations Familiales, Académie, etc.).  However, it IS allowed by law and there are support resources for it.  The most well known organization is the CNED (Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance).  They have very good material at reasonable prices which for the national curriculum is obviously intended to support French/francophone families overseas but is also used to home school housebound French children.  Their home page is www.cned.fr and the details of the primary materials are here.


Good luck to you and your kids!

aideen-189846 1063724609

Hello again, Legend,

Many thanks for your detailed reply. Let me clarify a few points regarding my circumstances:  I will be relocating to cda until August 2005. After that time, we will be moving to Northern Ireland. In preparation for the Grammar School system which operates there, I would like my 9 year old, who will sit the 11+ examination in November 2004, to have private tutoring. I see no point in my eldest daughter trying to cope with the French Curriculum during this period, though I have no objections to the 4 year old attending the local primary school. Having said that, I would prefer to educate my 4year old myself and still take private french lessons.

As to the integration of the children and their social needs, here in the UK we go horse riding and swimming every week and I can see no reason why we could not continue doing so in cda. We have many friends here in the UK and Ireland, so there is no logical reason why we cant add some nice French friends to our circle.

I understand your reasoning in favour of the french primary school system, but as I have no experience of it, I cannot comment on its validity on any basis. As an A level teacher of 16-18 year olds,here in the UK, I can only comment on the UK system which, not to say it too mildly, is very poor in terms of quality of academic achievement. I assume the problems of funding, resources and obtaining the best qualified staff are problems encountered by both countries, but I don't see why my children should suffer academically because of those problems.

To summarise then, I am under no legal obligation to send my children to any school here in the UK. My only obligation is to "educate" them. I assume from your reply that the same applies in France. As to the cost of a "private" education, it is clear to me that the International schools are beyond my reach for two children, but not for one.

I am not impressed by the schooling available here in mainland UK, though I agree with your inference that it is still much better at primary level than at secondary level. So, if I can provide a better level of education for my children than we have had to date, I will endeavor to provide it, either by myself or through a private tutor.

Thank you for all your help to date. I appreciate it.


Kindest regards,



legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 1063729952

OK that makes more sense to me understanding that it is a short-term relocation.  I wouldn’t have given you chapter and verse if I’d known that.


Seems to me that as you can afford 1 private tuition and not 2, and as your eldest is going toward the 11+ exams and as you are a UK teacher, then in order of most ease you could either :


  • a) pay for the eldest to go to Mougins School (Brit system unlike the other International Schools) and send the youngest to local primary.  Only problem is that the Villefranche to Mougins journey is quite a hike each day.

  • b) Home School eldest in UK curriculum and send youngest to local primary,

  • c) Home School both of them.

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