Learning in the French stream

Students in the French stream follow the French national curriculum set and accredited by the Ministry of Education, from kindergarten through to Terminale. Students are taught according to the same principles, curricula and education system as students in France, and are taught by teachers who have worked either in France or in other French international schools abroad. All this means that French stream students receive a similar education to students living in France and gain the same qualifications: the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB) in 3ème and the French Baccalauréat in Terminale.

They share campuses with students from the international stream, which helps to create a cohesive school community. The various activities on offer also give them the opportunity to learn from and mix with other students from across our diverse community, providing cultural enrichment and improving their English language skills.

We aim to give each of our students the opportunity to fulfil their potential, creating determined, independent and responsible global citizens who respect social values. Heads of campus and the French stream

Five reasons to choose the French stream

A French education with citizen and social values

Joining the French stream will help your child strengthen their links with France and develop excellent French writing skills while also instilling in them the fundamental tenets of French and European culture. This means they will be able to interact with their French-speaking family.

Academic rigour with broad general knowledge

The French stream offers a rich academic education where students are primarily taught through the medium of books and the written word. Depending on the year group and the subject, students also study in small groups. The French curriculum teaches a broad range of subjects, from modern languages and history to science and philosophy. This enables students to gain substantial general and cultural knowledge as well as critical thinking skills.

The multilingual choice

Choosing the French stream means choosing an international experience. And this is a major advantage for your child’s future studies, professional and personal life. Learning French is a winning formula. Not only are there 300 million French speakers spread across the globe, but mastering French also makes learning other romance languages easier. And in addition to learning another modern language, students can choose the reinforced English programme, finishing their schooling fully bilingual, or even trilingual.

The French Baccalauréat, an internationally renowned qualification opening the doors to a plethora of higher education institutions

Each year, our recent graduates enrol in the best universities and écoles supérieures (higher education establishments) both in France, with its renowned yet affordable options, and around the world, particularly in the US, the UK and Canada. Our dedicated university guidance team helps them carefully consider their options, with students going on to study a diverse range of subjects.

Hassle-free international mobility

Since FIS is part of the AEFE (Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger) network, students can continue their studies, without entry test or administrative hassle, in a public or State-contracted private school in France or in one of the 535 AEFE schools established in 139 countries across the globe.  

French stream curriculum

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a fundamental stage in a child’s education. The skills they gain at this young age, especially language skills, serve as building blocks for future learning.

The main goal of kindergarten is to make children want to go to school to learn, develop and express their personality.

Kindergarten provides an environment where children learn and experience together. Here, they discover the key principles of community life and begin the journey to become responsible citizens.

We take a play-based approach to learning that is adapted to suit the age and abilities of each child. Teachers promote positive assessment, where children themselves identify their accomplishments.

Our curriculum is organised around five main areas of learning:

  • involvement with language in all its forms

Language learning in kindergarten

  • action, self-expression and understanding through physical activities
  • action, self-expression and understanding through artistic activities
  • building the foundations for organising students’ thinking
  • exploring the world

In kindergarten, we work through different teaching topics and organise related activities designed to develop these five learning areas. 

 

Primary

At primary level, students develop key skills in literacy, numeracy and respect for others. Our progressive yet demanding teaching methods prioritise proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics, essential foundations for the next steps in your child’s education.

From primary school through to lower secondary, we help students progressively develop shared knowledge, skills and culture focusing on five key aspects:

  • language for thinking and communicating: including French language skills, learning a modern foreign language and introducing artistic, mathematical, scientific and IT language.

Language learning in primary

  • learning tools and methods: including teamwork and group work, organising working time, using digital tools, researching and checking information.
  • developing as a person and a citizen: including class participation, taking part in the school community and learning about sustainable development.
  • natural and technical systems: including learning by observing science and technology in real life and assimilating health principles through the practice of sport.
  • representations of the world and human activity: including understanding their place in time and space through history and geography, cultural enrichment through the arts and learning about cultural specificities.
LANGUAGE FOR THINKING AND COMMUNICATING - As part of French Schools Abroad Week, CE2 students produce a podcast discussing simple steps to help protect the planet.
LEARNING TOOLS AND METHODS - CM1 and CM2 students take part in the Castor Informatique competition, which aims to help students discover computer science and digital technologies.
DEVELOPING AS A PERSON AND A CITIZEN - FIS organises full-scale elections for class representatives (with campaigning, posters, ballot boxes and papers).
NATURAL AND TECHNICAL SYSTEMS - We set up spaces for gardening, allowing students to discover the principles of permaculture.
REPRESENTATIONS OF THE WORLD AND HUMAN ACTIVITY - Students study how fashion has changed throughout history and CE2 students organise a fashion show.

Lower secondary and the Diplôme National du Brevet
(DNB)

Progressing to lower secondary is a significant step. Students need to adjust to a new setup in terms of timing and location, with a timetable, room changes and one teacher per subject, sometimes with differing expectations. The pace of work is also faster than in primary and students need to become increasingly independent. 

In lower secondary, all subjects taught (French, Mathematics, Modern Languages, History, Geography and Citizenship, Science and Technology, Music, Art, Art History and Physical Education) draw on a common foundation of knowledge, skills and culture.

Students can choose from a few language options: 

  • Mandarin 
  • European languages and cultures (English) 
  • American international section (SIA)

Language learning in lower secondary

The DNB assesses the knowledge and skills gained at the end of lower secondary as follows:  

  • 50% of the final grade: continuous assessment of the common core subjects 
  • 50% of the final grade: final tests made up of four written exams (French, Mathematics, History and Geography and Sciences) and one oral test (Art History)

Upper secondary and the French Baccalauréat

Upper secondary marks a new stage in each student’s education. Not only is the curriculum more intense, but students also need to make more specific choices about their future and prepare for their exams. Independence and organisation are key for successfully transitioning to upper secondary. 

In Seconde, students will gain experience of various subjects, helping them to select their specialty subjects for Première. Beyond the common curriculum, students can choose their own combination of subjects according to their preferences and ambitions.

In Première and Terminale, all students study the common curriculum, which includes:

  • French and Philosophy (French in Première and Philosophy in Terminale)
  • History and Geography
  • Civic and Moral Education
  • Mandatory Modern Language (A) (English)
  • Mandatory Modern Language (B) (Spanish, German or Mandarin)
  • Physical Education
  • Sciences

Students in Première choose three specialty subjects.

Then, at the end of the second term in Première, they choose two of these to carry forward into Terminale. The third and remaining subject will be assessed in the third term of Première.

Choices available depend on timetable constraints and student profiles, but options include:

  • History and Geography, Geopolitics and Political Science
  • Humanities, Literature and Philosophy
  • Language, Literature and Culture (English, except for students on the OIB)
  • Mathematics
  • Digital Technology and Computer Science
  • Physics and Chemistry
  • Earth and Life Sciences
  • Economics and Social Science
  • Art

Students in Terminale can also choose one or two additional optional subjects from two groups:

  • Advanced Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Law and Major Contemporary Issues
  • Art, Latin or Mandarin (as a third foreign language)
  • American section (OIB)
  • European languages and cultures section (English)
  • Oriental section

What is the American section (OIB)?

The American section OIB is the result of a partnership between the French Ministry of Education and the United States College Board.

It is a specialisation within the French Baccalauréat. It is a bilingual and bicultural qualification, with some subjects, such as English Literature and History and Geography taught and assessed in English. This stands students in good stead for entry to both French and US universities. 

The OIB is a demanding programme aiming for academic excellence and setting high standards. The workload is substantial, with 8 to 10 hours of teaching in English each week, 4 of which are in addition to the standard timetable. Universities can be confident in the French and English abilities of OIB applicants.

Language learning in upper secondary

 

The French Baccalauréat assesses the knowledge and skills gained at the end of upper secondary as follows:  

Baccalauréat général : 

  • 40% of the final grade: school report cards and a series of common exams
  • 60% of the final grade: final exams

International section baccalauréat (OIB): 

  • 50% of the final grade: school report cards and a series of common exams 
  • 50% of the final grade: final exams (written and oral)