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Showing the French law in relation to home education / homeschooling as of 23 March 2012.
Disclaimer - The translation may not be 100% accurate and the French law may have changed since this page was created.
Text highlighted in purple is our own highlights, used to indicate some important points in relation to your rights as a home educating parent.
Instruction in the family (home education)
Circular No. 2011-238 of 26-12-2011
MEN - DGESCO B3-3
References: Code of éduciation:
- Legislative Part: Articles L. 131-1-1, L. 131-2, L. 131-5, L. 131-10 and L. 131-11
- Regulatory Section: R. 131-2, D. 131-11 and D. 131-12
The principle of compulsory education, posed in 1882, now requires that all children aged six to sixteen, living in France, receive instruction, which can be followed, depending on the choice of those responsible, whether in a public school or in a private school or in the family. While freedom of choice, for parents, between these three modes of instruction has not been questioned since the original legislation in 1998 raised the principle, codified in Article L. 131-1-1 of the Education Code, that the instruction should be provided primarily in educational institutions.
Whatever the chosen mode of instruction, it must allow the child to acquire, at the end of the period of compulsory education, the knowledge and skills of a common base. If families are choosing to home educate the child, they should ensure that the education provided meets this objective.
The Law No. 2007-297 of 5 March 2007 on the prevention of delinquency, Law No. 2007-293 of 5 March 2007 - reforming the child protection and Decree No. 2009-259 of 5 March 2009 concerning the content of the knowledge required of home educated children and those educated in private schools not under contract, have changed the course of home education.
This circular aims to clarify the framework and to define the modalities of implementation of controls that education inspectors, directors of departmental services of Education must make.
I - General framework of legislative and regulatory regime of home education.
Age of child
The legislative and regulatory regime of home education only for children in compulsory education, that is to say children between six and sixteen based on the school calendar.
Location of the child
All children residing on French territory, whatever their nationality and regardless of their living arrangements (homeless or non-sedentary population), can be affected by home education. However, this scheme does not apply to children of French nationals living abroad.
Number of educated families in the same household
Only one family living in the same household may be homeschooled (Article L.131-10 of the Education Code as amended by Act of 5 March 2007 reforming child protection).
Instead of investigating the child's home, since the intervention of the law of 5 March 2007 on the prevention of delinquency, which supplemented Article L131-10 of the Education Code, this includes instruction by distance education. All children who do not receive instruction directly in a school are now classed as home educating / homeschooling.
Two cases are possible:
1. Homeschooling is a family choice. The education can then be provided by parents, or one of them, or by any person of their choice. No specific qualification is required to ensure that education. However, a number of families are supported in their efforts by distance learning courses and enrol their children either at the Centre National d'Enseignement à Distance (CNED) in open enrolment, or in an organization of private distant learning .
2. The child can not be enrolled in a school who is also enrolled in a CNED regulated class. The school inspector and chief of departmental services of Education may give a favourable opinion for entry in the Centre National d'Enseignement à Distance (CNED) in class registration regulated (Article R. 426-2-1 of the Education Code) specifying the grounds for listing including:
- medical care in family
- disabilities waiting for enrolment in a nursing home,
- sports and artistic activities,
- travelling parents,
- geographical distance of a school.
In this case, the CNED provides these students a comprehensive education with academic advisers, transcripts and notice of passage that requires public schools or private contract.
Depending on whether the child is the first or second case, the procedures for reporting requirements and procedures for implementation of controls differ.
II - Home schooling is a family choice
1. Steps to take
To monitor compliance with compulsory education, each year, "during the school year, the mayor lists all children residing within their locality and who are subject to compulsory education. Those responsible must register the children in their care "(Article L. 131-6 of the Education Code).
Meanwhile, pursuant to Article L. 131-5 of the Education Code, the persons responsible for a child subject to compulsory education, who have not enrolled their child in a public or private school and who wish to learn at home, must annually report to the mayor of the municipality of residence and the school inspector, director of departmental services of Education that will provide instruction in the family.
Each school year, the mayor and the school inspector must be informed of the choice of learning of a child subject to compulsory education. Therefore the statements of home education must reach back to school.
Each statement must be written. It includes the names, first names and date of birth of the child, the names of responsible persons and their addresses, the address where the child resides and, if different from residence address, that to which the instruction is provided.
In the event that a change in the method of instruction occurs during a school year and where, for example, parents choose to educate their child in the family, the declaration must be made under the same conditions as those set forth above, within eight days after the change.
Similarly, any change of residence must be a double return to old and new mayors of municipalities and to the inspector or inspectors academy concerned within eight days.
1.2 Acknowledgement of the school inspector
Receiving a statement of homeschooling / home education, the school inspector acknowledges receipt, informing interested parties of the consequences of choices made (see model in Annex 1) and issues a certificate of education in the family ( cf. model in annex 2), which may be made to the debtor organization for family benefits, in accordance with Article L. 552-4 of the Code of Social Security.
2. Investigation of the Mayor
Since the Act of March 28, 1882, it is the responsibility of the mayor to establish a list of children subject to compulsory education in the territory of the commune. Section 16 of this Act, codified in Article L. 131-10 of the Education Code, the mayor has the task of conducting a survey of children who receive instruction in the family (are home educated). This survey is part of the field missions that the mayor has as an agent of the state. If its implementation may be difficult for some municipalities, the mayor however, can not escape it. Where, exceptionally, the investigation could not be done, then it is brought by the prefect of the department.
The mayor's inspection is conducted "solely for purposes of determining what the reasons are given by those responsible, and if they are given an instruction to the extent consistent with their health and living conditions of the family." It is not about the quality of instruction, whose validation is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.
It must be completed in the first year of the period of home education and be renewed every two years, until the age of sixteen.
To be fully effective, it is desirable that the first survey is conducted as soon as possible after the declaration.
The survey results must be communicated to the school inspector who will draw the consequences for the selection and implementation of its own controls (see § 3).
3. Control of home educated families by the school inspector in France
3.1 Purpose of control
Control includes both the reality of the education provided and the acquisition of knowledge of the child and the child's progression.
- The check on the reality of the education provided
The provisions of Article L. 131-10 of the Code of Education stipulate that "the academy inspector must (...) make sure that the home education provided is consistent with the child's right to education as is defined in Article L. 131-1-1, "which article states that" the right of children to education is to guarantee him (...) the acquisition of the fundamental knowledge, basic knowledge, ... ".
The school inspector must verify that the child receives a good education and s/he acquires knowledge. Control is therefore on the content of education and the skills and knowledge acquired by the child.
- Check on the progress of the child
The school inspector must ensure that the growth restraint "is to bring the child, after the period of compulsory education, to master all the requirements of the common base" as children enrolled in public or private contract.
Legislators hoped that the requirements of the child's right to education are specified in a decree defining the content knowledge required of children educated in the family at the end of the period of compulsory education. This content is fixed in Article D. 131-11 of the Education Code which refers to the Annex mentioned in section D. 122-1 of the Code. The reference to this appendix focuses on the content of the common base of knowledge and skills that the child must have acquired at the end of compulsory schooling. The assessment procedures set out in the Preamble of the schedule that defines the common ground does not apply to children who are home educated.
In each of the seven areas of competence defined in the common core, the evolution of the acquisitions of the child is assessed according to the overall progress defined and implemented by responsible persons according to their educational choices such that they could present them to the academy inspector responsible for monitoring (see § 3-3) and, after the first control, compared to previous tests, without reference to the grade level of a class of establishment public school or private contract. The control does not, in fact, intend to test the grade level. A positive control in any way excuses the child from taking the exam for admission to public secondary education provided by the decree of 12 June 1953 based on an entry in a public institution.
Special case of the child enrolled in CNED open enrolment or in a private distance learning
When a child educated at home is registered in CNED open enrolment or in a private distance learning, the overall increase recorded shall be that fixed by the agency and approved by the educational control of the Minister of National Education which it is subjected.
The control exercised by the academy inspector as part of the instruction in the family deals with the reality of the education provided to children within the family. It is basically possible to verify that the different works presented have been made by the child and that the chosen mode of instruction allows a steady acquisition of the child.
3.2 Structure of control
Control is individualized and specific to each child.
Pursuant to section D. 131-12 of the Code of Education, the school inspector must ensure that "the progression used for the acquisition of knowledge and skills (is) consistent with the child's age and his health while taking into account adjustments justified by the educational choices of parents. "
- Preparation of educational control
So that the inspector can ensure its control takes into account the educational choices made, it may advise the family to produce a first control document explaining these choices.
If documents explaining these choices are sent to the control officer, the latter before becoming aware of the control in order to establish a constructive dialogue with those responsible, to better understand the content of teaching and methods educational use.
As a guide, a grid of skills and knowledge that the child should be allowed to control the age of sixteen in all seven areas of competence of the common base is attached as Appendix 3. This grid, to which those responsible can see, is a tool to help describe the elements of the progress they have selected based on their educational choices.
- Interview and observation of the various works of the Child
The control of knowledge and skills acquired by the child includes the observation of its various papers presented at the control inspector in an interview. It is necessary to check the reality of the education provided to children. Parents, whose presence can help foster a calm atmosphere of dialogue and trust, can provide, as instructors, explanations for the proper conduct of the examination. During this interview, it is desirable that the child is expressed to enable effective control of the progression of its acquisitions, especially those concerning the skills mentioned in columns 6 and 7 of the common base.
- Individual Exercises
The interview and observation of children's work can often be sufficient to assess the progress of the acquisitions of the child. However, to better assess its acquisitions and its progress, individualized exercises tailored to the educational choice made where possible, can be requested.
It should ensure that the period of control is not disproportionate, under the age of the child and purposes of control.
3.3 Arrangements for monitoring
Who does this control?
For children under the primary level, the academy inspector shall inspect or designate for this purpose an inspector of National Education, which may be assisted as necessary by a school psychologist.
With regard to children under high school, the academy inspector must enter the Director of Education, which means a prior member of the inspectorate, which may be assisted, if necessary, a counselor counseling psychologist.
Prior information provided to the family
The family is informed in writing of the date of inspection, the place or places where it takes place and functions of the person to hold the inquiry. This information is addressed to them at least a month ahead of schedule for the control. Any change of location of appointment by the family must be motivated by an inability to make himself available as scheduled by the school inspectorate.
This is the school inspector who fixed the date of inspection. However, if the service organization allows, it may, for this purpose, contact the family before sending the notice.
Prior information of the persons responsible for auditing
Pursuant to section D. 131-12 of the Education Code, the persons responsible for monitoring must take into account the child's age, condition and health facilities supported by the educational choices made. It is important that they be notified of the results of the survey of the town hall and to the extent possible, the progression used by parents based on their educational choices.
- Communicating the results of the survey of the town hall
To appreciate the quality and level of education, those responsible for the control can be based, insofar as they have on the results of the investigation of the mayor or reeve, enabling them to ascertain the reasons alleged for this choice of education and health status of the child.
In the event the school inspector finds during an inspection, that the investigation was not performed, it is important that approaches the mayor to see if problems were encountered and to take, if necessary, the attachment of the prefect.
- Information by those responsible on the progression adopted, based on their educational choices
Those responsible for the child can make their educational choices at the academy inspector responsible for monitoring its being informed of the date of inspection to enable it to become acquainted and to organize the control accordingly.
Place of inspection
The law states that "the audit shall include in the parental home." By this provision, the legislature intended that this control does not take place exclusively at home. While it is important to know the environment in which the child develops, it may be appropriate not to identify the locus of control at home only people responsible for the child. In this regard, as confirmed by case law (decision of 18 December 2007 the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris, Victor Aknine c. / Rector of the Academy of Paris), the choice of place belongs to the control administration.
When this control is done outside the home unless the family proved unable to visit the locus of control set by the school inspector, a refusal to move amounts to a family opposition to the conduct of the examination.
3.4 Frequency control
Pedagogical control commissioned by the academy inspector has conducted at least once a year, from the third month following the declaration of education in the family. It is important that it is not too late in the school year so that it is possible, if necessary, to conduct a second inspection before the end of the school year.
3.5 Action taken in the first control
The monitoring results are routinely reported to those responsible for the child.
Personnel who are responsible to ensure not to present these results as confirming a level of education (see § 3-1).
When those responsible are warned that the test results are deemed inadequate, it must be specified how their instruction given does not allow the progress of the child to the acquisition, end of period of compulsory education, the knowledge set out in Article D. 131-11 of the Code of Education in each of the seven areas of competence declined in the common core.
In this case, those responsible are informed of the time after which a second check is scheduled. The duration of this period would enable them to improve the situation or provide explanations. It seems desirable, unless special circumstances justify a shorter deadline, this deadline is not less than one month after the date of mailing of the results (as evidenced by the postmark), in order to assess properly the evolution of the situation. Those officials were also notified of the penalties which they could face in the absence of consideration of comments made during the first check.
3.6 Action taken in the second control
Following this second review, the results are notified to those responsible. If the results of evaluations conducted on this occasion is still insufficient, parents are called upon by the academy inspector to enrol the child within fifteen days of notification, in a public school according the usual rules of registration and assignment, or in a private school of their choice; motivation of the notice is based on the findings of the second control, like those notified to those responsible for the After the initial check, have to explain how the instruction does not allow the progress of the child to the acquisition, end of period of compulsory education, knowledge and skills set out in Article D. 131-11 of the Code of Education in each of the seven areas of competence declined in the common core.
Parents should contact the mayor of the municipality of residence on behalf of the institution where the child is enrolled. The mayor shall then notify the school inspector and chief of departmental services of National Education.
In very rare cases, the academy inspector may propose a re-schooling families in Cned in a class of restricted registration. This case can relate, in any event, that children who are unable to attend school in a school and for whom social inquiry the Mayor does not reveal any inconsistency between the living conditions Family and education provided at home.
4. Non-compliance with procedures
4.1 Failure to submit
It is recalled that, if children in compulsory education are not enrolled in school education, the statements of education in the family must send annually to the mayor and the school inspector the school year (see § II-1-1).
The failure to declare private instruction in the family mayors and education inspectors the opportunity to conduct investigations or inspections provided by law.
It is therefore important that the mayors and education inspectors have, each in his case, an exhaustive knowledge of children educated in the family. That is why education inspectors should be closer to mayors to identify children who have been the subject of a declaration, either at the town hall, either from the school inspectorate, or , having been no declaration, are not enrolled in school.
When a lack of instruction statements in the family is found, the academy inspector must proceed urgently to control the manner provided above (see § 3). The intervention must be done in this case without delay.
Failure declarative to the mayor constitute a criminal offense liable to incur any person exercising parental authority or an authority is ongoing with respect to the child a fine of 1,500 euros maximum it must be reported to the prosecutor by any municipal authority or academia who are known.
4.2 Opposition of family control
The opposition controls the family teaching required by law is an offense, that this opposition will result in a denial or control of obvious barriers to its development. Such a situation that the school inspector reports to the prosecutor.
4.3 Cases of non-compliance with the notice of enrolment
When parents, ordered to enroll their child in view of the lack of instruction in the family, deliberately refuse to enroll in an educational institution, they are liable to a penalty of six months imprisonment and 7500 euro fine (Article 227-17-1 of the Penal Code).
In this situation, it is for the academy inspector to report the facts to the public prosecutor under Article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which "requires every employee to promptly notify the prosecutor of the Republic of any crime or offense of which he acquires knowledge in the exercise of his functions. "
Monitoring results, specifically motivated (cf. § 3-6), will be attached to reporting, parents can argue the compliance of the instruction in the family with the child's right to education to challenge before the Criminal Court the validity of the notice of re-schooling. The criminal courts are indeed competent to assess the legality of administrative acts of the review depends on when the solution of criminal proceedings (Article 111-5 of the Criminal Code).
5. Special Cases
5.1 When reporting instruction in the family occurs after a formal notice to-school
When parents ordered to reintegrating their child during a school year are a new declaration of education in the family to the next school year, it should expedite control as soon as possible to allow, where appropriate, a re-schooling Fast:
- If the statement came from the school year, the first inspection must take place during the first days of November;
- Otherwise, if the statement does not return to school soon, it should be noted the failure to declare to institute without delay a control.
5.2 Findings of the total lack of education
During the inspection, the services of Education may face the situation of a child who has never received any instruction, despite a statement of education in the family addressed to the school inspector .
In this case, it is imperative that the school inspector performs an emergency, even before any formal notice, a report to the prosecutor under the Children at Risk and the violation of section 227 -17 of the Criminal Code.
5.3 Finding of family problems or a presumption of Children at Risk
Verification of the acquisition of all knowledge and skills of the common base is a means which can assess whether the child is subject to a hold against his interest, including sectarian. We must then take all measures necessary in the interest of the child.
Finally, it should consider situations where the instruction in the family is not poor, but where the family is facing "difficulties that might endanger the health, safety or morals of a minor or undermine the terms of his education. "
In these cases, the academy inspector may, in order "to assess the child's situation and determine actions to protect and help this child and his family may receive" contact information of concern to the Chairman General under Article L. 2-1 of 226 code of social action and families, and it should do if he was informed that a school child is faced with family problems disturb its development. It must, for this, forewarn the parent or other person exercising parental authority, unless otherwise interest of the child.
Moreover, in case of grave and imminent danger to the child, the control officers can directly and immediately notify the prosecutor, so that measures of educational assistance may be ordered pursuant to section 375 of Civil Code. In this case, they shall send a copy of this transmission to the President of the General Council under Article L. 226-4 of the Code of Social Action and Families
III - The child can not be enrolled in a school is enrolled in the class registration CNED regulated
Since the intervention of the law of 5 March 2007 on the prevention of delinquency, all children under distance education are subject to the declarative instruction at home as well as investigation of the mayor and controls of the academy inspector.
Nevertheless, the CNED, a national public guardianship of the Minister for Education, is authorized to provide public services to distance education for children who can not be enrolled in a public teaching face ( Articles R. 426-1 to R. 426-3 of the Education Code).
To avoid needlessly device controls already existing control procedures of instruction in the family described above were adapted to the particular situation of CNED.
So that no child beyond the control of compulsory education, the academy inspector sends annually to Cned list of children for whom he gave a favorable opinion for inclusion in this institution and indicates Cned those for which registration has not been acted upon.
Statement to the mayor
The CNED notify the mayors of enrollment in the institute of children within compulsory education. This information allows mayors to institute a social survey of the families concerned. The CNED address alongside families a letter informing them that, as part of the instruction in the family, a social survey will be conducted by the mayor of their municipality of residence.
Statement to the school inspector
The statement to the academy inspector is not required: it has issued an opinion in favor of registration Cned is already informed of the situation.
Certificate of attendance
The address family CNED a certificate of attendance, making it unnecessary to issue by the academy inspector a certificate of education in the family.
When the school inspector has given a favorable opinion on the inclusion of a child Cned, he confides in de facto control teaching. Therefore, the academy inspector intervenes only when it Cned reports the case of children enrolled in class at registration who do not provide regulated work. It then performs the checks provided for in II-3, the increase whichever is appropriate to the level where the child is enrolled.
The following provisions of Circular No. 99-070 of 14 May 1999 on strengthening the control of compulsory education are repealed: the preamble, Title I with respect to instruction in the family, Part III-1 on education provided by the Cned, paragraph 2 of Part III-2 on the control of children enrolled in a private distance education, Title IV relating to reinstatement in a school and the last three paragraphs.
Are preserved and will be updated later with the provisions of Title II on instruction in classes of non-contract private educational institutions, those in paragraphs 1 and 3 of Part III-2 on the control of private distance education, and those in Part III-3 on non-sedentary populations.
The Minister of National Education, Youth and community life,
Appendices and Annexes
For Appendices and Annexes, please visit http://www.education.gouv.fr/pid25535/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=58902.
We hope this translation of the French law governing home education / homeschooling in France has proven useful!