Life around the world

Friday, 5 December, 2014 - 08:28

French Collège versus English secondary schools

by HannahP

Hundred of teenagers flooding into the school gates; bags crammed with school books talking about dramas with best friends, new outfits and who has the worst lesson that day. A similar scene happens everyday across the world. Who would have thought however, that the differences between English and French high schools would be so striking!
Blazers and ties substituted for track suits and hoodies
First impressions are everything my dad always taught me. And amongst the sea of French students the first impressions here couldn't be more different from their English equivalents. The variety of track suits, caps and hoodies are in stark contrast to the ties, shirts and blazers worn by all English students.  Sure many English students love disobeying rules on school uniform and would give anything for the chance to wear their own clothes more often. But as many French teenagers have pointed out to me in lessons, a uniform is often a safeguarded of equality and limits bullying.
'Vie Scolaire'
After I am through the school gates I am greeted by the 'Vie Scolaire' (school life) which doesn't exist in my country. This army of young adults, often university students, provide pastoral support to students, acting as a bridge between the teachers and students. Sometimes teachers just don't have the time to chat about a problem or follow up on an absence and this is something that the French system certainly does well.
French students
French kids don't have it easy in terms of the length of the school day. Not only do many 11 year olds have to drag themselves out of bed for 8am lessons, but the final bell doesn't ring until 5pm! Getting home at 6pm doesn't leave much time for sport, dance or seeing friends. The only silver lining to this exceptionally long school day is that the majority of French students have Wednesday afternoons off. In the south of France, that means regular trips to the beach basking in the warm Mediterranean sun. Not too bad at all!
It certainly is fascinating to see the differences between the two systems up close. But to be honest I secretly liked my bottle green school uniform and adored my 3:30pm end to the day.
Language level

Which aspects of French schools and English schools do you like? Which system sounds better to you? 

English courses near you