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The Education System in France (1997)
(EURYDICE EURYBASE 1998) The département Guidance Council

This is presided over by the académie inspector (inspecteur d'académie). It comprises representatives from each branch of education, parents, a school medical officer, an Education inspector for information and guidance, a career advisor/psychologist, an Education inspector in charge of primary schools, and headmasters.

It draws up reports on pupil guidance and choice of schools for different pupils; it examines the effect of these choices on the number of département schools. Guidance, Promotion

Article 8 of the law on education dated July 10 1989 stated that "the right to careers and academic advice" was part and parcel of the right to education.

Procedures for moving up from one class to another in the collège are applied in pursuance of the provisions in decree no. 90-484 dated June 14 1990.

Guidance, defined in 1990 and 1992, is the result of a continuous observation and evaluation process, and of concertation and dialogue between the family, the pupil and the members of the educational and teaching teams.

There is no careers guidance stage during this period, the decision being taken only at the end of the third class. Within the consolidation cycle that is at the end of the 5th class a pupil will only repeat a class if the parents make a written request for him or her to do so. At the end of the adaptation cycle (6th class), and at the end of the consolidation cycle (4th class), it is the "class council" which takes the decision. This is described below.

Depending on the final evaluation, the pupil's parents or the pupil, if he or she has attained majority, formulate the request for guidance concerning the pupil's school career or the repetition of the class. This decision is examined by the class council, which takes account of all the information collated by its members and in its turn proposes an orientation or class repetition. When this corresponds to the family's request, the head teacher ( directeur d'école ) takes the decision and communicates it to the parents. When the decision differs from the request, the head teacher receives the parents of the pupil, informs them of the proposal and listens to their comments. In the event of an unresolved conflict, the family may appeal to the commission of appeal presided over by the inspecteur d'académie , director of département services for Education. The latter's decision is final, in accordance with the operating procedure laid down in 1990.

The key moment of career guidance is at the end of lower secondary education, or the third class. Pupils can continue general and technological education in a Lycée for general and technological education, or choose full-time vocational education in a vocational Lycée or again, enter apprenticeship in an apprenticeship centre.

The reform has provided for organisation of periodical courses in career choices for pupils after the fifth class. These are set up by the teachers with assistance from specialists such as careers guidance officers, psychologists, and staff from information and guidance centres. Their purpose is to educate the pupil in making academic choices according to his own tastes, aptitudes, and aspirations, and according to economic necessities. Each school sets up its own careers guidance courses with the help of the information and guidance centre.

8.4.1. Category A staff

Category A staff mainly includes heads of schools, principal education counsellors, career advisers and psychologists, and schools and universities administrative staff. School doctors, research and study engineers, and librarians, also belong to this category. Careers advisory staff

This corps comprises career advisors/psychologists and directors of information and careers centres. Although, they work in educational institutions, they are not appointed to institutions but to the information and career centres. This staff is responsible for providing information to students and their families and participates in the preparation and development of pupils' school, university and vocational projects.

10.5. Admission requirements, diagnosis and guidance

Pursuant to the law of 30 June 1975, a "département committee for special education" (CDES), the composition and the operation of which were laid down by decree no. 75-1166 of 15 December 1975 and specified by several circulars, has been created in each department. This 12-member committee is chaired alternately by the inspecteur d'académie , director of the département department of the Ministry of Education, and the département director for health and social services (on behalf of the minister responsible for Social Services). In consultation with the family, it rules on the career guidance of the handicapped child or adolescent, and, if necessary, on the allocation to the parents - or the child's legal guardian - of a special education allowance. It can delegate its powers regarding the guidance of the handicapped child to district committees with a more limited geographical jurisdiction. For primary school pupils, these are "pre-elementary and elementary district committees" (CCPE), each of them chaired by the inspector of the Ministry of Education in charge of the district. For secondary school pupils, they are "secondary school district committees" (CCSD), chaired by the académie inspector.

Cases of very young children of pre-school age with ailments (leading to or liable to lead to a handicap) that have been detected during compulsory medical examinations can also be referred to these departmental or district committees.

It is the duty of the committee to which a case has been referred - CCPE, CCSD or CDES if it is a question of allocation of the special education allowance - to propose to the family, a solution which is most appropriate to the specific needs of the child.

Once the consent of the parents has been obtained, the school or institution concerned is obliged to carry out the committee's decision regarding the method of schooling of the child. When a school or institution considers that it cannot keep a child placed on the recommendation of a committee, or when it deems it advisable to make changes to the system of placement of the child, it can again refer the case to the committee.

Admission to a CLIS is decided by the pre-elementary and elementary education district committee (CCPE). In some cases, a decision from the CDES is required, particularly where special support, entailing financial assistance, is required. Where admission to a CLIS is envisaged for a child, the appropriate special education commission will take the advice of the teacher in the CLIS concerned, who will inform it of the composition of his or her class and his teaching plan. The pupil admitted to a CLIS must be capable, first, of accepting the minimum behavioural constraints and demands of school life, and secondly, must have acquired or be in process of acquiring, a capacity to communicate compatible with schooling, and collective living and education. Each pupil's situation is re-examined each year by the commissions.

The files of pupils to be admitted into SEGPAs are compiled and examined by CCPEs. The secondary education commissions (CCSD) suggest an orientation and allocate pupils. CCSD decisions are reviewed not later than every two years. For commissions to be able to decide in full knowledge of the facts, files contain the following information:

  • a teaching assessment detailing the pupil's acquisitions, expressed in terms of skills
  • a psychological assessment, including a detailed analysis of the clinical data explicitly backed up by psychometric assessments,
  • a medical assessment which contributes information on the pupil's development and details contra-indications for this or that vocational training,
  • a social assessment written by a social worker from the school or, failing this, by a district social worker.

10.10. Methods

At primary level (pre-elementary and elementary education ) special assistance projects are organised, in compliance with the provisions of circular no. 90-082 of 9 April 1990, for the benefit of children with specific difficulties in the acquisition and the mastery of basic instruction. The organisation of these special assistance programmes into distinct (département) networks, has replaced the "groups for educational psychology assistance" created from 1970.

It goes without saying that the first help provided to pupils should come from their own teachers, in the framework of individualised education. The teachers should know, with the help of educational psychologists if necessary, how to detect, observe, understand their pupils' difficulties, adapt their learning strategies and assess their results. Special assistance only becomes necessary when a sufficiently efficient educational answer has not been found or when it is immediately obvious that recourse to special assistance is the only solution.

In this case, education- or rehabilitation-oriented special assistance projects are set up within the school. They are implemented by specialised participants who work in a network (cf. the above-mentioned 9 April circular) under the responsibility of the district inspector from the Ministry of Education: educational psychologists, first level teachers or specialised school teachers with the CAPSAIS certificate mentioned above, option E (for educational assistance) or option G (for rehabilitation assistance).

Education-oriented special assistance can be organised:

  • by setting up classes of small permanent groupings of children with learning difficulties. The adaptation classes, which should not contain more than 15 pupils, aim at re-integrating students as soon as possible into mainstream classes that correspond to their new capabilities.
  • by organising temporary adaptation groupings made up of students with learning difficulties who continue to attend mainstream schools where they maintain their registration. These adaptation groupings meet specific educational needs. Their methods of operation are defined by the council of teachers and come within the scope of the school project for which the head teacher ( directeur d'école ) is responsible. It is agreed that the theoretical number of pupils for this type of facility, especially when the list of schools showing forecasts for regional requirements is drawn up, should be 15.

Adaptation classes and groupings are placed under the authority of specialised schoolteachers with the CAPSAIS certificate, option E. They mostly carry out their teaching duties in the same school.

Rehabilitation-oriented special assistance projects are aimed at nursery or elementary school pupils with learning difficulties, general or particular difficulties and, possibly, disabled pupils.

In each case, competent specialised staffs from the assistance network choose and implement strategies, methods and aids that are best suited to their vocational procedure. Rehabilitation-oriented special assistance is undertaken with the consent of parents and, as much as possible, with their help. For children, this assistance is offered either individually or in very small groups.

The specific educational approach of each specialised teacher in a CLIS has the following aims:

  • to use the group dynamics,
  • to offer each pupil individual objectives and teaching,
  • to limit handicaps and increase autonomy,
  • to assess the results of teaching.



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