The primary school is the first level of education. It consists of the preschool and elementary schools. It forms a basis upon which further training is built and aims to equip young people with the best qualifications whilst also preparing them for civic life. The objectives of primary school education are outlines in the July 2013 Law on School Restructuring:

Organisation of the primary school

  • Cycle 1, Early Learning Stage, covers the first three years of preschool and is the period before obligatory schooling.

In September 2016, a new common set of standards was put in place. These are structured around five domains providing a global vision of the objectives of the primary school and junior high school syllabi.

  • Cycle 2, Fundamental Learning Stage: CP, CE1, CE2 (1st, 2nd, 3rd grade)
  • Cycle 3, Consolidation Stage: CM1, CM2, 6ème (4th, 5th, 6th grade)
  • Cycle 4, Further Learning Stage: 5ème, 4ème et 3ème (7th, 8th, 9th grade)

Main axes of the primary school

Syllabi based on a Common Base of Knowledge, Culture and Skills.

The new teaching syllabi for primary and junior high school ensure the acquisition of knowledge and fundamental skills. They mirror the main objectives as defined by the new common core and are structured around five domains:

  • Languages for thinking and learning
  • Methodology and tools for learning
  • Personal training and training for civic life
  • Natural systems and technical systems
  • Representations of the world
  • Human activity

New syllabi organised in a more coherent and progressive manner

Cyclical in nature, the new syllabi for the period of obligatory schooling, are based on a new concept. They adhere to a global project which pays more particular attention to diversity and varying rhythms of acquisition.

Each cycle’s syllabus is organised in three complementary parts :

  • Section 1 introduces the main issues and learning objectives of the cycle in the global perspective of obligatory schooling and the progressive acquisition of a common culture as defined by the common core;
  • Section 2 gathers contributions from disciplinary fields in the acquisition of each of the five learning domains of the common core;
  • Section 3 details, by disciplinary field, the expected level to be mastered by the end of the cycle, the skills and knowledge to be acquired and mobilised, methodology advice, tools and steps which may be used by teachers, benchmarks for progression to organise students learning paths during the three years of the cycle.



In order to achieve its goals, the primary school opens its doors to parents. The quality of the school – parent relationship is essential in contributing to the success of each student and also required in order for the school to work well. The Head of the Primary School, who organises and leads the collective work in the school is the person of reference for school users and partners.

Complementary Pedagogical Activities

The July 2013 Law on School Restructuring and Orientation underlines the importance of primary education. The complementary pedagogical activities adhere to the measures which should contribute to the mastery of the common core of knowledge, skills and culture and therefore to the success of all students, by providing each student with the opportunity to blossom socially and personally.
At the International French School Josué-Hoffet these activities take place on Tuesday afternoons from 3pm to 4pm and are in addition to the 26 hours of weekly teaching. The activities are carried out in small groups and are organised by the teachers and put in place under their responsibility.

The complementary pedagogical activities allow for:

  • Help for students presenting learning difficulties;
  • Help with personal work;
  • The putting in place of an activity outlined in the school project.

The annual volume of hours allotted to each teacher for complementary pedagogical activities with students is 36 hours.

The provisions relating to the organisation of these activities are presented each year at the School Council meeting and are to be integrated into the school project.