The really original feature of the International Lycée at St. Germain-en-Laye – and the schools associated with it – is that all its students have the rare chance to become not only bilingual but bicultural. The curriculum is divided between French staff, teaching subjects to French national standards, and foreign teachers – employed in one of the system’s twelve national sections – who are given the freedom and responsibility to teach literature, language and history to their own national standards.
During the 2008/9 school year, the British Section re-defined its role in the system in the form of a new mission statement. This was a major initiative involving the whole community (parents, staff and students) and we invite you to look at the results. They are perhaps the best introduction to what we are doing.
The British Section educates children from age 3 right up to age 18. With over 800 pupils on roll on the Lycée International site and in the partner schools, it is the largest of the national sections. Children who speak little or no French can join the Section via one of the Français Spécial classes and benefit from an intensive course in French. There is comparable access to the system for academically able French children - with the ambition to achieve total ease and fluency in English -through the Group 2 classes in Le Pecq or through the specialised Seconde Accueil group at the Lycée.
The Section’s strong academic programme leads to IGCSE examinations at age 16, followed by a two-year preparation for the International Option of the French Baccalaureate, or OIB. This diploma, run jointly by the French Government and Cambridge Assessment and designed specifically for our bicultural students, was largely developed at St Germain and has attracted very favourable notices (notably from British universities) since its introduction in 1985.
Throughout their schooling, British Section students are able to take part in a range of extracurricular activities and are supported by a system of pastoral care organised and run by the teaching staff.
Our final year (French Terminale) averages 64 students. They all go on to university – many to the UK. Last year’s university entrance record will give you a more precise idea. The evidence, stretching back over many years now, is that a Lycée International education gives students the skills, motivation and work habits which are an excellent preparation for university and the increasingly globalised professional world which follows. The results, and the track record of so many former students, justify the Lycée ‘s reputation as one of the outstandingly successful schools in France.