48 rue Guérin, 77300 Fontainebleau, France
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Lycee Curriculum

Overview of the French System

The French Ministry of Education has prepared a very useful document in English explaining how the French Schooling System works.

School Education in France

Choice of Bac L, ES, S

Becoming a student in the Lycée International François Premier, Fontainebleau marks a turning point in the school life of our pupils. Now our students find themselves part of a large and prestigious French Lycée with over 900 students following the 3-year programmes leading to the Baccalaureat (2nde, 1e, Terminale), as well as over 200 pre-university students studying in the Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Ecoles.

The Lycée International François Premier provides education exclusively for those students who are willing and able to follow the programmes of study of the 3 academic Baccalaureat sections:

  • Bac L : emphasis on literature and language studies
  • Bac ES : emphasis on economics & social studies
  • Bac S : emphasis on maths & sciences

In 2nde, students follow a more general programme which includes studies in these three areas. At the close of the 2nde year, students, with the approval of the Lycée, select one of the three Baccalaureat options.

All students entering Seconde (2nde) embark on a common programme of studies which includes 2 subjects which involve a degree of choice:

  • Option 1 : A modern language which the student has been studying for at least 2 years – German, Russian, Spanish or Portuguese
  • Option 2 : ES (Economic & Social Studies) or MPI (Mesures Physiques Informatique)

Students may, if time-tabling allows, also choose a non-compulsory subject of study (art, music, German for beginners, etc)

Now that they are in the Lycée, pupils are expected to have a disciplined, pro-active approach to their studies and to be willing partners with their teachers in programmes designed to enable them to achieve their full academic potential, to obtain their Baccalaureat and to prepare for university and professional life.

In 2nde, students should expect to spend at least 12 – 15 hours each week on assignments and class preparation for both French and Anglophone classes and to have demanding schedules, including classes on Saturday mornings.

Moving into 2nde means entering a new, exciting and demanding phase of schooling, designed to prepare dynamic and motivated youngsters for their higher educational and professional futures.


IGCSE Literature in 2nde

All students are entered to sit the Cambridge English Literature IGCSE in May.


Students will complete 2 coursework assignments:

  • (i) one on Shakespeare
  • (ii) one on a novel of the teacher’s choice.

Each piece is drafted, marked by the teacher giving pointers to the student as to how it can be improved and then redrafted before being awarded a mark and a band.

The coursework accounts for 25% of the total award.


The exam follows Set Texts – Open Books – and lasts 2 hours 15 minutes.

There are three sections:

  1. Play
  2. Novel
  3. Poetry

It comprises a mixture of passage based, empathic and essay questions. Candidates must answer at least one passage based and one essay question. New to GCSE and A Level literature exams a few years ago, empathic questions address the same assessment objectives as the passage based and essay questions but give the candidate an opportunity to engage more imaginatively with the text by assuming a suitable “voice” (i.e. a manner of speaking for a particular character).

Students will have ample practice in all forms of question over the course of the year.

Study after the IGCSE exam

Work begins on the texts to be studied in 1ere. This ensures that students will arrive in September having read some of the literature they will be studying.

OIB Eng Lang/Lit

The OIB English Language and Literature course enables students to develop their interest and enjoyment in literary studies through reading widely, critically and comparatively. Students study a selection of both modern and traditional texts, learn to identify how meanings and effects are created and conveyed, and develop an awareness of how they relate to the contexts in which they were written. The overall aim is for students to develop as independent, confident and reflective readers.

To make up the baccalaureat with the International Option in Literature and Language, study and examination of the first foreign language, known as LV1 (langue vivante 1) is replaced by the OIB course. The British version of the OIB is based on the study of literature, although students are also examined on the fluency and accuracy of their spoken and written English. The course has equivalence with A2 (or second year A Level) English Literature. Both subjects are examined by written and oral papers.

Because LV1 (first foreign language) is modified by the OIB Literature and Language structure, the student still takes a version of the baccalaureat which is largely the same as the standard L, ES or S version. He is said to be taking serie S, or serie L, etc. with the International Option. Nonetheless, the marking system gives extra weighting and therefore extra importance to this subject, and thus acknowledges both the extra degree of difficulty and the increased workload imposed by the OIB.

The examination is administered by University of Cambridge International Examinations in cooperation with the Ministere de L’education Nationale. For more information, please refer to the Examinations Handbook for the British Option.

Choice of works (see below for course texts)

The authors chosen will normally be British, American, Commonwealth or any others whose works were written originally in English. An effort is made to represent a variety of historical periods, with approximately half representing twentieth century writing. A work may stay on the list for up to two years. The choices of set works fall into four categories: Drama; Poetry; Prose Fiction; Shakespeare’s works

Written Examination

4 hours; all answers written in English. (Please note that set texts may NOT be taken into the examination)

Part 1: Individual Works (2 h 40 min)

Two questions, 1 h 20 min each (66% of total mark) from the following

  • Section A Drama – Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
  • Section B Prose Fiction – Alice Munro, Short Stories
  • Section C Poetry – Christina Rossetti, Selected Poems:
  • Love from the North;
  • Goblin Market;
  • When I am dead, my dearest;
  • A Christmas Carol (In the Bleak Midwinter);
  • A Birthday;
  • Jessie Cameron;
  • In the Round Tower at Jhansi, June 8, 1857;
  • Remember;
  • Somewhere or Other;
  • The PRB;
  • In an Artist’s Studio;
  • No Thank You, John;
  • A Daughter of Eve;
  • Paradise

A total of 6 questions are set, 2 on each prescribed text. Candidates are required to write answers to 2 questions, which must be chosen from different sections.

Part 2: Critical Appreciation (1 hour 20 minutes)

  • One question (33% of the total mark)

A comparison between two poems or two passages of prose or a question which focuses on a single poem or prose extract.

Candidates will have the opportunity to answer one question which requires a comparison between two poems or two passages of prose. The alternative question will continue to focus on a single passage. (Note that the prose extract is not necessarily from a work of fiction; it may be taken from non-fiction genres, such as travel writing, letters, diaries, essays, etc.) Suggestions are given in the question about possible areas of focus, and candidates are asked to analyse by what means the aspects or effects discussed are created or achieved.

Oral Examination

1.05h exam; in English – 35 min Shakespeare preparation; 15 min Shakespeare presentation & discussion, then 15 min discussion of the Synoptic Topic

Part 1: Detailed commentary followed by discussion (approx. 15 min)

  • Shakespeare, Richard III (New Cambridge Edition)

Candidates are required to give a commentary lasting 7 – 8 minutes on a passage (between 30-34 lines long) from the Shakespeare play that they have studied and to discuss it with the examiners. Passages are defined by teacher-examiners and one of these is selected for the candidate who then spends 35 minutes preparing his commentary in a supervised preparation room. A question and answer session on the whole text follows the commentary. Time is divided equally between the prepared commentary and discussion.

Part 2: Synoptic topic: Writers & the Victorian World/Postcolonial writing ( approx.15 min)

  • Shakespeare, Richard III (New Cambridge Edition)
  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  • Lloyd Jones, Mr Pip
  • Postcolonial Poems (Cambridge Selection)

Postcolonial writing

Poems: students will be invited to begin their discussion of Postcolonial Writing by a brief (2-3 minutes) introduction of one of the following poems:

  • ‘A Far Cry from Africa’ (Derek Walcott)
    ‘A Different History’ (Sujata Bhatt)
    ‘Things Fall Apart’ (Jackie Kay)
    ‘The Immigrants’ (Magaret Atwood)
    ‘Checking Out Me History’ (John Agard)
    ‘Colonial Girls School’ (Olive Senior)

Main texts: students will be expected to discuss questions about the literary contexts of Postcolonial Writing by referring in detail to two of the above texts; they may refer to more than two, but in terms of marks there is no need to do so.

OIB Hist/Geog

OIB History and Geography


The aims and objectives of the 2nde History programme are the same as those of the College programme.

The topics below are closely linked to the 2nde History programme taught in French.

1. Social and economic problems and reform in Britain c1750 – c1928

Working and living conditions of the ‘labouring class’, the lack of political rights and education for the ‘labouring class’, factory reform to 1850, public health reform to 1890, poverty and the attempts to deal with it, parliamentary reform 1832 – 1928.

2. The 1848 revolutions in Europe

  • Causes, course and consequences.

3. Slavery

  • Development, operation and abolition.

4. Ireland

  • A six week course on contemporary Ireland and aspects of Irish history in preparation for the Model United Nations conference in Dublin during the spring term.

Premiere and Terminale

The programmes consist of the University of Cambridge International Examinations specification of the Option Internationale du Baccalaureate (OIB) syllabus as defined by the Ministere de l’Education Nationale. The History content is taught entirely within the Anglophone Section in Premiere and Terminale. A substantial part of the Geography content is taught in Terminale in Anglophone classes. In addition, Anglophone students are taught the French Baccalaureate History and Geography programme by their French teachers. All the History taught in French provides an excellent background to the OIB syllabus. All the Geography taught in French in Terminale is essential for the OIB.

Students take a written and an oral examination, in English, in the June of their Terminale.


British politics, economy and society 1945 – 1997



  • The United States and the World 1918 -2004, China and the World 1919 – 2002,
  • Governing France 1946 – 2002, European integration 1948 – 2007, World economic governance since 1944.


  • Globalisation: interactions, participation, actors, processes and impacts.
  • Development issues.

For further information concerning the OIB, please visit www.cie.org.uk and enter ‘OIB’ in the search box.

Homework Policy

Homework is an integral part of the English curriculum for students within the Anglophone Section. We believe that it facilitates the development of good working practices which are independent of the classroom, enabling students to meet the demands of the curriculum and providing time outside of the classroom for students to reflect upon lessons and to learn from them.

Teachers will set homework on a regular basis for all groups, usually allowing students seven days to complete the work. Time spent on homework will depend upon age and ability, but as a general guide to maximum and minimum expectations:

  • 60 – 90 minutes for 2nde
  • 60-120 minutes for 1e and Te

Teachers ask students to record tasks and deadlines in their agendas, and ensure that these deadlines are met.

Missed Deadlines

Where there is felt to be just cause students can arrange an extension to deadlines with their teacher. Valid reasons include illness, family commitments, volume of work and so on. Similarly, if a student brings a letter from parents on the day of the deadline, offering an acceptable excuse for non-completion, a new deadline can be mutually agreed by the teacher and student. In the absence of an agreed extension students can be subject to the following sanctions:

  • The piece of work will incur a penalty of two marks, which will be deducted from the final mark.
  • If, despite this, work does not arrive within 7 days of the agreed deadline, a zero will be given.

A letter will be sent home to inform parents should this occur.

Students should be aware that in the case of absence it is their responsibility to ensure that they are up to date with classework and homework .


The figure below depicts, in timeline format, a comparison between the French, English and USA education systems. To view this in more details click Interactive integrated French-British-USA education systems time line to download this information in Excel format.

pencils on block paper