Our History

The Anglophone Section of Fontainbleau celebrates 40 years of commitment to its mission: to promote the pleasures and values associated with intellectual curiosity, creativity and learning and to develop the highest possible standard of competence in written and spoken English.

Hundreds of our students have completed their school careers in this unique bilingual and bi-cultural environment. At first considered “experimental”, the Anglophone Section has grown steadily over four decades to become a model for other international sections.


The history of how the Anglophone Section came about goes back farther than the actual agreement that constitutes its beginning on 13th September 1979.
Following an agreement between the Ministry of Education and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), headquarters of the NATO Allied Command Operations, the Ecole International de Fontainebleau is created in 1959. It is housed in the newly built annex of the Lycée François 1er, formerly known as the Collège Carnot. About 1000 students, from 5 to 18 years old, children of the NATO officers based in Fontainebleau, attend the school which hosts a dozen or more language sections.

Collège Carnot

Collège Carnot (now Lycée International François 1er)

In 1967, when NATO leaves Fontainebleau, the primary school and the collège legally function as a single entity. By ministerial decision on 27 June 1967 the international nature of the Collège is recognised and it is authorised to maintain the use of the term “International” in its name.
On 13th September 1979 the Anglophone Section of Fontainebleau is created with the signature of an agreement between the National Education representative (l’Inspecteur d’Académie), the head of the primary school and the parents committee, l’Association des Parents d’Eleves anglophones du Collège International. This creation was approved by the Minister of National Education, Mr Alain Savary and the Senator of Seine et Marne, Mr Paul Seramy. It opens its doors with two part-time teachers, Avril Bateman and Mary McNally and around 30 anglophone students, mainly in the primary classes. The official decree regarding the creation of the international anglophone sections (primary and collège) will be published in the Journal Officiel on 25th February 1986. On 2nd October 1979, on decision by the Inspector of the Académie, and in order to rectify the administrative situation of the collège International de Fontainebleau which managed the primary classes too, an independent primary school is created.
The creation of the OIB, l’Option Internationale du Baccalauréat by the French Ministry of Education and Cambridge International Education.
A total of 116 students from 14 countries are enrolled in the Anglophone Section.

A Christmas Party in 1984

A number of 197 students are enrolled in the Section.
The Inspecteur d’Academie decides that the primary school should be called “Ecole élémentaire de l’avenue de Verdun” since the name “Ecole Internationale” did not have legal existence.
21 September 2004: By decree, the Ministry of Education creates an international British Section and an international German section at the Primary school avenue Verdun. In October 2004, by municipal decree, the school acquires the name of Ecole International Léonard de Vinci.
On 25 May 2016 the Lycée François 1er officially becomes the Lycée International François 1er.
On 10 October 2019 a total of 471 students are enrolled in the Anglophone Section, the biggest number ever in the Section’s existence

A play in 1988

Mary McNally’s class

A play in 1988