1. What is an International Section ?

An International Section is an optional curriculum available in three Parisian state schools (Honoré de Balzac, 17ème, Camille Sée, 15ème and Maurice Ravel, 20ème) where English speaking pupils can benefit from a bilingual education. In addition to the normal French curriculum these pupils will do an extra 6 to 8 hours of English language and literature per week and two hours of History and Geography in English. This prepares pupils to sit the international option of the French Baccalauréat (OIB) at the end of their schooling .

 

  1. What is the OIB ?

The OIB (option internationale du baccalauréat) is an optional exam taken as part of the French Baccalauréat and involves two supplementary papers : one in English, one in History and Geography which are modelled on the British A-level exams.

 

  1. What kind of children is the International Section aimed at ?

First and foremost your child must be bilingual : perfectly at ease in spoken and written English. (Don’t worry too much about spelling mistakes for the moment.) We do not teach English as a foreign language in the International Section and pupils will be expected to have the same level of written and spoken English as their counterparts in Year 7 in the UK. If you are not sure ask yourself if you child would be capable of joining an English or History class in Year 7 in the UK.

 

  1. Can children from Francophone families apply ?

If your child has the required level of English from having lived abroad or studying in an English speaking school system they are welcome to sit the entrance exam. In this year’s class several there are  ‘French’ pupils who lived abroad for one or more years and hence have the necessary level of English. We also have Americans, British, Irish, Australians and of course many children who are half French and half Anglophone.

 

  1. What is the procedure for applying for a place in the International Section at Maurice Ravel ?

Application forms can be downloaded from the website

http://www.lycee-maurice-ravel.fr/pole-international/section-internationale-britanique/

or picked up from the school secretary. Completed application forms must be returned before March

31st 2018. The written test is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2nd and you will be called to an oral test by appointment on the following days. Successful candidates will be notified by the Rectorat in mid June.

 

  1. What happens at the entrance exam ?

The entrance exam is composed of a written comprehension test as well as an oral interview.

In the written test candidates are required to read a poem or an extract (usually taken from well known children’s books such as The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, or books by Roald Dahl or Michael Morpurgo) and answer ten comprehension questions. There is also a test of written expression in which candidates have to write  a story of about 15 lines.

The oral exam consists of a ten to fifteen minute interview with the current teachers in the International Section, where the candidate is asked to have a conversation in English followed by a discussion of a short extract from children’s literature.

 

  1. How can I prepare my child for the entrance exam ?

Encourage your child to read children’s literature. Engage with your child about what they are reading by asking them to tell you what is happening, or what they think of the characters. Try to create opportunities for your child to write : notes to English speaking family etc. Please note that while reading aloud to your children is a good starting technique your child should now be autonomous  in their reading.

 

  1. I have heard that not all bilingual children are accepted in the programme. Is this true ?

There is a big difference between being able to sustain a conversation in English, (chatting to cousins and family on holiday) and following English as an academic subject. In the latter case we require a high level of reading and writing skills and an overall very strong academic performance as successful candidates will have an extra six hours of lessons on top of the normal workload for 6ème pupils. Due to a high demand for places some bilingual  pupils may not be accepted as candidates are judged on their motivation and their analytical skills, as well as their spoken English.

 

  1. How will the anglophone syllabus be combined with the core French programme ?

In 6ème the OIB class will be together in a separate class for both the English subjects and the French core subjects. In 5ème the class will be separated into two  groups and each group will be completed with normal Ravel pupils. The two groups will come together for Engish and History and Geography, but will follow the French curriculum with their French speaking classmates.

 

  1. What exactly do the children study in English and History/Geography in English class ?

The pupils follow the Key Stage 3 curriculum working on exactly the same topics as they would if they were in the UK.

In English we tend to study one novel or play per 6 week term and add in other works of literature like poems and stories, or grammar points and functional writing that cover the same theme. Examples of class novels in 6ème could include : Matilda, by Roald Dahl, War Horse, by Micheal Morpurgo, Skellig, by David Almond, Holes by Louis Sachar, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, or plays such as Whispers in the Graveyard, or an introduction to Shakespeare.

In History and Geography, the syllabus aims to develop the skills of the historian and geographer. In geography, we mainly follow the English Key Stage 3 curriculum. In History, we follow the Key Stage 2 curriculum as requested by the ‘Ministère de l’Education Nationale’. In civics, the syllabus aims to provide an international context in the study of the way in which a government works and of the rights and duties of the people at different scales. We focus on British, Irish and American examples.

More information can be found on the official website in French : http://www.education.gouv.fr/pid25535/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=73092

 

  1. Would having the OIB make it easier to get a place in a British University?

The OIB is regarded as a plus in applying for foreign universities as recruiters are aware of the extra workload that it involves and see it as evidence of diligence and an appetite for hard-work.

 

  1. What is the cost of tuition?

The International Section at Cité scolaire Maurice Ravel is part of the French state school system and so there are no tuition fees. However the many novels studied in the course of the year and the outings are paid for by the families.

 

  1. Are the teachers native English speakers?

The English teacher is Irish and has trained as a teacher both in Ireland and France. The History and Geography teacher is French, but completely bilingual having worked and studied in Los Angeles for several years.

 

  1. How many hours of instruction in English will my child have?

In total there are 10 hours teaching in English : 8 in English language and literature, 2 in History and Geography in English. From 5ème to 3ème there are 7 hours of English a week and 2 hours of History and Geography..

 

  1. How does the timetable differ from that of an average 6ème pupil?

The average 6ème pupil has between 24 and 26 hours of class per week, the international section pupil will have an additional 5 hours of class per week.

 

  1. Why should I choose Maurice Ravel over Camille Sée or Balzac?

The tuition provided in all three international sections is exactly the same : teachers follow the same  training, study the same syllabus and are selected along the same criteria. If you live in the East of Paris choosing Maurice Ravel will avoid a long commute and give your child more time to spend on homework, other extracurricular activities or simply being themselves. Similarly if you live closer to Camille Sée or Balzac, it would be in the best interest of your child to apply to the closest school. Our students would, however, like to point out that the canteen in Maurice Ravel is one of the best in Paris.

 

  1. What nationalities are represented in the section ?

Our classes are composed of American, British, Australian, Irish, Canadian pupils, as well as  Icelandic, Danish and  Ukrainian pupils and French pupils who have lived abroad at some point in their schooling. So a very international mix.

 

 

  1. Why is there no lycée section ?

The International Section at Cité scolaire Maurice Ravel opened in September 2014 with a class of 6ème/UK : Year 7/ US : Grade 6. Every year a new level opened as this class of pioneers  made their way up through the school system. The pioneers are in in 3ème and will graduate into a newly opened lycée section in September 2018 taking the French Baccalauréat with the British international option in June 2021.

 

  1. What outings and activities are available ?

In our school we believe that field trips are a great way of combining learning and having fun. There are several field trips scheduled for different subjects. In English class there are trips to the theatre, a trip to see Shakespeare in the park and a trip to the American Library in Paris. We also take part in events organized by the English speaking community in Paris : The Paris Spelling Bee and the Young Authors’ Fiction Festival.

In History and Geography, there are guest speakers, trips to museums, field trips to explore the local area and invitations to attend commemorative events and concerts eg the Holocaust Memorial Concert.

As the English and History teachers like to work as a team we often do cross-curricular projects: for example while working on WW1 Mrs Termolle’s class were invited to a War Graves Commemoration at Arc de Triomphe to compose and recite original poems of remembrance written in Mrs Gaynor’s English class.

 

We also celebrate our Anglosaxon culture by observing Thanksgiving, Secret Santa, St Patrick’s Day, Robbie Burns’ Day, World Book day, St David’s Day, April Fools’ Day and other key events in the Anglo saxon calendar.

We also try to include an overseas trip every year. In 2016 we went to Ireland, in 2017 we went to Oxford and in 2018 a trip to Auschwitz and Krakow in Poland.

 

  1. Can I visit the school before applying ?

There will be an information meeting on Saturday, March 17th from 9.30 to 11.30. Teachers, pupils and management will be there to answer your questions, show you what we do in class and take you on a tour of the school.

 

Teacher : mgaynor@laposte.net

Principal : celine.isart@ac-paris.fr

Parents’ Association : Apesiravel@gmail.com