- What is an International Section ?
An International Section is an optional curriculum available in four Parisian state schools (Honoré de Balzac, 17ème, Camille Sée, 15ème Maurice Ravel, 20ème and Montaigne, 6th) 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 .
- 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.
There is also an optional exam for the Brevet des collèges involving two oral presentations in English and in History/Geography.
- 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.
Remember also that if your child is not a reader and does not enjoy reading for pleasure they will struggle with the programme which requires them to read over ten books every year.
For admission to lycée (2nde) we accept francophone pupils who are not completely bilingual, but highly motivated to improve their written and spoken English to a near native level. These candidates should have excellent marks in English LV1, but also in French and History and Geography. It goes without saying that they should be impeccably behaved.
- 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 every class there are several ‘French’ pupils who have lived abroad for one or more years and hence have the necessary level of English.
- What is the procedure for applying for a place in the International Section at Maurice Ravel ?
Application forms can be downloaded from the website
or picked up from the school secretary. Completed application forms must be returned before March
30th 2020. The written test is scheduled for Wednesday, May 6th 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. The school cannot give results of admission.
- What happens at the entrance exam ?
The entrance exam is composed of a written comprehension test as well as an oral interview.
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 classics, or more modern books by Roald Dahl or Michael Morpurgo) and answer the comprehension questions. There is also a test of written composition 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.
The entrance exams follow a similar format in lycée. The extracts come from the classics of English literature (Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Thomas Hardy have appeared on recent papers). The comprehension questions will require the candidates to use techniques of literary analysis that they will have picked up in their French classes.
The oral examination comprises a short conversation followed by an analysis of a poem or a short extract.
- How can I prepare my child for the entrance exam ?
Collège: 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, diary entries etc. Please note that while reading aloud to your children is a good starting technique your child should now be autonomous in their reading.
Lycée: The candidates should be avid readers in English. They should have read young adult fiction such as Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent and attempted some easy classics.
- 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.
- How will the anglophone syllabus be combined with the core French programme ?
This varies depending on the intake. On some years Ravel can allow accommodate 14 pupils in 6e in which case they have their core subjects (French, Maths etc) with the pupils from the sector and have their English and History classes with the 14 OIB pupils. When we have a full class of 28 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.
- 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:
6ème: Matilda, by Roald Dahl, 5ème: Boy, by Roald Dahl, 4ème: To Kill a Mockingbird, 3ème: The Catcher in the Rye, 2nde: Rebecca
In 1ère and Terminale we follow the official Cambridge OIB programme which this year includes: The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Shakespeare’s The Tempest
In History and Geography, in Collège, the syllabus aims to develop the skills of the historian and geographer. We mainly follow topics from the French curriculum, combined with the English KS 3&4 syllabus requested by the Ministère de l’Education Nationale, to provide deep Anglo-Saxon’s cultural insights.
In Lycée, the students prepare the baccalauréat Option internationale britannique in three years. The OIB History Geography exam assesses both the French and The British curriculum, aiming to get the Baccalauréat and a British A-Level diploma. French Education Nationale and Cambridge inspectors work closely to establish several topics to be studied in class during Première and Terminale, that will be assessed during both the written and oral examinations at the end of Terminale.
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
- 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.
However some universities still ask for English language proficiency tests for proof of language level.
- 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.
- Are the teachers native English speakers?
Mrs Gaynor is Irish and has trained as a teacher both in Ireland and France and Ms Okunhon spent her formative years in American public school and Mrs Schneider has lived and worked in Chicago. In the History and Geography department: Mr Mignon and Mr Millet are both French, but completely bilingual having worked in the USA for several years.
- How many hours of instruction in English will my child have?
In 6e there is a total of 9 hours teaching in English : 7 in English language and literature, 2 in History and Geography in English. From 5ème to 3ème there are 6 hours of English a week and 2 hours of History and Geography..
- 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.
- Why should I choose Maurice Ravel over Camille Sée, Balzac or Montaigne?
The tuition provided in all four 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, Balzac, or Montaigne 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.
- What nationalities are represented in the section ?
Our classes are composed of American, British, Australian, New Zealander, Irish, Canadian pupils, as well as Icelandic, Russian and Swedish pupils, and French pupils who have lived abroad at some point in their schooling. So a very international mix.
- Can my child enter the OIB section at lycée level?
The International Section at Cité scolaire Maurice Ravel opened its Lycée Section in September 2018 with a class thirty six students twenty of whom followed the OIB programme in collège. The sixteen new recruits sat the entrance test for 2nde and were recruited for their level of English, their motivation, their academic results and their ability to analyse and comment on the text using techniques learned in their French classes in collège.
- 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, a philosophy lesson at the Shoah Memorial 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.
As part of History and Geography, the 6e class visited Musée de la préhistoire, 5e had a workshop at Le Louvre and Musée de l’homme, 4e and 3e visited the Musée de l’Histoire de l’immigration to see the exhibition « Paris Londres, Music migrations » while the 2nde and 4e had an outing to Le Train de la Solidarité to learn about migration.
As the English and History teachers like to work as a team we often do cross-curricular projects: for example while working on WW1 Mr Mignot’s History 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, World Book day, April Fools’ Day and other key events in the Anglo saxon calendar.
We also try to include an overseas trip every year. Some examples of where we have been:
2015: The Auvergne 6e
2016: Ireland : Dublin and Belfast 6e/5e
2017: Oxford: In the footsteps of Harry Potter 5e/4e
2018: Auschwitz Krakow 3e
2019: York 5e/4e – Chartres 2nde – Battlefields of WW1 (Somme and Ypres) 3e
2020: Bruxelles 3e – Liverpool / Manchester 1ère – London 2nde
- Can I visit the school before applying ?
There will be an information meeting on Saturday, March 7th 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.
Parents’ Association : Apesiravel@gmail.com