Organization and operation of primary schools


Children have the right to an education whose individual and social objectives are clearly affirmed by the Education Code: to guarantee the acquisition of the fundamental instruments of knowledge, basic knowledge and elements of general culture, to develop their personality, to raise their level of initial and continuing education, integrating them into social life and exercising their citizenship.

As part of primary schooling, children will learn many things that are fundamental to the construction and development of each student’s personality.


The essential role of the school is the transmission of knowledge; its aim is to train women and men capable of leading their personal and professional lives with full responsibility. From the start of schooling, pre-elementary and elementary education plays a full part in achieving these aims.

It is recognized that nursery school constitutes a fundamental stage in the schooling of a child and that it exerts a particularly beneficial influence on subsequent success, particularly in elementary school. It plays a clear role in favor of the less favored children in terms of access to knowledge.

Elementary education

Education is compulsory for children of both sexes, French and foreign, from the age of 6 and no discrimination can be made for the admission of foreign children (2) . The persons responsible for a child subject to compulsory schooling must enroll him in a public or private educational establishment, or else declare to the mayor and the academy inspector that they will instruct him in the family. . Each year, at the beginning of the school year, the mayor draws up a list of all the children residing in his municipality and who are subject to compulsory schooling (3) . It is therefore the only competent authority to carry out registrations; neither the municipal council nor the school principal have this power.

The status of primary schools has remained almost unchanged since the Guizot law of 1833 requiring each municipality to maintain a primary school, an obligation confirmed by subsequent texts (law of October 30, 1886, law of July 22, 1983 and articles L. 212 -1 and following of the Education Code). But since the law of August 13, 2004 (4) has opened up the possibility of modifying this status in depth by authorizing public establishments for inter-municipal cooperation, or even a single municipality, to create, alone and on an experimental basis for 5 years, establishments public primary schools with a board of directors.

The role of the municipality

Pedagogical expenses are covered by the municipalities, with the exception of individual supplies (at the parents’ expense). There are no compulsory pedagogical expenses, but the teachers must have access to the material necessary for the implementation of the programmes. In reality, the most appropriate approach consists in establishing, through consultation between the school and the municipality, a list of the equipment necessary to provide the lessons provided for in the programs.

The Council of Masters

The teaching team is made up of the director, all of the school’s teachers, and members of the specialist support network. It meets as a council of teachers under the chairmanship of the director, at least once a term, outside teaching hours and whenever the president deems it useful or half of its members so request. The council of teachers gives its opinion on the organization of the service and on all the problems concerning the life of the school.

The council of cycle teachers

The council of cycle teachers is made up of members of the teaching staff working in a cycle. The cycle council is chaired by a member chosen from among its members. When an elementary school has three or four classes, the council of cycle teachers brings together all the teachers of the school. The council of cycle teachers, whose role is to ensure good continuity of learning, takes stock of the children’s progress in acquiring the various skills defined for this cycle. It is he who formulates proposals concerning the passage of pupils from one cycle to another or their retention in the cycle.

The school council

The school council adopts the school project (7) , establishes the project for the organization of the school week, votes on the school’s internal regulations (8) , gives its opinion on all questions concerning the functioning of the school. school (including extracurricular activities, school catering, educational actions and the use of resources), agrees to the organization of additional activities. It meets at least once per quarter. It is made up of the director, the mayor, the municipal councilor in charge of school affairs, the teachers of each class, representatives of the parents of pupils, the departmental delegate for education, the inspector of National Education. It meets at least once per quarter.

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