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Teaching in France, anyone Any experience?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by North-Star, May 13, 2018.

  1. North-Star

    North-Star New commenter


    I am seriously thinking of relocating to France, I am a maths teacher with QTS (PGCE Route), a degree in civil engineering and no problem with the French language as all my studies were in French all my life except for the PGCE.

    Has anyone made the move to France? I am aware that QTS will not be enough, but will it at least give a headstart? Any details or information about any extra tests will be very helpful.

    I am looking to move to the south west region of France.
  2. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    Well, I guess you have 2 choices

    1 International school or
    2 Private school

    Regardless of a PGCE, a state school job is out because you need to do the French equivalent of a PGCE. It's unfair that a French teaching license is accepted in the UK but a UK teaching license isn't accepted in France.

    I wouldn't say pay is so good in a private school given that you don't need a teaching license to work there and as for international schools precisely in the south west of France, no idea how many of them there are!
    North-Star likes this.
  3. kdec

    kdec New commenter

    Are you French? That gives you the option of doing the CAPES exam to teach in state schools (no induction year because they do at least recognise that from the UK...) but you won't have a real choice over where you go in France. The CAFEP is the same exam but for private (Catholic) schools and this is better in the sense that you apply for a job a bit more like in the UK and can choose schools. Both these ways pay the French standard teaching scale. You could also get a job as an unqualified teacher in a Catholic school but the pay is rubbish.

    Or... one of the few international schools. International School of Toulouse?
    North-Star likes this.
  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    As far as I am aware (I work with some French teachers with the Capes) they are not the same beast.

    A PGCE is a qualification to teach but does not create an obligation from the state to provide you with a job. A Capes is different in that a holder of the qualification (earned through a competitive system), if willing to work, has to be found work by the French state. The holder of a Capes qualification is classed as a civil servant.
    North-Star likes this.
  5. kdec

    kdec New commenter

    That is the difference and why the French say the CAPES is a form of recruitment and therefore not subject to normal EU laws for recognising qualifications.
    North-Star likes this.
  6. North-Star

    North-Star New commenter

    Wow! Thank you guys, very informative, I am not French but all my studies were in French. So the CAFEP looks more interesting to me, if it allows me to apply in my chosen area because if the other one (CAPES) will send me anywhere, which is not what I want then it's pretty useless to me, as I am looking to move to a specific region of France.
    What I will need to do now is to contact the French ministry of education about the CAFEP and hopefully let you know what they'll say.
  7. kdec

    kdec New commenter

    North-star - no need to contact them as they will take forever to respond most likely. Just pm me and I'll give you all the links and info you need.
  8. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    Oh yes I do know that and the way to get both is very different; so why then does the UK accept them? Why don't they make them do a PGCE? Same with Spain, all my friend did was a degree in English with some teaching practice at the end of the degree and she got a UK teaching number in a flash. What she did in Spain was nowhere near as rigorous as a PGCE. Anyway, that's how it is!
  9. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I think it's to do with a clever French circumnavigation of EU law. By classifying teachers as civil servants, they can put nationality restrictions on them which they can't do otherwise. So France are abiding by the requirements of free movement, in recognizing the teaching qualifications, but the barrier is the civil servant side.

    The probation year in Scotland works in a similar way, although that puts in place a residency requirement rather than nationality, so a qualified teacher moving to Scotland from France (or England, for that matter) still has to go through the probationer process but doesn't get the guaranteed year.
  10. kdec

    kdec New commenter

    You have to be an EU citizen to sit the CAPES bu the CAFEP (same exam but for private schools) is available to any nationality.
  11. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    This isn't correct.

    A qualified teacher from outside Scotland can take up a teaching job if a school is willing to employ them. They don't need to do a probation year although the GTCS may make them jump through a few hoops before it considers them to be fully qualified.

    Someone who has just done a PGCE in the rest of the UK and isn't qualified will have to do probation but they don't get the training place. They would have to do it via the supply route. The training places aren't awarded on residency. They are only open to students who have completed a PGDE or BEd in Scotland.

    An additional barrier is that you must have a degree in the subject you wish to teach and prove this by submitting a transcript.
  12. North-Star

    North-Star New commenter

    Thank you all for your input, sorry I was very busy recently (plus no internet) I will call the french ministry of education next week (our half term) and find out and share what they tell me with you.

    The plan is to start a teaching career in the south west of France in September of next year (plan A). We'll see what the future hold. :)

    Enjoy the sunshine everyone
  13. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Dear sparkle,
    This is not my experience.

    I qualified via the GTP route 17 years ago in England. I applied for and was granted full GTCS membership very recently.

    State schools in Scotland are not allowed to hire a teacher who does not have GTCS membership.

    I will be teaching on a PGDE from August.
  14. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    Which part of it isn't your experience? Your response does not make this clear.

    I wrote that you may have to jump through a few hoops. If you didn't you were one of the lucky ones. The reasons why they impose conditions aren't clear and based on anecdotal evidence they appear to differ from person to person.

    Probationary membership is still membership. You can still teach even if they class you as a probationer.
  15. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    I'm a bit confused why you need to call the French ministry...and ask them what exactly? I thought the advice here was very good. As previously stated a job in a state school is out until you get the CAPES, for a private school salary will probably be quite basic, so an international school is your best bet. Thus, all you need to do is look for adverts or check the individual school websites and check employment opportunities in the south west of France later on.

    As far as I'm aware it's the same in Spain with the oposiciones!
  16. North-Star

    North-Star New commenter


    I need to call them just to find out how do I go about registration for the CAPES, uni or special centres or schools, when? any fees? How long? ...etc

    And will at the same time start looking for private international schools in the area as a quickest option. (And less money as you said)
  17. kdec

    kdec New commenter

    There are no special centres or unis now really. You just sign up and get told where to go for the written exams in France. Each subject has their written exam in a different town (gives rural France a small economic boost for a couple of days). There are past papers online.
  18. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    All of this could be found out online without wasting their time. Or listen to the posters on here, like kdec's latest reply.

    My colleague told me for capes there are two basic ways. Internal or external. Internal means you have to work in a private school x years to be eligible for an internal applicant then you have one exam. As an external candidate there are 3 exams are according to him. So naturally the latter is much harder.

    No I never said international schools pay less.

    You have

    1 international schools - following uk / usa curriculum etc

    2 private schools - following French national curriculum

    3 public/state schools - ditto

    I said previously that a private school will pay less. A proper international school will pay much more. But if you do capes I reckon your salary will be fairly low for some time. It takes years for it to build up to a decent amount. So you'll need to accept that as I don't think they count experience outside of France (can anyone confirm?). When I'm talking about the low salary it's seriously low at the start! Then you work your way up.

    I work in a semi private school but don't get paid by government as I'm in a special department within the school (salary sucks with little development). My French colleagues with the cafep (private version of capes) are paid the same as state school teachers.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

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