Offering a bilingual education from junior infants to 6th year for the last 50 years
The Lycée Français d’Irlande is a French teaching institution, approved by the French Department of Education and attached to the Agency for French Teaching Abroad (l’Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger – AEFE) through a convention.
The LFI is on two sites and educates about 500 children. The primary school, which is comprised of the infant and junior classes, is situated in Foxrock. The secondary classes are in Clonskeagh where they share the campus with our partner St. Kilian’s, the German School.
The LFI offers a unique education. From primary school on, the pupils are immersed in a multicultural and bilingual environment. Innovative and creative teaching programmes allow the children to be educated in favourable learning conditions.
LFI follows the teaching programmes of the French Department for National Education, while taking into account the local environment and the pupils themselves. Mastery of the French language, the teaching language, and its expansion are at the heart of the syllabus. Workshops for small groups in the primary school and junior cycle allow the pupils for whom it is not their mother tongue to make rapid progress. In the same way, the modern languages policy emphasises English, the language of our host country. Every pupil from the youngest up follows an individual progression.
In 5e (First Year), the pupils join the Eurocampus, run jointly with our partner St. Kilian’s. French, German, Irish and other pupils take classes together. At the end of 3e (Third Year), the children sit two exams, the French Diplôme National de Brevet (DNB) and the Irish Junior Certificate. In this way LFI as a school develops European citizenship every day and offers its pupils a real road to success.
In the classes of senior cycle, the pupils can continue an international programme with the European Section or the International Section (Option Internationale du Baccalauréat, OIB section américaine).
“La petite école française”, The Little French School, first opened it doors in 1967 under the auspices of the then French Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency M. Roger Robert du Gardier. The school was located in Clarinda Park, Dun Laoghaire in one of the premises, at the time, of the Alliance Française.
In 1970 the school officially became L’Ecole Franco Irlandaise, the French Irish School.
1971 saw the primary school move to Foxrock.
By 1986 the school had a total of 110 pupils on its roll. These five classes were housed in prefabs in the grounds of St Patrick’s Girls National School, Hollypark.
The secondary school remained in Dun Laoghaire under the direction of the then headmaster, Mr Bertrand Cocq, and Michelle Maillet, who recalls: “It was strange but pleasant to work in rooms with high ceilings, a fireplace and without the usual noise made by pupils playing the yard; we didn’t have one! At break time, pupils and teachers gathered in the kitchen at basement level.”
In 1987 the foundations were laid for the new building in Foxrock and the secondary pupils left Dun Laoghaire for Foxrock for the start of a new chapter in the life of the school.
As the years passed, our numbers grew and by 1998 more space was needed. We had a total of 210 students in four kindergarten classes, five primary classes and four secondary classes.
Back to prefabs for the pupils while a new extension to the Foxrock campus was begun. HE Henri Benoît de Coignac laid the key stone and we saw the first pupils through the new doors in September 1999. That same year, the Ecole Franco Irlandaise became Lycée Français d’Irlande – but the story doesn’t stop there. With growing pupil numbers, space was still a problem.
September 2002 saw the classes of 3eme, 2nde, 1ere and Terminale move to the St Kilian’s Deutsche Schule campus in Clonskeagh and prefabs featured once again in the life of the school. This was also the year that the school was officially recognised as an exam centre for the Baccalaureate. The 6eme, 5eme and 4eme pupils stayed in Foxrock until their move to Clonskeagh in September 2003.
The pages turned and a new chapter began in September 2005 – the integration of the collège pupils with the junior cycle of the German School. Our pupils began a programme in which 50% of their classes were in English with their German counterparts. Our goal was realised in June 2008 when the 3eme students for the first time sat the Junior Certificate exam as well their Brevet.
It is said that the only constant in life is change and in this instance, change for the better.
The integration programme saw the creation of the Eurocampus – a joint venture with St Kilian’s German School. The Eurocampus building was opened on the site of St. Kilian’s in October 2008.
The Eurocampus is a unique educational opportunity for our children as well as an opportunity to develop intercultural relations, mixing with children of many nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
The Lycée Français d’Irlande is a European school. Our bilingual educational project from infant classes to senior cycle now attracts pupils of numerous nationalities.
The school’s educational project promotes exchanges with our Irish and German partners.
Our school offers French and Irish children, as well as those from numerous other countries, a curriculum facilitating access to further education in France and in Ireland, but also elsewhere in Europe for those who wish.
Teaching in French in LFI is entirely based on the official French programme. For more information, see www.education.gouv.fr.
The children spend three years in infant classes before going to junior school:
- Petite Section (PS): age 3
- Moyenne Section / Junior Infants (MS): age 4
- Grande Section / Senior Infants (GS): age 5
We have five infant classes (about 120 children), with French teachers who take the children from 8.25 am to 2.40 pm (8.25 am to 12.25 pm on Wednesdays). In addition, each class has an teaching assistant to help the teacher and has English once a week in MS and every day in GS with a native English speaking teacher.
The Teaching Programme
‘Maternelle’ embodies a particularity of the French educational system, scholarisation from the earliest age. The children learn to become more precise in their intentions and more demanding in what they achieve, and feel the satisfaction of growing and progressing. They become aware of the benefits of learning.
The essential objective of the infant classes: to help each child to become independent and to acquire knowledge and skills. The children must acquire a facility for oral expression which is rich (in French to begin with – but also in English), structured and understandable by others. The aim is to be ready for CP in French and in English as they continue in our primary school, which is based in the same place in Foxrock.
The learning programme in the infant classes is structured according to the following five domains:
• Developing language – discovering writing
• Becoming a pupil
• Developing movement and corporal expression
• Discovering the world
• Perceiving, feeling, imagining, creating
1) Develop language- discover writing
Oral expression is key to learning in the infant classes. The children learn to converse and express themselves. Particular attention is paid to the comprehension of more and more complex narratives by the speaker. Working with language allows the children to:
- acquire the rules which govern the structure of sentences,
- acquire vocabulary in particular sequences with the help of the teacher, who uses very specific language
Working on the sounds of a word and acquiring the principles of the alphabet and the actions of writing: these are three key activities which help with the learning systems for reading and writing which will begin in first class (CP).
2) Becoming a pupil
The objective is to teach the child to like coming to school and:
- to recognise what makes her or him different from others, to be recognised as a unique person
- to live with others in a group organised by rules (to understand what school is and what her or his place in school is)
Becoming a pupil is a gradual process which requires the infant class teacher to be at the same time enthusiastic, flexible and rigorous.
3) Developing movement and corporal expression
The children discover the possibilities of their bodies through physical activities, either structured or unstructured, and activities involving artistic expression (dance, dramatic games).
4) Discovering the world
In the infant classes, the children discover their surroundings: they learn to get their bearings in space and time. They observe, they ask questions and they learn to take on points of view other than their own. Being faced with logical thought gives them the taste for reasoning. They become capable of classifying, ordering and describing, through language and various forms of representation (drawings, plans). They start to understand the distinction between animate and inanimate (matter, objects).
5) Perceiving, feeling, imagining, creating
The infant classes awaken artistic awareness. Drawing and modelling (making objects) on the one hand, the voice and listening on the other hand (music, songs), enlarge the child’s range of sensory experiences.
The children spend five years in junior school after the infant classes.
The CP and CE1 programmes emphasise continuity with the infant classes by organising the teaching into broad domains of activity whose primary objectives are:
- Mastering language: learning the French language, reading and writing
- The English language: learning reading, writing and the English language (and Irish if required)
- Mathematics, learning to know and understand numbers, to write them (decimal numbering) and to calculate small quantities
- The basics of science, history and civics that ensure openness to the world and the construction of a common culture by all pupils.
- Artistic education based on emphasising personal expression and direct contact with works of art through an introduction to the history of art
- Physical and sports education also has an important place in the school activities of this cycle.
All of this contributes to the acquisition of the common basis of knowledge and skills. The quality of the presentation of work, the attention given to mastering movements and to posture, to the tools of school work, are subject to constant vigilance.
The programmes of CE2, CM1 and CM2 are the cycle of reinforcement.
The learning domains refer to:
- Mastering language and the French language
- The English language (and Irish if required)
- Discovering civic education
- Initiation to a foreign or regional language
- Experimental science and technology
- The visual arts
- Musical education
- Physical and sports education
- Computer studies
The pupils are entering into a phase of development that allows them to acquire knowledge in a more considered way, and to gain surer intellectual capacities. The programmes are organised in a way that expresses the broad, general domains with teaching now rooted in the disciplines they refer to, which gives them the basis of a balanced culture.
The ‘common basis of knowledge and skills’ sets out what every pupils should know and master by the end of compulsory formal education. Introduced into French law in 2005, it constitutes the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to succeed at school, in life and as a future citizen. An individual record of skills allows a pupil’s progress to be followed. Since 2011, mastery of the seven basic skills has been necessary to obtain the diplôme national du brevet (D.N.B.).
What is the International Section in the Primary School?
This bilingual programme which is part of the primary school sees French and non-French pupils in the same class. The pupils have at least three hours’ teaching in a modern language other than French.
The International Section has three objectives:
- to facilitate the integration of non-French pupils in the French school system, and their potential return to another system
- to create, thanks the the presence of non-French pupils, an environment that helps the French pupils to learn another modern language to a high standard
- to foster learning about the cultural heritage of the countries concerned.
Specificities of international sections in primary schools:
At least three hours’ teaching a week in a modern language
- Each week, the pupils have at least three hours’ teaching in a modern language other than French
- Individual teaching can be planned to bring non-French pupils up to the desired level in French, and French pupils in another language
- The pupils are in contact with teachers who are native speakers
What is happening in LFI Dublin?
All our classes from CP to CM2 are now officially recognised as a ‘Section Internationale’ by the French Department of Education, which gives an official title, visibility, and recognition for our teachers by other schools. This gives a clear framework to our teaching.
Furthermore, this recognised programme improves the coherence and continuity of teaching in LFI: International Section in the primary school, Eurocampus in the junior cycle of secondary school, then International Section in the senior cycle (Option Internationale du Baccalauréat).
The Eurocampus (established in 2005) is a joint venture between the Lycée Français d’Irlande and St Kilian’s Deutsche Schule.
It is an integrated educational programme offering pupils from 1st to 3rd year the opportunity to study in both English and French and to sit both the Junior Certificate and the Diplôme National de Brevet at the end of 3rd Year. This programme allows pupils of the LFI to meet other pupils of many nationalities and cultures (we currently have more than twenty nationalities enrolled and St Kilian’s have more than 30) and thus benefit from the richness a multilingual multicultural education can give.
Preparation for the integrated programme begins at primary level in 5th Class. Pupils currently have 1½ hours of teaching of the history and science syllabi each week in English in addition to their normal English classes. This preparation continues in 6th Class (which, in the French system, is part of the secondary school). Students study art, music and sport in English as well as a portion of the history syllabus.
In 1st year, a common stream has been created where pupils from both schools come together for half their classes to study a common syllabus which is taught through English. This syllabus has been created by combining both the French and Irish national syllabi.
For the remaining half of their time pupils from the LFI study the French curriculum through French, while the pupils from St Kilian’s pursue the Irish curriculum. This results in a challenging programme for the LFI pupils with approximately 33 hours of class time per week in 1st year. Subjects studied in English include history, geography, English, Irish, sport, music, art and economics. Those subjects taught in French include biology, physics, history, geography, civics, maths, Latin, French, music, German and Spanish. As can be seen from this subject list, our pupils finish their junior cycle at secondary level studying three and often four languages (including those students who study Irish).
With a combined total of approximately 75 pupils per year, the children are separated into three classes each with 25 pupils – two thirds of whom come from St Kilian’s and one third from LFI. At the end of 3rd year the LFI pupils sit both the Brevet and the Junior Certificate while the St Kilian’s pupils sit the Junior Certificate only.
LFI is the first, and currently the only, secondary school in the network of French schools abroad to offer this integrated multilingual education.
A Bi-lingual Education for Future Global Citizens
The goal of the American International Option is to offer our students aged 14-18 (Seconde/4th year to Terminale/6th year) a bi-lingual education comprising a high-quality English speaking educational and cultural experience and a comprehensive French education, as a follow-on from our Eurocampus course. Our programme develops the skills that students will need to succeed as global citizens in an interdependent and competitive world, while allowing them to mature both intellectually and emotionally in a diverse and rich environment.
What is the American International Option ?
The American International Option prepares students to sit the ‘Option Internationale du Baccalauréat’ (OIB) in Terminale. The OIB is an integrated certificate that combines the breadth and rigour of the French Baccalauréat with two extra subjects taught in English to Leaving Certificate or A Level standard in a single certificate. The OIB is therefore technically the French Baccalauréat (S, ES or L) + Leaving Certificate or A Level standard components in English Literature and History-Geography.
The OIB is very highly regarded by the best third level educational bodies in Ireland, France, the U.K. and the U.S., as it represents a much higher academic level than the ordinary French Baccalauréat.
Admission to the International Option
The admission process for the International Option takes place at the very beginning of the year of Seconde. It is also possible to join the Option at the beginning of the class of Première for students arriving from schools other than the Lycée Français d’Irlande.
In order to enrol for the International Option all students must sit a one-hour written exam and undertake an interview with the three teachers in charge of the courses. The interview is conducted in English and will enable the teachers to assess the level of English of the candidates as well as their ability to follow a course of a high academic standard. The report files (‘dossiers scolaires’) of the candidates will also be closely looked at.
The three school councils where parents of the primary and secondary schools are represented along with staff, and students of the secondary school, are:
- le Conseil d’école (the Primary School Council) which includes the three cycles in the primary school;
- le Conseil du second degré (the Secondary School Council) which covers both the junior and senior cycles of the secondary school ; and
- le Conseil d’établissement (the School Council) which covers both the primary and secondary school.
The Board of Management runs the school and makes decisions in relation to its financial management and locally employed staff members. It comprises parent members elected annually at the time of the school’s Annual General Meeting as well as permanent members.
|Board of Management|
|Members||Elected: from among the school parents|
|Meetings||1 meeting per month|
|Responsibilities||The Board of Management manages the operational aspects of the school in terms of budget and finance, local contract employment, long term strategy and communication.|
|Answerable to parents on:||Budget, fees policy, medium and long term strategy, local contracts|
|Minutes :||September 2018|
The Primary School Council is made up of the Primary School Director and parent and teacher representatives, and looks after all questions relating to the infant and junior classes in relation to education, daily life, equipment, hygiene and safety. All decisions voted by the Primary School Council must be ratified by the School Council if related to the organisation of the school or by the Board of Management if of a budgetary nature.
There are as many parent representatives on the Primary School Council as there are classes.
The representatives are elected for the school year. They facilitate relations between parents and staff. They may approach the school direction to raise a problem or to mediate at the request of one or more parents.
Before the Primary School Council, the parent delegates compile the parents’ question then forward questions to do with the class to the teacher, and questions to do with the school in general to the school direction.
|Primary School Council|
Ex-officio members: primary school director, primary school teachers
Elected: one parent representative per class
|Meetings||One meeting per term|
|Responsibilities||The Primary School Council prepares the work of the School Council with regard to the primary school. It is therefore consulted on all points taken up by the School Council.|
|Answerable to parents on:||Any organisational, educational or teaching question with regard to the primary school|
|Minutes:||6th November 2018|
|17th January 2019|
|4th June 2019|
The Secondary School Council is made up of parent representatives, students, teachers and the administration. It looks after all questions related to the running of the secondary school which may not necessarily need to be brought to the School Council. It fulfils the same function for the secondary school as the Primary School Council does for the primary school and is answerable to the School Council and the Board of Management in the same way.
In the beginning of the school year, the headmaster/mistress appoints the teacher members from the Education Council. S(h)e consults them on educational organisation and on the implementation of the school project.
|Secondary School Council|
Ex-officio members: the school principal, the accountant, the school counsellor
Elections by electoral college: Two secondary school teachers’ representatives
One representative of the non-teaching staff
Two parent representatives (one 6th class/junior cycle, one senior cycle)
One representative of the senior cycle students
|Meetings||One meeting per term|
|Responsibilities||The Secondary School Council prepares the work of the School Council with regard to the secondary school. It is therefore consulted on all points taken up by the School Council.|
|Answerable to parents on:||Any organisational, educational or teaching question with regard to the secondary school.|
The School Council looks after all elements of the school – education and school development as a whole. It is comprised of representatives of the parents, pupils, teaching staff and the administration.
|Members||Ex-officio members: the Cultural Attaché, the school principal, the primary school director, the accountant, the main school counsellor|
Elections by electoral college:
Two representatives of the primary school teachers
Two representatives of the secondary school teachers
One representative of the non-teaching staff
Two representatives of the senior cycle students
One representative of the primary school parents
One representative of the secondary school parents
One representative of the Parent Association
|Meetings||One meeting per term|
The School Council votes on:
The School Council gives an opinion on:
|Answerable to parents on:||All organisational, educational and teaching questions with regard to the whole school (primary and secondary)|
Questions asked at the Primary School Council or Secondary School Council which require further information.
The role of a representative
Representing, which means being:
- the spokesperson for parents, particularly at school councils or at any other meeting in the school (outings, investments in projects etc…) or with other partners;
- the mediator if necessary: sometimes parents find it difficult to express their problems and ask their parent representative to intervene…You must be cautious and always approach the competent professionals with discretion. For example, in the case of ill-treatment approach the management
- the link between families and the school: it is very difficult to get families to come to the school for various reasons, and especially those who most need to. The representative is there to motivate, reassure and empower them
- the communicator through the minutes, the circulation of information, the organisation of meetings.
And all of that ALWAYS to defend the interest of the children.
- To be respectful and not to judge: we are all different and must accept these differences in the interests of social cohesion
- To be discreet: transmit , but don’t answer for the professionals
- To be vigilant in the face of information given and go to the teacher for information before taking any steps
- To collaborate with all other partners: the teachers, the direction and other parents’ associations
- To have a positive and objective attitude without being afraid to raise problems if necessary.
CONCLUSION: to be a parents’ representative is to be responsible and to be present to make the school work (a second home for the child). It’s to forget no-one in your generosity, to be human and above all, to be there to act in our children’s interest, respectfully but firmly.
TIP: If you are directly getting questions you don’t know how to answer or which aren’t appropriate for your role, pass them on to the teacher or the direction.