Ensemble Scolaire Saint Léon Nancy: Example of bilingual structure within school: French/German

Author(s): European Schoolnet
Institution/Organisation: Ensemble Scolaire Saint Léon Nancy (FR)

1. Profile of the language initiative

1.1 Background


Saint Léon is a fee paying, private school located in the centre of Nancy in north-east France near the border with Germany. Nancy is a historic, university town with long standing links with Germany. It is also the capital city of Lorraine and since 2007 has enjoyed a fast rail TGV link with Paris to the west and Strasbourg and Germany to the east. There are a number of German-speaking people and Franco-German families living in the city and surrounding area.

The school has an intake of children from the city of Nancy and the neighbouring area. The various sectors, nursery, primary, lower and upper secondary are located on the same campus and there is easy communication between the various levels. Pupils on roll include 325 in primary and 600 in collège and lycée.

1.2 Description of the initiative


Besides the usual features of private education, the school also offers a bilingual stream (French/German) from as early as the nursery sector. Some 100 pupils are currently following this bilingual approach in the primary school out of a total of 325 pupils. The pupils follow the normal programme laid down by the French ministry and are taught on a fairly equal basis through the medium of French and German.

In the Primary sector some 10 hours of tuition are given in German, covering a range of different subjects, including 4 hours of maths and 2 hours of art and physical education.

The majority of pupils who complete the primary bilingual course make the transition to the secondary sector but, because of the crowded curriculum at this level, the provision of tuition in German is reduced. In the collège six hours of tuition in German are available in the programme. A bi-cultural stream has been created at secondary level to sustain the motivation and linguistic competence of the pupils who have reached a successful outcome in the primary sector and this continues in the lycée.

Parents of children in the bilingual stream pay 100€ per month to cover the extra costs involved in running the initiative.

The initiative is a fine example of an educational establishment, in this case a private school, which has responded to the needs of parents and the make up of families in the area of Nancy, with its considerable links with Germany and German culture. The school authorities have led the initiative and the head teacher and staff are committed to its success.  

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