State lower secondary ("level I") education: Orientation cycle

The orientation cycle, for 12 to 15 year old, (9CO, 10CO, 11CO) covers the last three years of compulsory education.
It is designed to provide children with the basic knowledge they need to continue their studies or to enter the working environment.
You can find general information about the orientation cycle in the brochure "Cycle d'orientation".

Where should I complete the enrolment formalities?

Contact the admissions department "Service organisation et planification de la Direction générale de l'enseignement obligatoire" as soon as your child arrives in Geneva.

This Service will tell you which documents you will need to provide.

Where should I apply for a derogation if I do not live in the canton of Geneva?

As with the enrollment procedure, requests must be made to the "Service organisation et planification de la Direction générale de l'enseignement obligatoire", admissions department. Requests are considered on a case by case basis depending on individual’s motives and circumstances (request must be submitted in writing by the 15 February before the academic year begins).

Is there an entrance exam?

Yes, if your child has not been attending a state school in Geneva.

Can my child be admitted if he does not speak French?

Your child will be admitted to an induction class for his age group without having to sit an entrance exam.
Induction classes are limited to a maximum of 10 children or so per class so that teaching can be adapted to individual needs; they are designed to bring the children up to a level that allows them to enter the normal system.

The programme comprises extensive tuition in French and other core subjects.

For induction classes, please contact the "Service organisation et planification de la Direction générale de l'enseignement obligatoire".

What are the school days per week?

There is a 5 day school week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday mornings, Thursdays and Fridays. School hours vary slightly from one school to another.

What school curriculum will my child follow?

The first year 9C0 students are divided into 3 groups depending on their level of achievement in elementary school.  In 10CO and 11CO students specialise depending on their results and interests in one of the following 3 sections: Communication and Technology (CT), Modern Languages ​​and Communication (LC), literary-scientific profile with Latin or modern languages ​​or sciences (LS). 

More information about the curriculum and schedule of the subjects taught.

What activities are available in the orientation cycle?

The schools organise various optional cultural and sporting activities, as well as multimedia libraries and various types of educational assistance (extra tuition, remedial lessons, study circles, supervised studies, special coaching).

Please contact the school concerned for further information.

Are school meals available?

Some schools have their own canteens, while others have special arrangements with primary schools or other secondary schools nearby.
Contact the head teacher's office of the school concerned to find out what provisions are available.
Parents are required to make a financial contribution, where these facilities exist.