State primary education

Compulsory schooling starts at the age of 4.  Any child entering obligatory schooling in Geneva must have turned 4 on or before the 31st July before the school year begins (end of August).

Primary school education consists of 8 years of primary school. 
The first 4 years of primary school is the "Cycle Élémentaire" for ages 4-7 (1P, 2P, 3P and 4P). The second 4 years is termed the “Cycle Moyen” for ages 8-12 (5P, 6P, 7P and 8P).

Who should I contact to complete the enrolment formalities?

Contact the head teacher of the school nearest to your place of residence. To find the schools in your commune, please consult the map.

Which documents are required?

  • The carte de légitimation or an attestation issued through CERN
  • The livret de famille (family record book) or an equivalent document
  • Vaccination certificates
  • A health insurance certificate issued by your insurer.

Which vaccinations are recommanded?

For more information on the vaccinations and their monitoring.

Where can I apply for a "dérogation" (special dispensation) if I am not living in the Canton of Geneva but want my child to go to school there?

Contact the Direction générale de l'enseignement primaire (the Directorate responsible for primary education). The request must be made in writing no later than the January before the beginning of the school year in August.  The request must also be made every year. Your child will be admitted only if there are vacant places and you can provide valid reasons.

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

Yes, he will be enrolled for a part-time induction class in addition to his normal classes.

For more information:

What are the school hours?

There is a 4-day school week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. School hours are generally 8.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m.

From the Cycle moyen (5P-8P) children also attend school on Wednesday morning.

For more information on school life:

What school curriculum will my child follow?

You can find out the contents of the school curriculum your child will be following by consulting the primary school programme:

Cycle élémentaire (1P-4P) Cycle moyen (5P-8P)

Are school meals available and will my child be supervised outside teaching time?

The Groupement intercommunal pour l’animation parascolaire (GIAP – an inter-communal association for extracurricular activities) operates morning, lunchtime and late-afternoon facilities in the schools of the Canton's 41 communes.
Parents are required to make a financial contribution, where these facilities exist.
Contact your commune to find out the specific arrangements available in the school of your sector. For more information contact the GIAP.