Upper secondary ("second cycle") education

After four years at "collège", pupils can continue their education at a general/technological lycée or a vocational lycée or apprenticeship centre (CFA).

The general/technological stream

The general/technological lycées provide 3 years of general and technological education (known as "seconde", "première" and "terminale", respectively) and prepare pupils for the general or technological baccalaureates, national diplomas giving access to higher education (short or extended studies).

The orientation of pupils at the end of the first year (“seconde générale” and “technologique”), relates to the choice of specialty courses for the general route or a specific serie for the technological route.

In the final cycle of the general route, in addition to the common courses, pupils follow compulsory specialty courses of their choice: 3 in the second year ("première") and 2 in the final year ("terminale").

For the second year ("première générale"), pupils must choose their 3 specialty courses (at the end of the first year) from a list of 12 possible specialties:

  • Arts: history of the arts, theater, visual arts, performing arts...
  • Biology, ecology (in agricultural high schools only)
  • History, geography, geopolitics and political science
  • Humanities, literature and philosophy
  • Foreign and regional languages, literatures and cultures
  • Literature and languages ​​and cultures of Antiquity
  • Mathematics
  • Digital and computer sciences
  • Chemical Physics
  • Life and earth sciences
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Economic and social sciences

For the final year ("terminale"), pupils choose to keep 2 specialty classes out of the 3, depending on their areas of interest and their higher education projects.

Regarding the technological route, pupils must choose one of the seven technological series (at the end of the first year, namely "seconde"):

  • "Série STMG" (sciences in management)
  • "Série ST2S" (health and social sciences and technologies)
  • "Série STI2D" (science and technology for industry and sustainable development)
  • "Série STL" (laboratory science and technology)
  • "Série STD2A" (sciences and technologies of design and applied arts)
  • "Série STHR" (hotel and restaurant sciences and technologies)
  • "Série S2TMD" (theater, musical and dance sciences and techniques)

The professional/vocational stream

The professional/vocational lycées prepare pupils for the "Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle" (CAP) in 2 years of studies or for a professional/vocational baccalaureate in one of 75 disciplines in 3 years of studies.
Pupils obtaining the CAP certificate generally go straight into employment.
Those obtaining the professional/vocational baccalaureate either enter the working environment or study for a BTS diploma (brevet de technician supérieur).

These diplomas can also be obtained by following an apprenticeship, a work-based learning scheme that combines training in a company with education in an apprenticeship centre (Centre de Formation d’Apprentis - CFA).

Which school should I contact?

Contact the lycée in the sector where you live.
If your child has not been attending a collège before entering a lycée, the head teacher will provide you with an enrolment file to fill in and will tell you about any formalities that may need to be completed with the schools inspectorate.

Which documents are required?

  • Your CERN employment certificate ("attestation d’emploi").
  • Your special residence permit ("titre de séjour spécial") issued through CERN 
  • The livret de famille (family record book) or an equivalent document (family record of civil status),
  • Birth certificate
  • Photocopy of identity card
  • Proof of address (energy bill or landline)
  • A personal liability insurance certificate ("assurance responsabilité civile").
  • Vaccination certificates (for the file kept in the infirmary),
  • The school reports from previous years,
  • In Ferney-Voltaire: proof of child custody in the event of separation or divorce,

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

The Cité Scolaire Internationale - Sites de Ferney-Voltaire et Saint-Genis-Pouilly provides lessons in French as a foreign language and special mathematics lessons. This is done on a flexible basis, for the time it takes each child to integrate into the normal school system.
Non French-speaking children can enrol in one of the international sections of the Cité Scolaire Internationale - Sites de Ferney-Voltaire et Saint-Genis-Pouilly.

Is there an entrance exam?

Yes, if your child is being transferred from a different national education system or has been following a school curriculum not recognised by the French national education authorities (a private school in France or a French school abroad). He/she will be required to sit an entrance exam in French and mathematics.

What school curriculum will my child follow?

Please consult the lycée curricula.

What are the school hours?

The school week varies between 30 and 40 hours, depending on the stream and the options chosen.

What are the costs?

State education is free, with the exception of stationery and text books. Text books can be purchased either new from bookshops or second-hand at special school sales organised by parents' associations at the end or beginning of the school year.
A financial contribution is required for the international section of the Collège in Ferney Voltaire. The cost varies according to the international section concerned.

What kind of services do the lycées provide?

A library, canteen (for pupils opting for school lunches), school transport, various extra-curricular sporting and cultural activities, course and careers advice.
For more information, contact the head teacher.

Which schools in the Pays de Gex and the surrounding area offer "second cycle" (upper) secondary education? 

The Cité Scolaire Internationale - Sites de Ferney-Voltaire et Saint-Genis-Pouilly and the Lycée polyvalent Saint-Exupéry.
The latter has a professional/vocational section specialising in the hotel trade, industry and the service sector.