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Sophia Antipolis - National curriculum

The French State school system is based on three principles:

- non-denominational teaching
- compulsory schooling up to the age of 16
- free public service.

The basic principles governing general education considers that education is a national priority. During the last three decadres, new laws have been approved on the modernisation and improvement of knowledge and qualifications in technological and vocational education, apprenticeship (apprentissage) and artistic education .

Compulsory education
Compulsory education concerns all children aged between 6 and 16. Supervision of school attendance is the responsibility of head teachers (directeurs d'école) and the "inspecteur d'académie", the director of Education. The latter is mainly responsible for establishing contacts with mayors, family allowance departments and the legal authorities in cases of non-attendance at schools.

Even if the French education system has been considerably decentralized, the French state still has a considerable role. It defines the educational choices and curricula, and it is responsible for recruiting, training and managing staff. It also decides the status and operating rules for teaching establishments and allocates the necessary teaching and administrative posts.

The decentralization of the French school system means that the commune is responsible for primary schools; the département for collèges; and the region for lycées and for specialized establishments. Every building, rebuilding or extension of schools is decided by the territorial authorities. Local authorities have been given a more decisive role in the daily running of schools.

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