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FRENCH BINATIONAL PROGRAM
A Word From the French Director at the French-Australian School of Melbourne
Welcome to the French-Australian School of Melbourne.
The French Binational Program at Caulfield Junior College is unique to the city of Melbourne. It offers a bilingual, bicultural program that features the best elements of the two curricula, developed with the support and expertise of our French-Australian team.
Within the program, each class is assigned two teachers, French and Australian, who graduated in their respective countries. The teachers alternate between their two classrooms every day. At the conclusion of their primary education journey, our bilingual students can either enter a French or Australian secondary education facility, depending on their orientation. I am convinced that our holistic approach to education allows the students to thrive in this unique bilingual model.
As international opportunities become available to the new generation of leaders, our mission is to provide our students with the tools that will allow them to adapt to our ever-changing world, whilst safeguarding their cultural diversity.
LEARNING IN THE FRENCH BINATIONAL PROGRAM
The students enrolled in the French Binational Program receive a binational education based on both French and Victorian curricula from Prep to Grade 6. A team of experts from both educational systems, which includes our school Principal, our French Director, learning specialists and an appointed French Pedagogical Inspector, work together in developing a strong curriculum that meets with the demands, curricula and teaching objectives of both French and Victorian governments’ education guidelines. Students in the FBP are assessed according to both French Ministry of National Education criteria and Victorian standards. Students also participate in the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).
At the completion of their primary school education, the students will have developed all the skills required to enrol in either a French or an Australian secondary school.
In conjunction with the curriculum certification from the Department of Education and Training Victoria, Caulfield Junior College is accredited from the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad), a network of more than 500 schools around the world. We are also a member AAFEBS (Australian Association of French Bilingual Schools) with Madame Caroline Pommier, our French Director, chairing as Vice-President.
The program is consistently growing in popularity since its beginning, with over 330 students enrolled in 2020.
An overview of the two curricula
Cycle 2 is the first stage of compulsory schooling for all pupils, beginning in Cours Préparatoire (age 6-7) and finishing in Cours Elémentaire 2 (age 8-9). It gives students solid groundwork in subjects like reading, writing, problem solving and the French language. Subjects covered in Cycle 2 include French, Modern Languages (foreign or regional), Art and Music, Physical and Sport education, Civic and Moral Education, Investigating the world, and Mathematics.
For more information about cycle 2, please click here
Cycle 3 has two main objectives: reinforcing the base knowledge learned in Cycle 2 and helping with the transition from primary school to lower secondary school. It covers the last two years of primary school and the first year of lower secondary, in order to reinforce the continuity and consistency of learning between them. The "Sixième" class (first year of lower secondary) therefore occupies a particular place in this cycle, allowing pupils to adapt to the pace, educational organisation and lifestyle of lower secondary school while continuing on from CM1 and CM2 (Cours Moyen 1ère année, age 9-10 and Cours Moyen 2e année, age 10-11). Subjects covered in Cycle 3 include French, Modern Languages (foreign and regional), Art, Music, History of art, Physical and sport education, Civic and moral education, History and Geography, Science and Technology, and Mathematics
For more information about cycle 3, please click here
For more information about the French curriculum, please visit
Learning areas and Capabilities. The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes both knowledge and skills. These are defined by learning areas and capabilities. This curriculum design assumes that knowledge and skills are transferrable across the curriculum and therefore are not duplicated. For example, where skills and knowledge such as asking questions, evaluating evidence and drawing conclusions are defined in Critical and Creative Thinking, these are not duplicated in other learning areas such as History or Health and Physical Education. It is expected that the skills and knowledge defined in the capabilities will be developed, practised, deployed and demonstrated by students in and through their learning across the curriculum.
The design of the Victorian Curriculum F–10 is set out below:
Visual Communication Design
Civics and Citizenship
Economics and Business
Design and Technologies
For more information about the Australian curriculum, please visit:
How to Enrol into the French Binational Program
The enrolment process into the French-Australian School of Melbourne is governed by the policy regarding Australian public schools from the Department of Education and Training Victoria. The number of places is limited.
To date, each year level (from prep to grade 6) has 48 places, made up of 2 classes of 24 students each.
However, most of our classes reach the maximum of student places.
To enrol your child, please follow these steps:
Contact the office to book a school tour (or a telephone appointment if you are overseas).
Complete your pre-enrolment form and provide all the requested documentation. Please follow the link below to find the French Binational Enrolment Policy form
For more information about enrolment, please contact the school office.
HISTORY OF THE FRENCH BINATIONAL PROGRAM
A Brief History of Our French-Australian School in Melbourne - 50 Years Since it all began!
Corentin Trétout founded la Petite École de Melbourne in 1968. As a French native father of a school-age girl, and working in Melbourne, he initiated the project along with other French parents. Jacqueline Weiss was appointed as the first French teacher, she initially taught from a room in her own home. The primary school French program counted eight or nine children in its first year. Shortly after, the Petite École de Melbourne moved into two rooms at Lauriston in Malvern, but was operating independently.
After a series of relocations between 1972 and 1974, the school found a new home at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in East Prahran. In 1973, 20 students were enrolled in the program. Mr Trétout eventually moved back to France and was replaced by Alain Roger as President of the Parent Association.
A bad turn of events lead to the immediate eviction of the school in 1975. It then relocated to Richmond Primary School, where it remained until 1985, to subsequently move to Auburn South Primary School. Guided with various degrees of success by a series of Parent Association Presidents, the school had to eventually reach out to the French Ministry of National Education for assistance.
In 1987, La Petite École was taken on by AEFE (Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger). Between 1988 and 1992, Michel Trinson, then Director, attempted to gain accreditation as a French-Australian school, but the negotiations were inconclusive. With 30 primary school students in 1989-90, the school moved to Camberwell Primary.
The lack of numbers forced AEFE to close the school at the end of 1997.
L’École Française de Melbourne opened its doors the following year, in 1998 using rooms within Caulfield Junior College under the initiative of Catherine Lahaye, and a comity of parents and teachers. Originally established and driven by a passionate group of parents seeking to provide their children with an education that was both Australian and French, The first French Elective class consisted of a mere 15 students. It proved to be an immense success, and ongoing demand for the program along with a desire to consolidate its future at the school led to the full integration of the FE into CJC in 2016. Never had such a large privately run bilingual program been integrated into a government school setting - a true testimony to the work, innovation and dedication of the many people who contributed to the success of a program that now boasts over 330 students.
Since January 2017, the French Binational Program has been governed by the leadership team at CJC on behalf of the Department of Education of Victoria.
THE FRENCH-AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL OF MELBOURNE
SOME STATISTICS IN 2020
There are more than 330 enrolments in the French-Australian School of Melbourne.
Most of our students enrolled in the program are Australian–born to French-Australian parents. At least 75% of
our students have a French-speaking parent at home. Approximately 10% come expatriated families.
In 2020, the French Binational Program represents 14 bilingual classes: 8 French teachers who graduated in their country of birth and hold a valid French teaching license, and 7 Australian teachers who graduated in an English-speaking country. The teachers work in binome (pairs) from Prep to Grade 6. They plan and teach a program that meets the expectations of both education systems. There is also a class assistant in Prep and two additional teachers working with the French Binational Program that support the students in their French education journey.
The specialist teachers in performing arts, visual arts, and physical education are English-speaking.
The students are assessed using the French National Education assessments from Grade 1 to 6, as well as the assessments from the zone (AEFE Asia-Pacific) from grade 3. They also perform the Australian NAPLAN (National Assessment Program, Literacy And Numeracy), in Grade 3 and 5.
For details on how to join our team, please consult out page Working at CJC