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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 we move into this era of globalisation 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.
FRENCH BINATIONAL PROGRAM HISTORY
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 section 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.
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 consistedof 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 around 300 students.
Since January 2017, the French binational program at CJC 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 as of 2019
There are more than 300 enrolments in the French-Australian School of Melbourne.
Most of our students enrolled in the program are Australian–born to Franco-Australian parents. At least 75% of
our students have a French-speaking parent at home. Approximately 10% come expatriated families.
In 2019, the French binational section 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 are also two class assistants in prep and an additional teacher for the school that support the students in their French education journey.
The specialist teachers in music, art, 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.
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 current job opportunities at L’École française de Melbourne / Caulfield Junior College, please refer to our News and Events page.
FRENCH BINATIONAL PROGRAM FAQs
What is the French Binational Program at Caulfield Junior College?
Caulfield Junior College (CJC) is very proud of its culturally rich heritage and community, and its reputation for providing an environment, which fosters diversity and multiculturalism.
The French Binational Program features dual certification from the Victorian and French governments (via the Agency for French Education Abroad - AEFE). CJC, as a partner of the AEFE network, is a part of a unique international network of more than 500 schools around the world.
Formerly the French Elective, it exists since 1998, with the first class made up of just 15 students. 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 elective was previously administered privately by l’École Française de Melbourne (EFM). Ongoing demand for the program and 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 language 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 around 300 students.
Since January 2017, the French Binational Program at CJC has been administered by the leadership of CJC on behalf of the Department of Education of Victoria.
What Accreditation Does the School Have?
Caulfield Junior College has the accreditation of the Agency for French education abroad (AEFE) and of the Council of International School (CIS).
The Principal and the French Director are working with the French Pedagogical Inspector to ensure the FBP meets the standards and practices to maintain accreditation from the French Education Ministry of Education. Accreditation by the French Ministry of Education certifies that the teaching provided by the School complies with the demands, curriculum, teaching objectives and organizational rules of the French education system.
As a member of CIS as well, Caulfield Junior College demonstrates the commitment to high quality international education for the students.
The school is continually improving and keeping up with the best international education standards.
How Do the Children Learn?
Students enrolled in the French Binational Program are taught an integrated French-Australian curriculum, from Prep to Year 6. Each binôme class is allocated a French-graduate teacher (teaching the French curriculum in French) and an English-speaking teacher (teaching the Victorian curriculum in English). Students in the FBP are assessed according to both French Ministry of Education criteria and Victorian standards. Students also participate in the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).
Delivery of the curriculum is based on an “alternative day” model which means that each day, both English and French teachers swap classrooms. This ensures that students are exposed as often as possible to both languages. All topics are taught in both languages to allow students to develop their interculturality. These practices are considered best practice.
How Much Does it Cost?
The FBP is offered strictly on a ‘user pay’ basis, as it is provided to the participating students over and above the standard Victorian curriculum.
School Council is responsible for setting the FBP Parent Levy on an annual basis, in consultation with the French Director and the Principal. This amount is due in addition to the CJC Education Contribution Payments, which are payable by all families in Victorian state schools.
How Do Enrolments Work?
All enrolments follow the CJC Enrolment Policy and admission to the French Binational Program is subject to set criteria around the French language being met.
Please refer to our Policy Documents and Annual Reports page.
As in all state government schools, enrolments are open one year before your child is eligible to start in Prep. For example, if you are interested in the French Elective and your child is eligible for Prep in 2020, we ask you to contact the office from Feb 2019 onward to have your details (child and contact details) held in an expression of interest file.
All Other Enrolment Enquiries
Please contact the School Office