Updated: Jul 17
As an expat parenting coach, I often support families in adapting to the French education system. One of the first questions I'm asked is how to figure out which class my child will go into.
And the answer is, it's not easy to figure it out! Because in France, you are placed in a school year depending on your year of birth. So the cut off date is 1 January, instead of 1 September.
We'll come back to that confusing bit of information later, but first, here's a table to make it easy for you to compare systems.
Comparison Table of French, UK and US School Years
Age of child
PS (Petite Section)
MS (Moyenne Section)
GS (Grande Section)
CP (Cours Préparatoire)
CE1 (cours élémentaire 1re année)
CE2 (cours élémentaire 2e année)
CM1 (cours moyen 1re année)
CM2 (cours moyen 2e année)
Back to that cut off date. Maybe it's easier to give you an example.
For the school year 2022/23
A child born on 1 January 2010 would be in 5eme in France, 7th Grade in the US, and Year 8 in the UK.
However, if the same child was born on 1 September 2010, they would still be in 5e in France, but in 6th Grade in the US, and Year 7 in the UK.
If you'd like to work out the grades for your own child, this calculator might be helpful - double checking this took me some time!!