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France/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.2 Arts in schools

Common and compulsory teaching

Arts and cultural education is based on the following system:

  • visual arts and music education at primary school (école élémentaire) ( 6-11 years);
  • visual arts and music education at secondary school (collège) (11-15 years);
  • exploration courses, optional courses and speciality courses in various artistic domains at high school (lycée) (15-18 years); and
  • history of art from primary school to high school.

Additional cultural and artistic activities

Many specific actions and schemes can be set up to complete compulsory courses: classes with artistic and cultural projects (classes à projet artistique et culturel), art workshops, artists' residences, heritage classes (classes du patrimoine), etc. In some primary and secondary schools, there are classes with specific schedules to allow pupils to strengthen art education in music, dance or theatre: classes à horaires aménagés. All these schemes have precise specifications that are defined nationally.

In the field of education on film, for about twenty years now the schemes École et cinéma, Collège au cinéma et Lycéens au cinéma (School and cinema, Secondary school and cinema and High school pupils and cinema) have allowed pupils to discover patrimonial and contemporary movies, chosen with the CNC (National Centre of Cinema) and with partner cinema theatres. The schemes include discussion and analysis in class of the movie. In 2010-2011, these three schemes benefited about one and a half million pupils.

Schools also develop partnerships with cultural institutions, in close collaboration with departments of the Ministry of Culture, at national and local levels. These "twinnings" allow pupils to experience works of heritage and creation. At local level, each school development plan (projet d'établissement) must contain an artistic and cultural strand. In every high school, a culture referee insures coherence, follow-up and implementation of this cultural strand.

An Internet platform was created in October, 2010 and then widened in March, 2012 under the name of Culture-lycée (, in partnership with France Télévisions and the National Centre of Educational Documentation. This platform allows high school pupils to organise sessions on projection and gives them access to about one hundred and fifty masterworks of film heritage in original version. About sixty dance, music, opera, theatre and visual arts works are also available in partnership with the National Opera of Paris, Arte, the National Audiovisual Institute and the Union of National Museums.

Chapter published: 23-05-2017

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