Differences between the French and Spanish education system

Diferencias entre el sistema educativo francés y el español

One of the fundamental actions when you are going to carry out part of your studies abroad is to know how the education system works in that country, since this varies depending on where we are. In this article we will discuss the case of France.


First of all, it should be noted that in France, according to its constitution, education must be published, lay and free at most levels. In addition, according to the Debré Act, education is compulsory at levels between the age of 6 and 16.


Different distinctions can be established between educational levels but we will do it in a more generic way, on two levels: prmer grade and second grade.


First grade

Within the first grade (premier degré) we find both early childhood education and primary education. Let’s look at each one of them.


Early childhood education

Composed of three groups divided according to the ages of the student.

  • Petite section (3-4 years)
  • Moyenne section (4-5 years)
  • Large section (5-6 years)


This distinction by age although with different denomination is the same as that given in children’s education of the Spanish education system. All these sections make up the first teaching cycle


Primary education

The last stage of first grade is primary education. Primary education includes the first-grade elémentaries education curriculum, which offers five courses for students age 6 to 11. Within this stage we find both the second and third teaching cycles.


The second cycle consists of the preparatory year (CP) and the elementary course 1st (CE1). In contrast, the third cycle consists of three courses: Elementary Course 2nd (CE2), Middle Course 1st (CM1) and Middle Course 2nd (CM2).


Some of the subjects that are taken during the third cycle are French, history, technology and mathematics.


Second grade

The second grade is what would correspond in Spain to high school and vocational training. This grade covers two cycles.


The first cycle is the collége where students study from the age of 11 to 15. It is composed of four courses where basic knowledge such as foreign language, economics, geography, technology, physics, etc. are taught.


This cycle is divided into three distinct sub-cycles: observation and adaptation cycle (sixi-me), central cycle (cinqui-me) and orientation cycle (quatri-me and troisi-me). At the end of the orientation cycle, students take an exam to obtain the Brevet des colléges diploma.


From the completion of the collége, decision-making by the students begins. The next stage is the lycée and they can choose between the lycées d’enseignement général ou technologique (general or technological teaching) or professional institutes. The ages that span this stage are from 15 to 18, therefore it lasts for three years.


The three parts that make up the Lycée are seconde, premiére and terminale. During the seconde year, all students study the same thing, they do not begin to specialize in any field. It is at the end of seconde that students decide which branch they want to choose.


The general branch has three modalities:

  • Literary Baccalaureate (L)
  • Economic and Social Baccalaureate (ES)
  • Scientific Baccalaureate (S)


While the technology branch is much more specialized and includes eight different modalities:

  • Tertiary Sciences and Technologies (STT)
  • Industrial Sciences and Technologies (STI)
  • Agro-food product sciences and technologies (STPA)
  • Laboratory Sciences and Technologies (STL)
  • Music and Dance Techniques (TMD)
  • Medical-Social Sciences (SMS)
  • Hotel
  • Sciences and technologies of agronomy and environment (STAC).


Finally, we include a summary table of the French education system to clarify which course each of the ones mentioned in the article corresponds to when compared to the Spanish education system.




Lycée Terminale 2nd high school 17-18 years old
Première 1st high school 16-17 years old
Seconde 4th THAT 15-16 years


3rd THAT 14-15 years
Quatrième 2nd THAT 13-14 years old
Cinquième 1st THAT 12-13 years
Sixiéme 6th primary education 11-12 years old


Middle Course 2 (CM2)/ CYCLE 3 5th primary education 10- 11 years old
Middle Course 1 (CM1)/ CYCLE 3 4th primary education 9-10 years
Elementary Course 2 (CE2)/ CYCLE 3 3rd primary education 8-9 years
Elementary Course 1 (CE1)/ CYCLE 2 2nd primary education 7-8 years
Preparatory course (CP)/ CYCLE 2 1st primary education  

6-7 years



Large section/ CYCLE 1 3rd child 5-6 years
Moyenne section/ CYCLE 1 2nd childish 4- 5 years
Petite section/ CYCLE 1 1st childish 3-4 years



You already have all the necessary information about the French education system, but remember, it is very important to master the language before you go on an adventure. Why don’t you start with a French course abroad? Take a look at the ones Ynsitu offersyou, how about these tips for learning the language faster?

5 Tips for Learning Fast French

5 consejos para aprender francés rápido

French, considered by many to be the language of love, is one of the most spoken languages in the world. With more than 300 million speakers in 29 countries on five continents, this language becomes the third most spoken language in the world. Fancy being one of the 120 million students who are learning this wonderful language?

Whether you’re a veteran or a beginner, just curious or planning to take a course abroad,we teach you 5 tips for learning French very quickly!

Immerse yourself in the language

The best way to learn a new language is to do a total immersion in it, so you have to try to expose yourself to French as much as you can. The more you hear it, the better I’d talk about it. That’s why we recommend that you start watching TV shows on streaming platforms like Netflix or you can also search for videos on Youtube. Surely at first you will need to see it with subtitles, but whether you are beginners or have a more advanced level, watching TV in French is a very simple way to make an ear and learn new expressions.

If you’re not much of a TV watcher, you can try other options. Podcasts are a simple and fun way to learn French. On Spotify you can find plenty for students of all levels and also topics that you may find interesting. You should also try as hard as you can in the language. If you’re just getting started, magazines or books that contain images are a great choice because they help you understand the context. Then you can dare with blog, comics (Tintin

is a classic that never fails) or even simple novels

Practice makes the teacher

You should talk about it whenever you can! Try to organize a language exchange with a native speaker or join groups (reading club, wine tasting even a party), any occasion is good to practice. Another good option is to download free language-sharing apps, such as Tandem where you can connect with native speakers. Anyway, if you don’t find anyone to practice French with. you can do it with yourself, it’s no joke. Even if you get a little qualms at first, speak out loud and you’ll see how practicing is really the key.

Fun ways to learn

A very simple and fun way to learn vocabulary is to place notes of the different objects you have at home: table, chair, fridge, cup… You can also prepare a notebook with vocabulary and draw an illustration to help you remember it. Another fun tip is to sing songs in French, whether they’re childish, classic or the style you like the most, try to understand what it says and learn it! You can also do crossword puzzles in French or even play online game (hangman is great). There are countless options to make the learning process fun.

Get ready for an official exam

There are those of us who need a little pressure to start studying… or you might want to get hold of an official diploma to stand out professionally. However, it is worth informing yourself about the different types of official French exams that exist. The Ministries of National Education offers two options: DELF and DALF. DELF (A1 and A2) is an exam for elementary levels, DELF exams (B1 and B2) are for intermediate levels, and DALFs (C1 and C2) for students with a more advanced level. Having a specific goal will help you achieve that motivation and fulfill what you set your mind to.

Study French abroad

And there is obviously no better way to learn a language than by spending time where they speak it. You must put into practice everything learned in the classes talking to indigenous people or just sightseeing Explore the country and soak up its culture as much as you can! Now all you have to do is decide which destination you prefer. Do the Alps or the Cote d’Azur call you more? You can also head to Canada and find out what the language is like on the other side of the puddle.

Now that you’ve taken note of all these tips, it’s the perfect time to travel. Discover from the hand of Ynsitu the best language courses abroad and Learn with us!

France’s most popular festivals Discover its traditions!

Las fiestas más populares de Francia. ¡Descubre sus tradiciones!


When learning a new language, grammar, phonetics or lexicon are essential, however, to truly understand what the other person wants to convey to us, we must know the culture and traditions of their country of origin. Therefore, traveling is so important, exchanging experiences and customs is the best way to truly get to know others.

This is why today we want to show you the most popular festivals in France, which will allow you to have fun and at the same time approach French culture and communication learning french abroad.

If you want to travel to France or are living there, you need to know the most important dates of the Frenchcalendar, as well as the history behind each of them. Logically, there are festivities that coincide with much of the world, such as Christmas, New Year or Carnivals, but the way it is celebrated differs greatly between different countries.


What are the best known popular festivals in France?



On July 14th the national festival commemorating the taking of the Bastille of 1789 is celebrated in France, a very important day for the French people that marked the end of the absolute monarchy and the beginning of the Contemporary Age. Throughout this day many French cities celebrate the party with a lot of acts, such as pyrotechnic shows, folk dances or military troop parades. The most important event of all is the parade that takes place in Paris, specifically on avenida de los Champs-Elyses, which is led by the head of state.



The fairs held in the city of Nimes are world-renowned. Twice a year (June and September), this city is paralyzed and becomes a perfect place to enjoy good music, wine and dances. Nimes transforms into a city with a purely Spanish style, with bullfights and street locks, steps and flamenco dances and a lot of concerts and acts that fill the streets of the city with joy and good atmosphere. There are also many beach bars invade the historic center with drinks and traditional meals Highly recommended!



We could not speak of popular festivals in France without quoting the Carnival of Nice, considered one of the most important carnivals in the world. The famous Paseo de los Ingleses is filled with more than 140,000 hand-painted bulbs that illuminate the parades of floats and music with different colors, in which around 1000 people from different parts of the world work. The capital of the Costa Azul becomes a unique place, that is why almost a million visitors decide to celebrate the carnivals in this city. So if you decide to go to Nice on these dates Don’t forget your costume!



Currently there are many countries that enjoy music, but what many people do not know is that this holiday was born in France. In 1982, Culture Minister Jack Lang decided to celebrate the start of the summer season (June 21) with a big party full of rhythm and good atmosphere. Amateur musicians from all over France and from different parts of the world, take to the streets to demonstrate their talent and make themselves known. Free concerts by well-known artists are also organized, so attendees have the opportunity to listen to their favorite artists. The variety of artists and concerts is so wide that it is almost impossible not to find what you want.



For centuries, France has always stood out for its revolutionary spirit. This is why we are not impressed to know that today the day of the worker is still celebrated, a very important day for the French in which, as in Spain, the 1st of May is celebrated. Tradition says that on this day we must offer the people closest to your surroundings a bouquet of white flowers as a symbol of good luck and closeness. On day one and the days before this, you can find small flower stalls and local shops where you can buy the bouquets.



And finally, there could be no miss of Valentine’s Day, a holiday celebrated all over the world but with a great attachment to this country. The mythical cliché of French romanticism makes Valentine’s Day one of the popular festivals in France that could not be missed on our list, and is that the French commemorate the day of love with flowers and chocolates, dinners and romantic walks on the River Seine.


Now that you know many of the festivities that you can enjoy if you travel to France Do you dare to discover our French courses abroad? With Ynsitu you will have the possibility to know the culture of hundreds of countries and improve your language at the same time. Cheer up and enjoy an unforgettable experience!