About us

The Fondation pour l’école is a French registered charity dedicated to the improvement of school teaching in France. It was founded in 2007 and awarded the status of a « Fondation reconnue d’utilité publique » by the French government on March, 18th 2008. Our mission is to improve the current state of school education in France.

To this end our strategy is primarily to assist local communities (teachers, parents, towns, businesses) in the setting up of new privately funded schools in addition to the existing public or state funded schools. In 2016, 93 new schools have been created in France. About 60,000 pupils attend these independent schools in France. This represents 1456 schools, offering education to pupils of 5 to 18 years of age.

The Foundation provides support exclusively to schools which operate as non-profit organisations and maintain the lowest possible school fees. The Foundation assists both established and new schools. The Schools may elect the curriculum of their choice (e.g. traditional French, Montessori), providing this conforms to the principles laid down by the Foundation.

We believe that school choice is one of the most important parental rights. It is indeed fundamental to every democratic society. It is the reason why we are trying to raise awareness among the decision makers of the importance of giving this choice to all French children, not just those who can afford private education. We believe that State Intervention is necessary in order to set up a fair system of tax credits or, if need be, vouchers, to give all children in France access to such education. Each school should have the freedom to recruit staff (which is currently not the case in France), set its own curriculum and develop its own Ethos.

The Foundation has developed several others program: a Quality Management Programme to assist schools to implement their own quality standard and a Literacy Contest, open to all pupils (at age 9 and 12) to encourage literary excellence.

The statement of Anne Coffinier

After I graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure and then from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, I worked for a couple of years for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat.

My interest for education led me later on to reorientate my career. In the belief that a gap in the education system in France was becoming more and more obvious, I decided to found a charity called « Créer son école ». From this was born the « Fondation pour l’école », the organisation I am now working for as CEO.

We truly believe that running the education system should be more democratic and that we should decentralize the educational decision-making process. To this end our strategy is primarily to assist local communities (teachers, parents, towns, businesses) in the setting up of new privately funded schools in addition to the existing public or state funded schools.

The Foundation provides support exclusively to schools which operate as non-profit organisations and maintain the lowest possible school fees. The Foundation assists both established and new schools. The Schools may elect the curriculum of their choice (e.g. traditional French, Montessori), providing this conforms to the principles laid down by the Foundation.

As the CEO of the « Fondation pour l’école » I am glad to say our organisation is showing great response from the public, with for instance the opening of no less than 93 schools in September 2016.

Thanks to the great partnerships we have built over the years and thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we will hopefully follow the same successful path. For example we’ve worked hard to open independent schools in the deprived areas close to Paris, Marseilles and Lille (see www.esperancebanlieues.org).


Learn more about the actions of Fondation pour l’école


Revival of school system

The Fondation pour l’école exists in order to bring about a revival of the school system in France. Our aim is that all French children may have access to a quality inclusive education throughout all sectors: state-run schools, state-aided schools, independent and specialist schools. We offer both financial and technical support to independent schools to enable them to provide the best possible education to children from all backgrounds.

We constantly lobby for universal school choice, so that all citizens may enjoy equal rights where education is concerned. All parents, regardless of income, should be able to send their child to the school of their choice. We view this choice as a fundamental human right which should be recognized and implemented by the State.

Within this framework we intend to develop pilot projects which can act as effective models for all schools. The introduction of autonomy will be seen to be crucial; it is to be hoped that the State will see the advantages of implementing more autonomy in Stat schools (such as the Charter schools in the USA). International experience has shown that in those countries where such a system has been implemented, public education has received beneficial stimulus.

Financial support

As a State registered charity, we select the school candidate for financial support on individual merit. Last year, we were in a position to grant financial aid to 75 schools, from pre-elementary to upper-secondary.

Quality insurance

In 2009, the Foundation instigated a new quality assessment tool which has been developed by a committee of representatives from the independent schools (comprising head teachers of varied school types, parents, teachers, consultant specialists). Almost 40 schools are currently testing it.

Some facts

1456 independent schools in France and more than 60,000 pupils in 2016.

95 schools assisted by our Foundation in 2016.

More than 4,750,000 euros granted to independent schools

Since 2011 an average of 70 new schools have opened every year.

60 % of the French population would send their children to private school if they could receive financial assistance.(IFOP poll, 2nd June 2010).

 
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Since teacher performance and involvement is of paramount importance, in 2007 we founded a training college for teachers in the primary independent sector. There are currently 100 students on this two-year course. The Institut libre de formation des maîtres (ILFM/Independent Teacher Training Institute) provides initial and further training for teachers of independent schools. Practical internships are an integral part of the training.