Established in 2011, Collège Français Bilingue de Londres provides French-English bilingual education to 700 students aged 3 to 15 years old.
Tolerance and openness are central to CFBL’s philosophy and permeate our community comprising some 35 different nationalities.
Our school is located near Hampstead, in central London, and provides students with an excellent education, underpinned by a special commitment to language learning and digital culture.
Our students are nurtured in a welcoming environment where they can discover the joys of learning, supported by attentive teaching staff whose approach is based on mutual trust and respect.
Our students are encouraged to interact, be creative and take initiatives in our multicultural environment, in which they can acquire academic knowledge and also develop the human, relational qualities which will guide them through their years at school and beyond.
At the end of their schooling at CFBL, our students move on to a French lycée in London (mainly the Lycée International Winston Churchill, but also the Lycée Charles de Gaulle) or another school in France or overseas. Some students continue in the English educational system.
CFBL’s mission is to provide students with the best of French and British educational cultures, while preparing them for life in the modern world by giving them a bilingual, international, multicultural education.
We aim in particular to:
- deliver a bilingual and multicultural education to pupils.
- foster academic excellence by following the French curriculum as set out by the French Éducation Nationale whilst at the same time realising the full potential of each child.
- give advice and help to pupils, as well as their families, in order to help them realise the best possible educational path.
- promote the personal development of the pupils by offering them as wide a choice as possible of group and individual activities within the fields of art, culture and sport and to this end, to promote extra-curricular activities.
- prepare pupils for their entry into the upper secondary section of the French Lycée or help pupils transfer into the English education sytem.
- teach pupils to respect and embrace the richness and cultural diversity which CFBL offers.
The development of pupils is at the heart of the teaching at CFBL.
CFBL offers the best of French education and attaches particular importance to their well-being, personal development and their ability to work together.
Our bilingual and bicultural project allows for the teaching of other languages and the discovery of other cultures. Nurturing multiculturalism is at the heart of CFBL’s educational project.
CFBL keeps up with the times – and the needs of the digital generation – with the latest IT systems and software.
The school’s overall project is reviewed by the AEFE.
CFBL is housed in a listed Victorian school building designed by Edward Robert Robson in 1874 and completely refurbished in 2010. The school has several different areas specially designed for innovative teaching practices.
The maximum capacity is 700 students which means the school is on a human scale and allows everyone to thrive in a warm and friendly atmosphere, which is conducive to well-being and effective learning. Students are close to the entire teaching team and have a constant dialogue with their teachers.
The CFBL is located in Kentish Town, North West London, in the highly sought-after borough of Camden, surrounded by three magnificent parks: Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park.
Kentish Town is a family-friendly neighbourhood with good public transport connections and near to King’s Cross Saint Pancras International railway station.
A large French community has long been established in Camden, which makes it easier for new families to settle there.
- What is the place of CFBL in the AEFE network?
- Collège Français Bilingue de Londres is a private independent school under English law. When the school was set up, its Board of trustees signed a contract with the Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE), a French public institution working under the aegis of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which oversees a network of almost 500 schools worldwide.
Being part of the AEFE network, CFBL follows the French Ministry of Education curriculum (this process is called “homologation”).
There are three types of partnership contracts French schools abroad can establish with the AEFE:
– Schools directly managed by the AEFE (called “EGD schools” or “under direct management”), such as the Lycée Charles de Gaulle in London, which report directly to the AEFE – unlike state schools in France which work under the French Ministry of Education. There are 74 EGD in the AEFE network.
– Jointly operated schools (“établissements conventionnés”), are separate private legal entities. The ‘convention’ status relates mostly to the appointment of a Headteacher by the AEFE (to which he or she reports – and who is remunerated by the AEFE; and to the ‘secondment’ of a number of French qualified teachers to the school). 153 schools worldwide have this type of contract with the AEFE.
– Partner schools which are private autonomous schools which follow the French Education nationale curriculum and which have a parternship agreement with the AEFE. There are 265 such schools out of the 482 schools in the AEFE. The AEFE supports such schools with training, educational know-how and, in some cases, career advice for pupils.
CFBL was a jointly operated school (“établissement conventionné”) when it first opened in September 2011; on 1 September 2017 it changed its AEFE status to partner school. The decision to change was motivated by the necessity to increase the autonomy of CFBL’s management, allowing greater flexibility to adapt to local conditions, and ensuring the School’s sustainability. The objective of the Board remains the excellence in its education for all its pupils.
The evolution of AEFE status does not impact the education successfully delivered by the School: CFBL continues to be accredited by the French Ministry of Education (“homologue”).
As a member of the AEFE network of accredited schools, CFBL continues to benefit from a number of AEFE services, notably in terms of training and educational know-how. It continues to be inspected by the French Ministry of Education and by Ofsted. Ofsted qualified CFBL outstanding in every field: outstanding in overall effectiveness, outstanding in effectiveness of leadership and management, outstanding in quality of teaching, learning and assessment, outstanding in personal development, behaviour and welfare, outstanding in outcomes for pupils.
- What is the significance of “homologation”?
- The “homologation” is the process whereby the French Ministry of Education recognises, abroad, a school’s compliance with the French curriculum. It is seen as a “quality label”. The “homologation” enables French nationals who attend accredited schools, regardless of their AEFE status, to benefit from means tested bursaries awarded by the AEFE.
- What is the legal structure and current governance of CFBL?
- The School is owned by Collège Français Bilingue de Londres Ltd. An English private company limited by guarantee, registered with the Charity Commission (number 1027932). Its Board, chaired by Mr Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, comprises of an equal number of elected parents (“Parent trustees”) and external persons chosen by the committee for the skills they bring to the board.
The Board of trustees is responsible for the overall governance of the School (including compliance with Department for Education regulations) and its financial management. Working with the Headteacher, the Board also takes part in defining the School’s educational objectives and the School’s project.
- Is CFBL truly bilingual?
- CFBL offers a bilingual education to the children. Primary pupils are taught 50% of the time in French, and 50% in English. Secondary pupils have 35% to 40% of their classes taught in English. A school is considered bilingual when at least 30% of its teaching is carried out in another language. CFBL is therefore a bilingual school. CFBL also takes care of recruiting native teachers to guarantee pupils a multicultural environment.
- How is CFBL funded?
- The creation of CFBL would not have been possible without the initial support of the Kentish Town Educational Charitable Trust (KTECT), previously known as French Education Property Trust, which put in place the financial and legal structure of CFBL. KECT obtained bank loans of £21m in 2009 and fundraised £4m. FEPT also donated £503,957 of equipment to CFBL in 2011.
In its present structure, CFBL is now almost entirely financed by school fees. CFBL can also benefit from AEFE subsidies for school equipment. When it was set up, CFBL received a subsidy of approximately £400,000 from the AEFE, £82,000 in 2013, £21,000 in 2014 and has recently been granted a subsidy of £30,000.
Partner schools including CFBL are required to pay a stipend to the AEFE based on 2% of school fees. This 2% is included in school fees.
- How are school fees determined?
- School fees are fixed by the Board, taking into account the projected budgets. Parent trustees participate in the Board’s discussion on budgets and any increase in school fees in order to achieve a consensus at Board level. However, they cannot vote on fees to avoid any conflict of interest.
As a charity, CFBL is a non profit-making entity. The level of fees decided by the Board is set to balance budgets and to ensure the health of the School’s finances. Any surplus is set aside as part of reserves for the School’s future needs and to allow for unforeseen events.
- What is the forecast on future fee increases?
- The level of fees is closely linked to the costs of running the School. Fees are the school’s principal source of income.
Operating costs are primarily made up of salaries and rent, plus other operating costs such as equipment, electricity, maintenance, gas, etc. Although the School endeavours to control costs, it needs to reward its employees taking into account factors such as inflation, years of service and the need to maintain the level of staffing required for the good operation of the school.
Increases in rent are easy to anticipate because, currently, they are indexed to UK inflation over the 25 year life of the School’s lease. This annual indexation compares favourably to rent increases in the London property market. Nevertheless, additional costs can arise such as maintenance, building improvements or the need for new equipment.
For these reasons, it is impossible to forecast increases in school fees in the medium term with any accuracy. The alternative would be to estimate a very uncertain amount which, the school believes would be misleading .
We are fully aware of the financial difficulties that some pupils’ families experience and we are strongly committed to limiting increases in costs, insofar as that does not prejudice pupils or staff safety, the wellbeing of pupils and the quality of education. The financial sustainability and control of the evolution of school fees remain constant priorities for the Board and the School management.
- What help is available to families in financial difficulty?
- CFBL being accredited by the French Ministry of Education, its pupils – if they have at least one French parent – can apply for a means tested bursary with the French Consulate in London.
CFBL can also agree, on application and when possible, to the payment of school fees by instalments although it is not authorised to accept instalments over more than 10 monthly periods.
Finally, the organisation French Scholarship Foundation may be able to help with the payment of school fees.
- Who is the School’s contact regarding school fees?
- If you need further information or if you experience difficulties in the payment of school fees, you can contact Mr Tony O’Grady, CFBL’s Head of Finance and Administration, who works closely with the Headteacher and CFBL’s Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
Only the Board can decide the general policy on school fees.
- How does CFBL foresee its future?
- CFBL intends to pursue its educational offer, improve its individual support of pupils and continue to innovate. Bilingualism, the teaching of foreign languages and its extracurricular offer will continue to be its trademark. Pupils who so wish can take the international option of the Brevet at the end of 3ème for which the school has received French Ministry of Education accreditation.
CFBL will remain a medium-sized school because its maximum capacity (as defined by the Department for Education) cannot exceed 700 pupils.
- What is FECT? What is its relationship with the French Embassy?
- A not-for-profit entity (French Education Charitable Trust), holding no assets, is in charge of identifying new projects working with the think-tank “Plan Ecole”.
Its trustees are Arnaud Vaissié, Jean-Pierre Mustier, Richard Fairbairn and Lorene Lemor.
Being a not-for-profit entity, the rent charged by KTECT covers only the loan raised for the project, at no profit for KTECT.
The cost of the acquisition and renovation of the Holmes Road building was financed by bank loans, donations from commercial entities and a donation from the French Embassy Trust.
- What is the “Charte des établissements français de Londres”?
- The “Charter” agreed between French schools in London is a code of good conduct under which schools accredited by the French Ministry of Education (“homologuées”) regulate the transfer of pupils between each other. It enables pupils to continue their French education in London until the end of their schooling (Terminale). CFBL, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle and the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill are obligated to give priority to pupils who apply to transfer from such schools (subject to their admission policy and availability of places) over other pupils arriving from France or other countries.
However, under the Charter, pupils must pursue their studies in the school they initially attend until the end of the programme of studies offered by that school: this means that while parents are free to choose the first school which their child will attend, they cannot transfer their child to another homologuée school until the child has completed the programme of studies offered by the first school unless they obtain the consent of the Head Teachers of both schools and the consent of the French Embassy.
- How do the priorities of admission work?
- CFBL’s Admission Policy is published on the School’s website. KTECT (formerly FEPT) has provided to CFBL on non-profit terms the land and buildings occupied by the School. Under the terms of its lease with KTECT , CFBL is required to give priority of admission to a pool of pupils (not exceeding 30% of the total school roll) who are children of company or organisation employees named by KTECT satisfying the school’s admissions criteria. The nominated children are likely to be children of employees of companies who have assisted KTECT financially in the funding of this project.
A list of companies or organisations designated by KTECT each year is available for inspection at the registered office of CFBL by appointment only (contacting email@example.com)
An Admissions Committee, chaired by the Headteacher, manages pupils’ admission.
- What is the Plan Ecole?
- The Plan Ecole is a vast exchange forum coordinated by the French Embassy in London. It aims to assist all members of the French education community in planning for changes in the French school network in London. Public meetings make proposals which are then decided upon by the “Comité de Pilotage” chaired by the Ambassador. The creation of CFBL emanates from this forum.