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Choosing the school - a Francophone School or French Immersion?

Francophone and French immersion schools don’t have exactly the same goals and methods. Here is a short summary.

  • The purpose of a Francophone school is to teach French as a first language and encourage strong bilingualism. The teaching takes place in French.
  • The purpose of a French immersion school is to teach French as a second language. English is the first language. Depending on the location and school level, instruction in French can only be provided for certain courses. In British Columbia, this is particularly the case at the secondary level.
  • Maybe you are worried that a Francophone school would not allow your child to learn English at a level that allows the child to succeed in life. This is the question most frequently asked to the administrative staff of Francophone schools in British Columbia. We note that the English proficiency levels of Grade 12 graduates attending Francophone schools in British Columbia show that they are as competent as their unilingual Anglophone counterparts, or even stronger (according to their results in the provincial examinations for Grade 12 English Language Arts).
  • It is important to remember that a Francophone school cannot "make bilingual" or "frenchify" a child with very little French-speaking ability. If you decide to register your child at a Francophone school you should make sure to help your child by, for example, sending the child to a French play group or kindergarten before the child’s arrival at the school. The parent is the child’s first educator. The ideal situation would be to ensure that the Francophone parent could continue experiencing situations that promote French with the child every day if possible, according to the 4 Rs. See Promoting French (the 4 Rs).

 To find out more…

  • Table Comparing Francophone and French Immersion Schools. | Table comparing Francophone schools and French immersion schools through: the comparison of students, eligibility, objective with respect to French, objective with respect to bilingualism, objective with respect to culture and identity, language of communication, language of instruction, teaching staff, support staff and assessment of students.
  • Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique| Website of the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (some information available in English). To find out about BC Francophone schools and their admission eligibility criteria.
  • English Proficiency Levels of CSF Students | Press release entitled: “The CSF continues to beat its own records and outperform its peer group” (the English version follows the French text).