More choice for French families for schooling in London

by Ray Clancy on September 8, 2015

One of the first thing expat parents want to know when they move to a new city is information about schools. Now French families moving to London have more choice than ever with the opening of a new Lycée.

The new Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill gives French parents the choice of two major secondary schools in the city, alongside the Lycée Charles de Gaulle in south Kensington, which was founded in 1915.

UK LondonAround 400,000 French people live in the UK, according to the nation’s Embassy, and many of them are in London which is often referred to as France’s sixth biggest city. They have tended to live in the South Kensington, Clapham and Ealing areas of London for easy access to the school.

Now they can consider the Wembley Park area in north west London, where the new Lycée is situated and just opened for the new school terms. It has easy access across the capital from three stations, three tube lines, the overground and two National Rail lines.

With 500 children already enrolled, the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill is set to have a real impact on Wembley Park. As a school for day pupils only, it is drawing not only French families to the area to settle, but also the school’s staff.

The new Lycée’s name was chosen in recognition of the crucial role played by Churchill in the victory of the Allied forces in World War II and the 1944 Liberation of France. Its inaugural year also marks the 75th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s first becoming British Prime Minister and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

After an initial intake of 500 to 600 students, the school will have a 1,100-pupil capacity and will offer bilingual teaching programmes in French and English from Years one through to 13 and is an independent school set up by the French Education Charitable Trust (FECT).

It joins the growing worldwide network of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), a government agency overseen by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, which has 494 schools in 135 countries.

“By naming the new French international Lycée after Winston Churchill 50 years after his death, we remember the immensely important role he played in France’s past and make his memory present in our country’s future. I hope our new students joining this September will feel inspired by the legacy of this great historical figure,” said Arnaud Vaissié, chair of the Board of Trustees.

Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the UK, said it is very rare for a French Lycée to adopt the name of a non-French figure, and this alone should stand as a symbol of the unique and very special ties between France and the UK.

“With the other French Lycée in London’s South Kensington named after Charles de Gaulle, we now celebrate the two men who shaped France’s destiny in this very city. As the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill welcomes its very first students, I wish it all the success of its big brother, the Lycée Charles de Gaulle, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year,” said Bermann.

The new Lycée’s campus is set over five acres, with 12,000 square metres of newly refurbished and purpose built teaching spaces for the three levels of schooling for young people up to the age of 18. It has multiple on-site sports facilities, including a running track, two outdoor sports pitches and an indoor gymnasium. A newly constructed Annex building will house modern science classrooms and a large, bright dining area.

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