The Lycée Polyvalent International., Victor Hugo, a French state secondary school, opened in September, 1984 and serves the community of Colomiers a town of 30,000 inhabitants on the western edge of Toulouse. The establishment is divided into two teaching cycles. The first four years of secondary education take place in the « Collège » and the final three years in the Lycée proper. The Lycée also takes pupils from the other Collèges of Colomiers and Pibrac at the end of their four-year cycle of studies. The School has a total of 1800 pupils from the ages of eleven to eighteen, 200 in the Collège and 1600 in the Lycée, as well as a further 100 post-eighteen students taking "BTS" courses (the equivalent of H.N.D). The vast majority of pupils are French locals, but there are a number of British, American and German children whose parents work in the area. Most English-speaking parents are employed by British Aerospace, Airbus Industrie, and associated aircraft manufacturers, but others work for a variety of local companies such as Honeywell, Matra, Motorola and Alcatel.
The German pupils attend their own school within the Lycée, having lessons in their mother tongue and eventually taking the "Abitur", the German university entrance examination. The English-speaking pupils are completely integrated into the French educational system and eventually take the French Baccalauréat*. Therefore these pupils study all subjects in French except during their English lessons. In order that they remain fluent in their mother tongue pupils have special lessons given by teachers of the British Section of the Lycée while their French colleagues have lessons in English as a foreign language.
The British Section also presently organises French support lessons for pupils of the Section who need this service.
The full-time English teachers of the British Section are recruited from the UK and have British teaching qualifications. The English programme taught in the Section is based upon the National Curriculum, culminating in GCSE examinations (Edexcel-London Board ) in English and English Literature in the fourth year of secondary school (year 10 UK, ninth grade American system, "troisieme" French system). The French support programme is delivered by bilingual French nationals recruited locally.
* The Baccalaureat is the examination that all pupils in France take at the end of their schooling and which is the qualifying examination for French universities. It is also recognised by British and American universities. Pupils of this school do not take the International Baccalaureate of Geneva as this examination is not recognised in France.