A group of parents is currently working on a French School Project in Adelaide. Please see below a brief presentation of this new project.
The aim of the project is to “Work in cooperation with the Department of Education and Child Development to establish an Intensive French Stream within an established South Australian Public School”. This program would offer a bilingual bicultural French and Australian Primary level school for children of French, Australian and diverse backgrounds.
The Intensive French Stream would need to become accredited by both the SA Department of Education and Child Development and the Agency for French Teaching Abroad (Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger - AEFE).
The aim of the Intensive French Stream will be to foster a balanced bilingual acquisition in both French and English.
French Schools in Australia
There are existing French-English bilingual school establishments throughout Australia in Canberra, Victoria, New South Wales and Brisbane. According to the French Embassy, all are operating extremely well and continue to be strongly supported in their communities, often growing very rapidly from very small numbers at commencement. For example, the French stream in Caulfield Junior College started in 1998 with ten students and one teacher. Today the French Stream has more than 200 (out of a total of 416) students and nine teachers.
These schools, adopting varying models of Bilingual or Binational education have all established unique educational programs, providing dedicated French-English bilingual streams within the schooling format. The extraordinary success of these schools provide templates which South Australia can follow to establish an educational facility in Adelaide but with the benefit of established methodology and accreditation outcomes, available approved texts and so forth.
The French Government through the French Embassy and French Consular Agency in Adelaide have confirmed their strong support for the project. The Department of Education and Child Development is working in partnership with parent committee.
There are numerous studies that clearly demonstrate the benefits of evidence of multiple language capability in children including:
- Ability to form relationships with other relatives;
- Grasp a second language easily;
- A third language will come easily;
- Ability to live and work abroad;
- They are less likely to feel prejudiced;
- Brain development, increased meta-cognitive skills and superior divergent thinking ability.
Furthermore the establishment of a French language school can be expected to deliver a range of broader economic and social benefits such as:
- the bilingual curriculum in a public school will raise the profile of the educational facility and potentially raise the scholastic achievements of students attending the school;
- It will expand the employment opportunities for French Teachers increasing career prospects and strengthening the ability of the various French Language schools in Adelaide to attract quality teachers.
- Increased ability to attract major investment from French Companies to South Australia.