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Hollande in London to open city’s second French lycée

AFP | The Lycée Charles de Gaulle has 4,500 pupils. The new school will cater to more of London's large French community.

French President François Hollande is due to inaugurate London’s second French Lycée on Tuesday.

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The Lycée Winston Churchill, which has taken over the old Brent Town Hall building in the shadow of the Wembley football stadium in northwest London, joins the Lycée Charles de Gaulle (also known simply as “The Lycée”), which has been serving the city’s expatriate French community since 1915. It was renamed after the celebrated French general following World War II.

There are also a number of smaller, mostly private, French-language primary schools catering to the estimated 300,000 French citizens living in London. But the number of institutions doesn’t meet the demands of Londoners – parents who want their children to follow a French school curriculum still face long waiting lists at the Lycée Charles de Gaulle.

Unlike most lycées in France, the two London establishments are fee-paying (around £10,000 a year, or €14,000) and receive financial support from French multinationals present in London as well as from the French state.

The children, who can attend from the age of 5 to 18 and whose studies will go toward French Baccalaureate qualifications, will also follow the British tradition of wearing a school uniform – which is virtually unheard-of in France – choosing between four tops in purple, burnt orange, light blue or aqua green.

School principal Mireille Rabate told local newspaper the Brent & Kilburn Times that the move was “one way of feeling part of the community”.

The new school has a capacity of 1,300, with 475 enrolled for the current academic year.

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