Here I'll try and explain how the French education system works. It's a bit different to the UK educations system but nothing to worry about.
Basically in terms of schools in France, there are two types of school: Public and Private. In France Public Schools are state run and funded schools and Private Schools are private, pretty much privately funded and self controlled schools.
In general there isn't too much between them, I've heard arguments in favour of both and can sympathise with all arguments, so I'll not set out to suggest either French private schools or French public schools are better or worse than each other. Primary differences are that French public schools do tend to have a couple of strike days a year to complain about school funding, human resources and against governement rulings that they feel will have a negative effect on the children and school. French private schools are a slightly better funded but the parents have to supply their children with reading and writing material, which can be expensive. Although the French private school fees seem modest by UK standards they do go up as children get older, often coupled with the cost of school books can be too expensive for many families.
I have heard that private schools are not controlled in the same way as public schools in France. This means that the private schools do not abide by the same rules as the public schools and tend to 'massage' their statistics to give a better Result for the school. I am told that state schools do not do this and can not because they are tightly controlled and monitored by the education authority. Some of the tricks employed by state schools include asking parents to take their child out of school for the day that the evaluations are held, coaching the children to get a higher mark in the evaluations. In the public schools they take education very seriously, to them it is not a business and want the evaluation results to truly reflect the effect of changes to the national curriculum and as a true benchmark.
To enrol your child into a public school in France you should go to your local Mairie. To enrol in a private school, you'll have to make an appointment to see the head teacher ( known as 'Le Director' in French ). The Director of the French school will organise the enrolment of your child into their school and explain fees etc.
Here are the School ages and Class names for schools in France.
Yes well my other half is a school teacher and when she's talking about so and so from this class, that class etc. I get a bit lost ;) So I've compiled a complete list of French school classes and their Names etc...
PS1 - 2-3 Years old
PS2 - 3 Years old
MS - 4 Years old
GS - 5> Years old
CP - 6 Years old
CE1 - 7 Years old
CE2 - 8 Years old
CM1 - 9 Years old
CM2 - 10 Years old
6e - 11 Years old
5e - 12 Years old
4e - 13 Years old
3e - 14 Years old
2nde - 15 Years old
1ere - 16 Years old
Term - 17 Years old
Then of course there is University
I hope you find this useful, if you would like to discuss schooling in France and education then please register and make a posting in the Family and Children's Education in France Forum on this website.