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The Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle is a large French primary and secondary school situated in South Kensingtonmarker, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelseamarker, Londonmarker.

History

The Lycée Charles de Gaulle was founded in 1915 near Victoria stationmarker and provided a full education for 3000 students. In 1920, the Lycée relocated to Cromwell Gardens, opposite the Natural History Museum. Sustained growth saw it relocate for the third time to its current buildings, located directly opposite the Natural History Museummarker on Cromwell Roadmarker, South Kensingtonmarker, adjacent to the French Consulate in South Kensington.

In 1980, the school was officially named the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle - a reference to the famous French statesman who had taken refuge in the Lycée whilst in exile from Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Bombing raids on London, perhaps directed at the leader of the Free French Forces, destroyed a wing of the Lycée, which was rebuilt to provide students with modern science laboratories and multipurpose classrooms as well as a spacious lobby at 35 Cromwell Road.

Due to limited room at the South Kensington site, the Lycée expanded by opening two primary school adjuncts, based in Wix and Ealingmarker, in 1993 and 1995 respectively. Since May 1997, the Ealing adjunct has been known as the École André Malraux, named after the French author, adventurer and statesman André Malraux.

It caters for some 3,500 pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 and teaches predominantly in French. Usually referred to simply as "the Lycée", the school is an important centre for London's sizeable French community and one of the most academically successful French schools outside of France. Its curriculum and management are overseen by the French National Ministry of Education through the Agency for the Teaching of French Abroad (AEFE). In addition to serving the French community in London, 12% of pupils at the Lycée are British, placed in the school by parents wanting their children to benefit from a bilingual education. The Lycée has a proud multicultural and international makeup, with a further 12% of pupils making up 48 different nationalities.

The vast majority of the teaching done at the Lycée is in French and caters to French curricula and indeed, as far as quatrième (at the age of 14/15), all pupils are taught entirely in French. From troisième onwards (equivalent to Year Ten or freshman year), pupils can opt either to stay in the French Section and study for their Brevet and their Baccalauréat or to transfer to the smaller British Section (64 students per year) and work towards their GCSEs and A-levels. The British Section has had a very good reputation and excellent results since it began.

The school will be fully refurbished during summer 2008, following the buyout of Peterborough school (Clancarty Road, Fulham), which will vacate most of the South Kensington primary school, which itself will be occupied by secondary school students.

The Lycée Charles de Gaulle has the highest average mark for the Baccalauréat Général outside of France, followed by the Lycée Claudelmarker in Ottawamarker.

In 2008, the British Section of the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle (the branch which enters pupils for British school qualifications) was ranked 15th in the Financial Times schools league table[157881], and 16th in The Times schools league table[157882].

2007 nepotism row

On April 19th 2007, a protest took place on the school premises in support of the Conseiller Principal d'Éducation (Head of Students' Affairs) Thierry Grépinet.

Mr. Grépinet, 44, was denied renewal of his London contract.

Amid suspicion of nepotism in the top ranks of the school's administration, 120 teachers (80% of the academic staff) and more than 400 students decided to go on strike to express their concerns. At least 800 students also signed a petition asking for the immediate reinstalment of Mr. Grépinet.

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