A London-based international school offering a bilingual education in French and English to children aged two to 18 years old.
Located in the heart of Marylebone, the school is spread across two locations – a day nursery and Junior school in Portland Place and a Senior school in Duchess Street. EIFA offers many benefits of an all-through education, with students having the opportunity to follow a bilingual curriculum from as young as two years old in Little EIFA through to 18 years old in the Senior EIFA School.
What makes the school truly unique is its bilingual programme, which follows the French National curriculum taught both in English and French by native speakers. Since 2013, the school has been offering a bilingual education combined with internationally recognised programmes including IGCSEs and the IB Diploma Programme.
The school is popular with Francophone families, and most students have dual nationality. With many students arriving from overseas, there’s a very active parents’ association, EIFA Parents, that helps new families to settle in quickly.
Class sizes are small (approximately 8 -20 students in any one class) so your child will get the individual attention they need to thrive in a demanding bilingual curriculum. Parents praise the school’s nurturing environment.
Like most French schools, there’s a non-uniform policy.
In the Junior school, each class has two qualified teachers, one English, one French. The bilingual programme offers 50/50 exposure to both French and English as the daily timetable – and the teaching of all subjects of the primary curriculum – is divided equally between the two languages.
This means that students are learning maths, French, English, history, geography and science, as well as drama, music, art, ICT and PE complete in both French and English.
From Year 4, students can sit the DELF exam (Diplôme d’études en langue française), an official qualification awarded by the French Ministry of Education to assess French-language abilities for non-native speakers.
The majority of students move up to the EIFA Senior school (Years 7 to 13), while some easily transfer to French schools in France and abroad. EIFA is not a prep school, so do not expect it to prepare your child for the 11-plus and other entry exams to English senior schools; however, some students do leave the Junior school with places to leading London schools such as Westminster, City of London Boys, University College School (UCS), Emanuel, Channing and Mill Hill.
From Year 7 to Year 9, the curriculum is based on the French national curriculum with subjects being taught equally in English and French. There is also the opportunity to study Spanish, German, or Latin.
In Years 10,-11 all students take courses in IGCSE subjects and French nationals can opt to take the Diplôme National du Brevet. The school does offer the widest choice of IGCSE subjects (it is a bilingual school, not a UK curriculum school after all); choices include French (First or Foreign Language), English (First or Foreign Language), Spanish, German, Latin
mathematics, additional mathematics, sciences: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, art and design, drama, history, sociology, and English literature.
In Years 12-13, students study the IB Diploma Programme. Many students take the Bilingual IB Diploma, a prestigious distinction given to students who prove mastery of two languages through their IBDP programme (given that students need to complete and receive a grade 3 or higher in two languages, it’s extremely challenging).
The bilingual experience continues with the school’s after-school activities programmes, there are clubs for sports, foreign languages, visual arts, STEAM, coding, drama, private music tuition or simply the homework club offered in either English or French.
Like many city centre schools, outdoor and sports facilities are limited. However, the school still offers a broad sports programme with students using the excellent facilities in Regent’s Park, which is a short walk from school, as well as local leisure centres for activities such as swimming.
EIFA welcomes applications for admission from all students regardless of nationality, and there are year-round applications.
There are no formal examination requirements at EIFA. However students are required to demonstrate good academic achievement and ability.
Annual fees range from £23,321 to £27,384.
Good for: An excellent choice of Francophone families looking for a short or long term school option while living in the UK. As well as being fully bilingual, the school offers a strong combination of the French academic curriculum with the breadth of the IB programme and the well-rounded British style of education.
Not for: With its focus on the French curriculum, the school may not offer the best preparation for 11-plus and Common Entrance exams, if you plan to move onto a UK independent senior school. The school also chooses to offer the IBDP rather than the French Baccalaureate in the Sixth Form, which may not align with some French families’ education plans.
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