Collège des Ecrivains Combattants

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Introduction

The Collège des Ecrivains combattants junior school is located in Saint-Gervais-sur-Mare. It is attached to the High school and junior school of Bédarieux. As it is very small, there are only a few (lucky) teachers for a few (lucky) pupils. The school is getting bigger since it has gone from 4 classes to 6 classes in 2017.
A pupil’s day is as follows: school starts at 8.30am and ends at 12.30pm for lunch break. It starts at 2pm until 5pm in the afternoon. Pupils can have up to 7h class a day.
Usually, school holidays are every 7 or 8 weeks with two months holiday for Spring break and the school year is divided in trimesters: pupils get a school report with their achievements and some advice every three months.

Assessments by proficiency

The school is among the few schools in France which only assess students with proficiency. No marks are given at any rate ever since 2012. Each student has the access to a file where he can train himself with all the notions of his grade and thus improve and learn at his own pace. It is usually something that you can find in primary schools but not in junior schools.

The EGPA section

Two third of our pupils are in great educational needs. They used to be taken apart, in a different classroom but now they attend the traditional classes just like any other pupil, under the supervision of a specialized teacher (Mr Ducher) in some courses such as Maths, French and History-Georgraphy.
There is also a special curriculum starting from 4e (year 9) to 3e (year 10) which consists in a series of short internships during the year within one or several companies so as to discover new jobs and the professional world in general.

The ‘Houses’ project

Mrs Sumian had the idea to create four houses imitating the pattern of Harry Potter’s houses and they all bear the names of four famous resistance writers during WWII : Apollinaire, St Exupéry, Desnos and Pergaud. In each house, you can find pupils from all years, for example, 5 pupils from year 7, 5 pupils from year 8, 4 pupils from year 9 and 6 pupils from year 10. Teachers organise many activities:
– to encourage our students from all ages to help each other for homework : a pupil from year 10 can help another from year 7 to do a Maths exercise for example.
– some fun tournaments between the four houses (board games, football games, general knowledge quiz …)
– to work on a motto and a logo for each house and to make a short ceremony at the beginning of each year for new upcoming students
– a charity action

The ERASMUS project

Before launching our Erasmus project, we had two previous Comenius projects:

  • Comenius from 2011 to 2013: we worked with two schools in Romania, one in Turkey and one in Spain. The theme was “Tolerance” and 24 students took part in it.
  • Comenius from 2013 to 2015: we worked with one school in Turkey, one in Spain, one in Italy, one in Lithuania and one in Norway. The theme was “Nature” and 23 students took part in it.

The Erasmus project is currently going on around the theme “Nature and natural spaces in relation with the use of digital technology”. We are working with one school in Norway, one in Spain and one in Lithuania. 6 students, doing extra English lessons with Mrs Chabbert (anglais euro) travel each year in one country. St Gervais hosted the arrival of the three countries in Septembre 2016. The project will end in June 2018 with a trip to Norway.

The lunch break workshops

There are two workshops organised by two colleagues: one model aircraft making and one choir.
1) During the model aircraft making workshop, students learn how to make an aircraft plan, cut it out of polystyrene, add a small engine and fly their own creation in the end. Needless to say that our students are very enthusiastic and grateful to Mr Raynaud !

2) The Choir is organised by Mrs Zalczer and students get the opportunity to sing songs from any culture in any language. There is a spectacle at the end of the year where they show everybody their hard work and their improvement throughout the year!

The school club

This club is organised by volunteers among adults and students of the community. Each pupil gives 3 euros to the club at the beginning of the year and pupils organise events, activities and sales (Christmas market, class photos, bingo…) throughout the year to earn money. Thanks to this, the club can buy board games, books but can also fund trips and clubs.

The school name-changing ceremony

Our three country partners came last September and attended the change of your school name. It officially became “Le Collège des écrivains combattants” and was named after the forest of the same name nearby. The forest bear this name to pay tribute to the writers who fought the war with their pen.

The school integration

Once they finish primary school, pupils are integrated during two day activities at the beginning of the year. They are welcomed by their headmaster and their class principal. The main goal of these activities is both to get to know the new pupils and get them to know each other. The group starts by bike from Hérépian, then the various activities include monkey tree climbing trail near Pomarède, camping during a night near Tarrassac, climbing and picnic near the famous Gorges d’Héric (a beautiful  viewpoint) and riding back to Hérépian.

From primary school to the ‘College des écrivains combattants’ junior school

In order to give our students the best chances to improve and settle in our school, we are lucky to have a primary school teacher, M.Robert among our staff. M.Robert works with three primary schools (Camplong, Plaisance and St Gervais) and our junior school. He makes sure pupils get solid bases in their proficiency and tutors those in need, be it in class with the teachers or in separate groups. The main subjects are targeted: French and Maths.

The ‘Big Challenge’ competition

Every year, a competition in English takes place at a national level. The tests measure the students’ understanding of English through a multiple-choice questionnaire. This is not compulsory, only voluntary pupils take it and the goal is just to get them motivated: they can get prizes according to their results and if they are among the top 10 students of the country, they can even get an IPAD or a computer.

The Cambridge certificate

If they are willing to, pupils can take this certificate in the school although it is not compulsory. It is highly recommended and reputed worldwide as all the tests and items are organised to measure someone’s proficiency in English in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Needless to say that it is a very complete test and shows someone’s English level in a resume, for instance, since it follows the international way of asserting language proficiency (level A2 and B1 as known as pre-intermediate levels).

The Dance project

The PE teacher (Mr Razimbaud) and a professional dance teacher (Mrs El Kaaouachi-Razimbaud) are building up a dance project with our year 8 class. It will be both a challenge and a tribute to a world famous choreographer Pina Bausch who initied the “Tanztheater”, namely dance-theatre, that our pupils will perform at the end of the year.