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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level


2.Organisation and governance

2.7Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level

Last update: 27 November 2023

On the local level, local authorities (regions, départements and municipalities) have competence in the administration and material operation of the school system: primary schools to the municipalities, collèges for départements and lycées for regions.

Secondary schools (collèges and lycées) have some room for manoeuvre in the elaboration of strategies to achieve national educational policy objectives, expressed in the school project.

In higher education, universities have administrative, financial, educational and scientific autonomy. They have the power to determine their by-laws and structures.

Area of competence

There are several consultation bodies on the regional, academic and departmental level which contribute to local governance of the education system.

Area of competence







Curricula : definition of programmes




Diplomas : definition et delivery




Investment (construction, reconstruction) et material operation




Educational operation : acquisition of educational materials/equipments




Management of teaching staff : recrutement, training, remuneration, etc.




Management of administrative, technical and health staff : recrutement, training, remuneration, etc.




Management of blue-collar staff : recrutement, training, remuneration, etc.




                                                              Department of National Education, Higher Education and Reserach (2014)

The Region's fields of competence

The Region is responsible for:

  • the building of and work on upper secondary schools: general, technological and professional lycées;
  • subsidies for their equipment and operating expenditure;
  • recruitment and management of technical, operative and service personnel (TOS) in lycées;*organisation of educational, sporting and cultural activities in school premises;
  • the region's apprenticeship and vocational training policy for young people and adult job-seekers or adults seeking redeployment.

Département's fields of competence

The département is responsible for:

  • building of and work on collèges (lower secondary schools), subsidies for equipment and operation of collèges;*recruitment and management of technical, operative and service personnel (TOS) in collèges;*organisation of educational, sporting and cultural activities in school premises;
  • organisation and operation of school transport.

The General Council (Conseil général) of the département defines recruitment sectors in the département's different public collèges, i.e. specifies which public-sector collège pupils living in a specific zone of the département should attend.

The Municipality's fields of competence

The municipality is responsible for:

  • the location, building, equipment, operation and maintenance of nursery and elementary schools (primary education);
  • the management of equipment and operation credits for schools;
  • organisation of educational, sporting and cultural activities in school premises;
  • it can change pupils' start and finish times as well as school rhythms and establish, for example, a four-day week;
  • it manages non-teaching staff.

The Municipal Council (Conseil municipal) can deliberate to create, in each municipality, a school fund, aimed at promoting school attendance by helping pupils according to their family's resources.

School administration and governance

The governance and daily management of each school, at all levels of education, is done by management personnel, working in cooperation with consultative organisations.

Administration and governance of primary schools

Nursery and elementary schools do not have a legal status as a separate institution: they represent one of the commune's departments and the commune is owner of the premises. In everyday management of nursery and elementary schools, three important roles need to be mentioned:

  • that of school head, who is appointed from the teaching staff and ensures compliance with regulations and proper teaching procedures in the school;
  • that of the Conseil d'école (School Council) , consisting of the school's teachers, elected parent representatives, the mayor of the commune or municipal councillor in charge of school affairs. Since 1990, a decree demands that the Council be consulted on all the material and financial operating conditions of the school, the use of school premises, the school rules, the organisation of the school week, in particular school time and, finally, the organisation of complementary educational, sporting and cultural activities;
  • that of inspecteur de l'Éducation nationale (IEN - school inspector): in charge of the district, he or she ensures good administrative operation and application of national education directives. He or she is also entitled to attend the School Council meetings.

The Coopérative scolaire (School Cooperative) also contributes to the smooth operation of primary schools. It is a group of adults and pupils who decide to implement an educational project based on the practice of associative and cooperative life. With its own budget, it can fund educational projects or solidarity actions at the school, as long as these do not substitute the obligations of the commune which should cover maintenance and operating costs. It contributes to the development of the spirit of solidarity between pupils and improvement of the school environment and living and working environments of pupils in the school. The reference text that defines the principles of the school cooperative and its operating rules is the circular of 23 July 2008.

Secondary school administration and governance

Collèges and lycées are Etablissements publics locaux d'enseignement (EPLE - local public-sector schools), a category of public institution controlled by the Department of Education, Higher Education and Research. They were created by the decentralisation laws of 7 January 1983 and 22 July 1983. Like all public institutions, EPLEs are artificial entities that have an administrative and financial autonomy granted to them by the Decree of 30 August 1985 bearing on local public-sector schools, which organises their operation. They also have teaching and educational autonomy which is expressed in the school project, adopted by the school's board of trustees (whose members are described below).

The competences of EPLEs are listed in article R421-2 of the Education Code: "Collèges, lycées, regional first degree schools and regional institutions for adapted education have, in teaching and educational terms, an autonomy which bears on:

  • The organisation of the school into classes and groups of pupils as well as the conditions of distribution of pupils;
  • The use of endowments in teaching hours made available to the school in compliance with obligations resulting from statutory hours;
  • The organisation of school time and conditions of school life;
  • The preparation of careers guidance as well as social and professional integration of pupils;
  • The definition, in view of regional plans, of complementary and continuing training actions aimed at young people and adults;
  • The opening of the school to its social, cultural and economic environment;
  • The choice of subjects specific to the school, in particular to complete those featured in national curricula;
  • Subject to permission from families for under-aged pupils, the optional activities that contribute to educational action organised by the school for pupils as well as actions to accompany the implementation of actions for a successful education, as defined in article 128 of the law no. 2005-32 of 18 January 2005 for social cohesion planning.

The school project

The school project is the expression of secondary schools' (collèges and lycées) autonomy recognised by the State. It was made compulsory by the guidance law n° 89-486 of 10 July 1989.

In this project, the educational community of each school (i.e. management staff, teachers, guidance personnel, parents, pupils) defines the most appropriate strategy - depending on pupils' needs and local resources - to attain the educational objectives set at the national and académie's level. This implies choices in terms of:

  • management of space and premises;
  • management of school rhythms (timetable in the school day, in the week);
  • availability of educational material;
  • definition of specific educational provisions to implement national objectives and curricula.

In its project, the school ensures the consistent application of provisions that contribute to its own educational policy:

  • reception and information of parents;
  • guidance;
  • documentary policy;
  • individual monitoring of pupils;
  • opening onto the economic, cultural and social environment;
  • European and international opening;
  • health education;
  • civic education;
  • environmental education for sustainable development.

Personnel and governance bodies

A certain number of personnel and administrative and educational bodies participate in schools' day-to-day management. Besides the school head, the school is managed by:

  • the deputy principal in collèges and the deputy head in lycées who are the only ones qualified to stand in for the school head if necessary;
  • the education advisor or principal education advisor, who organises life of pupils at all moments when not under the supervision of teachers;
  • the librarian in charge of a documentary resource centre;
  • the guidance counsellor who participates in continuing observation of pupils and helps to prepare their schooling and professional choices;
  • the guidance counsellor – psychologist who provides information to pupils and their families. He/she contributes to continuing observation of pupils and implementation of conditions for their success at school He/she participates in the elaboration and fulfilment of school, university and professional projects of pupils and students in initial training in order to satisfy their entitlement to advice and information on courses and professions. Besides this priority mission, he/she works in favour of young people who, at the end of compulsory education, have not reached the recognised initial level of qualification and in favour of other groups, adults in particular;
  • the social worker who is in charge of several secondary schools and is assigned to help and advise young people experiencing certain difficulties (family, social, etc.);
  • the education assistant who provides supervision and management of pupils, helps with reception and integration at school of disabled pupils, including outside school hours;
  • the school bursar in charge of financial management, receives cheques for the canteen, buys supplies or replaces obsolete equipment;
  • the school administration advisor who usually acts as an accountant in all schools and administrator in his/her allocated school;
  • a nurse who is only permanent in large schools.

Alongside the personnel, other administrative and teaching bodies contribute to the day-to-day management of schools:

  • the Conseil d'administration (Board of Trustees), which is the school's decision-making and consultative body. It defines the school's project, organisational rules and the budget. It has 30 members (24 in collèges with fewer than 600 pupils): 1/3 the school's personnel representatives, 1/3 parents' and pupils' representatives, 1/3 local authorities', school administration and qualified personalities' representatives;
  • the Conseil pédagogique (Educational Board). It is chaired by the school head and consists of at least one class teacher of each school year, at least one teacher per disciplinary field and a principal education advisor. The Educational Board's aim is to promote cooperation between teachers, in particular to coordinate teaching. It prepares the educational section of the school project;
  • the Conseil de Classe (Class Council) examines educational issues affecting class life and gives its opinion on the conditions on which the education of each pupil should continue. It is chaired by the school head and composed of teachers, two parents' representatives, two pupils' representatives, the principal education advisor, the guidance counsellor and, if necessary, medical and social personnel;
  • the Commission Permanent (Permanent Committee). Consisting of representatives of the civil service and the school's personnel, parents, pupils, the commune and département, its role is to examine issues submitted to examination by the board of trustees. It must discuss issues relating to educational and teaching dossiers;
  • the Conseil de Discipline (Disciplinary council). Chaired by the school head, it is competent to take punitive actions against pupils (warning, reprimand, temporary suspension or expelling) The latter may come with a total or partial deferment;
  • the Comité d'éducation à la santé et à la citoyenneté (Health and civic education committee). This is a body that discusses, observes and monitors everything that contributes to civic education, prepares the violence prevention plan, proposes actions to help parents in difficulty and fight exclusion and defines a health and sexual education and risk behaviour prevention programme;
  • the Conseil de la vie lycéenne (CVL - School Life Council). It groups together 10 lycée pupils and 10 adults representing personnel and parents. The CVL is consulted and makes proposals in the following fields: general principles of the organisation of studies, elaboration of the school project, elaboration or modification of school rules, organisation of school time, general conditions of personnel's work and pupil support organisation; information linked to guidance, health, hygiene and safety, layout of spaces designed for lycée life, organisation of sporting, cultural and extracurricular activities; training of pupil representatives and conditions of use of pupil funds. The CVL's opinions, proposals and minutes are transferred to the Board of Trustees.

The role of parents

Parents' role at School is recognised by the law (articles L111-2 et L 111-4 of the Education Code) and their rights guaranteed by regulatory provisions. Parents are considered as players in their own right in the education community: they are entitled to be informed about their child's behaviour and school results as well as being entitled to participate in the School's educational actions.

The right to be regularly informed is given material form through the school record book ("school report" in secondary schools) tracking the pupil's school history. The school's representatives ensure that the parents read these documents and answer their requests for information or a meeting.

Parent involvement in the operation of the education public service is done via parents' associations. A parents' association aims to defend the moral and material interests common to pupils' parents. It consists of pupils' parents only together with persons with legal responsibility over one or several pupils. It represents parent attending School Councils, boards of trustees of schools and Class Councils. Articles D111.6 à D111.9 of the Education Code  define the field of action and rights of parents' associations. The application conditions of these provisions are set out in circular no. 2006-137 of 25 August 2006.

There are several levels of representation of parents' associations:

  • on the national level: the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation (CSE);
  • on the académie's and département's level: academic and departmental councils of the Department of Education, Higher Education and Research;
  • on the local level: school councils, school boards of trustees and class councils.

Administration and governance of universities

Pursuant to law no. 2007-1199 of 10 August 2007 bearing on university liberties and responsibilities, each component of the university has the power to determine its by-laws and structures. The statutory bodies include:

  • the Board of Trustees, which defines the university's policy: it approves the university's establishment contract, adopts the university's rules, votes on the budget, approves the accounts, determines the job breakdown, approves agreements and conventions signed by the university president; approves the annual report which includes a balance sheet and a project, presented by the president. includes twenty to thirty members distributed as follows: 8 to 14 lecturer-researcher representatives, lecturers and researchers working at the university, half of whom being university professors and assimilated personnel; 3 to 5 representatives of students; 2 or 3 representatives of engineering, administrative, technical personnel and librarians, working at the university; 7 or 8 personalities from outside the university. The latter are appointed by the university president for the duration of his/her mandate. They include: at least one business owner or top executive; another player from the economic and social world; 2 or 3 representatives of local authorities or their groupings, including one from the regional council, designated by the relevant authorities (article L712-3 of the Education Code).
  • the Scientific Council, which suggests guidelines to the Board of Trustees for the research policy and is consulted for initial and continuing training programmes, on research programmes and contracts, plans to create or modify the university's diplomas; it acts as the interface between the teaching body and research. The composition of the Scientific Council is as follows: 60 to 80% personnel representatives (professors and other persons qualified to direct research, doctors, engineers and technicians), 10 to 15% representatives of PhD students registered in initial or continuing training; 10 to 30% of outside personalities who can be lecturer-researchers belonging to other institutions (art. L 712-5 of the Education Code).
  • the University Studies and Life Council which suggests initial and continuing training guidelines to the Board of Trustees, prepares measures relating to student guidance, university works, student living and work conditions, libraries and documentation centres and can investigate approval requests and plans for new branches of study. The composition of the University Studies and Life Council is as follows: 75 to 80% representative of lecturer-researchers and lecturers, on the one hand, and students, on the other hand. Representations of these two categories are equal and persons receiving continuing training are represented in the second category; 10 to 15% representatives of administrative, technical, operative and service personnel; 10 to 15% outside personalities (art. L712-6 of Education Code).

Each university is managed by a president, who is elected for four years by an absolute majority of the elected representative of the board of trustees. He or she manages the university, chairs council meetings; he/she supervises revenue and expenditure; he/she has authority over all the personnel, appoints juries and is responsible for maintaining law and order (art. L712-2 of the Education Code).

Universities' autonomy is expressed within the three councils and in particular the board of trustees. Autonomy covers three areas:

  • administrative autonomy: the university is managed by its president, elected from lecturer-researchers, researchers professors or lecturers; training and research units (UFRs) who compose it are also managed by an elected director;
  • financial autonomy: the institution manages budgetary endowments allocated by the State as well as its own resources;
  • educational and scientific autonomy: the university, in compliance with the set national framework, for each discipline, by ministerial order, determines the curricula, content, educational methods and materials, knowledge control methods itself.

Pursuant to the law of 1984 on higher education, the Minister of Higher Education has introduced, since 1989, relations with higher education institutions expressed by the signature of five-year contracts with those institutions. The aim of this contractual policy - recently boosted and strengthened by law no. 2007-1199 of 10 August 2007 bearing on university liberties and responsibilities- is to give real content to universities' autonomy and allow the State to fulfil its initiative and consistency responsibilities. Each institution defines a development project satisfying national objectives and local training requirements. This project, which covers all institutions' activities, is aimed at the relevant units within the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research, and negotiated with them. The discussion leads to the signature of a contract specifying the institution's areas of development supported by the State and defines the sum of financial aid provided with the contract.

Consultation bodies

Regional and académie's consultation bodies

Different structures are in charge of giving their opinion to guide decision-making bodies on the regional and academies' level.

Conseil académique de la vie lycéenne (C.N.V.L.)


The C.A.V.L. is composed of 20 lycée pupil representatives and 20 representatives of the civil service, local authorities and parents.


It gives its opinion on issues bearing on school life and work in lycées and regional adapted teaching institutions.

Conseil académique de l'Éducation nationale (C.A.E.N)


The C.A.E.N. consists of 72 members: one third elected representatives, one third personnel, one third "user" representatives (parents, pupils, unions, etc.). It is chaired by the regional Préfet or president of the regional council.


It can be consulted and voice preferences on any issues relating to the organisation and operation of the public education service in the académie. It examines the provisional plan for secondary training, the lycée investment, subsidy and operating programme, adult continuing training, higher education.

Comité technique paritaire académique (C.T.P.A.)


Each C.T.P.A. is composed of 10 permanent and 10 replacement members representing the civil service and 10 permanent and 10 replacement members representing personnel.


The C.T.P.A. is competent in issues addressing organisation of administrative departments and first and second degree schools and training institutions.

Commission académique d'Appel des conseils de discipline des élèves - pupil disciplinary committee


Chaired by the recteur or his representative, it is composed of an académie inspector, a school head, a teaching personnel representative and two parents' representatives, appointed for 2 years by the rector or his/her representative.


Any decision taken by the disciplinary committee may be deferred for 8 days starting from its notification. This non-suspensive appeal may be made by the pupil's legal representative (most frequently the family), the pupil him/herself if over 18 or the school head. The recteur decides, after consultation of the académie's appeal committee, within one month, starting from reception of the appeal.

Comité hygiène et sécurité académique (C.H.S.A. - académie's health and safety committee)


Set up by each recteur, the committee consists of:

  • three to five civil service representatives, including the person in charge of health and safety issues, acting as the committee's secretary;
  • five to nine personnel representatives. This number is fixed according to the payroll or the nature of occupational risks. In all cases, this number exceeds at least by two the number of civil service representatives.
  • the prevention medical officer.


The role of this committee is to drive through, coordinate and assess actions designed to improve hygiene, health and safety conditions of employees in their work by establishing concrete and constructive social dialogue. It should contribute to the safety of employees in their work.

Département's consultation bodies

Here is a list of the main bodies asked to give their opinion to guide decision-making bodies on the département level.

Conseil départemental de l'éducation nationale (C.D.E.N.)


C.D.E.Ns are composed of representatives of:

  • local authorities;
  • school and training institution personnel;
  • users (parents, associations, etc.).


The committee can be consulted on any issues relating to the organisation and operation of the public education service in the département.

Comité technique paritaire départemental (C.T.P.D.)


It includes an equal number of civil service and personnel representatives.


It. is competent in issues addressing organisation of administrative departments and first and second degree schools and training institutions in the département.

Commission administrative paritaire départementale (C.A.P.D.)


It includes an equal number of civil service and personnel representatives.


C.A.P.Ds are competent for issues bearing on management of nursery and primary school teachers.

Le Comité hygiène et sécurité départemental (C.H.S.D. - Département's health and safety committee)


Initiated by each académie inspector, director of the département's education services, the committee is composed of:

  • three to five civil service representatives, including the person in charge of health and safety issues, acting as the committee's secretary;
  • five to nine personnel representatives. This number is fixed according to the payroll or the nature of occupational risks. In all cases, this number exceeds at least by two the number of civil service representatives.
  • the preventive medical officer.


The role of this committee is to drive through, coordinate and assess actions designed to improve hygiene, health and safety conditions of employees in their work by establishing concrete and constructive social dialogue. It should contribute to the safety of employees in their work.