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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.4Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

The orientation mechanisms presented here concern information to guide and support students in their choice of orientation. The Affelnet and Parcoursup platforms for student assignment in upper secondary and higher education are not detailed here.

Actors and mechanisms from information to guidance at the national, academic and school levels  

The National Office for Information on Teachings and Professions (Onisep)

The Onisep is a public institution under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education. It publishes and distributes written and audio-visual documents and maintains databases on studies and professions. It offers free information on training and trades (videos, job descriptions, addresses) for young people and their families as well as resources for professionals.

Onisep also has an online response website framed by guidance professionals.

The Regional Delegations of Onisep (DRONISEP) had until now been responsible for disseminating regional information on training and professions. The law no.2018-771 of September 5th, 2018 transfers this competence to the regions.

The regional public guidance service (SPRO)

The Region organizes the regional public guidance service (SPRO) throughout life. It ensures the networking of all the services, structures and devices of orientation on its territory namely:

  • Information and orientation centers (CIOs);
  • The structures belonging to the youth information network: regional youth information centers (CRIJ), youth information offices (BIJ) and youth information points (PIJ);
  • The decision support centers (CAD) of chambers of trades and crafts;
  • Points A of chambers of commerce and industry;
  • Onisep;
  • Employment center;
  • local missions.

The competences of the regions in the field of guidance are defined in particular in law no.2014-288 of March 5th, 2014 on vocational training, employment and social democracy and in the Framework Agreement signed November 28th, 2014 by six ministries and the Association of Regions of France (ARF).

Information and orientation centers (CIO)

The information and orientation centers (CIO), under tutelage of the local educational authority, are spread throughout the national territory. They participate in the Regional Public Service Orientation (SPRO) and respond to users' orientation needs.

The role of the CIOs consists of:

  • Informing all young people in school and their families about education, vocational training, qualifications and occupations;
  • Individual advice;
  • Observation, analysis of local transformations of the education system and changes in the labor market and production of summary documents for educational teams or students;
  • The animation of exchanges and reflections between the actors of the education system, the parents, the young people, the local decision-makers and the economic managers.

Each CIO has:

  • A documentary collection on teaching and professions;
  • A self-documentation service enabling any person hosted by the IOC to consult documents based on their interests and their educational level;
  • The reception is provided by psychologists of the National Education of the specialty "education, development and advice in educational and vocational guidance".

At the school level

Space dedicated to the orientation in the documentation and information centers (CDI) in the colleges and high schools: As stipulated in the circular letter no.2017-051 of March 28th, 2017, in the CDI, the teacher-librarians put in the disposition of pupils and teachers, documentation relating to orientation, school and professional information. They also work in partnership with the psychologists of the national education on this point.

Support for orientation: The reform of the general and technological baccalaureate "Baccalauréat 2021", announced on February 14th, 2018, provides 1h30 per week of orientation support for all students of 11th grade (Première) and 12th (Terminal) general and technological. The institutions will be responsible for setting up this support and defining the terms and conditions.

Teachers and the Head Teacher: Circular no.2018-108 of October 10th, 2018 assigns to the principal teachers an additional mission of support to the guidance of the students, which he leads in liaison with the guidance psychologist. The principal teacher is the privileged interlocutor of the parents. He conducts personalized orientation interviews in the third, first and final year

Local mechanisms and experiments:

Ropes of success

The "Ropes of Success" is a device to promote access to higher education of young people by giving them the keys to engage with success in the sectors of excellence. It is particularly aimed at young people from underprivileged backgrounds who tend to self-censor in their choice of orientation even with equal results with young people from other backgrounds. The system consists of a partnership between higher education institutions (grandes écoles, universities, preparatory classes) and high schools in priority neighbourhoods. This partnership makes it possible to support, particularly through tutoring, students who have the motivation and the capacity to pursue long studies and to access selective courses.

Courses of excellence

Courses of excellence, set up by the Official Bulletin of August 5, 2016 aims to support, in their orientation from the 9th grade (Troisième) to 12th grade (Terminale) of the youth from collèges of reinforced priority education networks (REP+ in priority, where the majority of collège students come from the priority neighbourhoods). It does not exclude other collèges, classified as REP or not, that host students who reside in the priority neighbourhoods of the city (QPV) or, where applicable, in the middle isolated rural.

Last word to parents

The orientation undergone being perceived as one of the causes of dropping out, especially in vocational upper secondary education.  During the interdepartmental committee of youth held on February 21th, 2013, it was decided to set up an experimentation where the final decision on orientation at the end of the third year is up to the parents. 117 colleges participated in the experiment. In 2017, decree no.2017-597 of April 21st, 2017 renewed the scheme for an additional two years.

Passpro mechanism

The Passpro mechanism, implemented in some académies (Créteil, Paris and Versailles in particular), consists in providing informational interviews to students wishing to integrate certain vocational training. Interviews are provided by referring school that provide these trainings. The referent institution also formulates an opinion ranging from cautious to very favorable on the student's ability to achieve the intended programme.

Psychological counselling

Decree No. 2017-120 of February 1, 2017 establishes the body of psychologist of the National Education, which includes primary education teachers who exercised the functions of school psychologist as well as the guidance counselors-psychologists in secondary education, and CIOs’ directors. This new body includes two specialties:

  • Psychologists specializing in "education, development and learning" work in kindergartens and elementary schools;
  • Psychologists specializing in "Education, Development and Counseling in Educational and Vocational Guidance" carry out their duties in the CIOs where they are appointed, as well as in secondary education schools that are in the CIO’s jurisdiction.

Career guidance

Le parcours Avenir

Future course

By the decree of July 1st, 2015, the individual path, information, orientation and discovery of the economic and professional world provided by article L.331-7 of the French Code of Education takes the name "Future course". This course must allow each student from 6th grade (Sixième) to 12th grade (Terminale):

  • To understand the economic and professional world;
  • To know the diversity of trades and formations;
  • Develop a sense of commitment and initiative;
  • To elaborate its educational and professional orientation project.

During compulsory schooling, the knowledge and skills acquired by students in this course are taken into account for the validation of the acquisition of the common core of knowledge, skills and culture.

The Avenir course is built by the head teacher in collaboration with the entire teaching staff. It can include:

  • Discovery actions (company visits, forums, conferences and debates);
  • Awareness-raising or training interventions (interventions by entrepreneurs or professionals in the classrooms);
  • Immersion actions in the workplace (business class, internships);
  • Accompanied projects (mini-companies, reports on trades).

During his schooling, the student must at least have visited a company, met a professional, participated in a project (example: mini-enterprise project), and carried out an internship in third class.


Internship during 9th grade (Troisième): All troisième students must carry out a five-day internship in a company during the school year.

Internship centers: Since the start of the 2015 academic year, internships centers, under the tutelage of académies, have been present throughout the country. Their goal is to develop partnerships with local businesses and to connect institutions and businesses.

Website for internship research: Students in vocational or technological streams or BTS must perform a training course in business as part of their initial training. The website, set up by the Onisep, helps them in their research of internship.

Local missions

Local missions are organizations responsible for the reception, information, vocational guidance and support of young people in the construction of their professional project and in their job search. They are aimed at all young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who face difficulties in accessing employment, training or autonomy. They mainly welcome young people with little or no qualifications.

Moreover, it will be noted that from the beginning of the 2019 school year, the reform of the vocational high school will be implemented. It aims in particular to develop and transform campuses trades that bring together in a single higher education institutions and vocational lycées. By integrating cultural and sports facilities, a boarding school, partner companies, technical and research centers, business incubator, and welcoming young people with degree from the CAP to a vocational bachelor or even a doctorate, these campuses are destined to become campuses of excellence. In addition, the reform provides that apprenticeship is possible in all vocational schools, that the CAP can be prepared in 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the profile of the students, that the 10th grade (Seconde) in vocational education is organized by families of trades, that the Inadequate formations are transformed and new streams are created. The law no.2018-771 of September 5th, 2018 also provides for a number of measures to make apprenticeship training more attractive.