The externé system cannot work for those children who are not able to learn in French to French national standard. There is, however, a way into the system for monolingual foreign pupils. From its very beginnings, the International Lycée organised a special reception class for foreign children arriving in France with little or no French but who wanted to integrate the national school system as rapidly as possible. This class is known as Français Spécial.
On the Lycée International site there is one Français Spécial class per year group, starting in Year 3 (French CE1) and continuing up to and including Year 11 (French Seconde). Each class contains about 20 children, with an equal number of places offered to each national section. This means that the British Section has two places reserved in each ‘FS’ class each year.
The children are expected to make sufficient progress in French language skills in their Français Spécial year in order to be able to transfer to a normal Lycée class at the start of their second year. They do not lose a year or mark time in taking on this challenge - if all goes well, they join the French class which corresponds to their year of birth.
Children already living in France but who are attending a school whose medium of instruction is English may apply to join Français Spécial.