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August 2008


Dear Assistant

PRE-DEPARTURE INFORMATION PACK - FRANCE

We have pleasure in enclosing an information pack in connection with your appointment as an English
language assistant in France (or France outre-mer) in 2008/09. The contents are as follows:

(1)    Country Notes - FRANCE
Notes for English Language Assistants appointed in France is an essential document. It contains
important information about the administrative matters you will have to deal with. Please read this
document carefully and take it to France with you for reference.

General notes for assistants appointed to all countries can be found on our website
www.languageassistant.co.uk . You are encouraged to use the website so that you benefit from the
links we have included. You should click on the section “English Language Assistants: What happens
next?”

Please see the British Embassy website (www.amb-grandebretagne.fr) for general helpful information
about the UK. The link “Publications et ressources sur la Grande Bretagne” under the “Newsroom”
section is especially useful as you will find links to their other sites www.100questions.net and www.i-
uk.com/france, which are full of useful information on the UK to use when teaching.

(2)     Assistantship code of conduct
Guidelines for professional conduct during your year abroad.

(3)    Info. sheet called “Personal and Practical Issues”
General advice on all aspects of the assistantship.

(4)     Info. sheet on induction courses (stages)
A sheet containing information about your induction course is enclosed. Please read this carefully in
conjunction with any information you may be sent from France.

(5)    Tips from the Poitiers and Reims stages (relevant to all assistants)
Advice given at the Poitiers (2003) and Reims (2007) induction courses regarding teaching and free
time.

(6)     Insurance leaflet
The British Council strongly recommends that you take out adequate insurance for travel and personal
possessions for the period of appointment. Please refer to the Country Notes for more detailed
information regarding insurance.

Details of an insurance package available through Endsleigh are enclosed. This covers medical
expenses, Air Ambulance, repatriation, personal accident and civil liability, luggage and valuable items,
cancellation in extreme cases. The British Council neither endorses this package nor accepts any
liability in respect of it, and you are recommended to consult an insurance broker for professional
advice. However, the flier enclosed shows the type of cover we urge you to consider for your year
abroad and to purchase from whichever insurance company you choose to use. Undergraduate
assistants may find that a "study abroad" policy purchased online may be cheaper. You should also
check your parents’ household insurance as this sometimes covers possessions away from home.

(7)     Personal safety leaflet
This leaflet provides an emergency telephone number as well as essential guidelines on how to avoid
potentially dangerous situations. You should make every attempt to be streetwise and vigilant and
take local advice on areas to avoid.

(8)      Language assistants’ resource book and pedagogic discussion group
This resource book is based on practical experience in teaching young people and is supported by a
regularly updated website: www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistant. It provides essential guidance
on how to develop good working relationships with staff and students as well as classroom
management techniques, teaching ideas and materials. On the website you can find an archive of full
lesson plans, and a new lesson plan will be offered to you every week from mid-September onwards.
You will be able to discuss teaching ideas with fellow assistants and contact an on-line mentor for
advice through an e-mail discussion group designed specifically for the purpose. You will
automatically be subscribed to the discussion group before your placement but you may unsubscribe
at any time if you do not wish to make use of the facility.

(9)      Lettre de garantie
When searching for accommodation in France, you may be asked to provide details of a guarantor. A
lettre de garantie (for your parents to complete) is enclosed for this purpose. However, a French
guarantor, if you can possibly find one, will be more readily accepted by French landlords.

(10)    Académie map
This shows the various académies and the départements within them.

(11)    Advice from past assistants on taking a car abroad

(12)    Advice from past assistants on mobile phone usage in France

(13)    Certificate of service
This Certificat de service is for you to keep and to have completed by the Head of your host school at
the end of your period of appointment. It is likely to give you an increment of salary if you enter the
teaching profession in the UK in the future. Please do not return it to the British Council.

Contact lists of 2008/09 assistants will be sent via email at the end of August (when we hope
more assistants will have confirmed school details to us)

You will receive a contact list of UK assistants appointed in your académie in 2008/09. You
may wish to get in touch with them to co-ordinate travel to France or arrange to meet up during
the year.

Contact list of predecessors who worked in your académie in 2007/08 will also be sent via
email at the end of August

These ex-assistants will not necessarily have worked in the same schools but will be able to
offer general advice about the area and their year abroad.


NOTE Assistants appointed to primary schools

Some of you may have been sent information from France to confirm the town you will be working in
but have not yet received confirmation of your schools, whereas others among you already know all of
the schools you will be working in.

Assistants appointed to primary schools often do not find out the names of their schools until
September or in some cases until they arrive in France. Assistants working in primary schools will
normally see “I.A.” (Inspection académique) or “Circonscription de …” on their certificate of
appointment. This is not the name of the school you will be working in but the office which deals with
primary school appointments in the area in which you will be working. For more information on
schools in your area, or if you have the name of the school and are looking for the address, consult
the académie website e.g. for Grenoble: www.ac-grenoble.fr then click on “établissements scolaires”
and then on “les écoles”.

All primary assistants work a maximum of 12 hours per week, with their timetable spread across one
or a number of schools (up to a maximum of 3). You will usually work in the same three schools
throughout the year. However, there is a very slight possibility that you may be assigned to a different
group of schools after Christmas. Although this is very rare, it is not unheard of and you should be
prepared that this might happen. Arrangements vary from one académie to another.

For those assistants who do not know the names of the schools they will be working in, it is important
to write to the I.A. (your local authority office) confirming acceptance of the post, asking for any further
information, and providing all your contact details.

Please refer to the 2 green sheets called "PRIMARY SCHOOL ASSISTANTS ONLY" which we sent
you in June. These contain important information that supplements the information in the text above.

******************************************************************************
NOTE All assistants
If your permanent home address i.e. parents’ address, personal e-mail or phone number
should change at any time from now on, please inform us immediately by letter or e-mail. We
may need to contact you during the year with updates to these notes, invitations or urgent messages.
Please ensure that any e-mail you send to the British Council is acknowledged or it will mean
that we have not received it here. We sometimes have problems receiving messages from
hotmail accounts.

Please complete and return your acceptance of appointment form AD/F.9 to us at this office as
soon as you receive your certificate of appointment from France.

Should you for any reason find at this late stage that you will be unable to take up your
appointment, you are requested to inform the British Council immediately in writing or by e-
mail to talin.chakmakjian@britishcouncil.org so that we may offer your post to a candidate on the
waiting list.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy and successful year as a language
assistant.

Yours sincerely




Miss Talin Chakmakjian
Project Delivery Officer
Language Assistants (C&P)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7389 4764
Fax: +44 (0)20 7389 4594
E-mail talin.chakmakjian@britishcouncil.org

								
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