A “school group” in the Ardèche to maintain local education

France Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Short presentation

To maintain a local educational offer, the public school and the public college of Saint-Cirgues-en-Montagne are grouped together.


- Fight against desertification
- Allow students to stay in school near their homes
- Pool resources (primary and secondary schools) and harmonize learning

Contexte (territory issues, targeted audience)

Observation: the nearest colleges were located at least 1/2 hour away (mountain road). The Rectorat, the Department Council and the Commune (local authority) have therefore chosen to group together primary and secondary school in the same establishment to maintain a local educational offer.

In 2014, more than 130 students, from kindergarten to secondary school.

Actions implemented

The Saint-Cirgues-en-Montagne (Ardèche) public primary school, opened in September 2012, is the same structure as the commune's secondary school (87 pupils in September 2017), i.e. a first and second level "school group" known as the "base school"("école du socle"). Although these two entities remain legally separate, the school-college link is facilitated by this geographical proximity.
A new building was built and inaugurated in 2014 (The new school complex required two years of work and an investment of 9.2 million euros). It is the first positive energy school above 1,000 metres in altitude.

Other information

Project's start year : 2012

Points of vigilance, difficulties to pass through, success factors

Challenge: to allow cultural openness despite the distance, to bring culture into the institution

Other experiences, in France and Europe (extract from the report of Cour des comptes "Access to public services in rural areas, 2019):

A "socle school" system is currently being considered and could be tested in a college and schools located in the territory of the Communauté de communes du Pays Châtillonnais (Côte-d'Or).

In Finland, this system already exists and makes it possible, particularly in rural areas, to maintain a school group including primary and secondary education. The possibility given to teachers to teach both primary and secondary education in two or three subjects gives flexibility to the allocation of resources and contributes to the success of this model.

In Italy, in the Piedmont region, the concept of a valley school has also progressed. In Val Ceronda e Casternone, the municipality of Vallo Torinese (800 inhabitants) has grouped its school into a so-called valley school complex of 400 pupils, spread over two sites. Mountain elected representatives recommend that for non-urban areas, the system should be reorganised to include schools and other activities. 72 pilot areas have already been selected.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator


Cité scolaire (schhol group) of Saint-Cirgues-en-Montagne (Non profit organization )
07510 Saint-Cirgues-en-Montagne