College and Lycee - High school
I must admit that the whole French high school system was very confusing to me until I actually worked in one and got to witness and experience first hand how it functions.
You must know that secondary school is first split into College which would be middle school and then Lycee which would be high school.
The French system is in reverse. Therefore when you hear a student is in sixieme, (6eme ) it really means that he or she just started middle school and is around 11 years old.
College: (Age 11-15)
Lycee: (Age 15-18)
In College students prepare to sit the Brevet National Exam where they sit specific subjects such as French, Mathematics and History/Geography .Also,before sitting the Brevet students must demonstrate competency in Information Technology and have at least an A2 level in a foreign language.
In Lycee, students prepare to sit the baccalaureate for the subjects of their choice. (Choice - students must have adequate grades by the end of 2nd to get into the classes they put on their choice list)
You can find the ranking of the various schools in all of France. Lucky for you that one of the top schools in the country can be found in St Jean de Luz. St Thomas D'Aquin has been ranked in the top 10 schools in France for several years and has consistently been in the top 25! I had the privilege of working in the English deparment at St Thomas D'Aquin, but chose to resign to be able to have a more flexible schedule for my daughter.That's why I know have EDGE English!
How to find a school's ranking?
East peasy! (once your French is decent)
You need to go to the website for the Rectorate d'Education ,Bordeaux.
There you can find a comprehensive listing of all the schools in France by province with their ranking and pass rate in the baccalaureate exam.
Happy reading and remember that every school has its' pros and cons!