Ipp Policy brief n°35 - September 2018

Multi-collège catchment areas in Paris: an effective tool for combating social segregation?

IPP Policy brief n°35

September 2018

Authors : Julien Grenet and Youssef Souidi

Contact : julien.grenet@psemail.eu


logo-pdf-minMulti-collège catchment areas in Paris: an effective tool for combating social segregation?




Collèges (middle schools) in Paris have some of the highest levels of social segregation in France due to wide social contrasts between geographically close neighbourhoods and to a large number of pupils from the most privileged backgrounds attending private schools. Because of this, the Council of Paris voted in January 2017 to create three two-collège catchment areas in the 18th and 19th arrondissements. The scheme consisted of defining joint catchment areas (secteurs) for several middle schools in order to make their intakes socially more diverse. The provisional results for the first year of the experiment (2017-2018) are encouraging. Two of the three catchment areas achieved their objective of greater social diversity and also reduced the number of pupils enrolling in private schools. Although in the short term the social composition of the schools in the third catchment area was not rebalanced by the scheme, from the results of the assessment we can identify several ways to improve this.

Key points:

  • At the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, three two-collège catchment areas were defined in the 18th and 19th arrondissements of Paris, covering nearly 700 pupils entering 6th grade (the first year of middle school).
  • Two separate procedures were used to assign pupils to schools in the newly created catchment areas: ‘montée alternée’ (in the Berlioz-Coysevox catchment area) and regulated choice (in the Curie-Philipe and Bergson-Pailleron catchment areas).
  • At the end of their first year of existence, the Berlioz-Coysevox and Bergson-Pailleron catchment areas had increased social diversity in the collèges concerned and caused the number of pupils enrolling in private schools to fall.
  • The failure of the Curie-Philipe catchment area to rebalance the social composition of these two priority education network (REP) schools illustrates the difficulties involved in making the transition from one assignment system to another

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