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France: seven schools join Groupement FLE

French language school association Groupement FLE has seen a 20% increase in membership, it revealed at its annual school owner and director training event in January.

Gfle's mission is to represent and protect French schools’ interests. Photo: Unsplash

Topics at the most recent Gfle event included government grants, visas, policies and strategies to revive the language sector

The seven new members include three schools in Paris, in addition to one each in Tours, La Rochelle, Rennes and Massy, which the association said indicates that educators want to collaborate to “protect French schools’ interests” during a challenging time.

“Gfle has shown itself to be organised, vocal and active in the defence of French language schools”

Commenting on the “spectacular” growth, Gfle spokesperson Eleri Maitland said there “has never been a better time to join the group”.

“We have an exciting and informative program of ongoing training and webinars for members this year which starts with two sessions leading to a certification as the official contact for questions and policies for disability (now an mandatory requirement in the quality certification process),” she said.

By joining the organisation members benefit from training and webinar presented by Institut Francais representatives.

The new members are ALIP-École de langue française (Paris), CLE (Tours), Eurocentres (Paris), French as you like it (Paris), Inlingua (La Rochelle), Langue et communication (Rennes), Les Cèdres (Massy)

“It’s very important that members have a chance to question representatives from the authorities about our situation and the future,” Maitland noted, naming the General Delegation for the French language and the languages of France, Campus France and Fédération internationale des professeurs de français as some of the bodies attending its events.

Topics at the most recent Gfle event in January included government grants, visas, policies and strategies for the language travel sector’s revival, as well as a specialist session on changes in the labour laws governing training companies.

“Gfle worked tirelessly all through 2020 for French language schools holding frequent webinars to keep them informed about the work we as an association were doing to get our claim recognised that schools were part of the tourist industry and so eligible for government aid,” said Gfle president Gilles Cappadoro.

“We had a great deal of interest from schools who were not members and to encourage them to join us and importantly helping all our existing members we decided to offer extremely advantageous membership rates in 2021.”

The rates have resulted in a “flurry of new members”, he continued.

“But I do not think that it is the only reason that has encouraged schools to join us. Gfle has been so active over the last 12 months and has shown itself to be organised, vocal and active in the defence of French language schools.”

Members understand that in difficult times, it is “vital to belong to a dynamic group whose mission is to represent and protect French schools’ interests”, the organisation maintained.

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