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History of Lycée International

The Lycée International of Saint Germain-en-Laye celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2002. There are 4 international lycées in France - in Nice, Lyons, Strasbourg, and Saint Germain-en-Laye. Unlike other lycées, international lycées are administered directly by the Ministry of Education, without referring to the regional administration.

The uniqueness of the Lycée International of Saint Germain is directly related to France's history: it was founded for the children of officers of the allied command of NATO (SHAPE), whose families were settled in Hennemont quarters. The aim behind the creation of this school was not only to dispense a quality bilingual education, but also to inspire the youth with an understanding of other cultures and an international outlook. The school opened in January 1952.

The Lycée's history can be divided in three phases
The school's first director was René Tallard (1952-1965). The lycée started off with 18 students. One year later there were 400, half of which were French. In 1954, the school because the International NATO School, and in 1962, the International NATO Lycée. That year a new building was built and fitted with the most modern equipment thanks NATO financing.

In 1966 a major event affected the Lycée further destiny: France left the NATO and the organization's armed forced moved to Belgium. The new headmaster, Edgar Schere (1965 - 1989), had to bear the huge task of reorganizing the Lycée, which had lost overnight the two thirds of its students. With the support of the two remaining sections - those of Germany and the Netherlands - he resurrected the Lycée thanks to his personal commitment. Lacking the support of officer families, he had to operate an economic transition.

By 1968 the Lycée already had 6 sections, from Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, Denmark, and Italy.

The period from 1989 to 2001 saw several changes. Under the new headmaster, Jean-Pierre Maillard, some of the old buildings were destroyed and new ones were built (the building of the primary school, the glass building of the refectory, the ceremonial hall and the library). The castle was repaired. New sections were also added, such as the Japanese section. Yves Lemaire took the head of the Lycée in 2001. In the next few years it is planned to remodel the main school building.

At present, this institution comprises a kindergarten (école maternelle), a grade school, a junior and a senior high school. Over 3000 students study there, taught by a staff of 300. There are 13 sections in the Lycée: American, British, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Japanese, Polish and Russian.

The Lycée International of Saint Germain-en-Laye is considered to be one of the best high schools in France: in 2008 the national weekly L'Express published the results of a survey of the best French lycées based on finishing exams. The rankings are as follows:

  1. 1st place nationally among public high schools
  2. 16th place among all categories of high schools
  3. 2nd place among all high schools in the county of Yvelines.