The education authority
The Nantes education authority is located in western France and comprises 5 départements - 2 bordering the Atlantic Ocean and 3 inland. There are 3 main cities in the region, these being Nantes (6th-largest city in France), Angers and Le Mans. Nantes is 2 hours by train from Paris, Angers 1hr 30 minutes and Le Mans 1hr. Laval (1hr 40 minutes by train from Paris) has been awarded Ville d'Art et d'Histoire ('City of Art and History') status and has a relatively young population with a campus accommodating some 4,000 students. La Roche-sur-Yon is the most heavily populated town in the Vendée, with an academic network of 6,000 students, a number of theatre and musical companies and 4 multimedia libraries.
The community network is widely developed in all of the towns and cities within the scope of the education authority, including more modest-sized towns (urban areas of between 30,000 and 110,000 inhabitants). There is always a coach or a train service available for getting around and visiting one of the 3 main cities. Cholet, for example, is the most sporty town in France in terms of sports club members, whilst Fontenay-le-Comte, a town with a remarkable history, boasts solid and dynamic educational teams. Les Sables d'Olonne, meanwhile, is a small seaside resort from which boats participating in the Vendée Globe race are launched, whilst La Baule is blessed with one of the longest beaches in Europe.
The climate in the region is oceanic (rather mild, with little change in temperatures, and more humid in coastal areas than inland).
The place of the teaching assistant within the education authority
Host school setup
From an academic perspective, pupils in this education authority achieve very good results (among the best in France). Multilingualism, an international outlook and cultural policy constitute the fourth element of the academic framework. The education authority has developed a number of partnerships with foreign organisations, and its Espace Numérique de Travail ('Digital Workspace' or 'e-lyco') has been recognised at national level. Assistants are placed first and foremost in lycées (both general and vocational) and collèges and are assigned right throughout the education authority.
In primary education, the number of assistants is distributed fairly between the five départements and educational advisors for languages are responsible for supporting and monitoring assistants.
Those living within the education authority have no particular accent and are rather open and welcoming. It is relatively easy to find reasonably priced accommodation in the region.