The education authority
Strasbourg education authority is one of the twenty-six education authorities within mainland France and at 8,280km2 is also the smallest.
Located within the 'Blue Banana', the most densely populated part of Europe reaching from London to Milan, the region has 1,851,443 inhabitants, giving it a population density twice that of the national or indeed the European average.
One inhabitant in four has ties to the Strasbourg education authority:
. 333,333 pupils, from nursery age right through to secondary school; 50,607 students in the two universities in Alsace, these being the one in Strasbourg and the one in Mulhouse, Haute-Alsace;
. 36,840 teaching staff, executives and administrative and technical agents.
The history and geography of the region give the Strasbourg education authority a natural European outlook, as demonstrated by its dynamic partnership policy and the particular emphasis it places on the teaching of modern languages:
. the teaching of German from as early as nursery school;
. equally bilingual teaching up until the Abibac (12% in primary, 4% in secondary);
. the learning of two foreign languages as of Year 7 for 50% of pupils;
. European streams with an element taught in German, English or Spanish;
. international streams;
. the European school set up in 2008.
The Strasbourg education authority corresponds to the entire Alsace region, located in the north-east of France and adjacent to both the Swiss and German borders. The region is surrounded by the Upper Rhine to the east and the Vosges to the west. Situated both in the Rhine valley and at the heart of Europe, Alsace sits on the threshold of both the French and Germanic languages and cultures.
Alsace experiences great temperature extremes, from harsh winters to warm, sunny summers, as demonstrated by its many vineyards. It has a protected continental climate with lower levels of precipitation than its neighbouring regions.
Alsace is home to three major urban areas: Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse. With some 450,000 inhabitants, Strasbourg is a truly international city, one of the capitals of Europe, and home to one in four of the region's inhabitants. The urban fabric here is tight and the Alsace region is peppered with close and well-connected towns and villages that still have medieval and Renaissance neighbourhoods.
Alsace is easily reached by air and served by a number of airports (Strasbourg-Entzheim and Bâle-Mulhouse on the French side, Frankfurt and Baden-Karlsruhe on the German side).
The three major cities in Alsace are served by the high-speed train (TGV) network from Paris with regular connections and regional trains run frequently, whilst the two major cities, Strasbourg and Mulhouse, also have extensive and efficient tramway networks.
All host schools enjoy good public transport links.
Tourist and cultural attractions
Strasbourg's historic city centre is a World Heritage Site, and people also visit Strasbourg for its Gothic cathedral and the picturesque medieval neighbourhood known as Petite France, as well as its European Institutions district.
Strolling along the Rhine, the Alsace wine route or in the Vosges is another popular pastime.
Strasbourg is the only provincial city in France to boast a national theatre and a national library housing over three million works. Other theatres, such as the Maillon et Pôle Sud in Strasbourg and the Filature in Mulhouse, meanwhile, have made way for more contemporary art forms.
The place of the teaching assistant within the education authority
Host school setup
The Strasbourg education authority prefers to assign assistants to collèges and it is common for assistants to be assigned to two different schools.