In the beginning, in 1994: a modest guide with the sole ambition of listing the addresses of schools or centers for FLE (french as a foreign language) corresponding to certain quality criteria. From 1999 onwards, French member schools were invited to participate in the Professionals’ Days.
The schools listed in this «modest guide» came together to form an association, with a code of deontology and the first draft of a quality chart. In 2004, during the Professionals’ Days in Besançon, a first meeting took place between the different participants in the f.l.e sector – schools, publishers, professional groupings, Alliance Française, representatives of the French diplomatic network … around the theme of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. From one year to the next, the required quality standards, to which member centers offering courses in French have to conform, have been increasingly fine tuned and reinforced, and at the same time, the practice of pooling of knowledge and resources has become a fundemental pillar in the spirit of Groupement FLE.
On December 12th, 2008, during the founding meeting, the association adopted the structure and official status of a non-profit organisation. Since that time Groupement FLE manages the services provided to its members. The name «Groupement FLE» was chosen and the objectives of reinforcing and accelerating three areas of operation were fixed. The three areas being: Quality, pooling of resources and promotion of French language teaching. The Board of administration, also known as the Board of Directors, is composed of six members, all volunteers.
Rapidly, thanks in large part to a vigorous campaign of promotion directed towards institutions and agents, Groupement FLE increased its reputation and came to be considered as a legitimate, credible partner. In 2010, Groupement FLE became an active member of the steering committee for the French ministerial labelling project. The Professionals’ Days in Montpellier (2009), Paris (2010) et Bordeaux (2011) have allowed the member schools to actively participate in the choice of actions and to assess and validate the results obtained. As a complement to this activity, the board of Directors meets six times a year, with the aim of planning and implementing the ongoing operations for the year, as well as preparing those concerning the following year.
In December, along with the Presidents of three other main professional organisations which represent centers for f.l.e teaching, Groupement FLE signed a convention which establishes the «Conference of Centers for French as a foreign language ». During the Professionals’ Days in Bordeaux, an amendment to the internal regulations increased the size of the board of Directors inrtroducing the possibility of inviting members to participate in specific missions.