The History of Groupement FLE
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 fundamental 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. A coordinator is hired to ensure the administrative work of the association. In 2013, the Board of administration was expanded to nine people.
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.
Professional Days take place every year and have been held successively since 2009 in Montpellier, Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Royan, Cannes, Lille, Toulouse, Dijon, Paris again for the 10th anniversary of the Group, La Rochelle and Nice in 2020. These meetings allow members to gather information about the profession, but also to actively participate in the choice of actions to be taken, and to validate the results. For its part, the Board of Directors meets six times a year, to shape the operations of the current year, and prepare those proposed for the following year.
Training Days are also held every year since 2011 (Vichy, Paris, Perpignan, Tours, Angers, Montpellier, Rouen, Lyon, Amiens). They are intended for teachers and educational managers from all Fle centers in France. Since 2014, the non-teaching staff of the Fle Group centers also benefit from a day of adapted training. Transversal workshops between these different audiences allow for information and exchange on common themes (the quality approach, communication with students…).
In 2018, a particular focus was placed on the promotion of training for foreign teachers of French. A partnership agreement was signed with the FIPF and a framework agreement with the French Institute to promote the sending of selected teachers/trainers on missions abroad.