There are 2 preliminary reading texts for this module. It will help you a lot if you read the designated chapters in advance. Do not worry if you cannot follow everything on this initial reading - it is useful, at this early stage, simply to get a prior sense of the overall landscape and the issues, and the broad terms in which these are discussed in France (one of the challenges of studying education in a foreign nation is getting used to a different set of common references and ways of thinking). You will not be required to purchase other texts for the module (documents will be supplied in class or electronically).
For the books below, note that if your Amazon account is based in the UK, you should search for them in the amazon.co.uk store (even though they are French books, you will not be able to buy them as ebooks through the French Amazon store on account of rights issues).
1. Bruno Garnier, Les grands enjeux du système éducatif française, 2nd edition, Dunod 2017 [Kindle ebook edition available through amazon.co.uk for £14.99] - see selected chapters below.
Note on the 'Introduction': this book is actually designed for French trainee teachers and aspirant headteachers who are tested on their knowledge of French education policy history and issues, and the introduction presents the relevance of the book for these exams in terms of the skills and knowledge they are supposed to demonstrate - so do not worry if the introduction seems a bit strange for readers not in the French system.
After that, read the following chapters and chapter sections. They will give you a sense of how the current system and French mentalities regarding education have been historically shaped, and key contemporary developments and debates. We will be concentrating on education debates in contemporary France - but note that it is impossible to understand these debates without a sense of the historical references around which they crystallize (do not worry if you do not feel fully on top of these after this preliminary reading).
Chapters 1-5, chapter 7 (sections 1 and 2 only), chapters 11 and 12; chapter 13 (sections 1-3 only).
2. Monique Canto-Sperber, L'Oligarchie de l'excellence. Les meilleures études pour le plus grand nombre, Presses Universitaires de France, 2017 [Kindle ebook edition available through amazon.co.uk or ibooks for £14.99].
Preliminary reading: chapters 1-7. This book covers higher education, which we will be studying in the second half of the module.