Lycée Français de Sofia Victor Hugo (LVH; "The French High School Victor Hugo", Bulgarian: Френско Училище "Виктор Юго") is a French international school in the Maxi Complex (Комплекс Макси) in Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria. It is the largest foreign school in Bulgaria, hosting over 800 students from many nationalities. It follows the French National Curriculum of study and has students from nursery school (maternelle) up to twelfth grade (terminale). The student to teacher ratio is approximately 7:1.
The school was established in 1966. The Embassy of France in Sofia supervises the school.
The Lycée Français Victor Hugo de Sofia was created in 1966 and was called "petite école" because like many newly created institutions, it initially welcomed only children in primary school. In 2009, it moved from Lozenetz to its current location, situated in Maxi Complex on Simeonovsko Shossee.
The school is contracted (conventionné) by the AEFE, which is a national public agency of France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs that assures the quality of schools teaching the French national curriculum outside France. The school is run by an association of parents (APE) who gives power to board members (Conseil d’administration).
French national curriculum
From the age of 3, French-speaking and non French-speaking students follow the curriculum as defined by the French national education system and are taught by qualified teachers from France. At the end of their schooling, the students speak perfect French -language of schooling-, as well as English, and have a very good level in a third or fourth language.
The teachers are trained in France, and most of them are natives. Lifelong learning is provided to the pedagogic and administrative teams, in order for them to keep using the newest technologies and methods. The student to teacher ratio is quite high with one adult to seven students.
The Primary School (école primaire) from pre school through 5th grade is divided into cycles: cycle 1 (petite section, moyenne section and grande section), cycle 2 (CP, CE1) and cycle 3 (CE2, CM1, CM2).
The Middle School (collège) lasts of 4 years (from sixième to troisième). Instruction is structured according to subjects: French, English, mathematics, history, geography, civics, biology, chemistry, physics, technology, art, music, and physical education.
The High School (lycée) is composed of three years. During the lycée years, students choose a track with emphasis on different courses: track L (literature), ES (economics and social sciences), or S (sciences). Those three years also prepare the students for the French general Baccalaureate examination, the main diploma required to pursue studies in higher education.
For several years now, a 100% of the students have successfully passed the baccalaureate and have been accepted not only in the French higher education institutions (via the Admission Post Bac system) but also in the most renowned European and Anglo-Saxon universities. The school offers information and events to help the students choose the studies they will do. A PRIO (Personne Ressource en Information et Orientation) or guidance counsellor is also in charge of helping them making the best decisions for their future.
Pedagogy and values
The Lycée Français Victor Hugo promotes values that guide the teaching and school education provided to the students. These values are respect, excellence, solidarity, creativity, civic rights and openness to the world.
The CDI (Centre de Documentation et d'Information) is the school library, which is well stocked with more than 10000 documents, which can be borrowed by the students and/or used in class.
Yearly projects are also part of the education, mainly in the fields of languages (e.g. literary rally), cinema and audiovisual media (e.g. Cinesofia Festival), mathematics, sciences, etc. Civic and prevention projects are also implemented by the School administration office.
The numerous events, educational projects, green schools, trips and field trips, shows are an integral part of the quality of the teaching and education provided at the Lycée Victor Hugo.
Extra curriculum activities
Languages certifications are offered to the students in five languages: French, English, German, Spanish and Bulgarian. The level of the diplomas corresponds to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. These examinations are made possible through partnerships with language institutes. As of 2015, the Lycée Victor Hugo will be an official exam centre for the DELF certifications.
More than 50 activities via clubs are offered to the students every year. Extracurricular activities include sports (tennis, swimming, ice skating, aikido, etc.), pottery, French language games, Bulgarian classes, science, arts etc. for Primary School students. Every day after class, the students who need to can also join the "aide aux devoirs" where teachers help them with their homework.
The Lycée Victor Hugo has also a full-time nurse, a school restaurant and a child-care centre opened before and after school hours. A bus company ensures the bussing. Wardens on the school premises and at the school's front door provide security.
As of 2019 the school has 801 students from over 25 countries, making it the largest international school in Bulgaria.