Even before you sign up for the concours on the Ministry website, you’ll want to contact the diocese for your area to ask for the Pré-accord Collégial. This means May before you register.
What is the pré-accord? In my understanding, the pré-accord and the accord exist because the Enseignement Catholique, though it was integrated in the 1950s into the national system and is supervised in part by the Ministry of Education, wants to keep some say in who it hires. So it created the Accord Collégial. The accord is basically an approval from the diocese of your region that, if you pass the concours, you can work in their schools. It’s good for three years, and it’s good for all of France. That means that if you get the pré-accord in Nice, it’s valid for the diocese in Rennes. It also means that you can get the pré-accord, and attempt the concours three times before getting it, and you won’t have to re-apply for the pré-accord.
To get the pré-accord, you contact your diocese to ask for it (do this in the springtime, since it only happens once per year), and you’ll be given an interview with a few school directors. They’ll ask you why you want to teach, possibly, but mostly why you want to teach for Catholic schools. If you’re curious about what answers I gave, I’d be happy to share my thoughts on this interview in private.
At some time between the written exams and the oral exams (if you’re admissible), the pré-accord becomes the accord. This is where you need to be in close touch with your diocese. In fact, I suggest calling them in August or September to see what they require for the accord. Some dioceses require certain trainings or a stage period in a school. Mine did and I found about them late. I also had a second interview for the accord just before the CAPES oral exams. Some dioceses turn your pre-accord automatically into the accord.
Being in touch with your diocese is in general a good idea though, in my opinion. The private system is not as strict as the public system and knowing people can help you out. Plus, in my experience they are really lovely people and it helps to make the entire process feel more human if you are in touch with them.
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