Bilingual American International sections – June 2021

The reform of the language policy at the primary school is the result of a consultation process that took place in 2017-18 and 2018-19 for a gradual deployment from the beginning of the 2019 school year to the beginning of the 2022 school year, after the expansion of the lycée.  A complete description of the different paths and options is available on the lycée website.

After the reception of the responses for admission to the PARLE, bilingual, and SIA sections in mid-June, we have, in collaboration with the primary and secondary management, made a small summary of the selection procedures used.

In primary school, the committee meets every year in June to study the applications for the next school year. It is composed of 5 people: the Primary school principal, the Lycée principal (excused), the Lycée assistant principal, an English teacher, and the Japanese coordinator (composition for this year). This committee meets again in case of departures during the year, and all the files are again evaluated for the level at which a place would have been available.


Mr. San Sebastian, Director of the Primary School, has agreed to complete a chart listing the number of spots offered and the number of applications for PARLE / bilingual in recent years.

Year 2021-22 Year 2020-21 Year 2019-20 Year 2018-19
spots offered applications spots offered applications spots offered applications spots offered applications
MS BIL/PRE SI/PARLE* 25 34 25 43 25 37 25 27
GS BIL/PRE SI/PARLE* 5 35 2 15 6 25 4 21
CP BIL/PARLE* 24 36 5 29 8 33 4 29
CE1 BIL 7 23 3 26 7 30 6 26
CE2 BIL 3 21 5 25 6 28 7 26
CM1 BIL 2 29 8 15 5 18 3 13
CM2 BIL 3 14 5 11 5 8 4 6

* the name of the bilingual section changed as the reform progressed.

We can see that the demand was still much higher than the offer this year, creating again many disappointments/frustrations because if the selection is done via a commission whose criteria are stated on the LFI Tokyo website, namely :

Nevertheless, among these students, priorities are applied, as follows

Due to the low number of places in relation to the demand, some students do not get a place even though they meet the criteria announced on the website.


Year 2021-22
spots offered applications applications that received a favorable opinion
MS PARLE 25 34 16
GS PARLE 5 35 16
CP PARLE 24 36 23
CE1 BIL 7 23 8
CE2 BIL 3 21 9
CM1 BIL 2 29 11
CM2 BIL 3 14 7


The chart has been completed by the number of students meeting the criteria for this last commission so that families have a more accurate view of the real application tension according to levels. We have observed that some family applications cannot be met due to insufficient French or English skills or a student’s limited ability to keep up with the pace. We encourage families who wish to apply for the bilingual/PARLE/SIA section to speak with the French and English teachers and possibly the primary school principal at the beginning of the year, and again during the school year, in order to work on the skills that are deemed insufficient and thus increase the chances of success.

Year 2022-23
spots offered
MS PARLE Up to 50
GS PARLE Up to 25 + departures from MS PARLE
CP PARLE Up to 25 + departures from GS PARLE
CE1 SIA Depending on departures from CP PARLE
CE2 SIA Up to 25 + departures from CE1 BIL
CM1 SIA up to 25 + departures from CE2 BIL
CM2 SIA up to 25 + departures from CM1 BIL


We can also see that the tension will drop drastically at the beginning of the 2022/23 school year and should then be a little less than at present in the following years since there will be up to 50 places per level in elementary (and therefore a number of departures from each of these sections that will be a little greater than at present).

A question from the parent primary school council representatives was how the 2 groups (of 25) will be constituted (will the bilinguals be divided into the 2 SIA groups to ensure a certain heterogeneity between the 2 classes of up to 25, or will they remain in the same group?) The director recalled that “the goal of the evolution of the language policy being heterogeneity, there will not be one group with students from the BIL and another with students from general sections. The AEFE’s educational policy is very clear on this issue and studies show that level groups should be avoided”.

At the secondary level, this problem of high tension between the number of spots and applications is a little less prevalent, except this year in classes of 6e and to a lesser extent in 5e. For the other classes, there are enough places in SIA for students whose level and capacity for work/autonomy are judged sufficient by the teachers. In addition, the number of English literature groups (the most advanced group in English LV1 with a similar time volume to standard LV1) can be adjusted according to the level of the students. If there are enough students to make 2 or 3 groups of English literature, then these groups are created, so that each student can be in a level that corresponds to him.

For the 6th grade, two different approaches have been applied for the school years 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Last year, all CM2 students (bilingual and non-bilingual) took an oral test in order to be selected for 6e SIA. This year, bilingual students were exempted, leaving it up to the CM2 teachers (English and French) to determine whether or not these bilingual students are fit for the demanding SIA program, and it turned out that 25/26 were found to be fit. This change is supported by the argument of pedagogical continuity (not interrupting the continuation in SIA of those who were in the bilingual section).

In addition, this year, the priority criteria used in the primary (Priorities 1 to 4 above) were also applied to the secondary. For 6e, 4 students with priority 1 applied and came in more than filling the 6th AIS (29/28 spots). The other students in CM2 (mainly from the P4 path with the maximum amount of English in CM2) could not be admitted to 6e SIA even though their level was sufficient. This refusal is not definitive and the families concerned will have to apply again for 5e SIA. Furthermore, these students will mostly be assigned to the English Literature group, the most advanced level of English LV1.

Finally, the subject of the next school years was discussed with Mrs. Doyhambehere, Lycéee assistant principal, since, starting in the school year 2023-24, all CM2 SIA (up to 50 students) would have priority for 6e SIA. It would therefore be necessary to create a second SIA group in 6th grade. The administration has taken this into account and will try to accommodate this request as much as possible, always in the name of pedagogical continuity between the primary and secondary offerings, even if this will require additional staffing and additional class/room time (the SIA program adding 4 hours of instruction to students in 6e).

Please feel free to contact us via this form if you have any questions/comments.

The Familles du Lycée de Tokyo team.


FLT-Fapee : LFI Tokyo Families Association