The Lycée Français d’Oslo is going through a period of real estate transition. The management team and the Administrative Board are working together on this project.

Every week, strategy committees and plenary sessions are held to ensure that everyone has all the information they need to make the final decision, which will be voted on by the Board in February 2024.

Here you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions on the subject.

What are the main challenges of the LFO?

The school buildings located in Skovveien are belonging to Oslo City Council must undergo mandatory renovations. The renovations are planned to start in Autumn 2025 and are expected to take approximately two years. Once renovated, the real-estate/rental cost will increase to match current market price. At the same time, the renovated premises will most likely accommodate less students to comply with the safety and working environment regulations, as well as mandatory increased space requirements per student.

The board and the management of the school are considering several options assessing different criteria such as student capacity, building quality, location, rent costs, etc. The feedback from the parent survey serves as important input to the process. We aim to finalize the assessment and make a final decision around the end of the year / early 2024. We will inform and keep the LFO community up to date with both direct e-mails and on the LFO webpage.

This story has been covered in the media and might be again. Because media stories often give an incomplete picture of the situation, we ask our LFO community to please refer to LFO website for accurate and up to date information.

Will the school close in 2025?

No, the school has no plan and does not foresee any scenario where it would close.

The school has the support from AEFE, the French government, and the Norwegian government to continue to operate in Oslo. The challenge that the LFO is currently facing is related to our premises and the corresponding future costs of this.

What can we expect in 2025?

The Oslo City Council has requested the LFO to leave the Skovveien premises to conduct extensive renovation of the interior of the buildings to comply with the safety and working environment regulations for the students and the personnel.

The school will have to either temporarily leave the current premises and come back after the renovation or relocate to new permanent facilities.

When will the school move?

The school will move at the end of the school year 2024-2025, either to a temporary location for a period of two years for the duration of the renovations or to a new permanent facility.

When did the search for a new location begin?

The search started during the school year 2020-21. It was conducted by the former Executive Director.

Does the school do these searches alone?

No, a real estate company, Fast Eiendom in Oslo is helping the LFO prospecting for a new location. Fast Eiendom has expertise and experience, amongst other qualifications, they helped the German school in their search.

Can Oslo City Council help us?

Oslo City Council is currently looking for premises for public schools. They have no obligation towards us as we are tenants. However, they wish to keep us in Oslo and would like to support our efforts but have specific solutions to offer us at this time.

What kind of solutions are we looking for?

A single-site solution is the preferred option, but we are also considering a two-site option, including Skovveien, or two different sites.

An important criterion is to find premises that allows us to have a well-functioning school where students and teachers have a good learning and working environment. The proximity to public transport is also an important aspect.

Why is it difficult to find new premises?

Currently, no locations for schools are available in Oslo. The local authority itself is looking for premises to house public schools and has sometimes competed with us for premises (Vulkan 19).

When a potential location is found, the premises must be converted to make way for a school and comply with school standards and regulations. One of the major difficulties, is the outdoors space requirement.

Another challenge we face is the unwillingness of some owners to make a long-term commitment, making it impossible to bear the cost of converting the premises into a school.

Where are you looking?

Based on the parent survey carried out in spring 2023, we are focusing our search to Oslo, within the city boundaries and in the western parts. Closeness to public transportation is an important criterion.

Is the German school an option?

We have spent a lot of time and resources studying the viability of this option. Unfortunately, it is no longer on the table as a realistic long-term solution. The main reason is that the owner is no longer able to provide the required outdoor space as originally proposed. Indeed,  the external surface area determines the number of pupils at the school on all levels except for the lycée. The German school remains an option as a temporary solution if we decide to return to Skovveien after the completion of the renovations.

Have you looked outside Oslo?

Yes, we have carried out extensive searches outside of Oslo municipality. However, there are no other premises already destined to be a school and the price difference is not enough (because the cost of the renovation remains the same) to justify forcing families to commute outside of Oslo.

Should we expect an increase in tuition fees because of the move?

Yes. Bringing our rent in line with the market price, whatever the solution found, will inevitably lead to an increase, which the Administration Board is trying to keep as low as possible, depending on the circumstances.

Can the authorities in France help us?

We are in close dialogue with our French partners. We have great support from our diplomates, a strong commitment from the ambassador and the COCAC, who facilitated a visit from the Foreign Affairs minister in September 2023.

We are also in dialogue with the AEFE management and are trying to find solutions to our difficulties.