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Focus is to be firmly on three Rs

Reading, writing and arithmetic will be the priorities for the 2019/20 academic year.

The government has put out a  circular outlining priorities, focusing almost exclusively on nursery and primary schools.

France’s education scores are lower than average in relation to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries and getting worse.

In response, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer is aiming to improve the general level of education by concentrating on equal chances for all.

This will be the first year that school is obligatory from the age of three, with detailed guidelines to ensure the very young get a thorough grounding in core subjects.

An estimated 25,000 more children will get education from an early age, with many coming from deprived backgrounds.

Recommendations for nursery schools say teaching lang-uage skills is vital, with an emphasis on enlarging vocabulary.

Games and activities should be used to encourage steps towards writing, reading and mathematics. Teachers are promised more training.

In primary school, two hours a day will be dedicated to reading and writing, with priorities and objectives for maths skills for each class.

Introduction to foreign languages is encouraged at both levels

However, SNUipp-FSU, the main primary school teaching union, says the approach is too rigid and introduces formal teaching too young.

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