Parents could get more school say

Minister says change is encouraging despite teacher complaints

1 April 2010

PARENTS living in low-income areas who want to send their children to a school other than the local one are to get a bigger say in making a change despite protests from teachers that the policy is draining pupils from poorer establishments.

Education Minister Luc Chatel said encouraging results so far have prompted him to give more weight to pleas for placing requests for children in schools in difficult areas.

However, as the deadline for school choice applications approaches, he has still not published any definite new measures to be followed.

Audit body the Cour des Comptes said last November the system was failing poorer schools as parents sent pupils elsewhere and classes were left with many poorer-ability students which cut their chances of success.

Parents wanting to choose a school should apply for a demande de dérogation under the Assouplissement de la Carte Scolaire which allows for a change, whether for ease of access after work or for ease of transport, as long as there is space in the school. Pupils are already guaranteed a place in their nearest available school.

Anyone wanting a change should ask the school about the demande de dérogation deadline. These vary locally, but demandes should be filed in ‘spring’ according to the education ministry. The inspecteur d’académie allocates places according to several criteria, including health and whether siblings are at the school.

Applications for the student grant for low-income families (the bourses d’enseignement supérieur sur critères sociaux) which give e1,445 to e4,140 a year and exonerate you from fees and social security charges must be in by April 30.
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