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School reform put back a year

Changes deferred to allow more time for consultation, ministry of education reveals

21 February 2014

TEACHING unions have welcomed a partial backdown by the Department of education on its timetable for reform of the curriculum.

The department announced yesterday that the original reform plans - the third in just over a decade - would be deferred for a year.

Alain Boissinot, chairman of the Conseil supérieur des programmes (CSP), the independent body responsible for reforming the French education system, wanted more time for consultation, adding that his request for more time is “consistent with that of several unions”.

Kindergarten reforms, which were originally intended to come into force in September 2014, will now not be implemented until the start of the 2015/16 academic year, while those for older children will come in a year later.

In the meantime, teachers will be consulted and publishers given enough time to develop textbooks.

Adjustments to existing curriculums, planned following a consultation with teachers in 2008 will be released in spring, for implementation in September.

Announcing the deferral of the reforms, a ministry statement said: "The educational overhaul will not happen without successful redesign programmes.

“The time given to the education community to adopt new guidelines, to train teachers, and the time left to the consultation will be key to its success.”

The CSP will also present a proposal in the spring to "define the common core of knowledge, skills and culture," required for all pupils to understand by the time they leave school.

Current primary-age education programmes date back to the reforms of 2008, and have been widely criticised.

In an interview with Le Parisien last October, Education Minister Vincent Peillon said the latest changes were intended to “restore consistency between … student assessment and teacher training.”

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