School union fears difficult rentrée

Strike confirmed for September 27 as children return to school amid job cuts and budget issues

28 August 2011

TEACHING unions are predicting a "difficult" rentrée next week and have confirmed plans for their first strike of the academic year for the end of September.

Schools across France are preparing to re-open on September 5 amid budget issues, job cuts, closures and larger class sizes.

SNUipp-FSU, the teaching union, has called for a strike on September 27 to highlight issues about the suppression of almost 9,000 teaching posts and the closure of 1,500 classes.

According to the union's secretary general, Sébastien Sihr, these will "impact very strongly upon students' learning".

The union says "schools have been placed under a restrictive austerity plan for four years" and that it is time to end financial restrictions.

Among roles most affected are administrative posts and support roles for children with special educational needs.

There are staffing issues in many schools where only one in two teachers are being replaced, leading to larger class sizes and problems with subject coverage. Some 6,000 administrative posts are estimated to have been closed according to Mr Sihr.

According to a recent CSA survey, 85% of people do not believe that the current situation is acceptable and believe it is likely that there will be further problems before the crisis is over.

Almost as many people surveyed said that it is a "bad thing" that only one post in two will be filled.

The education ministry says it remains dedicated to reforming post-15 education, integrating students with special educational needs into mainstream education and pioneering innovative and ambitious teaching.

Schools and universities will close for half-term on October 22, reopen on November 5 and close for the Christmas break on December 17.

All term dates can be found at the education ministry website.

Photo: Uolir - Fotolia.com

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