Parents vent anger over absent teachers

Parents organisation says it has logged more than 20,000 instances of teacher absence in schools in first four months of 2016

12 May 2016
By Connexion journalist

A PARENTS’ association says it has logged more than 20,000 incidents of school teachers being absent and not replaced for a lesson already this year.

The FCPE, which has been protesting over teacher absences and the lack of replacement teachers, says the figure represents logs made by parents on its site

A spokesman said this is set up so if the same lesson is logged by more than one parent then it is only counted once.

“It is unacceptable that every day hundreds of children find they have no teacher,” said spokeswoman Laurence Guillermou.

“We’re not pointing the finger at absent teachers. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons why staff can be off work. However we want the government to have replacements available, otherwise kids come home saying they’ve spent another day colouring. We want to see at least 1,500 replacement teachers available in France.”

Parents Allison and Nick Feeley, from Tarn-et-Garonne, ended up sending daughter Abigail, 14, to a private school instead after they became fed up of absences.

Mrs Feeley said: “When Abigail moved up from primary to the local collège she had really good grades, but within months they had fallen catastrophically low, and Abigail said it was because in many subjects the teachers were hardly ever there and there was never a replacement teacher.

“We were constantly being phoned and asked to collect her because there were no teachers and classes were always being cancelled. And they don’t seem to have supply teachers in France.

“We went to a parents evening and many of her teachers were even absent for that. The school said they realised there was a problem and said they were hoping to sort it out for the following academic year, but we weren’t ready to wait.

“So we enrolled her in a Catholic school where she’s now second in her class. We’re thrilled.

“The school is a 45-minute drive away so she boards four nights a week and comes home at Wednesday lunchtime and Friday night. In her new school there’s never a problem with absent teachers and the replacement teachers are well-prepared and give proper lessons.

“Her new school costs around €3,000 a year because she’s boarding, and there are grants available.”

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