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Back to school in year of change

More teaching jobs, better training for teachers, more support for pupils promised after "transition" in 2012

THIS morning around 12.12million pupils headed through the gates of 64,835 public and private schools to start the new school year - which Education Minister Vincent Peillon has promised will be a "transitional" year before major change.

Small changes this year will lead in 2013 to a revision of the school timetable and better training for teachers - and more teaching jobs.

While measures from the Sarkozy government cut 14,000 jobs over the summer, including 5,700 in primary schools, the new minister reacted to complaints from parents to create 1,000 primary teaching posts.

He also moved to increase the adult presence in schools by hiring 2,000 teaching assistants and 500 aides to look after security.

The moves are part of President Hollande's election promise to create 60,000 teaching jobs in the next five years which is backed by plans to make teaching more effective.

At present France has just six teachers for every 100 pupils on average, the lowest level in the 34 OECD countries, with the average class size being 26 in maternelle, 23 in élémentaire, 25 in collège, 20 in lycée professionnel and 29 in lycée général/ technologique.

The government's promise to invest in education has been matched by a rise in the number of applications for jobs - including a 17% rise in those applying for jobs teaching English and 16% for maths.

New teachers will get increased aid to learn their job after the Cour des Comptes highlighted that 70% of new teachers were going straight into school without proper training.

Peillon has said interim measures will see their teaching hours cut from 18 to 15 in secondary school with increased tutorial support - and teacher training schools being set up from the rentrée in 2013.
Photo: treenabeena - Fotolia.com

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