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Class sizes set to rise - leaked memo

Efficiency measures leaked to newspaper include closing small schools and merging others in rural areas

CLASS sizes would increase and more small rural schools are facing closure under new efficiency measures being drawn up by the Education Ministry.

Education Minister Luc Chatel has written to local education authorities asking them to look at a series of cuts as it continues its policy of not replacing one in every two teachers when they retire.

The letter, leaked to L'Humanité, suggests bigger class sizes wherever possible at both primary and secondary schools.

At secondary level, the letter confirms that the policy of closing and merging very small schools will continue.

Other measures include moving all teacher training courses to Wednesdays and holidays to minimise the need for cover, and using trainees to fill in at short notice where needed.

The ministry also wants junior schools to stop hiring foreign language assistants - it currently employs about 1,000 - a move that it believes should have no impact on children's learning.

About 40,000 jobs have already been axed in schools since 2008, and the Education Ministry is set to confirm its staffing plans for 2011-2013 later this month.

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