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School holidays set for change

Toussaint break to be extended by four days as minister prepares new-look school week

SCHOOL holidays are set to change from the next Rentrée in September after Education Minister Vincent Peillon said he would extend the Toussaint break by four days.

The move is part of a switch towards a new school year patterned on the "seven weeks school, two weeks break" proposed by the Conseil Supérieur de l'Education and the parents' body FCPE.

Peillon said other measures would be introduced in time for the 2013 Rentrée and he had suspended the 2013-2014 calendar so it could be revised.

He added that he was working on suggestions from the CSE after a meeting on June 8 which included all interested parties in education.

The CSE said it wanted schooling to have a regular and balanced rhythm and voted massively in support of a motion from the FCPE calling for a new school timetable. That would mean cutting summer holidays by two weeks and returning to the school week of four and a half days.

Peillon said: "When we call consultative meetings we need to break the habit of ignoring the advice that they give."

He has already said the school week will change from the present heavily-criticised four-day week to four and a half days - with local education authorities deciding which days would be worked, either Wednesday or Saturday mornings.

It is a return to the situation before it was changed in 2008. The four-day week meant longer school days on the remaining days and was criticised as too tiring for the children by the FCPE, the national Academy of Medicine and in a parliamentary report.

Changes to the school timetable were a major reform promised in the presidential election campaign by François Hollande.

This year's Toussaint holiday will start on Saturday, October 27 and finish on November 11 instead of Thursday November 8.

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