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Communes return to four-day school week

Up to 90% of towns, cities and villages expected to have reverted to old system when new school year begins in September

Almost all cities, towns and schools are expected return to the four-day school week when the new school year gets under way in September.

Between 85% and 90% of communes are expected to return to four-day school weeks, according to estimates by the Association des maires de France, including Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, and even the city of Lille, one of the first cities to switch to new school week.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer offered local authorities the choice over whether to keep the four-and-a-half day model set up under the previous administration, or return to the four-day week.

Numerous communes - mostly in more rural areas - have already reverted to the old system, but the gallop back to four days is increasing pace after local authorities became responsible for school transport, while mayors are findining it increasingly difficult to justify the extra half-day of school when their neighbours have rejected it.

Vanik Berberian, president of the association des maires ruraux told Europe 1:"When you have several municipalities whose schools are organised around four days it is very difficult for a mayor to maintain four and a half days, even if he considers it to be … beneficial. It is important that there should be consistency in terms of school organisation, for reasons of travel, family life, holidays et cetera."

The Education Ministry is reportedly preparing a "Wednesday plan" of cultural and sporting activities which should be unveiled in a few weeks.

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