The Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research presented a communication regarding the implementation of the reform of school schedules in the autumn of 2014.
Since the implementation of the four-day week in 2008, French schoolchildren have had the lowest number of school days of the OECD countries, with 144 days compared to the average 187 in the other countries. The reform envisioned by decree n° 2013-77 from 24 January 2013 aims at a better distribution of teaching time over the week by ensuring greater regularity and better distribution of learning time. In autumn 2013, 1.3 million students benefitted from the new organisation of classes over four and a half days.
Nevertheless, the thus defined legal framework is such that some organisation methods, despite being faithful to the principles aiming to better distribute learning time and contributing to the objectives of the reform cannot currently be implemented. This is why a decree, which will be published tomorrow, makes it possible to take into account this organisation of school time based on experiments.
By basing itself on this text, the education officer could authorise, for a three-year period, adjustments to the organisation of the school week allowing, for example, all while maintaining the organisation of five mornings, for the grouping together of extra-curricular activities into half a day. It will also be possible to provide for a reduction of the school week by transferring the hours not completed to the school holidays and thus expanding the school year in this manner. The result of these adjustments shall not allow for the organisation of classes into less than eight half days per week, including at least five mornings or for the reduction of the number of teaching hours per year. These possibilities for experimenting should be provided for in the framework of a project jointly designed by the municipality and the school councils. The education officer will see that this project is compatible with the interest of the service and coherent with the objectives sought by the public education service.
The goal is, in fact, to end with a school schedule organised in the interest of the learning of all students, especially the most fragile ones. These experiments should of course pay special attention to children in nursery school.
For the 2014-2015 school year, the communities could rely on the start-up funds put in place to assist them in the implementation of the reform of school schedules, for the organisation of extra-curricular activities. This assistance consists of a share equal to €50 per student granted to each community, as well as an increased share equal to €40 per student for the target communities eligible for the rural solidarity grant or the urban solidarity grant, and for the overseas communities.
In order to guarantee the success of the reform, this start-up fund will be continued for the 2015-2016 school year. Its amount will make it possible to answer more particularly to the needs of the communities in greatest difficulty.
In addition, as provided for in the Objectives and Management Convention concluded with the State for 2013-2017, the National Family Allowances Fund will support communities putting extra-curricular activities in place in the framework of camps and care centres declared through a specific aid for the three hours resulting from the modification of the school schedules. This aid, both sustainable and accumulable with the aid granted under the start-up fund, is currently equal to €54 per child per year.
Finally, the accompaniment to the reform also rests on the mobilisation of the State’s services to each territorial, national, academic and departmental level.
Thus, satisfactory solutions adapted to the local realities can be found, all over, for a calmer return to school in the autumn in the interest of the students’ success.
Excerpts from the Council of Ministers