The question of school rhythms had so weighed down the Hollande five-year term that the subject was thought to be removed from the debates for a while yet. Ten years after his predecessor, two weeks after the release of Edouard Philippe on the same subject, Emmanuel Macron also took up the file, during his trip to Marseille.
“We must reopen a debate which is that of school time in the year”, declared Emmanuel Macron, Tuesday, during a trip to the Saint-André de Castellane school, one of those which are the subject of the vast renovation plan in Marseille. The Head of State evoked a “great French hypocrisy” when speaking of children “who have two and a half or three months of vacation”.
“A bit tight for next year”
For Emmanuel Macron, “we must concert this, not for next year it’s a bit tight, but we have to rethink this time in the year”. He insisted on the inequalities which widen during the summer. He mentioned the children who are lucky enough to go on vacation or on a language stay and those, as in the northern districts of Marseille, who benefit from “little sports infrastructure, with families who are already in difficulty”.
“When you have a three-month vacation, inequality returns, he insisted, citing studies which show that, if children stop school at the beginning of June, they come back at the beginning of September “with a school level which is that early May. “We are in a way destroying collective learning,” lamented Emmanuel Macron. The Head of State therefore wants to “rethink with the teachers this time during the year”, to avoid “that we stuff the weeks of our children” and that they “arrive exhausted every evening”.
“Before thinking about the summer holidays, you have to rethink school time over the year”, reacted on France Info Guislaine David. For the secretary general of the main primary school union, the SNUipp-FSU, “the February holidays come for example very quickly after those of Christmas, for reasons linked to the economy of mountain tourism”. As for students in difficulty, “the president takes things upside down, she believes. Emmanuel Macron says they have too many vacations. Why not allow all children to go on vacation? We are not asking the right questions. »
Germany cited as an example
The Head of State has in mind the model from across the Rhine. “How do the Germans manage to have sport in the afternoon? Because they have school time that is distributed differently throughout the year. “Without specifying that Germany is questioning itself about its own model…
Emmanuel Macron knows the eruptive subject, at a time when the implementation of the teacher pact – which consists of paying for additional missions – worries teachers and school heads. The Head of State wants to reopen the school time file, but not as his predecessor had done – “not our famous school rhythms”, he indicated. The reform of school rhythms and the transition to four and a half school days instead of four had triggered a wind of criticism as they had obscured the educational reforms of François Hollande’s five-year term.
Acting “from below” for the start of the 2024 school year
But how to do it, in practice? “We are going to continue and expand educational innovation, the CNRs [Conseil national de refondation] and work with parents, and we are going to reopen these major projects to restore freedom”, only indicates Emmanuel Macron, without further details.
It is unlikely that a regulatory text will impose a new and identical school time in all schools and establishments in France. The logic of acting “from below” could lead some establishments, locally, to adopt an establishment project with a reorganization of school time.
In Marseille, ten schools already have a project in this direction, indicates Christian Abrard, the prefect in charge of the schools component of the “Marseille en Grand” plan. He evokes “a work carried out in intelligence with the educational team who would like to work differently”. Another school in Marseille is considering a five-day school time project. In both cases, it is the start of the 2024 school year that is targeted.