Retired teachers, no more contract workers... The government's emergency plan for level groups

Setting up level groups in middle school at the start of the next school year is proving very complex.

Retired teachers, no more contract workers... The government's emergency plan for level groups

Setting up level groups in middle school at the start of the next school year is proving very complex. This measure requires a strengthening of the teaching staff, so that retired teachers could be mobilized.

This Tuesday, April 2, several unions called a strike to demand in particular the abandonment of level groups. Gabriel Attal launched a reform called the "shock of knowledge" which aims to raise the level of students and one of the key measures is the level groups. Sixth and fifth grade students will then be divided into three groups based on their abilities in mathematics and French.

In a decree dated March 17, this system was finally renamed “groups according to needs” and would leave the possibility of a few whole class lessons in these two subjects during the year. This turnaround is due to the numerous criticisms that this device receives. If some deplore a measure which will “sort” among students and stigmatize the weakest, others fear a very laborious implementation.

Nicole Belloubet, Minister of National Education, assured France Inter that the government will have "the means to set up level groups". However, the lack of teachers could jeopardize such a project. As reported by Le Monde, an internal document from the ministry's human resources department shows, in fact, a real lack of teachers while 2,330 positions would be needed to create these groups. Of these 2,300, 1,500 would be recovered by the removal of one hour of weekly lessons for all sixth-form students but a further 830 are expected to emerge otherwise.

To overcome this problem, according to a letter addressed to rectors on March 28 and in an “HR preparation plan for the start of the 2024 school year”, which Le Café scolaire consulted, the government must “use innovative solutions in order to cover the needs additional costs incurred,” explained the general director of human resources, Boris Melmoux-Eude. “The strong tension on the teaching resource that we are experiencing calls for rigorous preparation work for the start of the 2024 school year in order to have a sufficient number of staff available from the start of the school year,” he acknowledged.

According to this document, the government could therefore call on teachers from primary schools for the start of the 2024 school year to teach French and mathematics in secondary level groups. “The academies will have the opportunity to carry out a communication and recruitment campaign for volunteer school teachers for a secondment in the two targeted disciplines for school teachers from the departments of their academy,” detailed the HR director. It would also be considered to recall retired teachers: “A little more than 1,000 literature and mathematics teachers retired during the previous school year, across the entire territory,” he said. . To convince them to come back, the government could offer them limited intervention time as well as attractive remuneration.

A whole part of the government's plan also concerns contract workers. The ministry wishes to “retain their loyalty” by offering “more attractive conditions”. They would be offered one-year contracts in an area of ​​their choice. The government therefore seems to be placing very little emphasis on hiring new civil servants via competitions. National Education will also have to anticipate the “construction of timetables by June 30 at the latest” to organize these level groups.

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