Teachers absent from school: what solutions? What to do ?

The number of class hours not replaced is increasing in France.

Teachers absent from school: what solutions? What to do ?

The number of class hours not replaced is increasing in France. The many unfilled positions for the start of the 2023 school year should not remedy this major government challenge. What do you do as a parent of a student in this situation?

Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly repeated this "republican duty", National Education must present "a teacher in front of each class". However, more than 3,100 positions have not been filled following teacher competitions in 2023. 15 million hours are thus not replaced per year.

At the microphone of France Inter, Gabriel Attal affirmed that his Ministry of National Education "has a little fewer positions to fill at the end of the competition this year, around 3,000 positions to be filled, against approximately 1,500 more. the previous year, it is rather encouraging". He argued that the government was once again relying on the massive use of contract workers to fill these hours of lessons to be replaced. But this choice is regularly criticized by teachers' unions who believe that contract workers are less trained, less qualified and also less paid.

Two types of absence are to be distinguished to deal with the question of the non-replacement of teachers: those of short duration, less than 15 days, and those of long duration, more than 15 days.

For the first, the establishment of the absent professor must solve the problem. However, L'Étudiant recently estimated that "only 20% of these short-term absences are replaced". Decree No. 2023-732 of August 8, 2023, "provides for the development of an annual plan by the head of the establishment in consultation with the teaching teams". The goal is to draw from among the substitute teachers who have voluntarily signed the Pact to carry out this type of mission.

But for example, the law does not oblige to replace the loss of one hour of French by the same course given by another teacher of this subject. Thus, a music lesson can very well replace the lost hour of French. If no teacher is available, the establishment can ask educational assistants to lead "pedagogical sequences". This seriously undermines the promise of a "teacher in front of every class".

For long-term absences, it is no longer up to the school director to settle the situation, but to the academic services. The Student estimated that in 95% of cases, a replacement is proposed. The State traditionally relies on contract teachers for these missions. This type of replacement is a State obligation in its education mission. Faced with the fall in the replacement rate, more and more parents of students are filing complaints against the State.


This movement has been taken up by the start-up Justice.cool which offers a platform to file a file free of charge to claim compensation for courses not provided. According to lawyer Louis le Foyer de Costil, associated with this platform, with France info, “Each parent will be able to request compensation for their damage. What is requested is 50 euros per day not done for the first degree Beyond the amounts, it is a symbolic action to put pressure on the State, to have it condemned for breach of the right to education.

The procedural costs are borne by a procedure financing company, the lawyer chosen beforehand by the platform or the legal protection of the applicant. In the event of a favorable decision, 20% of the sums obtained are for the company and the lawyer.

To carry out the promise of a "teacher in front of each class", the government has put forward its policy of "historic" revaluation in its eyes. However, if we refer to the salary table published by the Ministry of National Education, we can see that teachers' salaries will increase by 5.5% in 2023 effectively, while Emmanuel Macron, during his presidential campaign, promised a 10% raise.

If salary increases are planned, they are accompanied by new tasks for teachers. This measure is part of the “teacher pact” of which the government did not wish to communicate the number of signatory teachers.

Gabriel Attal defended the salary increase for teachers on France Inter: "In September 2023, each teacher will earn 125 euros net more per month, compared to the start of the 2022 school year, and up to 250 euros net more per month depending on the degree of seniority".

Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of the SNES-FSU union, criticized the government's communication on this subject to France info: "It's not revaluation. When you pay someone for tasks he performs in addition , it's simply called paying him for what he does, it's the principle of salaried work". She denounced here a mechanism of increase by bonuses and not by salary.