8 September 2023

An autistic child, assisted by an AESH, in a school with an inclusive center for localized support, in Cenon (Gironde), on September 2, 2022.

In less than ten years, accompanying students with disabilities (AESH) have become the second job of national education. Their workforce has multiplied by five in seven years to reach almost 124,000 people in 2022, almost exclusively women. A dazzling increase, in the wake of that of children with disabilities in schools, numbering 432,000 in 2023, compared to 321,000 in 2017 and 134,000 in 2004. These professionals are now “the main means of compensating for the handicap”noted, in a report made public in December 2022, the General Inspectorate of Education, and, in fact, the linchpins of the education of students with disabilities within the framework of “inclusive school”.

But “the growth, quantitatively, of the function of AESH has not been accompanied by the same dynamics qualitatively”, deplores a Senate information report published on Wednesday, May 3. A week after the National Disability Conference (CNH), during which the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, promised still vague measures for those accompanying students, the senator (Les Républicains) of Savoie Cédric Vial, rapporteur for this fact-finding mission, draws up a severe assessment of the management “completely unsuitable” of these personnel by national education. The latter, notes the report, was not “undeniably not prepared to manage, on the legal, administrative and budgetary level, this new category of agents”.

Ten years after the creation of this profession in 2014, AESH still do not benefit from any civil service status and tick all the boxes of precariousness. Nearly 80% of them work on a fixed-term contract (CDD) – a bill adopted in December 2022, however, now authorizes the transition to a permanent contract (CDI) after three years on a fixed-term contract, compared to six previously .

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Their average remuneration is, according to the sources, between 750 and 850 euros net monthly. The consequence of a salary scale at the minimum wage for the first nine years, coupled with the impossibility for the national education system to offer full time to these staff, whom it can only hire during class time and not on the meridian break and extracurricular time, at the expense of local authorities. Full-time hours concern barely less than 2% of those accompanying students with disabilities. “With these contracts, you do not live”summarizes Elisabeth Garnica, president of the AESH collective.

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