24 November 2023

The figures had been known since December. Primary school and, to a lesser extent, secondary education are losing pupils at the start of the next school year: all academies combined, 63,700 children less in September 2023 in schools and 840 teenagers less in colleges and high schools. This drop in numbers, linked to demographic variations, is reflected in the loss of 1,500 teaching posts, which materialize differently in primary and secondary education. At school, there are class closures decided at the departmental level. In college and high school, the envelopes of hours given to each establishment (we speak of “global hourly allocation”) are thereby reduced.

Since the end of January, the parents of students and the teachers concerned have been mobilizing. By highlighting the specificity of their territory: in urban areas, the “breakage” of priority education is denounced, some colleges losing hours despite the reception of an audience that is still just as fragile. In the schools in town, we regret the overload of classes. In rural areas, there are fears of grouping together more levels under the responsibility of the same teacher. Mobilization is strong in schools, spared for many years from job cuts due to the “primary priority” decided by the previous Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Not all regions are affected in the same way. Paris, where the drop in numbers is more marked than elsewhere and the rate of supervision is better, is the academy that has seen its resources fall the most. But Brittany and Lille are not left out, with respectively 60 and 150 fewer positions in the first degree, and 30 and 160 in the second.

“Now they are 58”

The Lille academy will lose around 7,000 primary school students at the start of the next school year. “The population decline is undeniable, and in several places, class closures seem quite logicalrecognizes Alain Talleu, school teacher responsible for the SNUipp-FSU of the Nord department. But these job cuts do not take into account the difficulties of daily life, especially in terms of replacements. On February 6, in the department, 259 classes had an absent teacher who had not been replaced. Why not take advantage of the demographic decline to fill these gaps? »

In the territories concerned – just like in Paris – parents and teachers refute this discourse put forward by the academic services, echoing the central administration of national education, which consists in justifying the job cuts by the demographic decline and by “rebalancing” to the benefit of other less well-endowed regions. On the contrary, it is argued, the decline in the workforce should be an opportunity to improve the system, without taking from some to give to others. By bailing out substitute teams, for example, and lowering the number of children per class, the highest in Europe – 22 on average in primary school, compared to 19 in European countries.

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