teacher_pointing_at_blackboardThere seems to be a shortage of teachers at Ruadhri’s school at the moment. He’s into the fifth week of no English teacher at the moment (that spans a two-week holiday) and his maths teacher is about to head off as a helper with the school trip to Spain for the 5emes who learn Spanish. She’ll be away at least a week, so that’s four hours of maths he won’t be getting. He will be bringing home a rejigged timetable for next week taking into account all these missed lessons. Most of his other teachers have not been there for at least one lesson at one time or another, and most of them for several.

There are supply teachers in France, and in fact in 2010 the government promised to supply more of them. However, since other figures say that 20% of these existing 50,000 supply teachers are being underused then it doesn’t seem the best solution to be finding and funding any more. They just need to be used a little more efficiently. As the education minister said in 2010, their use needs to be “more reactive and more flexible”. I’d say. According to the ministry, some 2.2 MILLION teaching hours are lost in secondary schools through teachers not being there. At present, if a teacher is absent for less than a fortnight he or she is unlikely to be replaced.

Needless to say parents aren’t impressed. A group of 50 in Seine-Saint-Denis lodged a complaint with the Ministry and asked for €1 a day for each pupil for each day that an absent professeur wasn’t replaced. I thoroughly approve – our kids are meant to be educated at school. The teachers are being paid to do that job so if they don’t, then the children, the ones who suffer, should be recompensed. I’m surprised that the French parents aren’t complaining about the missed English lessons. English is an important subject at secondary school. In our case the teacher is pregnant and suffering from bad morning sickness, which is unfortunate, but if she can’t do her job for the time being, then there really should be a replacement. Rors won’t suffer too much by not having English for a while for obvious reasons, but it’s the principle. He should be being taught.