The effects of la rentrée

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Ian Walthew

There was a great article about the rentree in the International Herald Tribune which I posted on my blog:

Actually, at , I generally post articles from the IHT about France under the fourth picture of each day.

Ian Walthew

Craig, I read your piece on the rentree with interest.

Having 2 kids at French schools, my understanding is that Saturday morning school is being scrapped nationally and that ALL French schools will have Wednesdays off, rather than the option they had before which was EITHER Wednesday mornings OR Saturday mornings 3 Saturdays out of 4. But I could be wrong!


It was me who wrote the article and it was really from the perspective of our experience.

This morning we took our granddaughter to primaire and the directrice (who is also her class teacher) gave her usual rules and regulation speech, explained the books to be used and also explained about the new cirriculum. This has a great emphasis on French; oral, reading, grammar, vocabulary, poetry etc which will take up much of the teaching time followed by maths. Anything else will fit into the remaining time allowed.

She also told us that a meeting is being held on 15 September to explain about the 4 day school week and what other plans have been decided now there is no longer Saturday morning school.

Our grandson's maternelle has a similar meeting on 17 September.

There is the chance for children who fall behind to have remedial teaching and perhaps holiday school but this depends on where people live in France.

Some time ago in the West of France Saturday school stopped and pupils attended on a Wednesday morning but whether this has continued in light of changes made by the government I don't know.

As for Paris, they are usually a law unto themselves and do things to suit themselves.

Wednesday has usually been kept for sports and other activities, so perhaps Wednesdays school would not be an option. Historically it was for catechism (preparation for confirmation in church) but with less worshipers this has more or less fallen by the wayside; unless someone can say differently.

There is to be union involvement, especially regarding the new curriculum and the 'back to basics' approach which I remember from England. However, strangely I haven't seen anything about the cut in hours for teachers. I reckon they will be working roughly 9 hours less a month (as usually the school was closed one Saturday in four) so how does that pan out financially for them? There will be strikes (again) this time over the cut in staff but usually the French get hot under the collar if it affects their pockets, so perhaps over time we will learn more.

The information I receive comes from the French education site and other sites I subscribe to.



What does Ian mean by "all" French schools? Alexandra has started back today (Wednesday). She is in 4° so I assume that "all" does not apply to collége and lycee.

Funnily enough, the 6° started yesterday (had the place to themseves) and aren't going in today as "their teachers aren't in school"!!!!

So. We send them off for rentrée only to find that for the next 2 months they'll hardly there anyway and there is the Toussaint break at the end of October!!!!

Are they going to be educated this year or not!

BYW when Alex was in maternelle and primaire she only had Wednesday school if time had to be made up (Bank Holidays, etc) and that was usually in May. In Aquitaine the maternelles and primaires have shorter holidays than the colléges and lycees. They break up later, go back earlier and the Autumn and Spring breaks are for 10 days rather than 2 weeks.

Craig McGinty

Hi Clare, chatting with Coral yesterday and it was clear that different parts of France look set to be working to different timetables.
Not being a parent myself I can only imagine the difficulty people must have in arranging child care at such short notice.
All the best, Craig


Hi Craig,
Here in the Vendee our kids at college have been attending on a wednesday morning certainly for the last 2 years that we know about. In 6eme they go every other wednesday morning, and in the higher years they go every wednesday morning. Saturdays are, thankfully, free :)

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