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Sunday, May 29, 2011

More schools join timetable pilot

Dear Readers,

A new school routine in which children work in the morning and practise sport after lunch will be extended to another 125 secondary schools in September, the education ministry has announced. Some 7,000 pupils have been taking part in the experiment at 125 schools around France since the start of the academic year. This will be doubled to 250 schools and 14,000 pupils after the summer break.

It will be up to schools to decide whether to join the experiment - and whether it should apply to the whole school or a handful of classes. Some headteachers say the scheme is not suited to children in the earlier years of secondary school - 6ème and 5ème (around 11 and 12 years old). However, education minister Luc Chatel said that there were no plans for the new timetable to become the norm at every school in France, not least because there were not enough sports facilities available for all pupils to use at once.

The scheme will be made more flexible this year to allow pupils with no interest in sport to move into a class not taking part in the experiment - or to take up a cultural activity instead, if the whole school has moved to the new timetable. "Last year the experiment was launched a bit late," Chatel told 20 Minutes. "Between now and the rentrée in September, headteachers will have the time to discuss with pupils and parents and ensure that the sport classes are attended by those who want to be there the most."

The experiment, which spreads classes over six days but only in the morning, was introduced following complaints from teachers, parents and doctors that French schoolchildren are left exhausted by long working days following the move to a four-day week. A survey by the education ministry found 85% of parents approved of the new routine, and more than two thirds of headteachers found it boosted motivation and improved relations between staff and pupils.
Chatel also claimed the experiment had led to better results and a decline in absenteeism.

Article by The Connexion

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