Home schooling

households face new guidelines

Education has been compulsory in France since the ferry law of March 28, 1882. If the principle is the right to education provided by the state, in public or private institutions, the right to education is adapted to the exclusion of parents, which results from the principle of freedom of education, a consequence of the right to education in the family.

For several decades, several restrictions on this use of home education have followed each other, until 2022 at the latest, with the transition from a system of declaration by the family to a prior authorization issued by academic services, which constitutes a restriction of unprecedented. in this way the lesson.

According to the Ministry of Education. However, a population, albeit a minority, of about 0.3% of students, decides to attend family education.

According to researchers Philippe Bongrand and Dominique Glasman, there are 30,139 children in home schooling, to which must be added many poor children deprived of school, estimated by associations in 100,000 people. Of these 30,000 officially listed youth, 16,000 are subject to restrictions such as health imperatives, following a high-level sport, being children of itinerant parents. For another 14,000 it is a family educational choice.

Despite the very small numbers involved, over the last ten years, it seems that the phenomenon has been growing and receiving more and more media coverage, especially with the spread of “homeschooling” in North America.

Enhanced controls

In our summer 2022 survey of families, we identify that intellectual and non-majors are overrepresented among families making this homeschooling choice, excluding limitations related to health or special circumstances. These parents have experienced homeschooling as children more often than average, and in this case they have experienced it well. In our sample, collected from the associations – that is, the most dedicated families – their motivations are divided into three categories:

  • the search for an alternative to the school form that embodies the flexibility of learning rhythms and concern for the development of well-being;

  • an experience of suffering or mistreatment at school and respondents mention bullying, school phobia, nightmares, eczema, etc. ;

  • Inclusion is considered insufficient for children with special needs or learning disabilities.

Various studies and reports suggest that cases of homeschooling caused by forms of radicalism remain exceptional.

Nantes: these families campaigning to protect home schooling (France 3 Pays de la Loire, 2020).

Prior to the transition from the pre-academic declaration system, senators had already proposed, in December 2013, to limit the use of home schooling on the grounds that

“One of the goals of a child’s education is his socialization. This requires an education that has a collective dimension.[…]. In this spirit, home education by the family can only be an exceptional situation, related to the child’s health condition or permanent or temporary disability. It cannot be a pretext for a voluntary desocialization, which aims to subject the child, especially vulnerable, to a psychological, ideological or religious conditioning. »

More recently, issues of “radicalization” and “sectarian strife” have reinforced these desires for control. In January 2015, measure 9 for a large school mobilization for the values ​​of the Republic reinforces the control of family education. According to the circular dated April 14, 2017,

“The verification of the acquisition of all the knowledge and skills of the common base is one of the tools that can make it possible to assess whether the child is subject to an influence contrary to his interest, in particular a sectarian influence, or he finds himself in a context of the risk of radicalization.”

The law of 26 July 2019 on a faith school devotes its Chapter III to “strengthening the control of teaching”.

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So, since the late 1990s, the trend has been to increase surveillance and successively strengthen control, culminating in the new regime of prior authorization with Law No. 2021-1109, dated August 24, 2021, which tightens access to this way of learning from the beginning of the academic year 2022:

“The education of all children in a school becomes mandatory at the beginning of the 2022 school year and the education of a child in a demeaning family. Homeschooling will be subject to authorization (and no longer just declaration). »

The first draft law confirming respect for the principles of the Republic was censured by the Council of State, especially in that the abuses and shortcomings of families practicing home education were anecdotal and that the difficulties associated with this system did not constitute a valid basis for prohibition.

Legal remedies

At the beginning of the 2022 school year, for a first year of family education, families had to submit a request for authorization to the department’s academic director of national education services (DASEN), accompanied by an educational project. In case of refusal, the family can contest the decision with a mandatory preliminary administrative appeal. In case of refusal, referral to the administrative judge is possible, even some families have initiated a summary suspension in order to suspend the rector’s decision pending the substantive judgment of the administrative court.

Tightening the criteria for home schooling (France 3 Midi-Pyrénées, October 2022).

For the start of the 2022 school year, there have been many rejections from the rectories. Asked about this topic on August 2, 2022, at the Committee on Culture and Education Affairs in the National Assembly, Minister Pap Ndiaye indicated that 53% of authorization requests for family teaching were accepted for the reason “specific situation for the child”. , clarifying that according to the academies there are very strong contrasts: “In some departments it is not very massive, in others it is more open”… from here the issue of national harmonization is raised. Appeals against rejections have multiplied.

Read more: Homeschooling: What are we talking about?

In appeals against the refusal of family education, the urgency to decide was held by the judge by decision of the Administrative Court of Lille dated July 11, 2022 or by that of the Administrative Court of Rouen, dated July 15, 2022. On August 3, 2022, the judge of urgent applications of the administrative court of Toulouse defines what is meant by “the child’s own interest”, given that

“The only two criteria on which the administration should be based to assess the existence of a specific interest for the child, are the ability of the parents to provide education in the family, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the transmission of an educational project. adapted to the child. Thus, the judge of urgent applications ruled out any possibility for the rectorate to force the parents to demonstrate the impossibility of sending the child to school. »

The court of Rennes, which is the first to decide on the merits, on October 10, 2022, notes that the law did not condition the granting of the authorization with the inability to study; this condition existed but only in the intentions of the executive power. It cannot be considered as a legal norm.

“Given that the educational project proposed by the applicants was not sufficiently articulated with the rhythms of their children nor adapted to their achievements, in the absence of objectives and progress that would be specific for them, the educational commission founded the decision his on the requirements that exceed the only assessment criteria defined by the aforementioned provisions of articles L. 131-5 and R. 131-11-5 of the Education Code and therefore committed a legal error. »

The shift from a system of prior declaration to one subject to authorization is unprecedented in France and, in her summary note on family education in Western countries, scholar Marine Dumond shows that if, in most Western countries, parents have the right . to practice learning in the family, differences are observed from one country or from one state to another.

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