Home schooling

The rise of house education in Lot: anxious mayors

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More and more families are turning their child away from Republican school banks. A situation that worries many elected officials from the region gathered this Monday in Cahors, on the occasion of the meeting of the Association of Mayors of Municipalities and Presidents of Intermunicipalities of Occitanie.

Many children do not go to school or no longer go to school. Even if the topic was not on the agenda of the meeting of the Association of mayors and inter-municipal mayors of Occitanie this Monday, the elected were affected by this situation in Cahors. In Lot, for the year 2021-2022, 408 children, aged three to sixteen, were actually educated at home or in non-contract schools. A growing figure, as explained by Christine Laverdet, representative of the UNSA teachers’ union (SE-UNSA): “For more than 5 years, this phenomenon has been growing. “And the health restrictions of recent years have not helped the situation. “There was an acceleration of the phenomenon with the pandemic. Families, opposed to wearing a mask or as a health precaution, preferred to keep their children at home. There has been a significant increase in home schooling during this period”, says the school teacher. A significant decline in the pandemic could thus mark the return of many children to school. Hope for small schools, insecure from these shortages. “This phenomenon contributes to the drop in school demographics. We lack the numbers. In small structures, most in our department, it is enough for two or three students to be absent to be exposed to job cuts”, explains the trade unionist.

A new, more restrictive law

The new law of August 24, 2021 may limit these removals. Indeed, home schooling at the beginning of the next school year will no longer be subject only to a declaration from the family, but will require authorization from the competent state authority in the field of education. “Of the 408 children or families involved in the lot, 307 have received the authorization process. There is a double inspection: inspection by national education, by district inspectors to check the achievement of learning and the required levels and an inspection by the mayor to prevent sectarian deviations”, develops Christine Laverdet. A relief for the mayors, who felt powerless in the face of their responsibility: to judge alone the proper supervision of this education at home. “For me, it exceeded our abilities as mayor,” admits Patrick Valette, mayor of Bach. “In my town, I had two families who had taken care of their children’s education. I am lucky that in my municipal team I have a person who has skills in the field of education. I immediately trusted him with the mission, I didn’t feel like playing pseudo-inspectors. The requests of the families are being reviewed.

But according to the secretary of the SE-Unsa department, the reform is not a miracle solution for solving the problem: “We have to see why these families are trying to leave public structures. We definitely have to learn from this.”

Asked by the editors, Loti’s academic inspection did not respond to our requests.

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