Education International
Education International

France: 10,000 new teaching assistant jobs announced

published 4 July 2013 updated 17 July 2013

The Syndicat national des enseignements de second degré (SNES-FSU) and the Syndicat des enseignants (SE-UNSA) affiliated to the Union nationale des syndicats autonomes-Education (UNSA-Education) welcomed Education Minister Vincent Peillon’s announcement that 10,000 additional staff are to be taken on “specifically for secondary schools” under subsidised contracts on top of the 60,000 posts over five years already planned under the education reform act.

There will be “10,000 posts specifically for secondary schools to ensure calmer and safer schools with a greater adult presence,” said Peillon. “We have decided that these contracts, which will be from 10 months to 2 years but may be renewed, will go to qualified people who may have a degree or a higher national diploma but are currently out of work or may even want to pursue further studies as some of these contracts will not be full-time,” he went on to say.

‘’Training and career structures after contracts run out are planned for the new recruits. The national education system is a huge structure with great needs, so we are also looking to give them prospects going forward, which is why we are putting major training provisions in place,’’ he added.

Peillon also stressed that the subsidised contracts have “two big core tasks”: supporting learning and improving the school environment to promote “pupil socialisation”, particularly by instilling “societal values” in them.

SE-UNSA: a welcome first step, but more discussions are needed

“An additional budget for at least 10,000 subsidised jobs has been found to help school leaders,” noted SE-UNSA General Secretary Christian Chevalier. “SE-UNSA called all MPs to account over the need for these new posts and is pleased to have been heeded.”

SE-UNSA sees the influx of this number and type of new personnel from next school yearonwards, as good news for school managers and teaching staff. The tradeunion wants the deployment of these jobs to be worked out in national and local discussions so that the greatest number of schools in all departments can benefit from them.

After this first advance, discussions will start up in September on tasks and responsibilities, support for careers and upgrading the profession, said Chevalier. “SE-UNSA wants the negotiations to deliver concrete but also lasting responses to an issue that has been hanging fire for more than fifteen years.”

SNES: the measure does not meet the needs

“Ten thousand jobs there may be, but the measure does not meet theneeds,” said SNES National Secretary and Vice-President of EI’s European Regional Structure, the European Trade Union Committee for Education, Odile Cordelier. “Additional staff are needed to supervise classes in schools, especially in those secondary schools struggling with academic and social difficulties.”

“This announcement of 10,000 new jobs is an admission by Peillon that secondary schools are currently under-resourced and unable to supervise pupils adequately and provide support with homework,” she argued.

Cordelier also said that the nature of these jobs raised serious problems, jeopardising the scope and effectiveness of the measure announced.“Despite the Minister’s claims, the great majority of these posts are unlikely to be taken up by adults with more than an upper secondary school qualification,” she said. She does not believe that these will be long-term jobs filled by the qualified personnel that teaching staffs and schools need today.

SNES-FSU wants the Minister to open discussions on the proper status of student classroom assistants, that will enable young people to combine academic success with a presence in schools and on enhancing “the school experience”.

“Secondary schools, especially those that are struggling, need trained, long-term staff to support education and improve the school climate,” emphasised Cordelier.

EI: negotiations between the government and teacher unions are crucial

“Having additional staff in secondary school classrooms is a good thing and we encourage the French Minister of Education to continue talking to teachers’ organisations about the nature and deployment of these jobs,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.“That said, we have to join with our French colleagues in emphasising that quality education can be delivered only ??by teachers who have themselves undergone quality pre- and then in-service training.”

The video of Vincent Peillon’s announcement on France’s Europe 1 radio (in French):