Save Our School Chapter 4

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October 7th 2009
Published: October 7th 2009
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Yesterday, the Inspecteur de l’Académie based at Foix agreed to meet a delegation from Laroque today. Francis, one of the two councillors who’s been most involved; 2 parent reps, the dynamic Fatima and Fabiènne; and finally the Mayor, were the ones to go.

Could the school have an extra teacher (not to disrupt the class formations again, but to offer supplementary teaching), and what about becoming a ZEP (Zone d’Education Prioritaire)?

The troops were called out once again. No, we couldn’t go in to meet the Inspector, but we could be outside to offer solid support. So 20 of us made the trip to Foix, where we waited and waited somewhat impotently outside the Academie buildings, in the street. The local press came with cameras and notepads.

As an aside, Mal and I were quite struck by the difference between this kind of a meeting back in the UK, and here. Were the delegates formally turned out in their interview gear? They were not. Open necked shirts and woolly pullies for the men, casual trousers and skirts for the women.

The meeting went on for an hour and a half. Lucky for us that the temperatures here remain in the high 20s. Result? No change. No additional help will be offered this year. Apparently, the school is well staffed compared with some schools in the region. So the question is, will the school apply to be a ZEP?
It turns out not to be that simple.

ZEP Primary schools have to be attached to a ZEP Collège (Junior High School). Our school is catchmented to Mirepoix Collège, which is emphatically not a ZEP. One of the two Collèges in Lavelanet is, however. BUT it’s the one further away from Laroque, and has more than its share of children in difficulty. To qualify as a ZEP, Laroque would have to get the catchment areas redrawn. Mirepoix is scarcely going to want to lose children and funding, and equally the Collège in Lavelanet may not be in a position to accept extra pupils, particularly if they are labelled as potential problems. And all this for uncertain benefits.

The school, the action committee, the local council, has a lot of thinking to do. So…no more demos, but probably lots of action behind the scenes. This should be the final chapter of the school saga as far as the blog goes - for the time being. The story doesn’t end here for the families and councillors involved.


9th October 2009

We have a second home in Aigues-Vives and I have been fascinated to read the continuing saga of your local school. As a member of a Children's Services Authority (formerly LEA) for the last 17 years it has been most interesting to compare and contrast the two systems and outcomes. On the face of it our system is much more democratically accountable in that we, the County Council, together with governing bodies have much more say in the running of schools but when push comes to shove I suspect "authority" would normally win on either side of the chanel. However to give in would be defeatist so more power to your collective elbows and please keep us informed.
11th October 2009

Thank you!
It's always good when somebody I don't know finds the blog and is interested. I'll jot you a line at your personal address

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