After his promise, Gabriel Attal caught up by the lack of teachers at the start of the school year

The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, like his Minister of National Education, Gabriel Attal, hammered home this at the end of August: “there will be a teacher in front of each cl” at the start of the school year. The tenant of rue de Grenelle changed his speech on the evening of September 4, recognizing “difficulties here and there”. For those involved in the education system, this promise seemed like a mission impossible and the first reports from the field confirm their fears.

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There is a shortage of at least one teacher in one in two middle or high schools, according to a survey by SNES-FSU, the main secondary school teaching union, carried out among “508 representative establishments” (on 10,000 middle and high schools) and made public Monday September 11. For the union of school heads SNPDEN-UNSA, which is finalizing its survey to which 2,750 principals and principals responded, 58% of middle and high schools are concerned after 1er september.

Back to school is organized “in better conditions” than that of 2022, ured Gabriel Attal at the end of August. The number of positions remaining unfilled at the end of the competitions is lower: 3,000 in 2023 – including 1,850 in secondary education – compared to 4,000 in 2022. The recruitment of contract workers, which has increased in recent years to compensate these vacant positions, is also more anticipated. The rectorates renew a large majority of contract workers from one year to the next and continue recruitment in September, or even throughout the year for the academies with the greatest deficits.

A “scandalous” situation

“Academies data as of September 8 show 500 positions remaining to be filled in secondary education, or 0.1% of positions”, cleared the Ministry of National Education on Monday evening. For rue de Grenelle, the SNES-FSU study “does not distinguish vacancies linked to unfilled positions from those linked to a one-off absence of teachers”, particularly due to illness. Gold “these absences of affected teachers are obviously intended to be resolved or replaced quickly”ures the ministry, which recognizes, visibly embarred, that “whatever the reason for the absence, the impact on students and families is obviously the same”.

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For Sophie Venetitay, head of SNES-FSU, nevertheless, there is no notable progress between the start of the 2022 school year and the start of the 2023 school year. Last year, at least one teacher was missing in 60% of middle and high schools on 3 September, two days after the start of the school year. It’s 48% on September 8 in 2023, five days after cles resume. The trade unionist judges the situation “unacceptable” and even “scandalous”. “We will end up getting used to this back to school where we tinker, with gaps in students’ timetables from the first week and announcements on Facebook or Pôle emploi to recruit contract workers”she fears. “The situation is similar to last school year. We must stop with these broken promises which are harming establishments”agrees Bruno Bobkiewicz, secretary general of SNPDEN-UNSA.

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