Life Style

Abacuses, gardening bins or instruments, “the school of the future” imagines itself in Marseille



Overlooking the noisy highway that splits the northern districts, a vegetable garden, at the back of the kindergarten. The “pitchouns” conscientiously plant rows of onions, beans, rice and… sweets. “What will grow? », asks Dora Goubert-Maréchal, the director. What has already grown in this Saint-Joseph-Servières school are the vegetable and compost bins. “Without the €10,000 granted as part of “Marseille en grand”, we would not have been able to invest in this equipment or finance the regular interventions of the nature relay”, slips Ophélie Bouquet, teacher released a quarter of the time to coordinate this project.

The garden provides support for learning. Like today, in CE1, where a sage plant – which “smells like toothpaste”, as Aya points out – is the pretext for enriching vocabulary and writing a few sentences.

A closer link with the parents of students

Invited mothers help out, and cooking workshops with families have been launched to promote healthy eating. “Our approach has brought parents who do not have the codes or have a poor command of French closer to the school”, believes Ophelie Bouquet. Saint-Joseph-Servières is one of the 59 “experimental” schools in Marseille on a large scale. Endowed with 2.5 million euros, this scheme brings together a variety of projects, not necessarily spectacular or very innovative. “Some schools lacked the means to carry out their project. Others had already started it and are giving it more momentum,” observes Franck Delétraz, departmental secretary of SE-Unsa.

This is the case of the Chabanon school, which since 2018 has been relying on music to reinforce learning, especially among “dys” (dyslexics, dyspraxics, etc.). “The areas of the brain activated by music are the ones that are dysfunctional in these studentsjustifies its director, Alain Bertoli. One hour and a half per week, we apply a protocol developed with a neuroscience researcher and a neurologist. Dys or not, all students progress in reading, are more focused and motivated. » Marseille en grande allows the school to continue and extend this project: each student benefits from the loan of an instrument and an apprenticeship leading to orchestral practice.

Other projects are more rooted in fundamentals, such as this math “laboratory” at the Menpenti kindergarten. “Abacuses, colored bricks, scales make it possible to first approach this discipline through manipulation. We also find something to learn about coding », says the academic director, Vincent Stanek. Emmanuel Macron wants to make Marseille the “laboratory” of “the school of the future”, before releasing 500 million euros to encourage experimentation throughout France. This approach includes an evaluation, according to common criteria and others defined by each team.

“Competition of schools”

Announcing the device, in 2021, the Head of State had linked the financing of the experiments to greater autonomy for schools. He had implied that the directors would choose their teachers. On arrival, the break is less straightforward. At Saint-Charles-1 school, engaged in a sustainable development project, a job description has been drawn up. “With another teacher from the school and two inspectors, we received three candidates,” continues Julie Forest, the coordinating teacher, who appreciates having been able “probe their motivation to serve our project”. Then, the three candidates were decided according to the usual points system, based on seniority, and not on the CV. Vacant after retirement or transfer, 38 positions (150 applications) were allocated in this way.

So more flexibility, but no revolution. This does not prevent the departmental secretary of SNUipp, Virginie Akliouat, from opposing the device. “Funding by project breaks the principle of equality and puts schools in competition”, she believes.

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One in three schools will be rehabilitated

As part of Marseille en grand, the municipality and the State have committed in 2021 to carrying out an unprecedented plan in favor of school buildings that are now very dilapidated, even unsanitary.

By 2029, 174 schools out of 470 will benefit from complete rehabilitation or even reconstruction. The first three schools are to be delivered in 2022.

This huge project, with an estimated cost of 1.2 billion euros, has been entrusted to a structure involving the city and the State, which will inject 400 million euros, plus 650 million in loan guarantees.

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