More than 400,000 children with disabilities were enrolled in ordinary schools at the start of the 2021 school year, which represents an increase of 19% compared to 2017. Last year, the national education system also had 125,000 accompanying persons. students with disabilities (AESH), a number up 35% in five years.
But behind these encouraging figures, many students cannot benefit from the human help they need and are falling behind in their schooling, warns the defender of rights, Claire Hédon. In 2021, it was contacted nearly 700 times for difficulties in accessing education for children with disabilities.
Referrals on the rise
“Referrals are on the increase in this area and mainly relate to two difficulties”, explains Claire Hédon. “Many decisions granting the right to human assistance for a student are not implemented. Other complaints relate to the lack of support during extracurricular time. » Today, she regrets, the cursor is not placed according to the interest of the child but according to budgetary considerations.
Audrey Chanonat, school principal in Cognac (Charente) and member of the National Union of National Education Management Staff (SNPDEN), also believes that the reception difficulties are first and foremost a problem of human resources. “Some academies decide to cut back by funding fewer positions, while others are faced with a lack of applicants. » This imbalance between needs and means is the cause of many difficult situations. “We agree with the parents that their child needs human help, then we sometimes have to explain to them that no AESH has been found. »
Strengthen the attractiveness of the AESH profession
The lack of attractiveness of the AESH profession is not unrelated to this shortage. These contract agents of the State have contracts limited to twenty-four hours a week and suffer from the lowest salary indexes of the civil service. “This unchosen part-time prevents AESH from building real relationships with parents, to the detriment of accompanied children”, explains Claire Hédon. In April, Emmanuel Macron, then a candidate for re-election, had indicated that he wanted to allow these agents to work thirty-five hours a week.
The report also points to support methods that are unsuited to the needs of the students. Beyond the AESH, he recommends improving the training of teachers in the issues of inclusive schooling. “We also need to put in place statistical tools: we lack data on the number of non-schooled people and on the time of schooling”, continues Claire Hédon. “Finally, national education must determine with the local authorities how the accompanying person who intervenes during school time can also intervene during extracurricular time. »