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Emmanuel Macron in Marseille, what autonomy for school principals?



Adorned with magical virtues for some, a real foil for others, the notion of “autonomy” slipped unsurprisingly into the words of Emmanuel Macron, visiting Marseille, Thursday, June 2, on the theme of education. The Head of State thus made it known that he wanted “to generalize” educational experiments carried out in Marseille under the name “the school of the future”.

The aim is to grant more resources to primary school teams to enable them to carry out innovative projects around culture, languages, the environment or even science, while granting their directors a relative autonomy in the recruitment of teachers.

Profile positions

Relative, because the interested parties will not be able to choose the teachers alone (and even less to determine their level of remuneration). In reality, they intervene within the framework of an academic commission in charge of filling these profile positions.

“They examine the files of the various candidates and give their approval or notspecifies Guislaine David, general secretary of SNUipp, the main union of the first degree. The files which are the subject of a green light are then decided according to the usual rules (seniority, number of points, etc.). »

It’s not exactly a revolution. But this departure from the principle of the “movement” of national education, the procedure for examining transfers, caused the union official to react strongly. “All the school teachers have passed the same competition, they have the same skills, skills that we need in Guéret as in Marseille”, supports Guislaine David.

The general secretary of SNUipp only wants to hear about profile positions in very specific cases, “for example when it comes to supporting autistic students”.

“Build something like a team”

Former rector, Alain Bouvier sees in this almost unconditional attachment to the statutes a backward-looking position. “You don’t find two teachers, no more than two lawyers or two journalists, who have exactly the same experience, the same skills! »he gets carried away.

He describes Emmanuel Macron’s announcement as “small step in the right direction”. This can allow managers, he anticipates, to “Build something that looks like a team and can carry a real project”.

“It’s also a welcome way to show staff, now recruited at bac +5, that they are not mere performers, within administrative units, and that they can make and assume decisions”, continues Alain Bouvier.

One of the difficulties, he notes, is that primary schools do not enjoy, unlike colleges and high schools, the status of establishment. And that the director is supposed to be a simple primus inter pares. The recent Rilhac law has certainly reinforced his prerogatives, but he does not have – and generally does not claim it – a hierarchical link vis-à-vis other teachers.

A common practice in the Anglo-Saxon world and in Eastern Europe

The French situation differs from that which prevails in many other countries, in the Anglo-Saxon world in particular and in Eastern Europe. “Heads of establishments recruit all or part of their teachers there, says Éric Charbonnier, education expert at the OECD. A prerogative that goes hand in hand with training in human resources management. »

There is therefore no assignment according to seniority or a scale of points. How, then, to ensure that the least attractive establishments continue to have teachers in front of their students?

“Estonia awards substantial bonuses to its teachers who agree to go to outlying rural areas”, cites Éric Charbonnier as an example. Estonia, the best performing country in Europe, according to the 2020 edition of the Pisa study, which compares the results of 15-year-old students in OECD countries…

In other cases, however, nuance Éric Charbonnier, “the autonomy left to the establishments in terms of recruitment in particular, has led, as in England, to an all-out competition and to a two-speed school”.

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“I would need to choose my teachers”

Vivien Joby, head of establishment at the institution La Providence, in Saint-Malo and president of Snceel (1)

“Contrary to what is often believed, in Catholic education, the voice of headteachers counts less and less when it comes to recruitment. Academic commissions for employment, which operate on a joint basis, involving the unions, submit applications to us. At home, in Brittany, in a general context of a crisis in vocations, it’s one per post. And if I want to reject it, there must be a “legitimate” reason. Suffice to say that I am almost forced to accept it… However, I would need to choose the teachers, according to the projects of my establishment. If I want to develop international exchanges, it makes sense to hire someone who has already piloted Erasmus mobility. If I want to develop my upper pole, it is relevant to hire a high school teacher who can also intervene in BTS. »

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