Who will judge the teachers tomorrow?

The evaluation of first and second grade teachers could evolve quickly with the new five-year term. With the publication by the Court of Audit of a summary of January 2022 on the inspectors of the 1st and 2nd degree, a debate already informed by the Grenelle of education is being revived. The Court recommends the revision of the PPCR agreements and the evaluation of teachers by their immediate superior, the head of the institution in the 2nd stage, the school principal in the 1st stage. It also calls for the merger of the two inspection bodies and the evaluation of the inspectors by their direct supervisors. Touch the inspection to change the system.

too many missions

“The Court’s double examination shows that the activity of inspectors is becoming increasingly fragmented and that this fragmentation is at the expense of their primary task of supervising teachers and educational support,” the Court of Auditors wrote in its January summary. 13, 2022. After a report that wanted to weigh in on the campaign electorally, this new reference to the inspectors of the 1st degree (IEN) and the 2nd degree (IPR) goes in the same direction, that of a transformation of the education system. By influencing the key position of inspectors in education, the whole system changes. This change requested by the Court would be made in favor of direct management by the direct superiors, thus wiping out the guarantees of the national authorities for the inspectors.

The summary states that the 3,650 inspectors of the two degrees have too many assignments. “The National Education Inspectors (IEN) take care of the local administrative and pedagogical management of schools and their education teams, in collaboration with school principals and municipalities… The importance of the administrative tasks carried out today by these inspectors does not allow them to devoting enough to follow the teachers in their classrooms, a mission that all too often becomes the “adaptation variable” of their activity.As an obstacle to the effectiveness of the education system, transversal pedagogical issues have become increasingly important. destabilize some of the 2nd degree inspectors whose legitimacy is based on mastery of their discipline and who suffer from becoming “educational supervising generalists”.

Teachers assessed by their direct supervisor

Of these missions, the evaluation of teachers under the PPCR takes about 30% of the inspectors’ time and this time the Court wants to recover. She emphasizes that “this individual evaluation of teachers is a specificity of the French education system”. The court criticizes the PPCR. “This system only leaves a residual space for team consultations around the inspector, for advisory visits, for the support that is still needed for teachers entering the profession”.

And the Court introduces its solutions. “An alternative solution that leaves more room for the interview with the local evaluator who is the head of the 2nd degree institution would have many advantages: it could take the form of an annual professional interview, just like the practices of other public services “.

In the first degree, “the revision of the current organization of the district and the positioning of the inspectors seems impossible to achieve without recognizing a real functional competence to the school principals”.

An old demand from the right

These recommendations are not really new. They follow the logic of the Civil Service Transformation Act, which aims to strengthen the authority of direct superiors over the staff.

In the first degree, the decrees for the application of the Rilhac law specifying the domains of the new “functional competence” of school leaders have not yet been published. The field remains open for this development. E Macron has already indicated that he wants them to recruit teachers, as in Marseille. Their mission could also evolve into an evaluation of teachers.

In the second degree we find in the recommendation of the Court of Auditors an old idea of ​​the law. In November 2011, Luc Chatel, Minister of N Sarkozy, had his personnel department prepare two texts (decree and decree) that the Educational Café publishes† This publication, with the reactions it provoked, derailed the project. But we still find the idea in a report by the General Inspectorate on the evaluation of teachers in 2013.

For teachers, these reforms would fundamentally change their working conditions and the management of the education system. This is probably what the Court of Auditors is looking for, with a certain continuity, in summary proceedings. This is what we see happening in the first degree with Rilhac’s law. It is the project of the new public management that is accompanied by a reinforced local supervision with a hierarchy also within the teachers.

An evolution of the inspector profession

The Court’s recommendation would lead to a major change in the inspectorate’s profession. What the Court wants is the definition of “a new functional project” for the inspectors leading to a merger of the two bodies of IEN and IPR. We also link up with an old project that is gradually finding its way into National Education. JM Blanquer has already started a career rapprochement. “The functional rapprochement between the inspection bodies, advocated by the Court, will make it possible to strengthen both the links between school and college, and within the 2nd stage between the different types of education, and the process of collective evaluation. The merger of the two audit bodies can only be the result of this process of functional rapprochement,” the Court of Auditors wrote.

To this end, the Court also recommends changing the management of the careers of inspectors, which are managed at national level, according to the same principle as teachers. “While the relatively small number of inspectors partly justifies this centralized management, it is nevertheless unsatisfactory that for executives whose action is almost exclusively exercised in academies, so little consideration is given to the opinions and expertise of academic officials… The collective management of inspectors does not sufficiently consider their role as academy executives and the concerns of their direct employers,” she writes. She also wants to do something about their distribution. She notes that their numbers vary widely by area (on average one IEN for 229 teachers, but one for 307 in the 93, one IPR for 137 teachers in Limoges against one for 228 in Versailles).

What do the inspectors do?

in 2016an issue of the magazine AFAE had stimulated reflection on the evolution of the inspector profession. It showed the multiplication of their missions. And also the peculiarity of the French system. For Xavier Pons, we came to the end of a system. “It’s dramatic,” he told us. “Because we have teachers who ask for inspectors. Inspectors who enter the profession to help develop educational practices. Academic and national officials who have an interest in these developments. Yet the system weighs on the fragmentation of tasks, the hesitation in the missions between which we want to do not decide. All this means that no one is satisfied. We cannot decide without a very clear evaluation policy, without saying what the priorities are, without deciding whether or not to allocate functions to other actors. Until then, we will we have this mess. Because that’s what emerges”.

But he also underlined the blockage in the evaluation of teachers. “Teachers are dissatisfied, but fear even more about alternative assessment methods. Inspectors are very disappointed with this system, which gives them little personal leeway, but they consider it their core business to take classes.”

More recently Eric Maurin succeeded in a demonstration who deserves to be brought before the Court of Auditors. He calculated the profitability of teacher inspections. “It seems that inspections can improve teachers even if they have 10 or 20 years of experience,” he writes. “The effect is especially apparent at the start of their career, but remains very important for experienced teachers… It does indeed seem possible to help teachers to better interact with students and thus help them move forward”. And also for not expensive because an inspection costs around 100 €…

Reactions from ministers

The two ministries (Finance and National Education) have responded to the Court of Auditors, which is the normal procedure. On the financial side, B. Le Maire and O. Dussopt are in favor of the evaluation of teachers by the heads of the institutions and the extension of this measure to the 1st grade.

JM Blanquer gives a long answer, noting that school leaders are being trained in management and that profile functions are increasing (+14% in 2021). In other words, without questioning the advice, the minister seems unwilling to go further.

It is different for the first grade where he announces that “the functional authority, which is to be distinguished from the hierarchical authority, will clarify the duties of the school principal with regard to supervision … delegation of powers that the school principal will receive from the academic authority”. The drafting of the implementing decree is in full swing.


Francois Jarraud

The Court of Auditors’ summary

Teacher evaluation entrusted only to school principals

But what do the inspectors do?

Will the inspectors save the school?

The Court of Auditors campaigns for the school

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