A little over a year ago, in July 2021, the vote was taken the law affirming the principles of the Republic. It was supposed to fight separatism, but in particular had the consequences of a complicating family education (IEF), or school at home. This way of teaching, according to figures from the Ministry of National Education, concerns nearly 50,000 children.
When we think of the CNED, National Center for Distance Learning, it is not the only alternative to school. Some choose to completely rethink teaching and ways of learning.
Julie Ricard is part of the Grandir en Finistère collective and is the mother of 2 children, Léo, aged 9 and a half, and Lucas, aged 7 and a half. They have always been in IEF. And to her, these restrictions don’t make sense, because the practice is already very boxed in.
From declaration to authorization
“We are one of the most controlled countries”, emphasizes the former teacher. Every year Julie Ricard receives the visit of an inspector and two educational advisers, “one per child”. They monitor children’s progress in various areas. To check all this, the mother of two children carefully keeps track of all written records, collects photos of projects, which she puts together in a file. “I explain how it relates to the program”. In addition, every two years the town hall comes to check the well-being of the children.
“I’m in favor of this surveillance, it’s very good, but we shouldn’t ask for permission.” It used to be enough to make a statement, now it is indeed necessary to make a statement an upstream requestwith a possibility of refusal. “The families we follow at IEF Bretagne have all worked a lot on their files. In the end they got denials, written in a generic way”laments Eloise Lebreton.
For homeschooling parents, these restrictions are intended to eventually lift the IEF. “It used to be good. Today we will have to justify everything.” And for Julie Ricard, this loss of rights concerns everyone, everyone may one day be brought to pick their child up from school. “There are many children with periods of school phobia, great difficulties, school dropout.”
The sick and disabled children are particularly concerned about the IEF, they have almost half of the children teach at home. “This is one of the reasons the IEF is still awarded, friends, it still requires families to justify many things”. A very drastic measure for Julie Ricard.
A very high bounce rate for this year 2022-2023
If the families whose children were already in IEF have largely accepted their request for this school year, the Coordination for Freedom of Education, a collective of several associations, reports a 60% bounce rate for new applications. “It is very problematic in the case of siblings”explains Eloïse Lebreton of IEF Bretagne in Finistère. “We have families where the request was accepted for children who were already in IEF, but where it was rejected for the youngest.” Although many families have appealed, some had not received an answer on the eve of the start of the school year. “It’s not very reassuring for children not to know what they will become”adds Julie Ricard.
The Ministry of National Education, for its part, denies that it wants to end home education. Objections are still pending. On Friday, September 2, the Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, spoke about the issue at France Bleu Occitanie. He acknowledged that there are local “variations in family request acceptance” and “more or less rigid academies on the subject”. He promised to frame all this and give “reasonable answers to the families.” He also remembered that “Homeschooling is possible, but (that) it is a clearly framed procedure, with criteria that must be respected. _And the norm is the schooling of children from the age of three_“.