Side. A mother’s obstacle course to the State Council, to homeschool

At home, everything is ready for Family Education, the youngest of four siblings. (©DR)

A mother of north of the Lot (who wishes to remain anonymous), is fighting for permission from the Rectorate of Toulouse for Family Education to continue with her fourth child the support she has already given to the three elders. The manner of instruction IEF » (Family Education) is strictly governed by the Education Code and new features have been added by Article 49 of Law No. 2021-1109 of August 24, 2021 (known as the “Separatism Act”).

These innovations, which have not yet been mastered by the Rectorates of Admission, even the Minister of Education, cause deviations: for example, permission to teach in the family is refused to this mother by the administration for her son of 3 years old, while the elderly enjoy an authorization by operation of law.

This is why, having brought an appeal on the merits before the Administrative Court of Toulouse against the refusal contested by the Rectorate, after having seized the minister of a hierarchical appeal (https://instructionenfamille.org /wp- content /uploads/2022/08/2022-08-Courrier-inter-associations-MEN.pdf), this mother is about to turn to the Council of State to assert her parental right to change the teaching method choose the one that best suits her son.

You have already practiced “IEF” with the first three children, how did that go?

Our family has lived in the Lot for several years, my husband and I have 4 children. The oldest of the siblings is now a young adult who has completed his training in Instruction En Famille. He is currently pursuing a certified vocational training in the field of computer science. One of his brothers is a student, after 3 years in IEF, which he spent with his brother who is going to 5th grade who this year will continue “Beyond the Walls” through the Cned.

You could choose the IEF any time you wanted, what’s the objection to your approach?

Before Law No. 2021-1109 of August 24, 2021, we parents simply had to make a statement to the Academic Inspectorate on which we depend, and one to the town hall of our municipality. Of course, education checks were carried out annually by the services of the rectorate. Until now we have never had a specific concern. However, for this new school year, Article 49 of the Act has introduced a new authorization system.

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Which new obligations do you have to comply with in the future?

With the new regulations, we have to request permission from the administration (Academic Inspectorate) every year to raise our children at home, and this request must be made between March 1 and May 31 of the year preceding the start of the school year. This year, the law provided for an exemption for children who had already completed an internship at IEF: the permission to educate the family that is legally granted to their parents. However, our youngest, who is only 3 years old, was not subject to compulsory education last year. It is therefore not covered by this derogation. That’s why we had to submit an authorization request for Family Education for him.

What is the reason you can request this approval from the National Education?

The 4 reasons that can be invoked to apply for a family parenting authorization are the following:

– a medical reason or disability of the child,

– practicing intensive sports or artistic activities,

– family homelessness or geographical remoteness

– a specific situation of the child that motivates the educational project.

Since birth, our youngest child has been awake to learn, as he evolves in his brothers’ education. Toddlers like him are made more aware through so-called “alternative” pedagogies, such as those of Maria Montessori, Céline Alvarez, Charlotte Mason, etc. Therefore, of course, we prepared a request for him motivated by “a specific situation of the child who motivates the educational project”.

What feedback did you receive from the scientific director?

It’s quite amazing what happened! First we got the deal.

We were then informed of a refusal instead of asking about the elements considered missing from the file (copies of my titles and diplomas justifying my BAC and BTS level). I had to turn to the Defender of Rights to call the DSDEN to have my equivalence respected… The case should have been closed and the authorization for my youngest child, but from there the DSDEN found a new argument (totally illegal) : the elements of our file do not explain “the specificity of the situation requiring the use of education in the family”.

The Defendant therefore received a response from the Academic Inspectorate of the Lot in mid-July which stated: “If the 1st reason is no longer relevant in the light of the document provided, the 2nd reason will probably maintain the refusal, indeed the elements provided do not explain specificity of the situation requiring recourse to education in the family.” At the first refusal, only the diploma conditions appeared, the formula quoted by the Academic Inspectorate of De Lot is derived from the refusal related to my RAPO ( Mandatory Prior Appeal) of the Rectorate of Toulouse.

What do you do, since your file has not been validated by either the KNAW Inspectorate or the Rectorate?

Like many Occitan families, we face almost systematic refusals from children entering an IEF course. We are devastated by these unwarranted denials regarding the objectives presented by the law (remember, it was nicknamed the “separatism law”).

What explanation did you end up getting?

The only statement of the Rectorate of Toulouse is in one sentence: “the elements of the file do not represent a specific situation for the child who motivates the educational project”. This sentence completely ignores the reservation made by the Constitutional Council when it was seized by 60 deputies and 60 senators on Article 49 of the law. The rectors justify the refusal of consent by explaining that “the law has linked the existence of a specific situation of the child to demonstrating the impossibility of taking charge of the educational institution”. In other words, it should be determined that the school institution cannot support our child, which is legally totally impossible! It is as if we are in front of a wall; we are dealing with a blind and deaf administration.

Since you don’t want to stop there, what approach did you take?

After the administrative court, we sent a hierarchical notice of appeal to the Minister of National Education and we contacted various deputies, including the deputies of Lot.

I feel overwhelmed by the administrative omnipotence as we practiced the IEF for three of our children.

I’d like to wake up from this nightmare and DASEN finally give us permission.

We are subjected to a particularly daunting exhausting course that calls on the family’s savings (already paid more than 1500 € to be accompanied by a lawyer), and this despite all the positive checks we had.

In the Toulouse academy, families, including mine, are structured in associations and solidarity is organized around the parents who bring their cases before the courts.

A letter has been written to the Minister of Education, carried by more than 20 associations (including IEF 46) defending parent educators, and a request for an appointment with a delegation has been requested along with the demonstration planned for September 15 by Defense Coordination IEF Academy of Toulouse.

As individuals, we also appeal the decision of the Administrative Court of Toulouse, to the Council of State, because we feel we are experiencing injustice.

To say that there is also a teacher shortage and the classes are overcrowded…

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