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 – 2007 ‐ 2094/001

Final report: 4. France

– 2007 ‐ 2094/001
 Final report: 4. France Danielle Zay Lepelstraat August 2009

Danielle Zay


August 2009

This is an independent report commissioned by the European Commission's Directorate- General for Education and Culture. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Commission.

Drafts of this report benefited from comments and advice from the consortium’s reference group members and from other experts in this field.

Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

The electronic version of this report is available at:


Available INTMEAS-reports:

1. Summary/sommaire/Zusamenfassung

2. Comparative conclusions

3. Discussion and recommendations

4. France 

5. Germany

6. Hungary

7. Italy

8. The Netherlands

9. Poland

10. Slovenia

11. Spain

12. Sweden

13. UK

14. Experts and PLA

INTMEAS Reference Group

George Muskens, project leader Jaap Dronkers, expert adviser José Ramón Flecha, expert adviser Jill Bourne, expert adviser Danielle Zay, leader French research team Ingrid Gogolin, leader German research team Pál Tamás, leader Hungarian research team Francesca Gobbo, leader Italian research team Micha ł Federowicz, leader Polish research team Albina Neçak Lük, Sonja Novak Lukanovic, leaders Slovenian research team Mariano Fernándes Enguita, leader Spanish research team Elena Dingu Kyrklund, leader Swedish research team Rae Condie, leader UK research team

Contract -2007-2094/001 TRA-TRSPO


Name of the leading partner organisation

DOCA Bureaus, Dr. George Muskens


Danielle Zay Emeritus Professor, PROFEOR-CIREL University of Charles de Gaulle Lille 3

Name of the leading partner organisation

PRISME : Jean Roucou, president

- July 2009 -






Research orientations

p. 10


A study focusing on Strategies for supporting schools and teachers

p. 10


French students’ results compared to those of other European countries

p. 13

2-1 – Rate and level of diplomas and early leavers without diploma or qualifications

p. 15

2-2 – Students’ results during their schooling

p. 15



p. 17

3-1 – Selection of thematic content

p. 17

3-2 – Criteria for selecting references

p. 18

3-3 – Terms and terminology(ToR: Theme of Research) List of abbreviations

p. 19

3-3-1 – Diplomas, competitive examinations, specific schemes, schools, institutions and staff

p. 20

3-3-2 - State ministries, departments, public services and education sectors

p. 25



ToR 1 - Support measures for schools with high drop-out rates

p. 29


Terms and terminology: defining school drop in and out

p. 29


Dropping out, failure to comply with legal obligations, truancy,

absenteeism, breaking off from school, early leaving studies

p. 30


Early leavers without diplomas or qualifications

p. 32


Dropping in

p. 34

2 – The latest cutting edge research

p. 34

2-1 – The statistics

p. 35

2-2 – Analysis of the problem

p. 37

2-3 –Measures and experiences in the combat against dropping out

p. 41

2-3-1 – Alternative pedagogies : preventative solutions rather than remedies

p. 42

2-3-2 – Corrective strategies

p. 43


p. 53

ToR 2 - Support measures for schools with high scores on other possible indicators of social exclusion

p. 59


ToR 3 - Support measures for schools in socio-economically deprived areas p. 59

1 – Definition and map of ZEP/REP in the national territory

p. 60

2 –Towards a connection between education and urban policies

p. 63

3 – Assessment of the ZEP

p. 66


– ZEP : “Pedagogical excellence zones”

p. 67


p. 69

ToR 4 - Support measures for schools with large populations of pupils from immigrant backgrounds

p. 71

1 –Major issues regarding young people from immigrant backgrounds

p. 72

2 - Several specific measures introduced for young people from immigrant backgrounds

p. 74


– Impact of the French education system on young people from

immigrant backgrounds

p. 76


p. 79

ToR 5 - Support measures for teachers working in such schools

p. 81

1 The leading part of Local Education Authority in teacher education for socio-economically deprived areas

p. 81

2 - An example of teacher training in socio-economically deprived areas

p. 82

3 – The needs of the teaching teams

p. 83


– Research results

p. 87


p. 88

ToR 6 - Support measures for schools and teachers to deal with the problem of harassment and bullying

p. 90


– Bullying in French schools

p. 91


– Anti-bullying strategies : preventing, remedying or repressing ?

p. 94

2-1 –Measures to help schools and teachers to fight bullying

p. 94

2-2 –Problems for teacher education relative to bullying

p. 100



ToR 7 - Support measures addressing pupils likely to become early school leavers

p. 107


ToR 8 - Support measures for pupils with a physical or mental handicap, and pupils in care

p. 107

1 Schooling for young people suffering from a disability

p. 107

2 - The positive turn initiated by the law of 2005

p. 109


– Doubts about the impact of the law of 2005

p. 110


p. 112

ToR 9 - Support measures to facilitate the educational success of pupils from minority backgrounds: ethnic, linguistic, religious, regional, etc.

p. 113


– The Republican school model

p. 113


– Towards an intercultural education in France

p. 116

2-1 –What is an intercultural education ?

p. 116

2-2 – Intercultural teacher training

p. 119


p. 121

ToR 10 – The assessment of success and failure regarding these points and the internal and external factors that influence it

p. 122


– Technical and vocational programmes, selective programmes,

school success factors and social integration

p. 123

1-1 – The results of professional and technical programmes

p. 123

1-2 – Inadequacies in school programmes impede the integration of young people

p. 125

1-3 – Support strategies for vocational and technical institutions and teachers

p. 126



– Do not blame the schools or ask them to manage

what is beyond their control

p. 126

Enhancing the role of vocational and technical programmes

and teachers

p. 127


Ensure that the specialities offered square with the job market and the pupils’ wishes

p. 128


– The weaknesses in educational guidance orientation

p. 129

2-1 - Weaknesses in guidance and orientation procedures


2-2 – Support strategies for schools and teachers involved in careers guidance

p. 130



into consideration

p. 131

3-1 – What strategies do the new decrees offer schools and teachers?

p. 133

3-2 – How will the decrees be applied by the social actors concerned?

p. 134

3-2-1 – In the education system

p. 134

3-2-2 - In teacher training programmes

p. 137


- The lack of memory in the system and of continuity in its policies

p. 140


- Alternative solutions

p. 141


p. 143

ToR 11 – Selected innovative and successful projects or case-studies

that have proved successful at school, local, regional or national level

p. 146


p. 146


- “Démission impossible” (impossible resignation) : a scheme designed for pupils in difficulty to support the work conducted by professionals Maryan Lemoine, PhD student, coordinator in “Démission impossible” scheme; Michèle Guigue, Professor; Bernadette Tillard, Senior Lecturer, PROFÉOR- CIREL, Educational Sciences, University Charles de Gaulle Lille 3 p. 148

1-1 – “Démission impossible” (impossible resignation) : an initiative designed to support pupils in a precarious situation

p. 149

1-1-1 - The origins of “Démission Impossible” (Impossible resignation)

p. 149

1-1-2 - How does “Démission Impossible” work ?

p. 151

1-2 - The place and scope of “Démission impossible”

p. 153

1-3 – A scheme that accompanies and supports professionals

p. 154

1-3- 1 - Teacher and project coordinator

p. 155

1-3-2 - The responsibility of a sector with several schools

p. 155

1-3- 3 - The coordinator as mediator

p. 156

1-3-4 - A pivotal position both within and outside the school system

p. 157


1-3- 6 - An initiative that informs and trains


p. 158

1-4 – Conclusion

p. 158


p. 159

2- The fight against school failure in Education Action Networks (REP) Yves Reuter, Professor, THEODILE-CIREL, Educational Sciences, University Charles de Gaulle Lille 3 p. 161

2-1 -

The principles of the “Freinet” school

p. 163

2-1-1 – The school as an institution

p. 163

2-1-2 – Pupils and learning

p. 166

2-1-3 – The Teacher’s role

p. 171

2-2 – Aspects to take into account for a provisional assessment

p. 173

2-2-1 –The interest of the experiment

p. 174

2-2-2 - Some problems

p. 177

2-2-3 – The difficult issue of transferability

p. 178

2-3 – Conclusion

p. 181


p. 182


The democratisation of access to selective education in French higher

education : PSE (Projet soutien à l’excellence/ Excellence support project) Graciela Padoani David, Doctor, Educational Sciences, PROFÉOR-CIREL,Educational Sciences, University Charles de


Gaulle Lille 3 & ESCIP - School of International


p. 184

3-1. Background to the democratisation of access to selective higher education


p. 185

3-1-1 The two models

p. 187

3-2 – The PSE (Projet Soutien à l’Excellence/Excellence support project)

p. 189

3-3 – Results

p. 190

3-3-1 – Academic success

p. 191

3-3-2 – The development of new ambitions and enhanced career plans

p. 192

3-3-3 – The advantages, added value to the whole institution.

p. 194




p. 198


- Responses to violence : disparities in professional practice and

differentiated effects. The case of French primary schools Cécile Carra, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, IUFM of Nord/Pas de Calais, CESDIP-CNRS research team, Head of the Research Centre RECIFES, University of Artois

p. 199

4-1. The frequency and disparity of punishment

p. 201

4-1-1. Frequent punishments

p. 201

4-1-2. Pernicious effects ?

p. 204

4-2. Dealing with violence : questioning professional attitudes

p. 208

4-2-1. “Demonstrating authority”

p. 208

4-2-2. An ambiguous use of the rules

p. 210

4-2-3. Ambiguous recourse to the group

p. 213

4-2-4. Responses to different systems og logic and to differentiates effects

p. 215


p. 218


p. 219

5– Conclusion

p. 221

5-1 Incorporation of differences, differentiated pedagogy and tutoring

p. 222

5-2 Internal and external partnership


5-3 – The importance of local versus national

p. 222

Conclusion : what are the issues raised by the French report

for a European comparative study ?

p. 223

1 - What are the principles to follow and the questions to raise with respect to

support strategies for schools and teachers in order to foster social inclusion ?

p. 225

1-1 - The European choice of educating citizens-to-be for a democracy

p. 225

1-2- The shared issue of social exclusion

p. 226


– Differing concepts of social exclusion and citizenship

p. 227

2-1–The two most conflicting paradigms of exclusion in European countries

p. 227

2-2– Competing models of school linked to two opposite views


3 - Competing models of school in one country and convergences

with those of another country

p. 231

4 - Strenghs and weakenesses of the French mainstream model

p. 235

5 - Strategies for supporting teachers and pupils who all have differences

p. 237

6 - “Community development” as a means of respecting differences

in the whole “Community of free and equal citizens”

p. 238

7 - Learning about otherness as a conceptual link between

learning programmes and ways of working

p. 242

8 - The do-it-yoursef as a support strategy for teachers

p. 244

9 - From unexpected events to strength in numbers

p. 246


p. 248

List of researchers participating in drawing up the report

p. 254


p. 258

1 - Legal framework, references and documentation relative to ToR 1, 3, 5, 10

p. 259

2 - Legal framework relative to ToR 4, 6, 8, 9

p. 272

3 - Regional and local framework

p. 275

List of abbreviations


p. 282

The national DOCA project report for France is as comprehensive as possible given the time and the budget available. Unable to cover every aspect of every issue, we have had to make choices which we have explained in the research orientations section. However, the report remains relatively voluminous as it is the outcome of a concerted joint effort by researchers


and other members of the PRISME association (Promotion des Initiatives Sociales en Milieux Educatifs/Fostering Social Initiatives in Education circles) association.

The reader with little time may prefer to turn directly to :

- the ToR 10, which summarises the strengths and weaknesses of the French educational system set out in the preceding chapters, puts forward solutions and introduces the four case studies described in ToR 11, which provide a concrete illustration of the latter,

- the ToR 11 introduction, which sets the case studies in relation to the context of the national policies and the decentralised policies in the regions, the “départements” and the towns ;

- the ToR 11 conclusion, which summarises the assessments of the strategies chosen by the schools and teachers to set out the educational policies,


- the conclusion, which sets out the lessons to be drawn from French strategies in the form of proposals that can be studied in comparison with those developed by other national teams.

The French specific terms and abbreviations are defined in detail in the research orientations section (3-3-1 & 2, p. 19 sq.). Thus, they describe the French educational system distinctive features. It is why, it is necessary to consult it in order to understand our topics and findings. For instance, the French conservative society and school cannot be understood by somebody who does’nt know a key factor of conservatism, i.e. the difference between university and “grande école”. Indeed, this plays the same part as mandarin culture in China of old, but China has changed. It is why, in ToR 11, a case study (3) is devoted to an initiative aiming to moderate the system by improving its recruitment mostly based on upper social classes nowadays. It aims to improve it, not to abolish it, this is likely to be impossible in France.



As the title of our research programme indicates, our focus is on “Strategies for supporting schools and teachers in order to foster social inclusion.” We first describe the evolutions that led to this position in France with respect to the social integration of young people, together with a brief mention of how French schools have also been given responsibility for the problem. Pupils’ results provide a good indicator for evaluating these strategies and we therefore examine those of French pupils compared to other countries with the same level of development. Lastly, we set out our methodology integrating the terms and terminology used in the academic work to which we refer.


The title of lot 3 in tender n° EAC/10/2007 is: “ Strategies for supporting schools and teachers in order to foster social inclusion.” It directs the focus of our research towards an exploration of the role of schools and teachers with respect to improved social integration. A number of recent studies in France and Europe have focused on this issue regarding the problems encountered by young people, whether in terms of educational failure, social exclusion or violence. The change in status of secondary schools is linked to research findings on social exclusion that highlight school and school staff strategies as key factors in prevention and remediation with respect to social exclusion In line with the decentralisation laws of 1982, which transferred central government responsibility to regions and local authorities,the secondary schools, collèges and lycées, acquired a more important role in dealing with problems when, in 1985, they were given the status of EPLE (Etablissement Public Local d’Enseignement / Local public teaching institution). This gave them greater autonomy and a stronger position with respect to local partnerships, elected representatives, businesses, public services, and associations. The responsibility given to school institutions is currently under debate. As we will see in ToR 3, the setting up of Education Action Zones (ZEP : Zones d’Education Prioritaire) in 1982, which came into force following the Decree of 1981,


highlights the schools’ local role and pooled competencies, contrary to the initial model of the centralised French republican school, protected from outside influences. According to Martine Kherroubi et al. (2004, p. 128-129), the extensive use of the term “exclusion” by State entities at the end of the 1980s shifted the original sense of “excluded” within school circles (pupils excluded from school following the decision of a disciplinary board) to designate pupils who fail at school. The subject of “school exclusion, social exclusion” then became linked to that of the reproduction of inequality. In addition to defining the family and social profiles of young people likely to be affected, studies attempted to identify the mechanisms that generated “the problem

of educational down-grading of children from the most underprivileged backgrounds.”

Defining the new challenges that have emerged since the beginning of the 21 st century,

these authors note that “the shift from a problem of inequality to a problem of exclusion involves

analyzing the place of school in a social structure that develops the exclusion processes,” as suggested

by François Dubet. Furthermore, an increasing amount of work (reports, studies, research) is being conducted on the links between school exclusion and social exclusion and the place of the school in the exclusion processes. School exclusion and educational failure are firstly defined using the same criteria which is internal to the school, in other words, “the level of so-called ‘basic’ acquisition of

knowledge, how far pupils have fallen behind, whether schooling fits within the normal programme or not, the length of studies and leaving without qualifications.”

During the same period, however, the field of school exclusion has been extended to include two new categories, “pupils in great difficulty” and “difficult” pupils, i.e. those who make it difficult for the school to operate and for whom “difficulties at school are

replaced by behavioural problems that appear to be linked to the educational methods of working-class families or to the characteristic habitus of contemporary forms of street culture.”

Our research fits into the framework suggested by Kherroubi et al. (2004, p. 129) that combines research topics with the legislative, institutional, economic and social context of the period concerned, i.e.:

- the way young people join the job market after leaving the school system depending on the state of the labour market. Two thirds of the age group now sit the final French secondary school leavers exam, the baccalauréat, thanks to the creation and development of technological and professional baccalauréat exams. Young people with no qualifications tend to find themselves in an extremely marginal position. With most young people entering the world of work, a fraction of them are considered as `unemployable' (Ropé and Brucy,



- the reorganization of the education system in response to the longer amount of time spent studying and the aim of getting young people to join the job market,

- the shift in social inequalities, which focuses researchers’ attention on the quality of the education offer, notably with respect to the policies pursued by the institutions. Gabriel Langouët (2001) clearly described this evolution in the education system in which the development of democratisation is merely quantitative and demographic, with a higher number of young people obtaining qualifications. However, this democratisation – or rather “massification” – goes hand in hand with socio-professional erosion. A diploma no longer gives access to the same level of opportunities as it gave preceding generation, and young people no longer have the same opportunities to join the job market as in the past. This issue has been studied by many researchers in recent years. Marie Gaussel (2007) analysed the effects of this down-grading on equal opportunities, concluding that it is more marked for women, pupils from rural backgrounds and young people from more modest social origins. She cites :

Philippe Lemistre ( 2007) who explores the issue of down-grading and the growing gap between the level of training and the level of qualifications required for a job, and between the competencies acquired and the competences required; Marie Duru-Bellat (2006) and François Dubet (2004) who consider that the least qualified are the most affected by the mechanisms of down-grading. At the same time, a reduction in the value of school qualifications on the labour market has also been observed. G. Langouët (2008) identified the need to reorganize the French school system based on an analysis of the results of French pupils compared to those of pupils from other European countries. We will also explore this key issue in our research. The French focus on the role of school and teachers in tackling the problems of young people and how to improve their situation is also found in Europe, as in the work and publications by the Council of Europe concerning violence, for example. Reporting for the Council of Europe in 2004, Eric Debarbieux concludes his description of the evolutions of the European debate on this question by shifting the concept of violence as a behavioural problem to that of a real challenge to democracy based on a global policy. He agrees with other researchers like Cécile Carra (2006), that the institution’s strategy is decisive, and that certain schools are in a better position than others as they tackle the problem in collaboration with all the stakeholders (teachers, pupils, parents


and other social partners). He also identifies the closely interwoven macro-social and micro-social factors, and how local initiatives require the support of the State and the regional authorities. This aspect also appears in connection with the other issues covered in this study on improving social integration. Before introducing them, we will begin by examining the results of the French school system compared to those of other European countries.


The aims of the democratisation of education, or mass education, fit in with the education orientation law promulgated in July 1989, drawn up with the aim of ensuring that the whole of an age group reach the level of a recognised qualification CAP (Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle/ Vocational training certificate) or BEP (Brevet d’études professionnelles/Professional studies certificate) and the end of the 1st cycle of secondary education (15 years old), with compulsory schooling fixed until 16 years old, and 80% of young people reaching the level of baccalauréat (end of secondary education). Today’s objective is for 50% of young people to reach tertiary level, in other words higher education (Lemistre, 2007). We have seen this democratisation effectively taking place, even if the exact figure of 80% of children in an age group leaving school with a baccalauréat diploma has not yet been reached. In 2007, the percentage of pupils with the “bac” in a generation was 63.6% and the percentage of those passing compared to those sitting the exam was 83.3%. This proportion has in fact changed little since 1995, when it was 62.7% (Cédelle, 2008). In addition, even though a growing number of pupils can study for school diplomas, as the researchers we mentioned appear to confirm (Langouët, 2001, 2008; Kherroubi et al., 2004; Duru-Bellat, 2006; Gaussel, 2007; Lemistre, 2007), this has not led to improved social inclusion which is mainly reflected in the potential to enter the job market. Statistics confirm that “the difficulties encountered by young people to integrate the system are worsening in France. “One of 70 studies devoted to “young people’s access to the job market” in Données sociales (Social data), published by the INSEE (Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques/ National Institute for economic and statistical information) in May 2006, declared that they “end their education


increasingly qualified but, more often, than not, only find temporary or less qualified work.” This down-grading affects one young person in four. Another study shows the considerable impact of socio-cultural origins in accessing employment. Integration is “slower and more difficult” for children from working classes, young people from non- European immigration and “individuals with diverse social or family difficulties during their childhood,” including unemployed parents, health problems, etc. (Barroux, 2006). We will explore these specific points in research topics (ToR) 1, 3 and 4.

The link between school results and social integration, mainly based on the integration of young people in the world of work, appears to be confirmed by the 2006 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report. Holders of an end-of-secondary-school-studies diploma (CAP, BEP, Baccalaureat) comprise 80% of the population in the age groups eligible to obtain this diploma in France, just reaching the OECD average, while Germany, Finland and South Korea reach or exceed 90%. The proportion of higher education graduates at university or the ‘Grandes Ecoles’ (26%) is even lower in comparison with the OECD average (nearly 35%). This poor performance may be explained by the high rate of short undergraduate programmes like the BTS (Brevet de technicien supérieur/ Vocational training certificate) or IUT (Institut Universitaire de Technologie /Technological higher education institute), which also belong to the higher education system but are not taken into account in the statistics, (19%) against 9% on average for the OECD countries. These statistics may be contested, because the vocational studies give diplomas to young people who would not have elsewhere, in particular, pupils from socio- economically disadvantaged families. Nevertheless, France has an unemployment rate of 23.7% among unqualified 20-24 years old, the highest proportion in the OECD after Poland and the Czech Republic (Laronche, 2006). Even if the figures are different in the last report by the Conseil économique et social (Economic and Social Council) (2008) quoting Eurostat 2007, France is mentioned as having an unemployment rate above the European Union average : it is 19,4 % vs 15,4 %. The French education system’s performance with respect to social inclusion can be assessed from the results of young people, pupils and students compared to other OECD countries, via two aspects:

- their level of diplomas or qualifications when they finish their studies and are ready to join the job market,


- the knowledge acquired during their education.

2-1 –Rate and level of diploma and early leavers without diplomas or qualifications

Pupils who, even if they are no longer obliged by law to go to school, stop studying by choice or lack of motivation, in other words the "drop outs," pose a serious problem

because "school qualifications remain, in an imperfect world, the privileged medium for greater justice"

(Duru-Bellat, 2006) and for better social and professional integration. We address this issue in TOR 1 of our study : Support measures for schools with high drop-out rates (including early leavers without diplomas or qualifications).

2-2 – Students’ results during their schooling

According to G. Langouët (2008), international assessment comparisons from 2000 onwards indicate that pupil and student scores are only just average compared to other OECD countries. Langouët considers two studies to be of particular interest. The first is the evaluation of the learning acquisition of young people at the end of compulsory education (PISA : Programme for International Student Assessment). For reasons of uniformity, the OECD measured the learning input of 15-year-olds, equivalent to the end of the 1 st secondary education cycle in France, and the average end of compulsory education in many countries. The studies and assessments were carried out in 2000, 2003 and 2006 respectively in three areas (writing comprehension, mathematics and science, covering one area in depth each time), with a representative sample of around 4500 young people in each country. With respect to the skills assessed in 2000 and 2003, the average performance of young

French pupils appears all the lower in that “ the skills are outside the strict field of school, and do

not measure simple knowledge as much as the ability to re-use acquired knowledge in more complex situations, whether in writing comprehension or the field of mathematics. These performances are also average when compared to the national wealth (PIB : Produit intérieur brut/GDP) and expenditure on education for 15-year-olds and under. In addition, social success inequalities remain high, and higher than in countries with higher success rates. Lastly, the PISA figures indicate the impact of ‘streaming’ or ‘repeating classes’ in France, which have been well-documented for many years. The gaps are considerable compared to the countries which head the ranking (Finland, South Korea, Japan), all of


which feature the same education for all up to the age of 15, with virtually no repeating of classes. In comparison with 38% of repeats in France, Finland has less than 3%, for example and, except in primary education, Finland spends less money per pupil than France." (Langouët, 2008, p. 135).

The poor results of French pupils are confirmed by the 2006 OECD study. Average scores in France lag way behind those of Finland, South Korea and the Netherlands (Laronche, 2006). They are even worse in the 2006 PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) study with regard to writing comprehension where France ranks 17 th out of 22 European countries. (Cédelle, 2007). The second series of studies cited by G. Langouët relates to international comparisons of higher education. We will not be developing this area which is outside our field of research, but we would like to highlight the author’s comments about the OECD studies on the programmes and degrees delivered by the various countries. Based on the OECD

(2006) statistics, he concludes, “Although it has made progress, France remains very poorly placed

with regard to the leaving levels of its students, even worse than it was in the PISA studies on 15-year- olds.” (p. 138).

Langouët concludes that the French education system needs to be reformed and mentions several researchers who, like him and particularly in the last few years, have highlighted its weaknesses (Dubet 2001, Duru-Bellat 2002, Felouzis et al. 2005, Gauthier et al. 2005). Through the various topics envisaged in this project, our aim is to pinpoint the weaknesses at various levels, whether local, regional or national, and to examine the alternatives put forward.


3-1 - Selection of thematic content

Our first reference is the social exclusion indicator set out by EUROSTAT from various international “early school leaver” figures: i.e. pupils who did not reach the educational level considered as appropriate for European citizenship (ToR 1). Our interpretation of this indicator includes “Leaving school without a diploma”, which has been extensively


researched in France, whether the end of compulsory education is set at the age of 16 or later. We will develop this topic 1 in more depth as it ties in with several of the following topics, and several references used to address it may also be included in other areas. For this reason, the following topics will be covered in less depth or will be left out of this intermediary report. We believe that this will enable readers to understand the links between the various issues that arise from the different topics and the most relevant support strategies, rather than confuse the issue with processes that might interfere with understanding. For the same reasons, we decided to develop one support measure in depth per topic, simply mentioning any similarities with others. As it is impossible to cover everything, it appears more useful to develop well thought through choices rather than to try to cover everything with a few brief comments, both in terms of the initiatives developed as in terms of the research studies. The majority of legislative and regulatory measures in France relating to the first two topics (ToR 1 - Support measures for schools with high drop-out rates, ToR 2 - Support measures for schools with high scores on other possible indicators of social exclusion and ToR 7 –Support measures addressed to pupils likely to become early school leavers) focus on schools in socio-economically deprived areas (ToR 3), where many other negative factors tend to accumulate such as harassment and bullying (ToR 6), and pupils from immigrant backgrounds (ToR 4). We try to avoid repeating findings in more than one topic. Aspects of ToR 2 and ToR 7, for example, are dealt with in ToR 1 as are some of the measures pertaining to ToR 3. We examine ToR 4 in relation to ToR 9 - Support measures to facilitate the educational success of pupils from minority backgrounds: ethnic, linguistic, religious, regional, etc., because the problems arising from the education of young people from immigrant backgrounds are specifically French in nature, bringing into play the values of republican universalism and secularity that are specific to this national context. We have not developed ToR 8 - Support measures for pupils with a physical or mental handicap. As France is relatively behind in this area compared to other European countries, it seems of little value to devote too much time to the French situation compared to other countries when we are looking to develop a comparative study which highlights best practice. Issues specific to France have thus led us to explore in greater depth:

1° – The present evolutions and changes in French inclusion-related policies since the last presidential elections in 2007. We will pay special attention to three policy areas, namely:


- Prevention versus remediation in relation to youth at risk,

- Prevention versus repression in relation to youth at risk,

- Centralisation versus decentralisation of educational authority and policy, linked to the emergence and development of the regions as relatively recent new political powers in France (laws of 1982). 2° – The gap between recommendations and practice, with selected case studies as relevant samples of the key factors that influence success or failure at school.

3-2 - Criteria for selecting the references

We omitted the measures and studies that only related to the analysis of the problems under the guise, for example, of psychological typologies, simply retaining the texts and analyses of issues or practice which also gave rise to solutions, in other words the subtitles to our different support measure topics. In collecting and selecting the reference texts, we made particular use of the Internet sites indicated in the references mentioned at the end of each topic, notably those of the INRP (Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique / National Education Research Institute), including the CAS (Centre Alain Savary) and the VST (Veille Scientifique et Technologique / Monitor Scientific ans technological development), the French Documentation Centre which publishes official reports, in particular those by the General Inspectorates (IGAEN – IGAEN/IGEN (Inspection/ Inspecteur Général(e) de l’Administration de l’Education nationale – Inspection/ Inspecteur Général(e) de l’Administration de l’Education nationale et de la Recherche / Chief school monitoring inspectorate / Chief inspector of schools), invaluable sources of information with respect to the assessment of the French education system, and the well known CNDP (Centre National de Documentation Pédagogique / National centre of teaching documentation) a teacher’s ressource centre whose new name is now SCEREN (Service Culture Editions Ressources pour l’Education Nationale / Cultural Editions and Resources Service for national education), notably the VEI (Ville, Ecole Intégration/ City-School-Integration), and the publications, VEI Enjeux (VEI Stakes) and VEI Diversité (VEI Diversity). We also contacted French researchers specialising in the research topics covered, cited at the end of our report (List of researchers). One problem we come up against is that the majority of studies are devoted to examining the problems of young people or those who work with them and the prevention and remediation measures designed to support


pupils in difficulty. There is rather less emphasis on support strategies for schools and teachers and an assessment of their impact.

3-3 - Terms and terminology. List of abbreviations

We will not repeat those defined in the report initially drawn up to launch the project. As in the DOCA draft inception report that introduced the research about the ten participating countries, the term “measure” is used less in the official or legal sense than in terms of strategies and practices, whether they follow the official guidelines or regulations or not, as indicated in the general title of the programme that frames our research. In the French report, we also distinguish the term “dispositif” (scheme) that we use in a concrete sense, i.e. time management, spatial management, the division of pupils (groups streamed by level in a particular subject, for extra support, tutoring, etc.), in the sense of the implementation of a specific measure.

“Some measures target specific problems such as truancy, refusal to work, unacceptable conduct, violence, etc. (SAS (screen) measures, rebound programmes), in an attempt to ensure that the national requirement to prolong education does not lead to an increase in early leaving and drop-out.” (Kherroubi, 2004, p. 22).

In our national study, this “working framework” is better adapted to pupil diversity. It provides a concrete alternative to offset the homogeneity of classes by introducing special spaces for managing difficult pupils rather than special classes that tend to become places of segregation, bringing together pupils who, in the eyes of the teachers, are not at the same level as other “average” pupils. This allows us to distinguish the work done by teachers in the classroom, outside the classroom or special schemes and initiatives, such as the “dispositifs relais” (rebound programmes). These distinctions are detailed in the study by Kherroubi et al. (2005). The precise terms used for each theme will be defined within the framework of each topic. We firstly defined some expressions and terms specific to France and its education system, which have already appeared or which will appear later on. At the same time, we clarified some of the particularities of the French education system in order to help understand our topics and findings.


3-3-1 – Diplomas, competitive examinations, specific schemes, schools, institutions and staff

Agrégation : National high level competitive examination for recruiting teachers in secondary school. The highest qualification available for teachers at secondary level. Most successful students prepare it in a “Grande Ecole”, the “Ecole Normale Supérieure”. See “Grande école”. AVS : Auxiliaire de vie scolaire. Teaching assistant for disabled pupils. Baccalauréat (bac.) : Secondary school leaving examination certificate taken at the end of secondary school, in the final year of “lycée” (terminale), by 17-18 year-olds, after 3 years of studies that begin in the class known as seconde (2nde) and equivalent to the fifth and sixth forms in the British education system. It is not delivered by the school but via a national examination. Baccalauréat professionnel : created in 1986, this exam is prepared over a 2-year period after the CAP or a BEP. Since 2001, it is possible to prepare the exam in 3 years after the class known as troisième (3 ème ) around the age of 15, but only in some speciality subject areas. It is a level IV diploma which mainly gives immediate access to the job market, but may also allow a student to continue higher education studies, particularly in technical programmes that prepare students to be technicians with a BTS degree. At the beginning of the academic year 2007, the Ministry of Education announced the generalisation of the 3-year professional baccalauréat like the other baccalauréats, instead of 4 (2 years to obtain a CAP or a BEP) after the 3 ème class, followed by a 1ère class and a professional teminale (Auduc, 2008, p. 81-82). Baccalauréat technologique : validates a general education programme and gives a professional qualification (not for a specific career but for a career sector), is the first stage in higher education technical programmes, mainly followed in IUT or in STS, and sometimes in the university in an IUP (Auduc, 2008, p. 100). Brevet des colleges : a diploma that validates the end of the 1 st secondary school cycle, a similar level to the British GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams. BEP : Brevet d’études professionnelles : “Professional studies certificate;” a technical school certificate acquired through a national exam taken at the end of the first level of secondary school (collège), but in a LP, at the age of 15 in the event of regular schooling, or 16, which is the end of compulsory schooling, or over for pupils at risk. It gives access to a level V qualification, at the level of blue collar worker or skilled worker (Auduc, 2008, p. 81). BO or BOEN/JO : Bulletin officiel de l’Education Nationale, Journal officiel (de la République française). Official Bulletins giving details of laws and official announcement (the Gazette in UK). BT : Brevet de technician : gives access to the same opportunities as the baccalauréat technologique in some industrial or artistic specialities (Auduc, 2008, p. 100). BTS : Brevet de technicien supérieur. Vocational training certificate, at the end of secondary school (lycée) at the age of 18. CAP : Certificat d’aptitude professionnelle. Vocational training certificate. Same characteristics as the BEP. However, there are about fifty different types of BEP, which provide more general training than the 200 CAP programmes that train students for a more specific career. Thus, it is possible


to do a BEP covering the food sector, while pupils can join a CAP programme to train as a baker, fish-monger, cold meat preparer, etc. The holder of a CAP generally joins the job market

more quickly than the holder of a BEP who may well continue studying to gain a professional or technological baccalauréat (Auduc, 2008, p. 82). CAPEPS : Certificat d’aptitude au professorat de l’éducation physique et sportive. National competitive examination for recruiting teachers in physical education and sports. CAPES : Certificat d’aptitude au professorat de l’enseignement du second degré. National competitive examination for recruiting teachers in secondary schools : collèges and lycées. CAPET : Certificat d’aptitude au professorat de l’enseignement technique. National competitive examination for recruiting teachers in a lycée technique., CAPLP : Certificat d’aptitude au professorat de lycée professionnel 2 ème grade. National competitive examination for recruiting teachers in a vocational secondary school. CE2 : Cours élémentaire 2 ème année. Third year of “elementary” (primary) school (at age of 8-9). A stage selected by the DEPP (Ministry of Education, statistics department) to assess the results of


CEL : Contrat éducatif local. Local education contract. CIPPA : Cycle d'Insertion Professionnelle par Alternance. Vocational/education sandwich programmes. CLAS : Contrat local d’accompagnement scolaire. Local schoolwork support contract. CLIPA : Classe d’initiation professionnelle en alternance. Sandwich vocational induction courses (with in-company work placements), introduced by the 5-year labour and professional training law of 1995. The equal opportunities law of 31 March 2006 abolished and replaced these courses by junior apprenticeship programmes. The système appears to have failed due to the reticence of French firms (Auduc, 2008, p. 79). CLIS : Classe d’intégration scolaire. Inclusion class for disabled pupils in primary school. Collège: State secondary school for pupils aged between 11 and 15-16, just after primary school and before lycée. It covers the classes known as 6 e (sixième), 5 e (cinquième), 4 e (quatrième) and 3 e (troisième). Collège unique : The “collège” became “Collège unique”, i.e. comprehensive school in 1975. The law has done away with the “filières”, the courses selecting pupils. Many critics said - and say now - that the educational standards were falling, because more students have access to a “lycée” and to the bac. But “options” may play a similar part as “filières.” Contrat de réussite : Success contract. CPGE : Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Ecoles (“prépa.”) : Programme which prepares students for the competitive entrance exam (concours) for the Grandes Ecoles. Generally located in a good lycée, after the terminale (last class of lycée) and after passing the bac. Like the Grandes Ecoles, the classes préparatoires recruit high-flying students through a competitive selection with a predetermined quota of successful candidates, but based on school results rather than a competitive examination. The programme lasts two years and the schools foster a competitive and elitist approach to learning. DEUG : Diplôme d’études universitaires générales. Diploma taken after two years at university. DIMA: Dispositif d’initiation aux métiers en alternance. Sandwich vocational induction schemes introduced at the beginning of the academic year 2008 (BO of 10 April 2008) in the vocational

and compare them with those of 6 e , the first year of secondary schooling. See primary school.


lycées (LP) for pupils who choose this option at around 15 years old, as a complement to the schemes offered in collège to pupils in the quatrième class aged at least 14 years old (Auduc, 2008, p. 79).

Dispositif relais : Rebound programme.

DUT : Diplôme universitaire de technologie. Two-year higher education diploma. Ecole élémentaire : See Primaire. E2C : Ecole de la seconde chance. Second chance schools. Ecole maternelle : See Primaire. EN : Ecole Normale : College of education for primary teachers. They have been included in IUFM. ENA : Ecole Nationale d’Administration. National civil servant school training top civil servants. See Grande Ecole ENS : Ecole Normale Supérieure. College of education training top teachers who prepare an “agrégation”. See Grande Ecole EPLE : Etablissement public local d’enseignement. Local state education institution, a new status of collèges and lycées since 1985 to give them more autonomy. There were 7915 EPLE and 3495 private secondary schools in 2007-08 (Auduc, 2008, p. 151). ESEN : École supérieure de l'éducation nationale. National Education College. ESSEC : École Supérieure de Sciences Économiques et Commerciales. College of economic and social sciences. ESSEC Business School training top managers. See Grande Ecole. FI : Formation Intégrée. Integrated training. GAIN : Groupe d'Aide à l'Insertion. Support group integration programmes. Grande Ecole : A higher education institution where engineering (Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Centrale, Ecole des Mines), business (HEC, ESSEC, “Sup. de Co.”), civil servant students (ENA, mostly after IEP-“Sciences Po”.), future teachers (ENS) are taught to a very high standard after passing a competitive entrance exam, unlike universities which are obliged to accept all students who have passed the bac. at the end of secondary school (bacheliers). The cultural importance of competitive exams (concours) is considerable in France. Other examples of it include the competitive recruitment procedures for public sector teaching posts (CAPES and agrégation), civil service appointments in ministries, and even jobs in the Post Office. This traditional cultural French trait can be compared to the Mandarin culture in China. Critics about tradition have led to new positive affirmative action measures being developed for socio-economically deprived areas, with legal frameworks such as the Charte pour l'égalité des chances dans l'accès aux formations d'excellence (Charter for equal opportunities to access top quality education) being introduced in 2005. Two “Grandes écoles” in Paris, the IEP in 2001 and the ESSEC in 2002, took the initiative before the legal framework was introduced, inspired by the latter. (see ToR 3, 4, and Case study 3 in ToR 11). In France, higher education and good qualifications are particularly important both in terms of access to employment and salary levels, because there are the main criterias, far more than work experience, for top jobs. It is why there is less social mobility in France than in other European or economically developed countries. HEC : Ecole des Hautes Etude commerciales. Business school training top managers. See Grande Ecole. IEP : Institut d’Études Politiques. Institute of Political Studies, a “grande école” often called “Sciences Po” (Political Studies), its previous name when it was not a State school. It continues to


train high flying students (in 2008, only 4 % candidates were accepted) for ENA, but also diplomats and business men. As ENA, it has often been criticized because so many ministers and

high- ranking decision makers are “énarques” and “Sciences po.” See Grande Ecole.

IME : Institut médico-éducatifs. Medico-educational institutes for disabled pupils who cannot go to a school in the ordinary environment. ITAQ : Itinéraire personnalisé d'Accès à la Qualification. Tailored qualification programmes. ITEP : Institut thérapeutique éducatif et pédagogique. Therapeutic educational institutions for multi- disability pupils. IUFM : Institut universitaire de formation des maîtres. Colleges of education created by the law of 1989 and extended to the whole French territory in 1991. In 2008, the President of the French Republic and the Education minister have announced that teachers will be recruited with a Master granted by University in 2010.The IUFM should disappear. See ToR 10, 3-2-2. IUP : Institut Universitaire Professionnel. Vocational higher education institute IUT : Institut Universitaire de Technologie. Technological higher education institute. Mainly prepares secondary school pupils (16-17/18 year olds), following on from the collège as a general and technological lycée or vocational lycée. Licence professionnelle : Vocational degree : created at the beginning of the academic year 2000 to prepare students with a BTS or a DUT to earn an undergraduate degree in 3 years. Of the 195 degrees introduced in 2000, 90 are taught in an IUT, 70 in universities and 35 in lycées as a prolongation of present BTS. By 2004-05, there were 1000 of them, with 45% of students holding a BTS and 32% with a DUT. 26,900 students were registered, in other words 12% of all students preparing for a degree (Auduc, 2008, p. 100). Lycée : State secondary school for pupils between 16-17/18, after the collège. The lycées cover the school years known as seconde (15-16 years old), première (16-17 years old) and terminale (17-18 years old). LP : Lycée professionnel. Refers to a lycée which provides vocational training as well as more traditional core subjects. MEN : Ministre/Ministère de l’Education Nationale : Education Minister/Ministry. Department for Education and Employment in UK MGI : Mission générale d’insertion : General Integration Mission MOREA : Module de Repréparation aux Examens par Alternance. Basic schooling and exam preparation work/education sandwich programmes. MODAL : Module d'Accueil en lycée. Special secondary school reintegration programmes. Primaire (premier degré) : Primary. In France, the state primary school includes the école maternelle (nursery school) which school children attend between 2 and 5-6 years old and the école élémentaire, which children enter at 6 years old, the age of compulsory schooling, until 10-11 years old. A third of children aged 2 years old attend the PS (Petite section), the first year of the école maternelle, nearly 100% attend the MS (Moyenne section) and all children attend the GS (Grande section) before compulsory school age. The école élémentaire covers CP (cours préparatoire), CE1 (cours élémentaire 1 ère année), CE2 (2 ème année), CM1 (Cours moyen 1 ère année), and CM2 (Cours moyen 2 ème année). The teachers have the same diploma and qualifications for all the classes, including maternelle and élémentaire.


Principal : The Head of a collège.

PE : Professeurs des écoles : Primary school teachers, ex instituteurs.

Proviseur : The Head of a lycée.

Réseau relais : Rebound network.

Réseau de réussite scolaire : Academic success network. Secondaire (second degré) : This includes a first stage performed in a college between 11 and 15-16 years old (age of the end of compulsory schooling), and a second stage in a lycée, validated by the baccalauréat SEGPA : Section d’enseignement général et professionnel adapté. Adapted general and vocational education programme, for pupils from quatrième or troisième in college, designed for children in difficulty who may also benefit from extra support in 4 ème or social integration schemes in 3 ème (Auduc, 2008, p. 78). SESSAD : Service d’éducation spéciale et de soins à domicile. Special education service and home care facilities for disabled pupils. STS : Section de techniciens supérieurs. Undergraduate level technicians preparing a BTS in 2 years at a vocational lycée. Sup. de Co. : Ecole Supérieure de Commerce. Business school training top managers. See Grande Ecole UPI : Unités pédagogiques d’intégration. Education inclusion units for disabled pupils in primary school.

3-3-2 - State ministries, departments, public services and education sectors

Académie : State education district for which a Recteur, Chief Education Officer, is responsible and appointed by the MEN (ministry). It is managed by the Rectorat (LEA : Local education authority in the UK). 27 “académies” above 30 correspond to the region, but Ile de France region, with 3 “académies”, Paris, Créteil, Versailles, Rhône-Alpes with 2, Lyon and Grenoble, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) with 2 also : Aix-Marseille and Nice. See recteur, rectorat. AIS : Adaptation et intégration scolaire. Education district for children considered as maladjusted or so- called “special needs” in the UK, which aims for improved inclusion in the school system. CAS : Centre Alain Savary (INRP) CASNAV : Centre académique pour la scolarisation des élèves nouvellement arrivés et des enfants du n voyage. Regional (académique) centre for new immigrant pupils and children of travellers (Roma pupils). They were first called CEFISEM. CDPAPH : Commission départementale des droits et de l’autonomie de la personne handicapée/ Departmental Committee for the rights and autonomy of the disabled. It decides on the orientation of pupils via a tailored education plan. CEFISEM : Centre de formation et d’information sur la scolarisation des enfants de migrants : Centre of training and information about immigrant children’s schooling. See CASNAV. CEMEA : Centres d’entraînement aux méthodes d’éducation actives. Training centres for active education methods (pedagogical movement).


CEREQ : Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications. Centre for studies and research into qualifications.


: Centre de formation d’apprentis. Vocational training centre for apprentices.


: Centre d’information et d’orientation. Information and orientation centre, one per district (a district usually includes a dozen or so collèges and 5 or 6 lycées. Orientation counsellors and psychologists are attached to this. A public service attached to the Ministry of Education, it is in relation with other services and organisations involved in training and social integration of

young people: i.e. the local job centre, the ANPE (Agence nationale pour l’emploi/ National Employment Office (job centre in the UK), which deals with the unemployed) and social services dealing with employment issues (Auduc, p. 107). CMP : Centre médicopsychologique. Medico-psychological centre dealing mainly with prisoners, juvenile offenders, people who have attempted suicide and drug addicts. CMPP : Centre médico-psycho-pédagogique. Medico-psycho-pedagogic centre for physically or mentally disabled children. Both CMP and CMPP are in the infant-juvenile psychiatry sectors. CNDP : Centre national de documentation pédagogique. National teachers’ resource centre, now known as the SCEREN, which includes the CRDP, CDDP and local services, libraries and multimedia libraries. CNED : Centre national d’enseignement à distance. National distance learning centre. COP : Conseiller d’orientation-psychologique. Orientation counsellor and psychologist attached to a CIO. CRDP : Centre régional de documentation pédagogique. Regional teachers’ resource centre. There is one in each “académie.” CDDP : Centre départenmental de documentation pédagogique Departmental centre of teaching documentation. There is one per “département”

DARES : Direction de l’Animation de la Recherche, des Etudes et des Statistiques. Ministerial research activities, studies and statistics.

DEP : Direction de l’Evaluation et de la Prospective. Ministerial assessment and forecasting department,

now called DEPP: Direction de l’évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance. Ministerial assessment, forecasting and performance department. Département : an administrative division of the area included in a region, could be translate by county in the UK. DESCO : Direction de l’Enseignement scolaire. Ministerial education department, now called the DGESCO.

DGESCO : Direction générale de l’Enseignement scolaire. Top ministerial education department.

DIV : Délégation interministérielle à la ville et au développement social urbain. State inter-departmental organisation for town and social urban development.

DSDEN : Direction des services départementaux de l’éducation nationale County-based national education services (at IA).


DSU, DSQ : Développement social urbain/Développement social des quartiers. Social urban development/social district development : projects mainly designed for parts of cities located in socio-economically deprived areas. FRANCA : FRANcs et Franches CAmarades. Frank fellows (pedagogical movement). GAPP : Groupe d’aide psycho-pédagogique. Psycho-pedagogic support groups IA : Inspection académique/Inspecteur d’académie. School inspectorate/chief education officer responsible for one of the “départements” that makes up an “académie” = LEA : Local Education authority in the UK. But we use LEA for rectorat in this report, as there are not two different words as in French. IA-DSDEN : Inspecteur d’académie Directeur des Services Départementaux de l’Education Nationale. Chief education officer, Head of the national education services in a “département.” ICEM : Institut Coopératif de l’École Moderne/ Cooperative Institute of the Modern School), a pedagogical movement based on the ideas set up in the works by Célestin Freinet IEN : Inspection/Inspecteur de l’Education nationale. Primary school inspectorate/inspector. Responsible for a “circonscription” (a group of primary schools in several districts in one or several towns, like a catchment area) in a “département.” They, or more often their “conseillers pédagogiques,” (educational advisers) inspect the primary teachers. IGAEN : Inspection/ Inspecteur général/e de l’Administration de l’Education nationale. Chief school management inspectorate/Chief inspector of schools responsible for appraising the education system’s administration or management (at the MEN). Now called the IGAENR. IGAENR : Inspection/Inspecteur général/e de l’administration de l’éducation nationale et de la recherché. Chief schools inspectorate/Chief inspector of schools, responsible for appraising management and research. IGEN : Inspection/Inspecteur général/e de l’Education nationale. Chief inspector of schools responsible for assessing teaching. The IGEN and IGAENR are responsible for delivering reports to the Ministry of Education both separately, and (often) together. INRP : Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique. National Institute for pedagogical research. INSEE : Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques. National Institute for economic and statistical information. IPR : Inspection/Inspecteur pédagogique régional/e. Inspector of secondary teachers in an “académie” = inspector of schools in the UK and accreditation officer in the USA. MDPH : Maison départementale des personnes handicapées/ Departmental centre for the disabled. MEN : Ministère de l’Education Nationale. Ministry of Education. MGI : Mission Générale d'Insertion. General insertion mission. PJJ : Protection judicaire de la jeunesse. Youth department, special young offenders service at the Ministry of Justice. RASED : Réseau d’aides spécialisées aux élèves en difficulté. Network for specific needs of children at risk : a public service including different specialists for special needs : educational psychology, psychomotility, language. It serves a school complex consisting of primary and secondary schools in a catchment area (UK) or school district (USA). Recteur : Chief Education Officer appointed by the MEN to be responsible for an “académie”.


Rectorat : Regional Education authority which manages an “académie” = LEA : Local education authority in the UK. REP : Réseau d’éducation prioritaire : Education Priority Network. An extended ZEP. SCEREN : Service Culture Editions Ressources pour l’Education Nationale/ Cultural Editions and Resources Service for national education, previously named CNDP. VEI : Ville, Ecole, Intégration. City, school, inclusion : a CNDP/SCEREN department. VST : Veille scientifique et technologique. Monitor scientific and technological development : an INRP database. ZEP : Zone d’éducation prioritaire. Education Priority Zone or area targeted for special help in education = EAZ: Education Action Zones in the UK. ZU : Zone urbaine sensible. Urban problem area


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We will firstly attempt to define what the concept of disaffection from school means through recent publications, and we will then explore the progress made. Finally we will examine the support measures available to schools and teachers.



What do we mean by disaffection exactly ? How is it defined in France ? The term is polysemous, both in France and abroad. It is important to define it clearly in order to understand which support strategies need to be explored for schools and teachers. Generally speaking, disaffection from school is defined by the notion of leaving school before the end of compulsory schooling or during the course of schooling. Disaffection can imply complete absence (dropping out) or only partial absence with little participation in class and an extremely passive attitude (dropping in). Disaffection from school is most commonly used in the sense of dropping-out as an international indicator of exclusion from education. However, for a comparative study of European countries or those in the OECD, we need to take two factors into account. On the one hand, the age of compulsory schooling is set at different ages. In France, it is 16, but it can be lower, (14 in Italy in 2005 according to the report by Dubreuil et al.) and up to 18 (the UK and the USA). In addition, as we saw earlier, the objectives of national education decision-makers is to raise the level of education, leading a number of researchers (cf. those already mentioned and below) to focus their attention on drop outs in higher education. We will start by defining the semantic field of disaffection with school, which ties in with several other areas covering very different situations and leading to various support schemes being introduced for schools and teachers. Based on recent publications on the topic, we have identified three main senses with regard to this expression, all of which link up with one another.

1-1- Dropping out, failure to comply with legal obligations, truancy, absenteeism, breaking off from school, early leaving

These terms are found in several reports written by researchers: all of them refer to the idea of not being at school : “déscolarisation” (truancy) (MEN, 2003; Glasman, Oeuvrard, 2004; La Nouvelle revue de l'AIS/ AIS New Journal 10/2003, n° 024) means to be out of school, reflecting the failure to comply with legal obligations (Machard, 2003), and expresses itself in absenteeism (Toulemonde, 1996) via a complex process of breaking away from the educational system (Broccolicchi, 2000; Millet, Thin, 2003, 2005; Tanon, 2001). Abandoning education and the school system can lead to


extremely serious consequences (Les dossiers de la DEPP (Reports from the DEP), n°135, October 2002). Under the title, “Le décrochage scolaire: une fatalité ?” (disaffection from school : an inevitability ?), the VEI enjeux report (09/2000, n° 122) describes one aspect in particular that disaffection from school is likely to lead to, namely a radical form of dropping out of the social system (such as drug-addiction or suicide), and it establishes a link between disaffection from school and the difficulty, or even the impossibility, of integrating society and the workplace. Several researchers highlight the fact that disaffection from school does not happen overnight but takes place gradually with increasingly frequent absences. Several different kinds of scission occur before school is completely abandoned. “Disaffected

pupils are not drop outs in essence : confronted with difficulties built up over the course of schooling, difficulties which they cannot manage, they develop a strategy of disaffection to protect or defend

themselves” (Lettre Réseau Relais, (Rebound Network Letter) April 2008). The study conducted by Carole Dolignon (2005, 2008) based on interviews with disaffected schoolchildren throws interesting light on the phenomenon, identifying it as a long-term process which develops in the wake of accumulated educational failure and disappointments that generate boredom, withdrawal of interest in learning, and short absences which gradually increase until the final drop out. The distinction between “passive disaffection” (dropping in), physically present in class but without interest in what happens there, and “active disaffection” (dropping out) is not clear-cut but spreads

inexorably, by stages, in “processes which lead the pupils from a difficulty in a particular field to an

initial disaffection, and from there, according to the pupils, either to a form of ‘survival’ in the system

through internal disaffection, or to a phase of external disaffection and hence to dropping out." (Bautier,

Terrail, 2003, p. 25). We can deduce from this that the earlier measures are taken at school, the more likely they are to be successful. However, an analysis of the situation involving disaffection highlights the fact that the school institution helps intensify the discontinuity and rupture. The school records keep the pupils in a situation of relegation (Millet, Thin, 2005), preventing them from reintegrating the programme. Agnès Henriot Van Zanten (2001, in Kherroubi et al, 2004, p.142) even puts forward the hypothesis that while teenagers from economically underprivileged backgrounds come to school with an attitude to the school culture already structured in other living environments, deviant and partially delinquent behaviour generally develops inside the institution via interaction with the school processes.


Jacqueline Costa-Lascoux and Olivier Hoibian (2003) consider that the key moments in the dropping out process are often poorly discerned. They may occur during the move to CP, the first year of primary school, the first year of college (“6ème”), the end of “4ème” or the passage to the “3ème” classes (in “college”). The pupil has made a vain attempt to attract attention, either by trying to be better behaved or to produce work that better complies with teachers’ or parents’ expectations, or by disturbing the courses. These pupils also often suffer from a lack of continuity in the educational help they get from the various social interlocutors who continually change over the course of their chaotic schooling. This brings us back to the question already raised : isn't it the way the education system itself operates which needs changing if we are to stop producing “misfits” ? (cf. Glasman; Geay, Ropé in MEN et al, 2003; Glasman, Oeuvrard, 2004; Kherroubi et al., 2004; Langouët, 2008).

1-2 - Early leavers without diplomas or qualifications

We studied this second sense to analyse the results of French pupils compared to those of pupils from other equally developed countries from the OECD studies. Leaving without qualifications can occur at any qualifying level of the education system, in both secondary and higher education. For Marie Gaussel (2007), leaving the education system “without qualifications” conventionally indicates dropping out of education before the final year of preparation for a vocational training certificate (CAP) or a professional studies certificate (BEP), just after the “collège.” As we said in the introduction to this first topic, we need to extend our comparative study until at least the end of secondary education, which is validated by the “baccalaureat ” diploma in France, given that we do not deal with higher education at all. This is also, and for the same reasons, what the joint report by the two Chief schools inspectorates at the ministry, IGEN and IGAEN, recommended in 2005 with respect to school leavers without qualifications, namely, to go beyond the first generally accepted definition in France, in order to establish reliable comparisons at European level. Given that the notion of leaving school without qualifications is defined with respect to employment and employability, we believe this criterion should be retained as it leaves aside the specificities of each national education system, the age of compulsory


schooling and its related diplomas, and only takes into account what is required to join the job market. Thus, the European indicators in Lisbon, Laeken, and the guidelines concerning “human capital development” contained in the Stratégie européenne pour l'emploi (European Strategy for Employment) drawn up by the European Council of Luxembourg in 1997, refers to European education classifications and to populations without secondary education diplomas, in other words without the CAP, the BEP or the “baccalauréat” in France. Even the European classification of education concerns “successful” education, sanctioned by a certificate of success (or better, by a diploma). This is the interpretation which France is now adopting. In L'état de l'École (School state), the IG speaks about the level of education of school drop-outs, backed up by national indicators collected since 2003 by the DEP (Department of Assessment and Prospects) at the Ministry of National Education. These are “explicitly in accordance with international classifications of types of education (CITE : classification internationale des types de l’éducation), according to which pupils are considered qualified if they have successfully completed “the education cycle.”

“The DEP study considers unqualified school leavers as young people who interrupted their initial education for the first time and for at least one year after levels VI and V bis, i.e. after a class in the first cycle of secondary education, a corresponding class in special education, before the final year of a CAP, a BEP or below (on this basis, school leavers without qualifications average around 7% of pupils, but this may double in certain catchment areas).” (p. 6)

The main statistics-producing organizations in France have now opted for a wider

definition: “According to the definition adopted for the presentation of the Bilan emploi-formation

(Training and employment assessment) supervised by INSEE and drawn up by the DEP, the DARES and the CEREQ, a young person is considered to have left basic education once they stop their initial, general or vocational training, either at school or as an apprentice, at whatever the level and for a period exceeding twelve months (other than in exceptional cases like illness, maternity, etc)” (p. 6).

We position ourselves with respect to the idea of “minimal qualifications”, in other words, the qualifications required in a specific country to continue studying or to have a real chance of joining the job market. This concept provides us with the most revealing comparisons between different national systems. Recent publications on the subject all have similar interpretations. "Les oubliés de l'école” (Those who have been forgotten by school) (Langouët, Thelot, dir., 2003) refers to unqualified school leavers who find it difficult to join both society and the world of work due to their lack of diplomas.


“School drop outs” or “teenagers who crack” are the 60,000 young people who leave the school system without diplomas or qualifications (Longhi, Guibert, 2003). N° 57 of Éducation et formation (Education and training, September 2000) defines, estimates and characterises unqualified school leavers. It also links the absence of diplomas with the outcomes of these young people in terms of social and professional integration.


- Dropping in

A 3 rd sense of disaffection from school, which may well be linked to the first, refers to

pupils who, while at school, display an internal disaffection (“dropping in”), i.e. those

who do not follow the courses and are not interested in them, even if they do not miss them physically, or only intermittently.

It is mainly in connection with this 3 rd sense that we find texts which highlight

motivation, de-motivation, and the re-motivation to learn. We will not go into great depth regarding the aspects that focus on analysing the processes and causes as our specific methodological choice deals with support strategies. However, several publications that focus on prevention and remediation measures for disaffection from school, take up this concept of motivation and, in terms of learning, the issue of teaching and the teachers’ didactic methods. We will look at this aspect in our third part and again in ToR 5 - Support measures for teachers working in such schools.


One of the most serious effects of disaffection from school is its impact on social integration, insofar as abandoning school early generally results in leaving without diplomas or, even worse, without any qualifications at all. As we have seen, even if diplomas have lost much of their value nowadays and even if they no longer guarantee a job as good as for preceding generations, they nonetheless remain the most widely accepted means of finding work.


Moreover, young people who drop out of the education system are more likely to find themselves in situations of social exclusion, drug addiction and crime, which are more difficult to deal with outside school than inside, and may even lead to the final ‘exit’, in other words, suicide (VEI enjeux, 09/2000). In a report by Dominique Glasman (2003, p. 2), President of the Scientific Committee of the inter-ministerial research programme regarding school disaffection processes, the causes of growing “institutional concern regarding so-called ‘disaffected’ pupils since 1999” were presented in an article published earlier the same year. At the top of the list is “the concern for law and order and the supposed threats to it by errant pupils.” In second place, the report mentions the main thrust of

our project, “the acute problem of the social and professional integration of unqualified young people

who form the ‘hard core’ of difficult-to-reduce juvenile unemployment, even in periods of economic

upturn.” The third factor mentioned is “the demands and problems school is confronted with : on

the one hand, by law, (no one shall leave school without qualifications); in addition, the conditions under which the “massification” and the removal of stages of orientation have undermined the assistance available to pupils in difficulty, whose educational background (and move to the subsequent class level) are determined more by issues of flow management (limiting the number of repeats) than assessment of level of knowledge or interest in learning.”

2-1 – The statistics

We set out the remarks made by Marie Gaussel below (2007). According to the “Generation 2001” investigation carried out by the CEREQ (Centre for study and research into qualifications) in 2005 on a sample of 10,000 young people who left the education system in 2001, 18% left without any diplomas and 45% with only one diploma from secondary education. Of the latter, 12% reached a level corresponding to one or two years of study after the “baccalauréat”, but without obtaining the diploma they had studied for. Only 37% of the sample left with a higher education diploma. Figures for school leavers without diplomas can be calculated in various ways. Although, in the final DOCA report, we make an international comparison using the OECD or Eurydice data, in the French reports, we need to examine the variables used in France. The indicators used in Les chiffres de l'école (School figures) (2006) analyze two main sets of data: school-leavers without qualifications and school-leavers without a diploma. Leaving the education system “without qualifications” conventionally indicates dropping out of studies before the final year of preparation for the vocational training


certificate (CAP) or the professional studies certificate (BEP), or just after “college”. School-leavers without qualifications stabilized in the first half of the nineties, after dropping radically during the previous decades. In 2005 this figure concerned only 6% of young people (50,000), as against 12.5% in 1985, 20% in 1975 and 33% in 1965. According to the Lisbon strategy reference criteria, 17% of young people aged between 20 and 24 are insufficiently trained in France. This proportion is decreasing, however. In 1996 it was 23%, and over 30% at the end of the seventies. The concept of leaving the education system “without a diploma” is easier to define. It concerns young people who leave school without obtaining the CAP, the BEP or the “baccalauréat.” In 2005, these “early leavers” accounted for 13% of the 18-24 age group. “No diploma” does not, however, mean “no qualifications” since more than half the school-leavers with no diploma have a qualification. A school-leaver from the final year of the CAP, for example, may not have obtained the diploma but nonetheless has a qualification, whereas a young person who gives up in the first year of the BEP after passing the “Brevet des colleges” has no qualifications but does have a diploma. In 2005, only 4% of young people left school with no diploma or qualifications.

The analysis of these figures for secondary schools in France, performed by the DEP (Direction de l’évaluation et de la prospective/ Assessment and Forecasting Department) in 2005 and 2006, confirms that the majority of these young “dropouts” who had difficulties at school came from underprivileged environments and were often of foreign origin. The 2006 analysis offers a raft of data on the correlations between diplomas and unemployment, and between diplomas and the time taken to find employment. The DEP recommends, firstly, prior action with the pupils’ families during the second cycle or “collège”, and secondly, a good orientation policy at the end of “troisième” (the last class of “collège”). Other assessment and remediation tools may be brought into play at later stages and these will be presented in the third section. The rate of access to “baccalauréat” level depends on several factors such as the choice between a general /technological or vocational education programme at the end of the fourth year in “collège”, or pupils continuing towards a vocational “baccalauréat” after a BEP (60% of young people are advised to join a general or technological programme in the first year of “lycée,” while 40% are advised to join a vocational study programme in this same year). After passing a BEP or CAP exam, around 50% of young people continue their education in a technological or vocational second year; and of these, 14% of pupils in the vocational cycle drop out.


We have not given the drop out figures from higher education as our research does not cover this level of education, but as we have seen (cf. 1-2), the results of French students also leave much to be desired. Social inequality regarding access to degree programmes is also confirmed.

2-2 – Analysis of the problem

In France, dropping out of the educational system without qualifications affects between 110,000 and 170,000 young people every year, depending on how the figures are calculated (Dubreuil et al., 2005). For these authors, one of the major dropout factors is the programme chosen at the end of the final year of “collège”, which, for weaker pupils, usually means opting for vocational training, either at “lycée” or via an apprenticeship. In addition, systematic guidance into a general programme at “lycée” also leads to a large number of pupils who do not wish to undertake long secondary studies with little professional benefit, dropping out (see Endrizzi, 2007). In secondary education, Dubois-Dunilac & Macaire (2006) give us further insights into the effects of changing the educational path that leads out of the education system and

into the job market: “It is when changing the educational path that certain baccalauréat-holders leave

the education system. While almost all of them expressed the wish to continue into higher education prior to obtaining the “baccalauréat,” almost one in ten enter the job market after they pass it.”

An analysis of why baccalauréat-holders change their educational path sheds further light on the complexity of the project. Of the 8000 general and technological baccalauréat-holders questioned from the “Centre” region of France, a quarter had been refused their initial option. 71% changed project, 54% changed both project and region, and 18% changed region. Technological baccalauréat-holders had their project refused proportionally more often, and more than a third of them joined the job market (as against 13% for the general baccalauréat-holders). Gaussel uses foreign research to draw the conclusion that the tendency to drop out is the product of three learning-related factors : lack of academic success (as measured by tests and marks), instability in the school environment (both internal and external) and failure to acquire knowledge and skills (validated by successfully completed six- month periods and the diplomas obtained).


This analysis confirms the validity of our project’s focus on strategies to help schools and teachers. The level of parental education, their income, composition of the family, size of the school and number of pupils in the class are just some of the factors that can influence a pupil's academic perseverance. How the establishment is run, its culture and climate also contribute to the progressive withdrawal of a pupil if the decision-makers fail to apply a policy of dropout risk measurement and prevention. The dropping out process results from several years of instability combined with a loss of motivation and failure to validate skills. The process can be reversed, however, not only through remedying measures, but also by more effective prevention measures. As Marc Romainville (2000), in Canada, Mylène Lambert, Klarka Zeman, Mary Allen and Patrick Bussière (2004) observe that young people who have a strong feeling of belonging to their school and who obtain good results at secondary school are more likely to continue their studies. Their study involved a sample of students who began a cycle in 2001. 15% of the young people aged between 20 and 22 who continued studying after secondary level gave up before the end of their programme. In addition, young people who drop out of secondary studies before finishing appear to have more in common with those who did not enter higher education in the first place than with the other average students. Romainville (2000) drew up a list of factors leading to failure at university that could also be valid for schools. He believes that predictive studies of failure-producing factors are unreliable because they are based on characteristics which cannot be applied in all contexts. He therefore suggests measuring the modifiable characteristics : i.e. those for which training could be effective and transposable to different establishments. The first step is to identify the causes of failure and their origin:

the student’s personal characteristics : their background, their learning abilities, their age, etc.

the phases involved in moving from one status to another: “unfamiliarity time”, “learning time”, “affiliation time”. The transition from secondary to higher education is a difficult one to make when the process of institutional affiliation involves an inability to understand new game rules. Romainville cites the Tinto model (Tinto, 1993) who also believes that this is the most decisive phase : if students are not socially integrated into their group, then they can get lost and may drop out of the programme.


The joint report drawn up by the two Chief Inspectors of Schools at the Ministry (IGEN and IGAEN) in 2005 regarding school leavers without qualifications indicates that the same is true for the passage from primary to secondary education. Other French studies, such as that by Anne Barrère (1997), identified the difficulties of the “profession of pupil” for a certain number of high-school pupils, who do not understand the demands that are made on them. They spend a great deal of time doing their work, but as they fail to organize their tasks effectively and are uncertain as regards the validation processes and the underlying meaning of what they are doing, their results are poor and their report cards deplore their “lack of work.” The study led by Carole Dolignon (2005, 2008) through interviews with “passive” school droppers-in (who are present in class) and “active” droppers-out (outside the school), highlights the difficulty these teenagers have in making sense of what they do at school or understanding the norms that govern their programmes and academic success. These pupils are dominated by emotional representations which block them at cognitive level. They do not understand that they are judged on academic performance that is based on assimilating content. They like or do not like the school subjects and those who deliver them. They develop a discourse marked by hatred towards the latter. This typology links up with the analyses of other researchers: “Some pupils have developed

a relationship that has broken away from learning; they are discouraged and say they do not get involved in any school activities. Some affirm that the situation is due to the lack of support from the teachers, while others bitterly highlight what they see as racism in the school institution “ (Bautier, Terrail, 2003, p. 28).

For Stéphane Bonnéry (2004), the learning difficulties already exist in primary school and precede the disaffection from school that occurs in the secondary system. On the one hand, the pupils firmly believe they are doing what the teacher has asked of them and fail to grasp the invisible underlying task of making the link with the general explanations given by the teacher. At the same time, the teachers believe that if pupils are obviously working, then they are engaged in mental activity. However the pupils’ involvement in an activity is not enough to really develop knowledge. These are basic socio-cognitive misunderstandings. Thus the “droppers-out” from secondary education retain a good image of primary education because the way secondary school operates inevitably highlights their difficulties. The drama is therefore triggered when they enter secondary school.

“Some pupils, those who try to be ‘good pupils’ and to conform to the learning norms, thinking that ‘all work deserves reward,’ find themselves at a disadvantage as the same misunderstandings are at work as at primary school, but here they become aware that something is not working: they try to do what they


believe is expected of them in a contextualized way, but their marks do not improve because specific cognitive activities are implicitly expected of them, such as decontextualization/recontextualization, or because of certain uses of educational language or the obviousness of understanding school tasks within the context of their final learning purpose. Finally, the more effort they make, the less it seems to ‘pay;’ and consequently, in their search for an explanation, there is a feeling of humiliation, injustice, and the risk of appearing ‘stupid’ which results in them giving up making an effort (it’s better to be lazy than stupid) and/or blaming the problem on the teacher (the one who gives impossible tasks and deliberately tries to put the pupils down), and who is increasingly considered in an oppressive register of otherness (‘them,’ the ‘whites’). Several of these pupils had ‘dropped-in’ by the end of their first year in the sense that they had given up on learning. Other pupils, who express similar feelings, find sympathetic adults who encourage them to get involved again, as in primary education, and to adopt a more acceptable learning attitude, which at the same time tends to prolong the misunderstandings and ambiguities. We may assume that the same trap will close in on them later in their schooling if the misunderstandings are not erased, and also that the more time passes, the more these misunderstandings and ambiguities are likely to accumulate and become difficult to erase” (Bautier, Terrail, 2003, p. 26).

We then find high-school pupils disgusted with their “profession of pupil” as described by Anne Barrère. As Maryse Esterle Hédibel suggests (2007), perhaps we should change our perspective and reverse the problem, so that rather than analyse the disaffection processes, ask ourselves instead how come so few pupils give up when so many of them are in difficulty ? It would appear that, if the transition periods in the education process are the weakest links in the system and require targeted monitoring, they simply highlight the permanent defects even more. Finally, Romainville identifies the aspects that lead to failure in higher education which can also be applied to school : i.e. programme design, teaching practices, assessment methods, lecturing and all the aspects involved in university education can also be factors of failure. Other researchers we mentioned warn of the same problems. According to Romainville, the most important element is motivation. We have seen that this is a leitmoitiv for researchers working on other levels of school education. Students who choose their study path for questionable reasons, (i.e. lack of choice or family pressure) are more likely to give up at the first difficulty encountered. We saw that this often occurred with students on vocational courses in technical or vocational institutions. Their choices are less likely to be satisfied than those of pupils attending general education schools, which could explain why few of them go beyond the baccalauréat.


There is, however, an exception, namely the brightest students who aim to join the most prestigious courses, for whom difficulties equal challenges. Everything depends on the guidance provided at the end of secondary education. In his conclusion, Romainville traces the broad outline of an effective combat against failure, which also appears to correspond with the needs of the school system and confirms the main avenues of our research project, insofar as the author holds teaching practices and educational programmes to some extent responsible for learning difficulties, which represent additional obstacles for students. We examine the support that can be given to teachers to help them deal with these problems in ToR 5 - Support measures for teachers working in such schools, especially during their initial training and via staff development courses.

2-3 - Measures and experiences to combat dropping out

The measures recommended by Romainville are of a general nature. After introducing them, we will present those explored by researchers that focus on the school system. They address young people of school age but who are not involved in the classes (dropping in) or who leave (dropping out). For pupils who lose interest in the course of schooling, these measures either involve the introduction of teaching methods that reinterpret the programmes, adapting them to the difficulties of the pupils “as they are”, or measures like the “rebound” programmes which develop a space and time for transition with institutions that operate in line with official norms. Other measures address young people over the age of compulsory schooling who have left the secondary school system with no diplomas or qualifications. The official texts and legislation that covers this type of scheme are taken from the first report on France, delivered in February 2008, and included in the appendix 1. In his conclusion, Romainville sketches the broad outline for effectively combating failure, which includes:

drawing up an inventory of expected skills;

introducing information and guidance systems;

encouraging debate based on the concepts of the different people involved;

countering sudden dropout by assisting students with individual work (assistance may be provided via continuous assessment, supplementary instruction (US), student tutoring, etc.);

ensuring preventive measures are in place;


developing methodology that the students can use;

encouraging transparency in objectives and assessments : favouring methods that support in-depth learning (see above);

opting for open assessment;

fighting against fragmentation and inflation of curricula and examinations

organizing more flexible courses;

diversifying courses;

reasserting the value of the teaching mission;

providing initial and in-service training for teachers These recommendations are also intended to serve as a framework for reviewing teaching practices and university programmes, which Romainville holds to be responsible to some extent for the learning difficulties that make the student's progress even more difficult.

2-3-1 – Alternative pedagogies : preventative solutions rather than remedies

Regarding school curricula, the evaluation of ‘alternative’ teaching methods and practices based on the strict application of the programmes and schedules is relatively positive. The ESEN report (École supérieure de l'éducation nationale : National Education College) (2005) cites an article written by Paul Quénet and Guy Soudjian (2002) describing a teaching experiment conducted in 2001 in the vocational “lycée”, Dumézil de Vernon, located in a medium-sized city on the banks of the Seine, not far from the greater Paris area, that develops pedagogic alternatives to suspension from school. The “PASS” classroom is a structure designed specifically for disaffected pupils. It was designed to prevent the breaking of school rules and social rules. The first results indicate that most of the benchmark indicators are relatively positive. The case study 2 described in ToR 11 - Sample of innovative and successful projects or case studies successfully conducted at either school, local, regional or national level -, a longitudinal study conducted over several years by the THEODILE-CIREL research team from Charles de Gaulle Lille 3 University, analyzes the administration of an experimental school that is part of the Freinet movement within a “REP”, a Priority Education network (ie. an extended ZEP like an Education Action Zone in the UK), and examines the results. This case study is based on extensive documentation that includes summaries, reports, statements, conferences and publications.


Notwithstanding the numerous publications on educational movements that seek to transform the education system, notably through the classroom, and especially teaching practices in schools, such experiments remain few and far between and are generally unlikely to have much impact on the school system overall. In fact, the reluctance of teachers and decision-makers in the education system that has tended to curb the generalisation of such practices, has recently been strengthened by recommendations from the French Ministry of Education since the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. There is a move away from the framework education law, introduced by a socialist government in 1989, which put the pupil at the heart of the education system. The new directives and the renewed focus on curricula content mean that teachers are no longer encouraged to focus on the way children learn. Researchers’ findings, especially in the reports drawn up for the 2003 inter-ministerial call for tenders on school drop-out, indicate that the way the education system allows disaffection to take root means schools are forced to resort to increasing the range of corrective measures rather than improve their preventive measures.

2-3-2 – Corrective strategies

The ESEN report (2005) notes that the “dispositifs-relais” (rebound programmes) are the main resource used to help disaffected school pupils. Decree n° 2006-129 of August 21, 2006, which replaced the decree drawn up in 1998,

begins by declaring: “the rebound programmes (classes and workshops) are one of the principal tools

used to combat disaffection from school and the social exclusion of young people subject to compulsory education.”

In accordance with our methodological choices, we will focus on this important measure in ToR 1. The decree of 2006 remains in line with that of 1998, considered as the “charter”

(Dusseau, Isambert, 2003), and retaining the main provisions, but what it leaves out reflects current ministerial policy as well as certain contradictions.

It does not include the declaration contained in the 1998 circular concerning the origin

of a field initiative validated at institutional level by the hierarchy rather than arising as

a top down reform, a somewhat rare occurrence in France : “By creating, under various

names, the rebound classes in collège, motivated and dynamic field teams, who cannot be praised too

On the basis of such successful experiments,

the circular invites education managers (school inspectors at every level and head

highly, have proved that solutions are possible.”


teachers) “to take the initiative to create new rebound programmes in collège, when there is clearly a


The rebound programmes, classes and workshops have 3 main characteristics:

- They are a school institution. They are designed for pupils in secondary education, primarily under the official school leaving age, who have rejected the institution via absenteeism or “extreme passivity”, and for whom the institution has exhausted all its resources to bring them back into the fold. The pupil remains subject to compulsory schooling and is registered with his or her specific school if it is for a short period of time. If it is for a longer period, which cannot exceed one school year, the pupil is registered with the school attached to the rebound class (the workshops are always of short duration and cannot exceed 4 months). The mixed teaching teams include youth workers and other outside collaborators who work as closely as possibly with the timetables, curriculum and activities enjoyed by other pupils of the same age. Integration in the school system and in its hierarchy is strengthened by the decree of 2006 which reflects a concern by the present Ministry to re-establish authority in the whole system. This role of the school inspectors at all regional and departmental levels is very clear as well as the role of the Chiel Inspectors of Schools in the national assessment and management structures. However, while it is the “recteur”, the Chief Education Officer for an “académie” (region) who sets up the steering group and appoints the coordinator, the interdepartmental, regional and departmental steering committees include external partners. This is the second characteristic of the rebound programmes.

- A privileged partnership (Dusseau, Isambert, 2003) within and outside national

education. The rebound programmes, classes and workshops, recognise the need for schools to collaborate with other entities within and outside the national education system to help young people who are failing at school to find solutions to their problems.

“These measures are based on cooperation with the Ministry of Justice (PJJ department : Special young

offenders service), the local authorities (county councils, municipalities

classes (…) mainly develop partnerships with entities linked to the legal youth protection department. The rebound workshops call on approved associations that work in close liaison with state education at national and regional level, as well as with foundations recognised as serving the public interest.”


and associations. The rebound


“Annual agreements are signed by the Local Education Authorities, the head of the institution and the partners, defining the rebound centre’s learning project, the forms of collaboration, and the responsibilities of the different contributors, and include a budget appendix.”

Rebound programmes are funded by the regional education authority (“rectorat”), which launches a call for projects every year. The 2006 circular is based on the one drawn up in 1998, which made provision for European funding from the ESF (European Social Fund). In particular it emphasised partnerships with business organisations, and activities and work placements that the pupils could perform. The principle of this contractual arrangement was extended to pupils and their family, although the expression “pédagogie du contrat” (contract pedagogy), which featured in the previous decree of 1998 and was not used in that of 2006. However, the principle of these “strengthened partnerships” made it one of the alternative teaching methods recommended under the title “Pedagogic action” and this is a third characteristic of the outreach programmes. - Alternative teaching methods

The first one mentioned is a “differentiated pedagogical approach, individual learning programmes

that can be based on sandwich courses, without excluding support developed within a collective framework.”

The second reiterates the need for partnerships, not only in terms of the support staff but also of the families.

“A reinforced educational, school and schoolwork support framework is provided by the teachers, staff working in associations and other youth workers, in liaison with social sector and health professionals. We have to systematically involve the families by engaging them in serious dialogue.” “A log book that mentions the programme delivered, the progress observed, the teachers’ comments and also observations by the young people and their families on the learning achieved through the outreach programmes, including the work completed, will help boost the pupil’s sense of worth.” “Continuity is needed between school time, schoolwork support time and family time, requiring coherent initiatives to foster the pupils’ success and well-being. In particular, the local authorities, associations and foundations can help ensure that the measure takes root in the region.”

Tutoring is institutionalised

“Collaboration between the teaching team in the rebound programmes and the staff in the pupils’ local schools and institutions, with the appointment of a teaching tutor, should be explicitly included to promote a successful return to a standard educational structure. Pupils will be provided with support and tutoring when they first join the rebound programme and during their reintegration into the normal system.”

In both classes and rebound programmes, the hours and methods are adapted to the pupils in order to give them back a taste for learning and to reintegrate them into the


normal school system by reinforcing their motivation, encouraging them to make the effort needed. The preventative value of these teaching measures, both in terms of the pupils’ learning and teacher training has been widely recognised and considered preferable to remediation measures.

“Different rebound measures could be adopted for pupils outside school times, i.e. social cohesion educational success measures, educational monitoring, local schoolwork support contract, local

educational contracts

the teaching staff from local schools should also lead to early recognition of problems, and the introduction of relays via specific support modules being set up for pupils within the school.” “Partnerships with staff in medico-psycho-pedagogic centres (CMPP) and medico-psychological centres (CMP) in the infant-juvenile psychiatry sectors will be developed as needed. Joint analysis of situations could be introduced to support teaching and educational support teams or to envisage, with the family’s or the legal representative’s agreement, different forms of therapeutic and educational support (decree n° 2000-141 of 4 September 2000 and the inter-ministerial decree of 18 October 2005 relative to helping

children and adolescents who show signs of psychic disturbance).”

There is a concern to “train teams.”

“Teaching tools and methods can be found on the website: http://eduscol.education.fr/, rubrique Collège”.

One page is dedicated to this training. It states that:

“In liaison with the regional steering group, training of teaching staff in national education includes specific staff development courses for those working in the national education system and partners involved in the rebound programmes (didactics, knowledge of adolescents, conflict management, etc.).

At the same time, the experience of teachers in rebound programmes could be usefully re-incorporated into training programmes for teachers in “college” to help train them in preventing academic failure and drop out. This last sentence indicates the value of prevention and also advocates a pedagogic approach set out in the education orientation law of 1989 that the present Minister of Education felt necessary to revoke : i.e. to develop an across-the-board learner-centred approach and adopt the pedagogic methods advocated by the policies of the socialist ministers, Savary in 1981 and Jospin in 1989, which, in effect, are reflected in this law of 1989. In addition, the decree advocates teacher recruitment based on the principle of voluntary service, a specific feature of participants in pedagogic movements, and teamwork, including teams with partners from outside the National Education system, in line with the law of 1989. There seems to be a contradiction here which fails to address the basic problem of disaffection from school, since, if the solutions advocated are different to, or even


This collaboration between the staff working in the rebound programmes and


the opposite of what is developed in the system as a whole, how can we hope to eradicate the aforementioned process of academic and social exclusion ? If the results of the rebound programmes prove to be positive, why not draw models from these transitional structures that could be used to inspire reform in the education system as a whole ? We will not develop the issue of teacher training here as this will be dealt with in more detail, together with other examples, in ToR 5 - Support measures for teachers working in such schools. One section of the decree of 2006 is dedicated to the “Assessment of the measure” :

“Appraisal of the way the measures are created and implemented is essential both academically and in national terms. To this end, the DEPP, in collaboration with the DGESCO (two departments of the ministry of Education) and the PJJ (Special young offenders service at the Ministry of Justice), conduct an annual

study of the data collected via the national computer application: http://cisad.adc.education.fr/crel which gives rise to the publication of an assessment report. The regional and departmental steering groups, together with the head of the school affiliated to the rebound programme, ensure that the rebound programme coordinator fills in the pupil monitoring report available online as soon as the pupils join the scheme and includes information regarding the pupils’ orientation when they leave the scheme as well as


The regional pilot groups also ensure that the pupils are monitored for one year after leaving the rebound

programme and joining the affiliated institution.”

The most recent assessment results are not available on the website. On the other hand, we have the extremely comprehensive report drawn up by the two Chief Inspectors of Schools at the MEN (Ministry of Education), the IGEN and IGAENR (Dusseau, Isambert, 2003), which are entirely given over to the rebound programmes and Open Schools that were set up along similar lines. What are the conclusions? The title of the following section sets the tone: “A positive assessment of diverse situations” (p. 32). The first conclusion suggests a very mixed, largely masculine public, aged from 11 to 17 years old, who have repeated a number of years, and come from socially deprived backgrounds with a number of problems arising from “chaotic” lifestyle conditions

which have nothing to do with the school. “The extremely difficult personal situations impact on

the behaviour of the young people concerned, usually leading to deviant behaviour regarding the rules of their academic institution or the law. This leads to a number of legal or administrative measures being taken. Around 50% of the young people already have criminal records or are subject to probation orders (…). On several occasions, during visits to the sites, the absence of a pupil was explained by a summons from a judge or the police.” (p. 85-86).




The rebound class situation explains the special inter-ministerial partnership it has with the Minister of Justice via la PJJ (Protection judiciaire de la jeunesse : Special young offenders service), whose supervisory staff is trained to deal with such problems. However, the mixed nature of the public and the presence of potentially aggressive pupils is not unique to rebound classes and such phenomena are becoming increasingly commonplace, even outside economically disadvantaged areas. The report by the two Chief Inspectorates of the Ministry gives examples of effective strategies that schools

can use to manage such problems internally (repeating classes, specific reception facilities

for new arrivals) so that the rebound classes can focus on really ‘extreme cases’. Extending these measures more widely would help avoid the ‘scrapheap’ image of some rebound classes, an image which

is experienced by both teachers and pupils alike.” (p. 98). The report considers that “some Regional

Education Authorities, like Créteil for instance, may appear somewhat behind in developing rebpund

programmes for target publics (…) but it is because they have developed a type of internal solution.” It

also believes that “It would be useful to develop measures that deal with the pupils as soon as

any deviant behaviour begins within the school itself, before the rebound programmes are needed.”

(p. 99)

The report cites “the exemplary case of the Regional Education Authority of Lille and the Pas-de-

Calais that the commission visited. Here, the rebound scheme is designed as the last educational resort once it has been proved that the pupil’s original school has taken every pedagogic, educational and social support measure possible without result.”

We will not detail here the additional measures that are developed in the schools and mentioned by the report for this Regional Education Authority, as this is dealt with in ToR 11 concerning innovative projects (case study 1), based on in-depth assessments by researchers studying the “Démission impossible” (“Impossible resignation”) schemes developed for 14/16 year olds, subject to “extreme truancy, highly disruptive and/or violent behaviour” at school (Guigue, Lemoine, 2007), and set out in more recent studies than that of the report (2003). This last example, however, reminds us that the report considers a scheme based on a tailored learning programme developed around choices made by the pupils themselves as a positive factor with respect to one of the causes of failure mentioned by several researchers. In addition, the conclusion repeats the notion that firstly, preventive measures developed within the schools are the best way to re-educate and secondly, they also make the rebound programmes more effective by integrating

them in the “range of well-thought through and well-coordinated measures managed in a coherent


The problems concerning the way the rebound classes work are put in perspective. In effect, the dedicated and voluntary staff members manage to deal with the situations and the positive results outweigh the negative aspects. The general conclusion regarding this type of scheme like the Open Schools, whether class or workshop, is that “the

commitment of the heads and the teachers is often based on strong convictions and true political militancy. This does not rule out deviations and does not mean that many of the actions taken are not also relatively conventional. But the commitment and enthusiasm certainly explains the sometimes exceptional success they can engender.” (p. 163-164)

On the other hand, the return to collège, the ultimate aim of the rebound programme, can at times be a negative aspect of the results. This is effectively considered as the “programmes’ stumbling block” (p. 106). To avoid pupils being labelled by the teachers and other pupils in their old school, they are often sent to another school. However, the same problems arise following such a scheme. The pupil has changed but still has to make an effort to integrate a system which remains uninteresting, even for those who have not reached such an extreme state of affairs. In addition, the groups of local young people often prevent integration in another area or another municipality. With this in mind, the recommendation to strengthen partnerships with the local authorities and youth structures appears to be the most pertinent. Solutions put forward within the school system involve offering the young people concerned support structures which may involve teachers from the rebound schemes or the collège, personal tutoring with a teacher or, more rarely, with another pupil. The second chapter of the Chief Inspector of Schools’ Report 2004 (Robert, 2004) also concerns the rebound programmes and the Open School system, presented as two schemes that both aim to reconcile the pupil with school. It confirms the previous report which was wholly dedicated to these structures, in particular, the specialisation of such schemes in order to avoid too great a mix, their optimisation through early intervention (preventative or internal in liaison with primary schools, earlier in the year, or during the course of early secondary education), and a network organisation with respect to catchment areas. Based on the report by Marie Gaussel (2007), we briefly mention the Mission Générale d'Insertion (MGI : General insertion mission), set up in 1993, as few evaluations are available regarding the effectiveness of these actions, while in ToR 11 we cover in a detailed case study innovative projects that we have already mentioned, which work along the same lines. The MGI offers a number of specific programmes : Session d'Information et d'Orientation (SIO : Information and career planning courses), Cycle d'Insertion


Professionnelle par Alternance (CIPPA : Vocational/education sandwich programmes), MOREA (Module de Repréparation aux Examens par Alternance : Basic schooling and exam preparation work/education sandwich programmes), Module d'Accueil en lycée (MODAL : Special secondary school reintegration programmes), Itinéraire personnalisé d'Accès à la Qualification (ITAQ : Tailored qualification programmes), Formation Intégrée (FI : Integrated training), and Groupe d'Aide à l'Insertion (GAIN :

Support group integration programmes). Structured as an association, the second chance schools (Ecole de la seconde chance :

E2C) have been pursuing their goal to socially integrate young people aged between 18 and 25 years old without any qualifications for the last ten years, providing foundation courses in basic academic skills and in-company training. They all offer tailored learning programmes. Introduced by the European Commission in 1995, the E2C were set up both in France (the first in Marseille) and in Europe. Their success rate (placement rate) is high (60% between 1998 and 2005). These schools aim to provide an alternative to the traditional education structure that leaves young people between 18 and 25 in a situation of academic failure and without professional experience. The aim is to help them acquire or add to their basic skills in order to be able to join a training programme or simply find a job. The foundation for innovation policy has drawn up a comprehensive report on this European system (2005). Céline Gasquet and Valérie Roux (CEREQ, 2005) analyse the results of the CEREQ study (Génération 98) in greater depth in an article dedicated to public measures designed to help young people join the job market without qualifications. Only 4 in 10 found a job quickly and of these, 1 in 4 had never been unemployed. Three years after leaving their initial education programme, 20% of these young people were unemployed, in other words twice as many as young people leaving school with a secondary school diploma and 4 times as many as those with a higher education degree. These drop-outs were the target for the employment-based schemes : 40% of students without qualifications had access to support measures to help them find work during the first 7 years on the job market, marked by precariousness. Following our analysis of the research and studies in ToR 1, Support measures for schools with high drop-out rates, we could raise the same questions as Dominique Glasman, and Bertrand Geay and Françoise Ropé in the reports they drew up in response to the call for inter-ministerial offers in 2003. The former noted that “the

programmes specifically designed (for young drop-outs) in order to help them gain qualifications are costly and their effectiveness is questionable, both in terms of getting them back into learning mode,


restoring their self image, their relationship with institutions, and… joining the job market; wouldn’t it be better to deal with the problem beforehand for most of these young people, in other words before they drop out of the school system ? ” (p. 2).

The latter authors note that : “The creation of educational monitoring units, the growing number of

rebound classes and the creation of classes for ‘precociously uneducated’ children appear to be symptoms of a ‘massified’ school system which, unable to offer adapted learning conditions, cannot deal with its own ‘failures’ or the inequalities that run through it other than by increasing the number of specific measures and schemes developed under categories as vague as ‘uneducated’ or ‘disaffected’ ” (p. 15).

The whole purpose of our research is to focus on this determining factor, in other words to focus on strategies that help schools and teachers to find solutions to the issue within the school of the young people concerned. But which ones should we concentrate on ? In effect, as we have just seen, as soon as we began exploring this topic for our project, several researchers evaluating the effects of the measures taken to combat disaffection with school noted that the teachers, caught up in the work of the class as a whole, tend to pass on the problem of disruptive pupils to others outside the “normal” school system. This has given rise to a multitude of costly schemes that aim to restore an educational space adapted to the “poorly adapted”. This inevitably leads to the question : wouldn’t it be better to adapt the system itself to its users ? At this stage of our study, it would appear more judicious to introduce strategies that are designed to help schools and teachers change the present flaws in the school system in order to reduce the number of problems arising as a result. Several researchers have analysed the spiral of failure in which some children find themselves trapped from the time they enter the school system, accumulating difficulties in following the school curriculum until the moment they can go no further. Martine Kherroubi, Jean-Paul Chanteau and Brigitte Larguèze (2003) present this phenomenon under the title Des difficultés scolaires précoces qui s’accumulent (School difficulties that accumulate, p. 135). They first appear in the second year of nursery school (Duru-Bellat, 2002). The two first years of primary school present an insurmountable obstacle for a large number of pupils, mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds (Troncin, 2001). The gaps widen as they enter secondary education because “the elitism of collège” makes them ever wider (Duru-Bellat, 2002). We have already seen that pupils in rebound programmes are often older than their peers in the same classes at “college” because they have already repeated years, even though this has not helped them to get back into the system. Studies have shown their lack of


learning acquisitions (Millet, Thin, 2003). In similar vein, statistical studies have indicated that school leavers without qualifications are largely children who have repeated years. The system of repeating years, which means making children learn the same content using the same methods that they had failed to assimilate in the past, logically has little chance of succeeding. As we mentioned earlier, Maryse Esterlé-Hédibel (2007) suggested changing the approach by reversing the problem. Instead of asking which processes lead to dropping out, she poses a different question : how come so few pupils drop out when there are so many in difficulty ? This question allowed her to identify four aspects of disaffection that appear to be determining factors in avoiding disaffection with school : a focus on the idea of the mission of a school as a public service for all the pupils, including those who step outside the norms; providing an atmosphere within the school which fosters encounters between pupils and adults so that they enjoy coming and sharing forms of social behaviour and exchange; the pedagogical choice of a benevolent, non stigmatising and normative attitude towards marginal pupils; the search for pedagogic solutions on a case by case basis, linked to structures outside the school institution, and that take into consideration the individual’s pace and anticipate their future evolution. She considered it necessary to take up the gauntlet of the educability of young people. The process of “educational vigilance” should cover all those involved in education. We also need to change the way we consider “difficult” pupils, seeing their disruptive behaviour as a sign of young people “in difficulty”, or young people who are “suffering”. Penalising such pupils should no longer be considered as the only alternative, and an educational approach should be developed rather than one of exclusion. (in Lettre réseau relais, Rebound network Letter, April 2008) The studies carried out with young drop-outs (Dolignon, 2005 and 2008; Leclercq and Dupont, 2005) indicates that the cost of the present weaknesses in the system is not only economic and social (low quality-price ratio of the reforms and “repair” schemes, failure for young people to get jobs, problematic out-of-school behaviour that leads to urban insecurity), but also engenders a significant human cost. In effect, it leads to great psychic suffering during adolescence, a key period in the construction of the adult and citizen’s identity. It is also a political issue and a choice of our society. The key question in our research could be : what should we do to ensure that the teaching methods used in schemes targeting specific cases are not limited to simply


patching up the damage when it’s already too late ? Could they be introduced as preventative measures ? Are they transferable to the system as a whole ? How can the French education system with its obvious weaknesses – if we only base our judgement on the results of French pupils compared to those of other countries attached to the OECD – produce fewer “poorly adapted” children? In evaluating the measures developed to deal with specific cases, disaffection, academic failure and social exclusion for diverse reasons such as economically disadvantaged or absent family background (population of young people assisted in institution), ethnic, linguistic, religious origin themselves, should we just limit them to the impacts of the schemes designed for the populations concerned ? Shouldn’t we instead be trying to understand how to make them, if not redundant, at least less necessary in their present large numbers, as they would be used to inform the policies, strategies and practices of schools and teachers in such a way that the number of misfits would be significantly reduced ?


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Cahiers pédagogiques, 01/2005, p. 5-66.



See ToR 1, 3, 6, 10, 11.


In ToR 1- “Support measures for schools with high drop-out rates” we looked at the rebound measures geared towards socio-economically disadvantaged areas and presented as “the main initiative addressing young people disaffected from the school system” (ESEN, 2005), together with the Mission Generale d'Insertion (MGI : General insertion mission). We will not spend time on assessing these initiatives by researchers. Perhaps the question we should pose is that formulated by Eric Maurin (2007) : “What would have happened without these public policies to correct social inequalities in the ZEPs ? ” The French report, drawn up in February 2008 and included in appendix 1, gives the list of official texts governing them.

In ToR 5 - Support measures for teachers working in such schools, we present a case study

with more positive results with respect to the “contrats de réussite” (success contracts, Loison, 2005). Their creation marked the passage of ZEPs to REPs, from 1999, and their refocus on basic apprenticeships and citizenship education.

In ToR 11 – Selected innovative and successful projects or case-studies that have proved successful at school institution, local, regional and national level, we present three

evaluations of researchers’ experiences, two in secondary schools (1 and 3) and one in the primary sector (2), that are particularly significant in terms of the evolution of strategies set up to help schools in socio-economically deprived areas. In ToR 3, we look at the three-pronged evolutions:

- the policy of decentralisation, that takes the disparities between the different components of the country into consideration and aims to deal with issues more effectively through rebound schemes, thus facilitating the introduction of initiatives by regional and local bodies, both educational and other, including


lycées” and “colleges” that had EPLE status (Etablissement public local d’enseignement : Local state education institution) in 1985;

- the increase in social problems in disadvantaged areas, with unemployment, urban insecurity with peaks in violence such as the 2005 riots, and the inability of each institution to find solutions on their own, leading to a combined approach to urban and education policies, which had previously been conducted separately;

- the support strategies set up for schools in socio-economically deprived areas:

the transition from a policy introduced to compensate for educational inequality arising from social inequality, along the lines of positive discrimination (giving more to those who have less) to a policy focusing on success, and then a policy of excellence, which involves giving the best, usually only enjoyed by the elite, to the poorest in society. We will start by defining ZEPs and REPs and give a brief outline of their environment and the geographical location of ZEPs. We will then describe their evolution and give an assessment of their results based on the latest report from the two Chief Inspectors of Schools at the ministry, the IGEN and the IGAEN, dedicated to them (Armand, Gille, 2006). We will conclude with the most recent aim of national policy : the concept of ZEPs as “areas of teaching excellence.” We will cover the effects of this new strategy in greater detail in one of the three case studies in ToR 11 concerning ToR 3.

1 – DEFINITION AND MAP OF ZEP/REPs IN FRANCE (Education Action Zones/Networks)

The compulsory and secular French republican school model was designed at the end of the 19 th century to ensure equality of education for all children within a given area, based on the same national programmes. If a child did not succeed at school, it was because he or she had failed to seize the opportunities presented by the state. The democratisation of education by prolonging compulsory schooling to the age of 16 (1959) and, even more, the creation of a single “collège” (1977) for all children leaving primary school, gave rise to research studies that highlighted the role of social inequalities regarding the pupils’ school results. “Compensation programmes” began to be developed in the United States in the 1960s and, in 1967, British “Education Action Zones” were set up that inspired the development of the French “ZEP” policies. Associations and trade unions took up the issue, leading to the creation of “zones


prioritaires” (priority areas) in France in December 1981, which were later called “Zones d’Education Prioritaire” (Priority education areas), known by the acronym, ZEP (Armand, Gilles, 2006). This form of positive discrimination corresponded to a policy of territorialisation that the decentralisation laws gave rise to at the same period in France (1982). However, this is in line with Anglo-Saxon principles of differentiated treatment of pupils nationwide, which prefers to take the conditions of local community life into consideration and partnerships with parents, associations, elected representatives, while the original republican school was designed as a sanctuary and protection from the external and negative influences of the street. We are currently experiencing a reversal of the French model. Thus, in the decrees of December 1981 that created the ZEPs (“Zones d’Education Prioritaire”), their initial denomination was “zones prioritaires” (priority areas), clearly reflecting the recognition of the primacy given to local areas. From the moment they were created, there was a risk of seeing the gap widen between the marginalised schools and those that fit in strictly with the official national programmes which continue to be promulgated from on high by the Ministry.

The expression “Zones d’Education Prioritaire” (ZEPs), in which the noun in the singular reflects the fact that it is education and not the area that is coming first, first appeared in the ministerial letter of 8 July 1988, and the denomination “Education Prioritaire” (EP) was first mentioned in the decree of 10 July 1988, which created the REPs (“Réseaux d’Education Prioritaire”: Priority education network). This designates

an entity that includes both the ZEPs and the REPs (Armand, Gilles, 2006, p. 9-10). The following definitions are given by Cécile Carra and Maryse Hédibel (2004).

“ZEPs are groups of schools located in areas with a number of social, economic and cultural problems. The national education system and its partners conduct concerted educational schemes in these areas that aim to help as many pupils as possible to get good educational results and better social and professional integration opportunities.” (Letter from the Prime Minister to the regional prefects on 22/12/90 Enseigner en éducation prioritaire (Teaching in priority education) - 28 ). In 1999, the priority education zone incorporated a new structure : the REPs, in which the institutions “pool their teaching and educational resources as well as their innovations to help pupils get good educational results” (Carra, Hédibel, 2004, p. 27).

A network is a coherent socio-geographic group, usually made up of each ZEP

classified “collège”, together with the primary schools that are attached to it.

“The number of REPs is limited insofar as they each require considerable resources. Each Regional Education Authority has a map of the REPs which is updated every three years.”

This regional map is drawn up in 3 stages:


- after potential areas are located at local level (“départements”) by the IAs (“inspecteurs d’académie”: Chief Education Officers responsible for “départements”), based on social criteria (socio-professional categories of the population, the number of scholarship holders) and the social urban development map;

- calls for tender to submit success contracts are addressed to schools by the Inspections académiques (School inspectorates for “départements”);

- the projects are examined and validated and the list of REPs is drawn up by the

“recteurs” (Chief Education Officers responsible for “académies”, State education districts corresponding more or less to regions; LEA in the UK).

The national map in 2006 “operates a distinction between three different levels of difficulty (EP 1, 2

et 3). The first level, called “réseaux ambition- réussite” (ambition-success networks), made up of 249 networks that include a “collège” and its primary schools in the sector, is the one that takes in the pupils with the greatest academic and social difficulties. The criteria retained at national level were both academic and social : a social criterion of over 66% of disadvantaged socio-professional categories and two academic criteria (the percentage of pupils at least two years behind on entering “collège” and the assessment of their results when they enter the first year of collège). These criteria are reinforced by an academic analysis that takes into account the number of pupils whose parents receive the RMI (Revenu minimum d’insertion :

Minimum income for social integration) and the number of non French speaking pupils.

From the present academic year, these networks will be provided with 1000 more teachers and 3000 teaching assistants. The second level will include primary and secondary schools, the latter with the status of EPLE


public local d’enseignement : Local public education institutions),

characterised by a greater social mix, and destined to remain within the framework of a so- called “Réseau de réussite scolaire” (Academic success network). They will continue to receive the same assistance as before. The third level is made up of schools and institutions destined to progressively leave the priority education system. Five “académies” count more than 12 ambition-success networks : Créteil, Versailles, Aix- Marseille, Lille and La Réunion. Seven “académies” have between 8 and 12 networks :

Orleans-Tours, Lyon, Nantes, Rouen, Amiens, Martinique and Guyana. The eighteen other “académies” have fewer than 8” (p. 14).

“In 2001, 2868 structures (2357 schools and 511 secondary schools, 365 collèges, 81 lycées, 65 LP (Lycées professionnels : vocational secondary schools), located in ten “académies” (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Créteil, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulouse et Versailles) were involved in a scheme to combat violence, reflecting the officially defined areas of violence.” (p. 13).


This geographical division of ZEP and the mixed nature of the “academies” or Regional Education Authorities territories was highlighted in the report by the two IG (Inspecteurs généraux : Chief schools inspectorate at the Department for education), insisting on the issue of “the local effect.” (Chambon, 2000). State initiatives, via the legislation they give rise to, and their application by its regional representatives (similar to LEA in UK), the two Chief Education Officers, the “recteurs” in “académies” (regions) and the “inspecteurs d’académie” in “départements”, are backed up by initiatives developed by the local municipalities, which play an increasingly important role in national education. Initiatives have developed in particular in areas with difficult populations. Local municipality and national education policies began developing in parallel, and then began to join forces.


“A whole series of texts redefined the three hubs of young people’s education, namely the family, school and out-of-school institutions, as well as the institutional contexts in which they operate.” (Zay, 2005, p.


The decisive turning point came in the year 2000.

“The inter-ministerial decree entitled ‘National education and town policies : preparation and follow-up of local contracts’, dated 3 December 1999, created zones of convergence which aimed to reduce the gap between the affirmative action policies of the two public services. ‘In the directive of 25 October 2000 relative to local educational contracts, the State reaffirmed its conviction that education is a shared mission, together with its desire to make the local educational contract the contract that federates educational policies’ (Repères, 2001, p. 2)” (Zay, 2005, p. 25).

The orientation law of 1989 acted as the cornerstone of a policy to modernise the national education system, enabling a model that prevailed in socio-economically deprived areas to combat academic and social exclusion to be extended to the whole school system. This partnership policy, encompassing all the educational and social players, combined efforts to facilitate the integration of young generations, and was effectively embodied in both ZEPs and urban social development policies. Lionel Jospin, who drew up this law when he was Minister of Education, developed a more wide-ranging policy when he became Prime Minister. In his speech to UNESCO on 7 March 2001, he stated:

“We would like to develop cross-sector projects in which teachers, parents, elected representatives and associations collaborate. Many measures have been introduced at local level with this in mind:

schoolwork support measures, local educational contracts, local town contracts and tutoring for the most


disadvantaged, together with the setting up of ‘educational monitoring units’. These measures are still too limited, inadequately managed, and sometimes give rise to local administrative conflicts. That is why I asked the Urban Affairs Minister, Claude Bartolone, and the Minister of National Education, Jack Lang, to draw up a real collective strategy to work with these children both inside and outside the school confines within the framework of a stronger and extended partnership with all the local, institutional and social players. The principal urban projects should provide the main experimental framework for this strategy. Above all, we need to ensure better integration of the institutions in local areas by opening them up to other activities and services for the population. This will lead to another, more global, education policy with greater concern about everything that children and young people can experience outside the school walls (Repères, 2001, p. 3)” (Zay, 2005, p. 26).

This partnership policy met with strong resistance, but the partisans were supported at national level by legislation that they could refer to in the event of reticence by their colleagues and/or different hierarchical levels, effectively supported by pedagogical movements. They received official acknowledgement of their right to intervene as such in national education and teacher training, and not only by affiliated teachers from the Savary Ministry who founded the ZEPs in 2001. An agreement was drawn up with some of them in 2002, FRancas (FRANcs and franches CAmarades) and CEMEA, to facilitate their collaboration in the frame of rebound schemes. In ToR 11, case study 2 is devoted to a primary school (including a nursery school) managed by a pedagogical team belonging to the Freinet movement in a REP still to-day. For André Chambon (2000), the ZEP initiative, which was considered ahead of its time when it was first introduced, is now seen as outmoded, incorporated in various municipal initiatives by the emergence of “projet éducatif local” (PEL : local educational project) which provide a closer fit with local situations. Urban educational initiatives are characterised by the extension of the “territorial effect.” Municipalities demonstrate greater local knowledge and a greater capacity for initiative than the coordination teams in a ZEP. They can introduce “development spaces” and invent new functions, setting up “educational geo-policies.” This means that we move from a “school form” to a “multiple educational form,” which implies and leads to joint responsibility, an educational co-production, and co-education. Local national education and training policies and the promotion of social and educational development procedures, the engagement of local authorities and social or business partners has generated new education and training situations. The team from the Education, Training, and Integration Research Centre in Toulouse (CREFI-T), EA 799, University of Toulouse Le Mirail, led by Anne Jorro, professor in Education, have been conducting a study in this area since 1999, looking into “these new


forms of education and training by analyzing the decision-making processes that contribute to their emergence as well as the socio-educational interventions that aim to optimise their implementation (training, expertise, consulting, decision-making support). Analyses focus on the educational and training decentralisation conditions, the individual and collective changes that they are responsible for, and the underlying agenda, as well as how the partnerships with the ‘players’ in the training-employment- development systems are defined (individuals, organisations, schemes socio-technical, contractual documents, etc.) within a given period and context.”

The local educational project is analysed “as a form of socio-political regulation with an

exploratory design and a tool for mobilising partners in local education and training schemes. The process of developing local educational contracts comprises one of the chosen experimental options. - the types of organisation of training-employment relationships applied to different systems of training-employment-development and their interrelations : teaching institutions, training organisations, business organisations, associations and local authorities provide diverse contexts in which recruitment practices and professionalization are studied in particular.”

(cf. Bart, 2002; Bart., Bedin, 2005; Bedin, 2004; Fournet et al., 2001, 2002). Dominique Glasman (1999) analysed the principles and specificities of different types of contracts drawn up at this time, in particular the CEL, “contrat éducatif local” (local education contract), the CLAS, “contrat local d’accompagnement scolaire” (local schoolwork support contract), the “contrat de réussite” (success contract) in ZEP/REPs, their impact on public policies, stakeholders, democracy, public policy funding and the effectiveness of public services. He analysed the stability and sustainable nature of these contracts, the public service renovation objectives they give rise to, and the difficulties inherent in reconciling interests and demands from users and professionals. Looking at the situation from the political analyst’s perspective, Françoise Lorcerie (2006) considered that “priority education is an under-administered policy.” Teacher training, a key element in getting teachers on board and giving them the tools to interact appropriately with their pupils, focused on more sustainable changes in the period that followed the law of 1989. Achievements appeared to take root at times, even if they were difficult to attain and encountered numerous obstacles in the process. Lessons were drawn to help teachers to better interact with the people they had to deal with both inside and outside the national Education system (Zay, 1994, 1999). As it takes more time to introduce changes in education than to change electoral mandates, the system overall is slow to shake up. The present government’s apparent retraction regarding this policy will almost certainly curb such development, largely by accentuating the split between teaching programmes


for well-adapted pupils and remediation – or relegation – schemes for those who we nonetheless, in principle, wish to reintegrate.

In ToR 5 - Support measures for teachers working in such schools, we use a case study

(Loison, 2005) to analyse the conditions for success in a programme adapted to the success contract strategy.


This is a controversial issue for researchers. We saw some examples of mixed reactions in ToR 1. The two Chief Inspectors of Schools (Armand, Gilles, 2006) also failed to provide decisive answers.

“From 1991, the national assessments from the CE2 and 6ème classes meant comparisons could be made between the performances of pupils in ZEP schools and those of pupils registered in schools outside ZEPs. The DEP studies showed that from 1991 to 1994 the results of pupils in ZEPs were below those of other pupils on average. On the other hand, when they looked at equivalent social profiles, the gaps decreased and became insignificant with respect to their progress. The 95-98 period had little impact on ZEPs. At the same time, data input was in accordance with the rhythm of policies and players.” (p. 32)

In 2005, in indicator 5 of L’état de l’École (State of School) the assessment of priority education by the DEP gave a relatively positive assessment:

“Pupils’ learning acquisition in priority education is considerably lower than that of their peers. At the end of collège, it appears that a quarter of them (25.7%) have a poor grasp of the basic skills set out in the curriculum objectives, while 15.2% of them have a good or very good grasp. The percentages are practically the opposite in all the other sectors of state education. Such gaps are largely due to the differences in recruitment and should not be blamed on the effects of the priority education policy. Only an increase in this gap over time might allow a judgement to be made in this regard. The results of assessments carried out in recent years effectively indicate that the gaps remain the same between pupils from ZEPs and the others, while priority education institutions have been faced with a growing concentration of social and academic difficulties. Therefore, in these areas, pupils’ learning has not got worse, even though social and academic conditions have worsened” (p. 33-34)

However, the officials who conducted the assessments reiterated the criticism made by researchers on pupil orientation, the learning programmes proposed and the system of repeating classes.

“In n°66 of Éducation & Formations, the DEP stresses that while social inequalities in education have decreased, “great social disparities nonetheless remain, in particular with respect to orientation : the impact of social disparities increases over the course of schooling and from the time they enter primary school the gaps widen, drop outs without qualifications mainly concern children from disadvantaged families, the choice of options and ambitions differs according to the social milieu, orientations at the end of troisième are socially loaded, access to the baccalauréat is different depending on the pupil’s social


milieu, and the choice of options in higher education are extremely hierarchical depending on social

origins, even when academic results are the same.”

These negative conclusions are confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Conseil d’analyse économique (Council of economic analysis) and the annual report for 2002 from the IGAENR. (p. 34) They have certainly had an impact on the strategy of setting up more attractive structures in the ZEP-REPs, which boast similar features to the most sought after lycées: European classes, sports classes, bilingual classes, specific to the Regional Education Authority of Strasbourg, two of which function as ZEPs. Nonetheless, the report by the two Chief Inspectors of Schools states that “no serious assessment is available as yet.” Among these structures “an interesting qualitative policy, the parrainage scientifique and the parrainage d’excellence” (academic tutoring and tutoring for excellence) (p. 23-24) is mentioned by the Regional Education Authority of Montpellier. We will now turn our attention to this strategy.


We should recall that the letter to the Chief Inspectors of Schools and Regional Education Authority inspectors of 8 February 2000, entitled Les pôles d’excellence scolaire dans les ZEP et les réseaux d’éducation prioritaire,” (Centres of excellence in education action zones and priority education networks) redefined their educational objective as : “not just to give more but better and even the best.”

“This implies optimising formulas and schemes aiming for excellence that exist in the education system but are insufficiently present in poorer districts (setting up of speciality discipline classes or schools, sports classes and music classes at flexible times, European classes, bilingual or international classes and even pre-business and engineering school classes…).”

This strategy is called a new “republican elitism.” “The centres of excellence will enable two

facets of academic excellence to be continually drawn together, in other words, joint progress and remarkable success”… “While obviously focusing the greatest attention on all the pupils, we need to be much firmer in pushing academically successful young pupils who emerge from disadvantaged districts to go as far as possible, in other words sometimes well beyond the programmes that may otherwise seem accessible to them.” (Armand., Gille, 2006, p. 10-11).

The charter for equal opportunities to access top quality education (January 2005) also falls in line with this objective, reiterated by the decree of 30 March 2006. (cf . Appendix 1, Report in February 2008, ToR 3).


We will analyse the issues relating to this policy in the frame of the doctoral thesis by Graciela Padoani David (2008), which has already given rise to a number of international papers (2005, 2006, 2007) and will be used in ToR 11 for case study 3. In spite of its somewhat partial and restricted character, this research presents the interest of acting as a real life mini-laboratory over a two-year period, evaluating the effects of greater opportunities to selective programmes for publics that would previously have been excluded. In effect, she compares the results of two class groups of high school pupils (lycées) of the same level. One group benefited from supportive tutoring by students from a local business school while the other group did not.


Armand A., Gille B. IGEN, IGAEN (2006). La contribution de l'éducation prioritaire à l'égalité des chances des élèves. Paris, Ministère de l'éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, 175 p. : http://www.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/rapports/index.shtml Bart, D. (2002). Réinterroger le contrat. Vers l’Éducation Nouvelle, Dossier : Réussir en ZEP, 507, pp.


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171-186). Paris : L’Harmattan.

Carra C., Hedibel M. (2004). Enseigner en réseau d’éducation prioritaire. Livret du formateur, Equipe thématique ESD (Enseigner en secteur difficile), IUFM Nord/Pas de Calais, juin 2004, 117 p. Consultable sur le site de l'INRP à l'adresse suivante : http://centre-alain- savary.inrp.fr/CAS/formation/livret-du-formateur-en-education-prioritaire Chambon, A. (2000). L’éducation à l’épreuve des territoires. In Jacquemin Françoise (coord.). Education et territoires. 2 ème rencontres nationales de l’éducation. Rennes, mars 2000. Rennes, Ligue de l’Enseignement-ville de Rennes, p. 15-32. DEP (2005). L’état de l’École. MEN Conseil d’analyse économique du Premier ministre. Rapport n° 45, janvier 2004, p. 189 et suivantes.

Éducation & Formations, n° 66, 2003, L’École réduit-elle les inégalités sociales, p. 177-185.

Fournet, M., Bedin, V., Guy, D., Poulin, C., Dayde, V. (2001). Diagnostic pour la mise en place d'un contrat éducatif local à partir de l’analyse des demandes des jeunes, rapport commandé par un regroupement de 5 communes du nord-ouest toulousain, Toulouse, rapport de recherche U.T.M.- C.R.E.F.I., 2001, 250 p.


Fournet, M., Bedin, V., Guy, D., Poulin, C., Dayde, V. (2002). Diagnostic pour la mise en place d'un contrat éducatif local à partir de la consultation de représentants de structures impliquées dans l’organisation d’activités péri ou extra-scolaires, rapport commandé par une mairie de la périphérie toulousaine, Toulouse, rapport de recherche U.T.M.-C.R.E.F.I., 2002, 183 p. Glasman, D. (1999). Réflexions sur les « contrats » en éducation. Ville-Ecole-Intégration, n° 117, juin 1999, p. 70-111. IGAENR. Rapport annuel 2002. MEN Loison, M. (2005). Formation des maîtres. Entre praxéologie et pratique réflexive. In Zay, D. (dir.). Prévenir l'exclusion scolaire et sociale des jeunes. Une approche franco-britannique. Paris :

PUF, Coll. Éducation et formation/Aspects internationaux. Pédagogie comparée, p. 251-285.

Lorcerie, F. (2006). Education prioritaire, une politique sous-administrée. In Les ZEP en débat,

Diversité Ville- école- intégration, n° 144, mars 2006, , p. 61-72. Maurin, E. (2007). La nouvelle question scolaire. Les bénéfices de la démocratisation. Paris, Seuil, 268 p. Padoani David, G. (2008). La démocratisation de l'accès aux formations sélectives : qu'attendre des conventions de partenariat entre lycées des ZEP et établissements d'Enseignement supérieur ? Thèse sous la direction de D. Zay, Equipe PROFEOR EA 2261, Université Charles de Gaulle Lille 3. Padoani David G. (2007) What is excellence in Higher Education? 21th BUSINET Conference (Network for the Development of Business Education Programmes).14- 17 November 2007, Riga, Latvia. Padoani David, G.; Palacios M.; Diallo A (2005). The intervention of the Elites in underprivileged social classes : a trend in HE Establishements in the European Union and in Mercosur ? EERA (European Educational Research Association), ECER 05 (European Conference on Educational Research). Septembre 2005. Dublin. Padoani David, G. ; Palacios M.; Diallo Alfa (2006). Equal chances to access to Higher education in the European Union and Mercosur? EERA (European Educational Research Association), ECER (European Conference on Educational Research). 09-2006, Geneva. Padoani David, G. ; Palacios M. ; Diallo A (2006). CLADEA (Latin American Council of Management Schools): Positive action: Equal chances to access to Higher Education in the European Union? ESC (Ecole supérieure de commerce) Montpellier, 09-2006 Zay, D. (1994). La formation des enseignants au partenariat.Une réponse à la demande sociale ? Sous la direction de D. Zay. Paris : PUF, 1994, Coll. Pédagogie d’aujourd’hui, 352 p. Zay, D. (1999). EnseIGnants et partenaires de l'école. Démarches et instruments pour travailler ensemble. Préface d'André de Peretti. Paris-Bruxelles: De Boeck, Coll. Pédagogies en développement, 1999, 3ème éd., 190 p. 1ère éd.: 1994. Zay, D. (2005). Les paradigmes européens de l’exclusion sociale et les modèles scolaires de sa prévention en France et en Angleterre. In Zay, D. (dir .). Prévenir l'exclusion scolaire et sociale des jeunes. Une approche franco-britannique. Coll. Éducation et formation/Aspects internationaux. Pédagogie comparée. Paris : PUF, p.7-30.



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Chauveau, G. (2000). Comment réussir en ZEP : vers des zones d’excellence pédagogique :

comprendre les disparités de résultats, identifier les dynamiques de réussite, recentrer les ZEP sur les apprentissages. Paris, Retz, 206 p. Delhay, C. (2006). Promotion ZEP. Des quartiers à Sciences Po. Paris, Hachette littératures, 262 p. ESEN (École supérieure de l'éducation nationale) (2005). Décrochage et déscolarisation :

www.esen.education.fr Ferréol, G. (2005). Expérimentation “ Lycée de toutes les chances ”, Rapport d'évaluation, Lille, Rectorat et Conseil régional Nord-Pas-de-Calais, avril 2005. Ferréol, G. (2006). Décrochage scolaire et politiques éducatives. Évaluation d’une expérimentation : le

“ lycée de toutes les chances ”. Cortil-Wodon, InterCommunications et E.M.E. Giband, D., Lacquement, G., dir. (2007). La ville et ses marges scolaires. Retour d’expériences sur l’éducation prioritaire et la rénovation urbaine en France et à l’étranger. Perpignan, Presses Universitaires “ Collection Études ”, 147 p. Hugon, Marie-Anne / Pain, Jacques (2001). Classes relais : l'école interpellée, CDDP de l'Académie d'Amiens, Repères pour agir, 192 p. Kherroubi, M., Chanteau, J.-P., Larguèze, B., (INRP-Centre Alain Savary) (2003). Exclusion sociale et exclusion scolaire, rapport rendu à l’Observatoire de la pauvreté et de l’exclusion sociale, July 2003, 216 p. Kherroubi, M., Chanteau, J.-P., Larguèze, B., (INRP-Centre Alain Savary) (2004). Exclusion sociale, exclusion scolaire, in Les Travaux de l’Observatoire 2003-2004, Observatoire national de la prévention de l’exclusion sociale, p. 127-165. 2e étude (2005) :


Kherroubi M., Rochex, J.-Y. (2004). La recherche en éducation et les ZEP en France. 2. Apprentissages et exercice professionnel en ZEP : résultats, analyses, interprétations. Revue française de pédagogie, n° 146, p. 115-190. Lorcerie, F., Zakhartchouk, J.-M. (2001). L’école et l’exclusion, in Cahiers pédagogiques, n° 391, février 2001, p. 9-52. Nafti-Malherbe, C. (2006). Les discriminations positives à l’école. Entre relégation et socialisation. Paris, Cheminements, 360 p. Réseaux et contrats de réussite. L'éducation prioritaire redéfinie. Paris, CNDP, Documents, actes et r apports pour l'éducation. Van Zanten, A., coord. (1998). La scolarisation en milieux difficiles : politiques, processus et pratiques. Paris, INRP, Politiques, pratiques et acteurs de l’éducation, 207 p. Van Zanten, A. (2001). L’école de la périphérie. Scolarité et ségrégation urbaine. Paris, PUF, 424 p.


Vollkringer, C., Guillaume, F.-R. (OZP), Zakhartchouk, J.-M., coord. (2006). Dossier : Où en sont les ZEP ?, Cahiers pédagogiques, n° 445, September.


The educational issues that this study attempts to deal with were previously explored in ToR 1- Support measures for school institutions with a high drop-out rate and in ToR 3

- Support measures for schools in socio-economically deprived areas which have the highest

number of young people from immigrant backgrounds. However, far more than in the preceding topics, or those concerning ethnic, linguistic, religious, regional, etc. minorities in ToR 9, the support strategies chosen cannot be understood in isolation from their historical and French ideological context in which the national secular and republican mythology developed and inspired its school system. In ToR 9, we explore the reasons for these principles, which both refuse special treatment with regard to pupils’ specific identifying characteristics at school, but have nonetheless given rise to a policy of affirmative action following the lines of the Providence State model specific to France. Here, we will simply outline a few of the characteristics and effects of French national policies regarding young people from immigrant backgrounds. We previously picked up on two questions raised with regard to events that, in France and abroad, gave rise to huge media coverage that strongly called into question French policies to date: “the revolt of the outer cities” and “the wearing of the veil.” The official texts covering this issue are listed in appendix 2.



Here, as in ToR 3 with regard to socio-economically deprived areas, a foreign reader of the intermediary report for France of May 2008, raised the question of “what was the state of education in the socially deprived suburbs in revolt.” The riots that broke out in some neighbourhoods in 2005, were a one-off event that made international headlines. In education, the response has been designed for the long term and the changes that affect current mindsets are slow to take effect. As we saw earlier, particularly with respect to the creation of ZEPs in 1981, town and education


policies were drawn up in collaboration in the face of the inability of the public authorities, each in their own corner, to manage the problems of urban insecurity, school failure, unemployment and other social problems which were growing rapidly. Before the poor neighbourhoods exploded, the “national urban renovation programme,” launched by Jean-Louis Borloo, in 2003, at the time Minister of Town, aimed to contain the problems in a context that many already considered to be explosive. Considerable resources were allocated to renovating housing and urban living conditions in problem areas. However, the impact was not immediate. The editorial published in Le Monde on 13 November 2008, mentioned a still

unpublished report by the ANRU (Agence nationale pour la rénovation urbaine/ National Agency for urban renovation), which considered this programme to be in jeopardy as funding was not keeping up the needs and a certain number of elected representatives, reticent with respect to the rising costs of construction, began to curtail the building of social housing in their districts. This failure of the State to keep its promises and continue to play its role with regard to the general interest, to combat urban splits instead of leaving them to worsen, was judged as risking “stirring up the flames of the social revolts.” As for the question of the “veil,” which gave rise to major debates on the intolerance of the secular French systems, we would like to point out that :

- The act of ostensibly wearing religious signs at school only concerns, firstly, pupils in state schools subject to the authority of their parents and not university students, and secondly, the staff in charge of the pupils as they represent the State, which, in France, is in principle, neutral with respect to religions, in other words, religion is considered to be a private matter;

- The problem that parents who sent their children to school wearing conspicuous religious signs relates in part to the contention by some teachers that all children must do physical education, for example;

- Most incidents were resolved through discussion and there have been fewer of them as time has passed as the law and practices have helped change mentalities and the teaching teams have learnt to deal with the issues. The report by Madame Hanifa Cherifi, Chief Inspector of Schools and School Affairs, drawn up in July 2005, set out the following points regarding the policies in place (p. 32 sq.).

From a quantitative point of view, “the total number of religious signs noted during the school year 2004-2005 was 639, in other words, two large crosses, eleven Sikh turbans, and all the other signs


were Islamic veils. (…) Most of these signs - over 82% - were concentrated in six académies (Regional

Education Authorities) with large immigrant populations. Only six académies noted more than 12, with a peak of 208 in Strasbourg. All the others were below the bar of 12.”

“The total number of 639 represents less than 50% of the signs noted the previous year.”

The drop is far greater than in 1994-1995 when, at the beginning of the school year 94, a ministerial decree was brought into force which banned the wearing of “conspicuous religious signs.” At the time, the national total at the beginning of the 2004 school year was almost reached by the académie of Strasbourg alone which counted 550 islamic veils. The Minister of National Education, in a Senate hearing of the same year, announced 3000 veils for the whole of France. In 2004-05, in 96 cases, the pupils opted for alternative solutions during disciplinary hearings. These included joining the private education sector, either in France or abroad, leaving school (for over 16-year olds) and, above all, 50 enrolments with the CNED (Centre national d’enseignement à distance/ National distance learning centre). Contrary to the widely branded threats of mass desertion from schools by pupils concerned by the legislation, exclusions were limited to 47 : there were 44 expulsions for wearing the Islamic veil and 3 for wearing the Sikh turban. The educational situations of the expelled pupils were similar to the outcomes described above, in particular the 21 expelled pupils who registered with the CNED.

“By the end of 1994-1995, the application of the ministerial decree had led to 139 expulsions!”

As for the qualitative outcome, the author of the report notes

“The law has had an impact as reflected in the overall number of the 639 signs recorded this year. This impact began the preceding year with the preparation for the new school year 2004 in view of the coming into force of the law. Many of the pupils wearing veils expressed their intention of removing their veils when the new legislation came into force.” Instead of a “hostage effect”, she notes the “amount of work conducted by the teaching teams towards the pupils in the framework of the measures brought in from May onwards.” “More generally, mentalities have changed. Nowadays secularity is accepted more easily because it is better understood. In addition, the new legal framework and staff training, together with training programmes for delegate pupils, has led to more uniform management practices nationwide. Supported by this coherent approach, school staff have escaped from the destabilisation that their predecessors experienced. (…) the ambiguity of the legal framework that previously existed, led to interminable negotiations with interlocutors who were not always clearly identified by the school institution (…). These included “in addition to the institutional mediation, religious representatives (imams, priests), presidents of associations in defence of the veil, and Human Rights associations, (…)

Parents have the right to submission for a legal settlement.


(…) “comparison with the year 1994-1995 put the present year in a favourable light. Out of the 139 exclusions pronounced in 1994-1995, 99 appeals were made, of which the Ministry lost 55, while this year, only 28 have been recorded.”


The French education system includes specific measures to facilitate the social integration of young children from immigrant backgrounds. However, the principles and values which inform the way it operates tend towards a policy of assimilation with the French culture rather than integrating the differences into the system. We will look

at these two points in succession.

A recent report (Meunier, 2007) on “intercultural approaches in education,” provides us

with a basis for comparing the situation in France with that of other countries. The author gives a historic overview and analyses the different measures taken in this area in France: teaching the language and culture of origin, integration and adaptation classes, integrated remedial classes, educational action schemes, intercultural activities, opening up to diversity, the Education Action Zone model, raising awareness of children’s situations in developing countries, the return to republican values, the local educational contract model, schooling integration of allophone children, new ”

approaches via pluralism and “education to

policies regarding intercultural issues (refusal to take diversity into account, integration of immigrant children, marginalisation or acceptance of minority cultures, indifference

to differences and affirmative action, issues concerning immigration and citizenship education) (INRP-VST, briefs). In the Regional Education Authorities (academies), the CASNAV (Centres académiques pour la scolarisation des élèves nouvellement arrivés et des enfants du voyage/ Education centres for newly arrived pupils and travellers’ children), formerly called the CEFISEM, offer a resource centre for teachers. There are also many information and documentation centres on immigration and integration. The CNDP website (Centre national de documentation pédagogique/ National centre for teaching documents) provides teachers with access to the information they need (http://www.cndp.fr/vei/acc_scol/accueil.htm). Teaching tools and methods to welcome freshly arrived immigrant pupils are also available.

schemes. He analyses the educational


On the other hand, Dominique Schnapper (2000) notes that “Unlike Germany, there has never

been a real debate in France about providing foreign children with a special education system. French language classes organised for children who arrived late in France and have already acquired a social basis in another language are only temporary. The aim is always to get the pupils into the mainstream as quickly as possible ( The French education system considers that any differentiation based on national, ethnic or religious specificities will be perceived and treated as a form of stigmatisation. This is demonstrated, for example, by the reactions to the introduction of languages and cultures of origin classes (LCO : Langues et Cultures d’Origine) introduced in 1975. The measure was adopted following European directives. Teachers from the countries ‘of origin’, in other words, the origins of the parents, provide specific education to specific pupils within the confines of the normal school programme and during normal school teaching hours. It is an exception to the general rule of universality-unity of the education system and is ill-accepted by everyone (pupils, pupils’ parents and French teachers), insofar as it differs from the logic of the standard French policy and the teachings assimilated by all the social players. As the writer Cavanna, son of an Italian immigrant, said “I tell you, your mother tongue is the language of school” (p. 18-19).

What effects does this system have?


For Dominique Schnapper, and for the researchers she cites (Boulet, Fradet, 1988), this

system has its advantages. “All the sociological studies show that foreign children, when they

have been in nursery school in France, have the same tastes, the same knowledge and the same behaviour as French children of the same social level. If we take their social relations into account, their school results are even slightly better than those of French children with the same social level. However, at the same time, indirectly and surreptitiously, the school system guides the pupils differently, taking their capacities into account as they are judged by the teachers.” (p. 19)

We have already seen the problems concerning the guidance given to young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds (cf. ToR 1) and we come back to this type of negative discrimination that pupils in difficulty are faced with during their schooling, whether from immigrant backgrounds or not. Françoise Lorcerie (2000) believes that there is indeed discrimination, as much when they're looking for a job, as in the way the school system functions. She refers, in particular, to the results of the ‘Geographical mobility and social integration’ study (MGIS : ‘Mobilité géographique et insertion sociale’ ) and other parallel work conducted by Michèle Tribalat (1996) and her colleagues, Patrick Simon and Benoît Riandey. By comparing populations defined by their ethnic origin with whole


populations, they state categorically for the first time in France the objective reality of discrimination. They argue the notion of discrimination for the first time and with considerable prudence, in particular for young Algerians from immigrant families, most of whom are born French, trying to enter the job market. But, Lorcerie, in other publications and as other researchers also evokes the social background as a main factor

of failure and results more positive at school than on job market.

A recent study on schooling conducted by the DEP (Direction de l’Evaluation et de la

Prospective : Assessment and Prospects Department) in the Ministry of National Education, in 2002, with a population of 16,701 pupils entering the first year of

secondary education in 1995 (Laronche, 2005), confirmed the arguments by D.

Schnapper and the analysis by F. Lorcerie regarding the differences young people face

in joining the job market according to their social background.

Educational research, particularly studies by the ESCOL team in Paris 8 in 1992 (cf. Charlot, Bautier, Rochex, 1992), already highlighted that it is not so much coming from a family with foreign origins that led to failure at school, but more the fact of coming from a socially disadvantaged environment. This is obscured by the large number of immigrant families with poor backgrounds as opposed to born and bred French children. Effectively, according to the DEP study, while only 27% of children from immigrant backgrounds manage to reach the level of the general baccalauréat, against 40% of pupils with native French parents and 48% from mixed background families, in a comparable social and family situation, their results are not worse. On the contrary, statistically more of them prepare the baccalauréat. In addition, “children from immigrant

backgrounds present less risk of leaving the school system early than other pupils, mainly because of their strong ambitions.”

However, researchers also highlight the diversity of populations from North African backgrounds and the fact that ethnicity is not only a factor of failure but also of success at school (Lorcerie, 2005). Reflecting on the DEP study regarding the schooling of young people from immigrant backgrounds (Vallet, Caille, 1996) and the study by the MGIS (Mission générale d’insertion sociale : General social integration mission), Françoise Lorcerie noted that, whatever the obstacles that constitute the negative

representation of immigration, and “as the social position of the family and the educational

level of the parents are by far the key explanatory factors regarding schooling,” young people

between 20-29 years old from Algerian backgrounds often study longer. There is an

ethnicity effect, which is explained by a “mobilisation which is nurtured by the feelings of


pupils and their families. Their ambition reflects their resistance to ‘the collective experience of stigmatisation and relegation, as much in their neighbourhoods as in the schools or socially devalued classes,’ according to Jean-Pierre Zirotti, who was one of the first to observe the phenomena in France

(1997).” Another indication of this relationship mentioned by F. Lorcerie, from an INSEE education study (Héran, 1996), is that the large majority of secondary school pupils rejected the more negative images of their school suggested to them. The author

concludes that “collective mobilisation that resists stigmatisation makes quite natural sense.”

A more recent report on young people of North African origin who have succeeded socially (Kessous, 2005) confirms that they themselves put their success down to their ambition, with the same refusal of communitarianism as the French overall. This population is defined by Djida Tazdaïd, former Member of the European Parliament (Green Party), and founder of the Movement of Secular Muslims in France,

launched in May 2003, as “a generation that has come of political age” and that “wants to turn

a culture of failure into a culture of ambition. It may look like lobbying but there is a determination to

fit into a republican rather than a communitarian space.”

Contrary to generally accepted ideas and the “over-visibility” of Muslim associations that they are trying to combat, these alternatives representatives from Muslim backgrounds want, through such clubs as Averroès, the 20 th century Club and the 21 st century Club, launched in February 2004, to proclaim their membership to a French

republican elite and make it visible. “The politicians want to make an ‘us’ for us that we refuse to

recognise” Amirouche Laïdi, founder of the Averroès club in 1997, said. “We are not

interested in communitarianism. What we have in common with the other members is discrimination,

not ethnic origin.” The aim of Averroès is to feed diversity to the media in order to put a stop to “the clichés and stereotypes.” Their first aim is to combat discrimination which affects “the forgotten of equal opportunities,” as Yazid Sabeg, son of an Algerian docker, declared. His focus is on developing access to the Grandes Ecoles like ENA (Ecole nationale d’administration:

National School of Administration) for minorities. We already looked at this new contractual legislation regarding support strategies in socio-economically deprived areas (ToR 3) and we will deal with the topic in more detail in ToR 11, with a case study. Evidence of this diversity in Muslim circles comes from the criticisms expressed regarding these elitist clubs which match up with those put forward by educational circles, researchers and practitioners with respect to the support strategy for excellence and access to the Grandes Ecoles for school leavers from ZEPs. Thus, Rachid Mokran, advisor to the Minister of “PME” (Petites et Moyennes Entreprises : Small and Medium


size enterprises) in 2005, and a fervent supporter of “open to all” movements, launched “Republican Diversity” with former boxing champions the same year, “a real social reference for young people from certain neighbourhoods” (Kessous, 2005). It would appear, however, that the elite of Muslim origin is not so different from other French Muslims, if we are to judge by a study that looked at four European countries, including France, published in 2006 by the Pew Research Center, one of the most highly reputed public opinion institutes in the United States (Lesnes, 2006). European Muslims have the same problems of unemployment within their community (83% in France, 78% in the UK) and are concerned about Islamic extremism. In terms of integration, however, the French differ. While half of British Muslims consider there is a “natural conflict between practicing Islam and living in modern society,” 72% of French Muslims see none, a proportion identical to that recorded for French society overall. French Muslims are also, like the Spanish, the ones who feel the least hostility to practicing Muslims, and 39% believe that most Europeans are hostile to Muslims against 52% in Germany. Asked what defines them the most, their nationality or their religion, 81% of British Muslims opt for the latter, while only 46% of French Muslims said religion, against an almost equal proportion, 42%, for nationality. These results are very different to those of the French population as a whole in which 83% identify first of all with their nationality, but the figures are close to those found in the US, where 48% of the population define themselves firstly as Americans and 42% as Christians. Finally, the perspective of French Muslims on other religions is much more positive. 91% of French Muslims have a favourable opinion of Christians and 71% have a good opinion of Jews, which makes them an exception : only 32% of British Muslims and 38% of German Muslims have a good opinion of Jews. These results could be interpreted as the positive effects of an educational policy founded on secularity in France, which considers religion as a private affair that should not interfere with school, unlike educational policies that privilege the milieu of origin. It indicates an intercultural education, concerned with making differences a positive factor in the construction of the citizen’s identity (Lorcerie, 2001). The weakness of French educational policies does not lie in the principle of the republican school, which recognises equal rights for all its citizens, whatever their origins, but in the abuses that led it to take insufficient account of all the many differences with respect to knowledge, whatever their socio-cultural, psychological or physical origins (cf. ToR 8 on physical and mental handicap). In ToR 9, we will look at both the conflicts that lead to the need to adapt to the socio-cultural realities of today, the original French school model and the


obstacles to an intercultural education that exist in representations and practices more than in the law, or how to meet the ‘challenges’ posed by ethnicity (Lorcerie, 2003).


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