There’s been a lot of talk about lycee reform in the last few months, but for us, the biggest change has been having to get out of bed at some unearthly hour. Since the eldest started lycee last September, I’m no longer able to roll out of bed and drive the youngest to school, still wearing my PJ’s, in time for an 8.45 start. I now get up at 5.45 as we all have to be out of the house by ten past seven. The eldest gets on the bus at twenty past whilst poor old Max gets dumped in the garderie. His ‘school’ day ends nearly twelve hours later when I collect him and his sister at 6.45 p.m.. So I’m pretty unsympathetic to his teacher’s demands for homework to be completed on top of that. So too is the nice motherly lady who runs the garderie. She also thinks that the kids shouldn’t be getting that quantity of homework so she makes sure they do it there. As this isn’t part of her job description, I am hugely appreciative and will be giving her a large bottle of something alcoholic at the end of term. I should imagine she will need it by them. I know I will.
A team of inspectors arrived at Daisy’s lycee last week to interview a select group of students, to ask them what they thought about the reforms and how they were working. I use the word select as the students were handpicked by the headmaster. I think he wanted kids who were capable of stringing a sentence together. Daisy was inordinately pleased to be one of the eight out of 2500, who were chosen to meet the inspectors. Then her younger sister pointed out that at this particular lycee, there are only around 30 kids taking the Bac and the rest are training to become bakers, hairdressers or members of the rugby section. These figures are not entirely accurate but Tilly had made her point and Daisy was suitably squashed.
One of the biggest changes this year has been the introduction of “Accompagnement Personalisee” - designed to help students before they fall behind. There’s no syllabus and none of the staff know what they are meant to be doing so they are all using their initiative.....Daisy’s French teacher is teaching the kids about the French press. It transpired that no one in the class except my swotty daughter, knew which papers were left or right wing. Equally, the teacher had no idea that English language papers are published in France, so next week the class will be studying a copy of French Week. In History, the teacher is discussing how much time should be spent of homework and how much on Facebook. The maths teacher is showing the literary section kids how to use the overcomplicated and hugely expensive, graphics calculator that they will never need to use again after this year, whilst the physics teacher is teaching French grammar. I doubt any of this is exactly what Mr. Sarkozy had in mind when he thought this one up.
I asked Daisy how the inspectors reacted to this information and she said they took it all in their stride, until they heard that the English teacher was using the extra time to teach her class about eyesight. In French of course.