A year of school hours lost through teachers' absenteism

My son has a full lycee day cancelled today. Two hours were moved to Thursday and four hours cancelled altogether because the teacher had to attend some seminar of meeting.

There are 34 students in class. So, it’s 34x4=136 studying hours lost.

I’ve read that over the whole school years an average student in France looses a year of education through teachers’ absenteism. Which incidentally only happens on Fridays and Mondays. (extended weekends for profs?)

Question: has anyone studied the phenomenon/complained/protested and how successfully?

There is a system of tallying exactly how many hours are lost and why - is it because I was examining, in training, snowed in, ill, had an ill child, a parent's funeral etc etc but I don't know if the Rectorats make these available. I know that every single absence of mine is on my Rectorat webpage along with my marks per year for teaching, my cv etc. The Rectorat have access to it & modify it (I can only read it) but nobody else does. For any absence you HAVE to have a justificatif so I shall be handing my head a doctor's letter in German on Monday, explaining my mother's situation & the need for my presence. I may also have to produce 'plane tickets to prove I actually went to Germany.

You can blame budget cuts for the lack of replacement teachers, plus the fact that nobody really now wants to be one since your 'zone de remplacement' is up to about half the size of the Academie and not everybody wants to or can up sticks from one day to the next. I would encourage everybody to go in for teaching (I love it): all you need is EU nationality, a BA plus a Master's degree & then to succeed in the concours. Do the year of 'stage' at the end of which you will be assessed again and if you get through that you come up for your permanent job - then hope you don't get sent to the other end of the country (although if you DO you'll just have to move house or commute, you can't refuse to go - you might be able to get back to your home region after 8 to 12 years).

have you looked at the total hours of absenteism? I didn't know there's a system like that in existence.

As a mother of 2 collégiens in the private system, this was a subject that many of the parents complained about last year, the amount of teacher absences without replacement, especially at the end of the year. In their case, it is partly due to the collège being on 2 sites and so teachers having unexpected obligations on the other site, but also for invigilating exams (& mock exams) on both sites. And so we were told that there was nothing that could be done about it for the 1hr or 2hr inevitable absences. The only problem is that people don't seem to realise how all the individual teachers absences add up for the pupils.

The collège uses an internet information system 'Pronote', which has a section in it about teacher replacements so you can see a bit further in advance when someone is going to be 'off' and not just see a note in the child's carnet de liason just before. It also does a tally of the number of teacher absences over any given period. It is very tempting to work out the cost of each 'cours' and only pay for the ones assured, but that's really rather petty, because the teachers themselves are extremely devoted to their jobs. Also I wonder if they could find replacement teachers in some subjects for 1 or 2 hrs at short notice? Not very good working conditions for the teachers

in your experience how many lessons (hours) are cancelled, say, per semester? is there a register of cancellations?

The problem is essentially that any person who can get a medical certificate to account for their absence is legitimately absent and therefore won´t be sanctioned. Remplacement kicks in if the person is absent for a week or more PROVIDING the Rectorat know at least a week ahead. If we are absent for training etc it is usually not at times we choose since training is organised by the Rectorat and we are obliged to go because we are civil servants (just as we are obliged to teach where we are sent even if that means moving house, children changing schools etc). I imagine some of my colleagues (eg those who have a 150 minute round trip by train every day and can´t move for a variety of reasons) probably burn out sooner than others...

Steve thanks, I am glad I am not the only one who is concerned.
What I'd like to find out really is whether there is a sizable number of concerned French parents. Has anyone complained, raised the issue in the media, set up a protest group or campaign, and have there been serious studies or surveys?
Supply teachers are there, but the problem is that schools, as far as I know, only obliged to call on them when the main teacher is absent, or officially expected to be absnet, for an extended period of time. I think one week is when it kicks in. A day or two off now and then is not considered serious enough.

i discussed this with the head of my daughters college last week and in particular teachers having time off and no supply teacher being provided.

He was unconcerned and just said they dont exist in France - which i dont totally believe and intend to investigate.in our situation we believe its down to poor management and a lack of motivation from the top down.

The bottom line for us is we picked a duff school which we have since realised has a very low level of success at the Brevets (69 %) whilst a nearby alternative has better results at around 90% pass.

faced now with the possibilty of changing school and all the upheaval / loss of friends etc.

it makes my blood boil when her french teacher cancelled a lesson in the 2nd week of term ! last school year her absence was so regular it became totally predictable.

then in may and june there were numerous "meetings / training " etc plus the ongoing absences meaning on some days she was in the place for 1 lesson and i mean for 1 hour ..............

i agree with Alex that emergencys sre just that and are part of our lives - but this is systematic and leaves me feeling the school has a bunch of lazy demotivated teachers who have no pride in the school or the results of the pupils.

we are very very concerned about the impact of all of this on our daughters education .

I am sorry to hear about your mother.
My question, however, is not about family emergencies but about what seems to be a widely spread practice.
And when you can, how does 'making up the hours' work exactly?
Once again sorry and wish your mother a good recovery.

I teach in Lycée. My pupils won't be having the joy of seeing me on Monday, because tomorrow morning I am flying to Germany at no notice, on a one-way ticket as I don't know when I can get back. I hope I'll be in time to see my mother alive, with any luck she'll be considerate & shuffle off the mortal coil sharpish so I can get back to my classroom. Priorities, eh. I'll be making up the hours I miss though, so don't worry too much.