In France children only attend school four and a half days a week. In some areas of Scotland schools have a half day on a Friday, however, in most places children attend school for five full days a week. However, this is only something that has been implemented over recent years. Children in France used to have a day off on Wednesdays, only attending school four days a week. It was the disruptive behaviour after holidays that made the French government change the structure of the school week. he ministry of education confirmed on Tuesday that a third of French primary schools, or 31.8 percent to be exact, teaching 28.7 percent of the country’s young children, will return to the four-day week based on a decision made by their local authorities (Taylor, 2017) .
Despite the school week changing to four and a half days only in recent years, President Emmanuel Macron is changing the week back to four days commencing after the summer holidays. This is taking the French education system back to the way in which it used to be. France’s new president Emmanuel Macron announced his intentions to change the primary school timetable early on in his presidency, saying that he would give authorities the option of returning to the four-day week in place of the four and a half-day week put in place by the previous government.
The day off will only apply to primary schools. Middle and high school pupils will still have to attend school for half a day on a Wednesday. The children in my CM2 class, being the oldest in the school and about to move on to middle school were disappointed at this news.
I don’t know how I feel about having an entire day off, but I do believe that having a half day on a Wednesday is a very good thing. In Scottish schools that have a half day, this day is commonly on a Friday, the last day of the week. However, having lived in France and experienced many half day Wednesdays. I believe that Wednesday is the perfect day of the week to have a half day. It is the middle of the week therefore, it gives both pupils and teachers the chance to finish school at 11:30 am and have the opportunity to recharge before finishing the week. I have found that it works very well, and I always feel more energised going into Thursday and Friday having finished early on the Wednesday. I believe that if Scottish schools wanted to implement the half-day this day should be considered as I believe it makes more logical sense than a Friday.
Having discussed the differences between France and Scotland regarding the half day I have found that it makes a lot of sense to have a half day. My teacher expressed that finishing school early allows teachers to have the chance to spend time marking and planning. As school begins at 8:30 and finishes at 3:40 on full days, teachers don’t have a lot of spare time to plan and mark. This is something I had never thought about before, but I can imagine it must be a great help having that extra half day. This made me think back to placement in first year. I was in school all day, every day, going in early and leaving late. By the time I arrived home in the evenings I did not have a lot of time to plan lessons and well as complete various sections of my folder before it was time to go to sleep. This meant that the experience was very stressful, and I did not stop doing work for four weeks straight. My learning from life experience has not been like this as I have had Wednesdays to get extra work done.
Parents will be happy about the law changing b back to the way it used to be. At the time that Wednesdays were set to become a school day, some parents were outraged as this was not the way that things were in France. Before the change in law under the government of Francois Hollande children were off school mid-week. This is the way the school week traditionally worked in France. Parents complained when the new president at the time wanted to change this, it was said that people couldn’t go about their usual Tuesday routine as they now had to consider school on Wednesdays (Chu, 2013). I found this bizarre as I thought a day off during the week would cause more hardship than anything for parents that have to work.
This is an aspect of the French Education system that I believe really works. Evidence shows that it is beneficial for both children and teachers.