Special Eucational NeedsHome, bilingual schooling

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AnneStan

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Hi, I have been living and working in France for the last seven years, currently living close to the border of Aude and PO. All three of my children have been educated in French schools and all are bilingual. My youngest child, now aged 9 years, after a lengthy process of bilans was last year diagnosed as dysexic. This resulted in us then having to apply for a handicapped status in order to qualify for any additional educational support or funding. Despite all the evidence as supplied by us as well as a whole host of medical and educational experts (teachers, psychologists, neuro psychologist, neuro pediatrician, speech therapist...etc etc) this status was refused. I am writing this post as a last resort following a frustrating and emotional meeting at my child's school this morning when I was basically told that there was very little they could do without AVS (state funding). If there is anyone else out there who has had a similar exerience or who would be interested in forming a joint home/bilingual educational programme for a small group of children then I would love to hear from you. For those of you who can relate to my frustration you may also find the following article in The Connexion of interest: French schools under performing May 17, 2010 THE GAP between the best and worst-performing school pupils is getting bigger, according to an official new report comparing French education standards with other developed countries. The State's official auditor, the Cour des Comptes has become the latest body to criticise French education, following similar reports in recent months by doctors and a leading think-tank. The study found one in five children has serious writing and numeracy problems throughout their time in school - and one in six leaves school without any qualifications. It ranked France 17th for pupils' performance out of the 34 countries that form the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The top three countries were Finland, South Korea and the Netherlands. Cour des Comptes president Didier Migaud said that out of all the countries the report studied, France was the place where a child's social background had the biggest say in their school success. The research found only 18% of children from the least well-off families passed the baccalauréat, compared with 78.4% from the most privileged backgrounds. The divide was said to be twice as big as in other countries including Japan, Canada or Finland - and getting bigger. On the issue of costs, the auditor said it had been very difficult to assess how effective the system was because the Education Ministry refused to reveal any figures in euros - referring instead to "teacher hours" or "teacher posts". The report nonetheless calculated that the policy of making under-performing students repeat years was costing €2bn a year - without any evidence that it worked. It said more resources should be dedicated to pupils in need of extra help outside of lessons, including homework support. The report comes a fortnight after a similar study by the Institut Montaigne, a leading French think-tank, which warned that four out of ten pupils are leaving primary school without basic spelling and numeracy skills - the equivalent of 300,000 children a year. The think-tank research blamed long school days, long holidays and a policy of making under-performing children repeat years. Another report in January, by the National Academy of Medicine, said the four-day week was exhausting for young children and harming their ability to learn. The Education Ministry has written to local education authorities encouraging them to try out alternative timetabling from the rentrée in September and has suggested spreading lessons over an extra half-day to make each day shorter. However the ministry has not gone as far as scrapping the four-day week it introduced in September 2008, but suggests that schools look at ways of rearranging lessons to "improve efficiency and respect a child's rhythm".

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