This past week has been jam-packed with meetings and events: the children’s rights show, programming competitions, the primary parent-teacher meetings, Reading Day, the illumination of the Christmas tree, secondary class councils…there’s no time for navel-gazing around here!
Today, I would like to focus on one of these recent events: the secondary class councils. Class councils are an intrinsic aspect of school life in every French school in the world. They are formal meetings that take place at the end of each term, with teachers alongside parent and student representatives, voted for by their peers, in attendance. They are presided by the head of school or the secondary assistant head.
The assembled council discuss pedagogical issues concerning the class as a whole, and also review individual student’s progress, achievements and results. The members of the council advise, encourage or congratulate every member of the class. The student representatives can comment on proceedings at any stage and may for example provide insight into a particular student’s behaviour.
As I mentioned, class councils are fundamentally French concepts, and are closely tied to French education and adolescence. I often say to parents that your children learn French in the French Section primary school, but they become French in secondary. The class councils are just one example of how that happens. Our French parents will not be surprised to hear that this term the student representatives passed on the complaint that there is too much homework, that the teachers are hard on the students and that the parents representatives say that the school bags are too heavy.
But the class councils are a fascinating institution that have aroused the curiosity of our TES partners.
Daisy Rana, Assistant Head of the British High School Section, having heard so much about them dropped in to witness FS class councils first hand last week; she was impressed by everyone’s participation and engagement, and by the frank nature of the discussions. Showing that sometimes old ways can be good ways.
On a personal level, I take great pleasure in attending the class councils and in following the progress of our students from term to term and from year to year, especially those who I have known since primary school and who are now rising to the challenges of secondary. I know that many of you were anxious by the move from CM2 to 6ème, and I am delighted to share the news with you, following the first 6ème class council, that our 6ème class are doing fantastically and have achieved excellent results during their first term (but that must remain between us because what is said during class councils is supposed to be confidential!)
Wishing you an excellent weekend,