For several weeks now, the French Section community has been agitated by the news that tuition fees are set to increase for the next school year. LINE groups have been set up, petitions signed and letters written to the CEO.
A number of you have contacted me to ask what my point of view is. I understand perfectly why you might be surprised by my silence on the matter, especially as I continue to write to you each week about what is happening at school, seemingly turning a deaf ear to your concerns. I realise that my recent letters might have given you the impression that your head of school is disconnected from families and from what is taking place at the French Section. I would like therefore to apologise if that is the impression I have given.
In the current context, I must remind you that TES’s new governance structure, required by the Board of Governors and put in place by the CEO, has brought about considerable changes in how each Section is run, and has modified my role and position in the school. To clarify, I am not a French Section employee, rather an employee of TES. It has in fact always been the case, but our ‘historical’ way of working led everyone to believe (me, first and foremost!) that heads ran their Sections independently and were solely accountable to the parents elected to their Section Management Council.
The ‘one school’ principle (one budget, one board, one ‘boss’) has done away with our previous way of working and has redefined everyone’s job description. There is no longer any ambiguity: the Section heads now report directly to the CEO. Discussions and disagreements do of course occur on all kinds of subjects (there were some yesterday, there will be more tomorrow!) and they are worked out internally. I share my opinions, my experience and my values with my colleagues, but as far as administration is concerned (budgets and financing for example), the final word goes to the sole legally recognised entity: TES, which is why I have not voiced a public opinion on the matter of fees.
I promise you that I am not trying to shirk responsibility or evade the issue, I am not saying “don’t blame me, blame them” or “I am not interested in the issue of tuition fees” – far from it; your reactions and your questions move and touch me deeply. But my job description is clear, my main role is to ensure that your children benefit from the best possible learning conditions. It’s what I have been doing for almost six years now and nothing will change the passion I have for the French Section, which will, with the support of the entire team, continue to develop and improve. Our families are going through a
tough moment. All change entails instability and readjustment, as the French Section is realising. But I hope that thanks to our partners at the French Office, at the AEFE, on the parents ‘council and at TES, that we will find adequate solutions for our school.