New school year: "Nobody can say that the Northern islands are the outcasts of the school district"

Several specific positions have been created in Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin in response to the proposals of the Director of Education in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy.

Like in all the schools of the Guadeloupe School District, elementary school students in Saint-Martin will go back to school on Friday September 2. Middle and high school students will progressively return to the classroom. Even though there were 8 712 students in the 22 public schools on the French side in 2015/2016, there should be 8 842 this year (4 824 in the elementary schools, 2 444 in the middle schools and 1 574 in the high schools) according to forecasts.

Some classes have been closed in the elementary schools. Four were closed in the following elementary schools: one in Emile Choisy, one in Elie Gibs, one in Marie-Amélie Ledeyt, one in Nina Duverly. Another was closed at the Eliane Clarke Nursery School. According to Michel Sanz, the Director of Education in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, these closures are particularly due to a 10% decrease in the numbers of students which was observed between 2011 and 2015. However, as part of the "more teachers than classes" program which aims to strengthen the teaching of common core skills in elementary schools, six additional teaching positions were opened (and two closed). Recruited based on their profile, these additional teachers will not be in charge of a particular class, but will provide support to the already existing teaching faculty.

The drop in enrollments in the middle and high schools between 2011 and 2015 is only 1.2% for the moment. This is why there are more positions that have been opened rather than closed in the middle and high schools. Finally, Michel Sanz was glad to announce”a special new school year that shows a considerable effort on the part of the Guadeloupe Superintendant of Schools based on our proposals". Indeed, exceptional resources have been attributed to the Northern islands for the start of the 2016 school year. "Now nobody will be able to consider the Northern islands as the outcasts of the school district" added the representative of the Superintendant of Schools.

Indeed, in addition to the extra teaching positions and three local inclusive learning units (ULIS) (1 in Mont des Accords, 1 in the Cité scolaire and 1 in French Quarter), five additional specific positions have been granted:

- 2 additional positions to support the creation of 5 bilingual classes

- 2 additional positions to accompany the 100 teachers who will receive training in French as a Foreign Language

- 1 position for a specialized teacher to handle serious behavioral emergency situations

- 23 young people in civic service spread out in 11 schools

- 1 position for a chief education advisor and 2 school monitor positions (or 4 part-time positions)

- and four adult intermediaries recruited in Saint-Martin with the participation of the State (80%) and the Collectivité (20%)

Of course, many positions have been created, but others are still vacant. There are still 40 teachers needed in the school district’s elementary schools, including 27 in Saint-Martin. ”An exceptional situation” said Michel Sanz who jokingly added”a new school year with no problems is not a normal school year”. But this setback should not prevent the school year from starting. Indeed, the education service has a pool of 30 substitute teachers for the elementary schools among which a dozen will be assigned to take charge of a class and others will fill in temporarily until tenured and contractual substitute teachers are recruited. As for the middle and high schools, it is difficult to assess the number of vacant positions for the moment. 


Fanny Fontan