Reform in length of French school day: the hour of truth


French primary pupils return to their classrooms this week with new rules in place shortening the length of the school day. But not only will just a fifth of schools actually implement the reforms this year, they will be applied differently even in those areas that do adopt them. This could create significant inequalities in pupils' access to extracurricular activities; some children will get to practice circus acts, others will simply be put in childcare. Lucie Delaporte reports on these and other changes at the start of the new academic year.

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After a year of hesitations and drama about whether communes and schools would  implement key a reform on the length of the school day, this week the moment of truth will dawn. But not everywhere. As France's nursery and primary schools return from their summer break on Tuesday September 3rd only a fifth of them – 20% - and fewer than a quarter of pupils, 22.3%, will actually be affected by the changes. Local councils who run the remaining schools have taken advantage of a government concession allowing them to delay bringing in the changes until next year.