Tight security as French pupils go back to school


Pupils in France go back to school this week amid ever-greater security and against the backdrop of a constant threat of terrorism. The education minister and the interior minister have held a joint press conference to outline the unprecedented measures that are being taken to ensure the safety of children at school. As Faïza Zerouala reports, the authorities have to strike a careful balance between ensuring educational establishments are prepared for a terrorist attack and avoiding causing anxiety among younger pupils.

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It is a return to school like no other in France. After the murderous attacks of the summer, notably the Bastille Day attack in Nice, the authorities have held a press conference to highlight the steps being taken to ensure security at the nation's 64,000 schools ahead of the start of the new term on Thursday September 1st. As a sign of the urgency attached to the issue, education secretary Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll, who is in charge of agricultural colleges, staged the press conference five days before ministerial briefings to discuss academic matters relating to the new school year.