Changes for the new 2021/2022 school year
Commissioner General for the Department of Education, Youth and Sport Isabelle Bonnal gave an overview of the major changes being introduced for the new 2021/2022 academic year on Thursday 2 September, to an audience including Minister of the Interior Patrice Cellario and a number of personalities and headteachers.
Embarking on her eleventh new academic year as head of the Department of Education, Youth and Sport, Ms Bonnal described what this year will look like, against the background of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic: “Our priority is to maintain face-to-face teaching for our pupils’ wellbeing and success,” she said. “We will do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of pupils and staff.”
Mask wearing and physical distancing requirements will remain in place, but there will be no health pass for pupils or staff.
“As for vaccination, this continues to be a personal choice which nonetheless remains the only effective way to reduce severe forms of the disease,” Ms Bonnal explained.
The Commissioner General then gave an overview of the main educational changes, including additional language teaching and the reform of vocational courses, with new groups of professions to be introduced, offering each pupil the chance to choose the best path for them.
Progress in digital education was also discussed, including the use of “augmented reality mats” at primary level, the establishment of Digital Collèges and Lycées at secondary level, and the introduction of a “telepresence” robot for children in hospital. 2022 will also see the launch of a new online service for managing financial aid provided by the State (study grants, canteen subsidies, etc.).
Finally, Ms Bonnal’s presentation addressed bullying in the school environment. The Department of Education, Youth and Sport has implemented an action plan which will be based around increased teacher supervision, a partnership with the charity Action Innocence, awareness activities led by the Public Prosecution Department and the Police Department, and the organisation of a “No to Bullying” day on the first Thursday following the All Saints’ Day holiday.
The press conference was held at Fontvieille primary school which, like the Principality’s other schools, will welcome pupils back from Monday 6 September.
A total of 5,715 pupils (4,380 in the state sector and 1,335 in the private sector operating under contract) will return to class, supervised by 868 staff, including 521 teachers.