Education about relationships, emotional and sexual life (Evras) is compulsory in grade 6 (Primary education) and grade 10 (Secondary education) from the start of the school year 2023 : 07/09/2023
From the start of the school year 2023, all pupils in the French Community of Belgium will receive regular activities on education about relationships, emotional and sexual life (Evras). A cooperation agreement between the governments of the French Community, the Walloon Region and the French Community Commission has just been approved. Education about relationships, emotional and sexual life in schools has been compulsory since 2012. A guide was drawn up for professionals to help them answer questions asked by pupils. From now on, these activities, mainly provided by family planning centres, will be organised in line with the new core curriculum. All pupils in grade 6 and grade 10 will receive at least one activity. This concerns 85,000 pupils in Wallonia and 25,000 pupils in Brussels. A total annual budget of €4.8 million has been earmarked to fund the activities, which will be tailored to the needs of schools.
2nd reading for the preliminary draft decree on the support, development of professional skills and assessment of teaching staff : 28/04/2023
On 28 April, the Government approved, at 2nd reading, the preliminary draft decree on the support, development of professional skills and assessment of teaching staff. The Government confirmed that the text would comprise two distinct mechanisms, in line with the guidelines set out by education stakeholders in 2017 as part of the adoption of the Opinion number 3 of the Pact for Excellence in Teaching :
- the professional skills support and development mechanism, which is aimed at the positive reinforcement of staff members ;
- the appraisal mechanism, which can only be activated in the event of clear and repeated failure on the part of a member of staff, after all the stages of the support mechanism have been implemented.
However, a number of other changes have again been made to the text with the same objective as those previously incorporated : to provide, at the heart of the appraisal procedure, guidelines that protect the rights of members of staff at least as much as those provided for in existing disciplinary procedures. The decree will come into force on 1 January 2024, but summative assessment procedures will not be able to begin until the start of the new academic year in 2026.
Decree perpetuating free, sustainable and quality school meals in the schools of the French Community : 20/04/2023
At a time when various studies show that more and more children are finding it difficult to eat properly, the Government of the French Community has approved a decree aimed at making the system of free school meals permanent in the canteens of the schools of the French Community that cater for less well-off children. This new decree will make the scheme permanent and will now cover the whole of pre-primary and primary education. A budget of 21.4 million euros will be devoted to implementing this decree. This decree will enable almost 28,000 children to have access to a full, healthy meal a day in their school.
Exceptional investment in school buildings : 06/04/2023
On 6 April, the Government of the French Community adopted on final reading the decree providing for exceptional investment of one billion euros in school buildings. This measure provides for the launch of four calls for projects targeting all school buildings across all education networks and levels. These calls will mobilise €1 billion in subsidies, to which the Organising Authorities will add their share, resulting in an exceptional investment of around €1.5 billion. In concrete terms, the conditions for granting subsidies are designed to guarantee the quality of the projects submitted and therefore the infrastructure renovated or rebuilt. To achieve this, a number of eligibility and/or obligation criteria have been laid down. The well-being of teachers and pupils and the climate transition are at the heart of the project. The main criteria and obligations include
- Guaranteeing a significant impact on the energy and climate transition ;
- Guarantee the architectural quality of the projects ;
- Ensuring high-quality connectivity in each educational facility ;
- Committing to a process of sharing spaces and/or inter-network or inter-Organising Authority collaboration ;
- Carry out an accessibility and inclusion audit ;
- Install low-carbon heating systems.
In addition, requirements will be determined on the basis of the current state of the building(s) being subsidised. In addition to other parallel subsidy measures, almost €4 billion will be invested over the next ten years.
Launch of a plan to fight structurally against harassment and cyber-bullying in schools and to improve the school climate : 10/11/2022
On the proposal of the Minister of Education, the Government of the French Community approved, in second reading, the preliminary draft decree on the improvement of the school climate and the prevention of harassment and cyber-bullying in schools. This text establishes a common reference framework programme for schools to carry out coordinated, sustainable and structural actions aimed at preventing school harassment and improving the school climate. It also provides for the selection and funding of operators who will be able to offer support for the development and implementation of a school's framework programme. In addition, the decree will also provide the French Community with a School Climate Observatory, whose tasks will include :
- Research and evaluation of the structural policy on school climate, prevention and fight against harassment and cyber-bullying in schools ;
- The provision of tools and the monitoring of framework programmes ;
- Networking of actors.
The new Qualifying Education Pathway (PEQ : Parcours d’Enseignement Qualifiant) : 25/07/2022
From the beginning of the school year 2022-2023, the pathway for students in technical, vocational and qualifying education has changed. This new qualifying education pathway ("PEQ") will gradually come into force and aims to make the qualifying pathway a pathway of excellence, enhancing the value of each pupil and enabling successful socio-professional integration while simplifying its organisation.
The preliminary draft decree, which aims to redesign the pathway for pupils in qualifying education, was approved by the government at second reading.
The PEQ echoes the introduction of the reinforced common core. Indeed, the extension of the common core from pre-primary education to the 3rd year of secondary education will eventually fundamentally change the structure of education, and particularly that of qualifying education. In concrete terms, the qualification of pupils will henceforth take place over three years, from 4th to 6th secondary, and no longer from 3rd secondary.
Taking into account the organisation that this new qualifying education pathway requires for schools, its implementation is envisaged gradually :
- From 29 August 2022 for all the options currently organised within the framework of the experimental CPU scheme, as well as for the new options linked to new SFMQ profiles (profiles of professions produced by the Service Francophone des Métiers et des Qualifications);
- From 28 August 2023 for options with CCPQ (Commission Communautaire des Professions et des Qualifications) training profiles or without profiles.
308 schools will offer healthy and sustainable meals to nearly 28,000 children from the beginning of the school year 2022 : 01/07/2022
The call for projects, launched for the years 2022 to 2024, aimed at offering free hot meals of high nutritional quality and integrating sustainability criteria in pre-primary schools and in the 2 first years of primary schools. With a view to equal opportunities, it was specifically the schools with a differentiated framework, ranked from 1 to 5 in terms of their socio-economic index, that were targeted.
Compared to the previous year, the measure has been extended up to the 2nd year of primary education and 90 additional schools, spread over 24 new municipalities, will be included in this approach, which promotes the health of children and the purchasing power of the parents.
The total subsidy for the 308 projects amounts to almost 12 million euros.
The aim is to continue to increase the budgets so that, at the end of the legislature, all pre-primary and primary school children in the most socio-economically disadvantaged schools will be able to eat a healthy meal at school.
Renovation of school buildings and European recovery plan: €269 million allocated to 149 schools : 23/06/2022
The Government of the French Community approved the list of files prioritised in the context of the call for renovation projects resulting from the European Recovery and Resilience Plan (NextGenerationEU).
The call for projects, launched in October 2021 among all the organising authorities, has made it possible to give priority to 149 school sites accommodating nearly 55,000 pupils who will benefit from this recovery plan.
In concrete terms, this involves 269 million euros of subsidies that will result in a total of more than 400 million euros of investment for school buildings in the French Community. In addition, the loan guarantee and the assumption of interest by the organising authorities are provided to finance the part of the investments that would not be covered by the Recovery Plan.
In order to select the renovation projects, objective criteria were used to emphasise the most qualitative files in order to contribute to the energy transition but also to the well-being of pupils and teaching staff.
Note on the methodology : transversal reinforcement of qualifying education and vocational training, in particular work-linked training : 28/04/2022
On 28 April, the Governments of the French Community and the Walloon Region adopted a joint note on the methodology to be implemented with a view to a transversal reinforcement of qualifying education and vocational training, in particular work-linked training.
A reflection was therefore initiated in order to make the development and optimisation of vocational education and training a major issue at the end of this 2019-2024 legislature.
The shared objective is to raise the level of skills in French-speaking Belgium and thus enable everyone to integrate qualitatively into society and the labour market, to have access to the skills needed to evolve, while exercising their active citizenship. It is also a question of better meeting the skills needs of employers, or even anticipating them, with a view to economic and social development.
This process is part of a positive outlook in terms of emancipation for many young people, but also of an increase in the employment rate and economic redeployment, through sustainable, quality jobs. It is also consistent with all the projects being carried out by each of the Governments.
Thus, the Governments intend in particular to carry out an in-depth reflection on the links between education, training and employment, and, in particular, to reform "dual vocational education" to make it a pathway of excellence.
The joint note aims to set out the methodology and identify the short- and medium-term objectives for achieving these ambitions. It is based, on the one hand, on a cross-sectional and factual inventory of vocational education and training and, on the other hand, on the identification and definition of various actions to be carried out together, but also separately, in the short, medium and long term in order to boost dual vocational education.
Draft decree on the adaptation of annual school rhythms : 24/02/2022
The Government definitively approved, in 3rd reading, the draft decree on the adaptation of annual school rhythms, from the start of the 2022-2023 school year, for all types and levels of compulsory education. This text sets out the various provisions necessary to ensure the practical implementation of the reform of annual school rhythms and establishes the principles that will govern the organisation of the school year and school holidays in the future. It also establishes the calendars for the next two school years. The draft decree also includes a series of adjustment measures for out-of-school care and will be accompanied by additional measures for the youth sector to ensure a harmonious and coherent application of the reform. The text also presents transitional mechanisms allowing to favour as much as possible the convergences between the school calendar of the French Community and those of the other Communities, without however derogating from the essential principles of the reform. The philosophy of the reform, designed to better respond to the well-being of the young learners, is to follow the "7+2" model, alternating 7 weeks of classes followed by 2 weeks of holidays.
New the financing of the "Itinérances" project : 09/09/2021
The Government of the French Community decided to renew the financing of the "Itinérances" project. This project, run by the Belgian Red Cross in collaboration with the Relais enfants-parents and the services for prisoners, aims to take care of the journey of prisoners' children to prison when their families or relatives are unable to take them there.
Guidance note on the prevention of bullying and school climate : 09/09/2021
The Government of the French Community approved a guidance note on the prevention of bullying and school climate. The ambition is to be part of a broader vision of school climate, which includes factors of school violence but also school justice, cooperation, coeducation and quality of life at school. This approach makes it possible to develop a framework for action that is appropriate for each school and that looks beyond the author-victim relationship to include the school community as a whole.
Draft decree relating to the investment plan for school buildings in the framework of the European recovery and resilience plan : 02/09/2021
The Government of the French Community adopted in second and final reading the draft decree relating to the investment plan for school buildings drawn up in the framework of the European recovery and resilience plan. Its implementation will make it possible to mobilise 230 million euros (out of the 495 million euros of European resources) increased by a leverage effect. In total, nearly €400 million will be invested in renovating schools in Wallonia and Brussels. To select the renovation projects, objective criteria will be used to highlight the most qualitative projects in terms of climate, digital and educational transition.
Call for projects aiming at fighting against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and violence : 02/09/2021
The Government of the French Community approved the launch of a call for projects, for a total amount of 300,000 euros, aiming at fighting against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and violence. This first call for projects aims to support the development, by associations, organisations and institutions working directly or indirectly in the field of LGBTQI+ people's rights or discrimination, of initiatives dealing with the prevention of violence against these people.
Creation of the Territorial Poles : 17/06/2021
The Government of the French Community voted the decree on the creation of the Territorial Poles in charge of supporting ordinary schools in the implementation of reasonable accommodation and permanent full integration and the decree amending the Decree of 3 March 2004 organising special education in order to abolish temporary full integration.
Guidance note on the revision of annual school rhythms : 12/05/2021
The Government of the French Community approved the guidance note on the revision of annual school rhythms, which confirms the decision to revise school rhythms for all types and levels of compulsory education from the start of the 2022-2023 school year. The philosophy of the reform is to follow the "7+2" model, alternating 7 weeks of classes followed by 2 weeks of holidays. The consequences are the lengthening of the All Saints' and Carnival holidays (two weeks instead of one for each of these holidays) and the shortening of the summer holidays. The 2022-2023 school year will therefore start on the last Monday of August (29th) and end on the first Friday of July (7th). This is an important change that will only affect pupils in the French Community. This organization of the year is designed to better respond to the well-being of the child, and is defended, in particular, by several chronobiologists and pedagogues. According to them, the summer holidays were too long for the pupils, who were disconnected from school and learning for too long. Conversely, a single week's holiday in the first and second terms was too little to allow pupils to breathe effectively.
Amounts allocated to the sheets of the investment plan : 08/04/2021
The Government of the French Community decided on the amounts allocated to each of the sheets of its investment plan so that all the projects submitted correspond to 100% of the amount obtained within the framework of the European recovery plan.
Draft modification of the decree "Enrolment" : 18/03/2021
The Government of the French Community approved, in first reading, the draft modification of the decree "Enrolment". Set up in order to regulate the enrolment process in first secondary school, the "enrolment" decree aims at making the enrolment of all pupils in the French Community more transparent, while guaranteeing all parents a real freedom in the choice of the school for their children. The Government wished to rethink the mechanism by simplifying it, in particular for schools presumed to be incomplete, and by adjusting it to the realities on the ground. The changes can be summarised as follows : - A major simplification for incomplete schools ; - More transparent and faster communication to parents and pupils ; - Decentralised bodies to be more in tune with the realities on the ground and to respond to the parents' needs ; - A stronger social mix ; - A better optimised composite index. The real challenge is to create places and improve the attractiveness of certain schools. Although the “enrolment” decree aims to regulate the enrolment process in the first secondary school and to guarantee the same opportunities for all pupils, it will never be able to completely solve the problem encountered by some schools : the demand for places is greater than the number of places available. In order to respond structurally to this problem and to guarantee parents' freedom of choice, the Government of the French Community will continue to work on the creation of places, but even more on improving the attractiveness of certain schools.
Granting of reconditioned PCs : 13/03/2021
Dozens of schools in the compulsory education and social promotion sectors received reconditioned PCs in recent months thanks to the mobilisation of the Administration's services. In total, more than 3,500 computers were distributed and made available to pupils to combat the digital divide.
This action was set up by the French Community to help pupils from the 3rd year of secondary education onwards and students in social advancement education to follow courses online. In total, almost 3,500 computers were distributed by the French Community since the beginning of the health crisis thanks to the excellent collaboration between the teams.
Guarantee a quality school, free and accessible to all : 11/03/2021
The Governments of the Brussels-Capital Region, the French Community and the College of the French Community Commission agreed to draw up a cooperation agreement with a view to strengthening the joint commitments made by the Region and the Communities to meet the specific needs of education and early childhood in Brussels. Five priorities are highlighted as challenges to be met in order to guarantee a quality school, free and accessible to all : - meeting the demographic challenge ; - supporting the school retention of young people in difficulty and fighting against school segregation ; - fighting against child poverty and deprivation ; - revolutionising language learning ; - adopting a specific approach to early childhood. The Governments of the French Community, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Collège of the French Community Commission initiated a joint work to support the creation of early childhood places for the period 2021-2025. This strategy aims to create 2,100 places by December 2025 in the Brussels-Capital Region. These new places are part of a more global strategy covering the entire territory of the French Community and continuing the work begun under the Cigogne III plan adopted during the previous legislature.
Supports and resources allocated to the "Schools in adjustment mechanism" : 04/03/2021
The Government adopted, in first reading, the draft decree aiming at fixing the supports and resources allocated to the "Schools in adjustment mechanism". Within the framework of the reforms aiming at improving the quality of our education system and at reducing school inequalities, a special support is foreseen for a certain number of schools in great difficulty, called "Schools in adjustment mechanism". In concrete terms, these "Schools in adjustment mechanism" are identified on the basis of a comparative analysis of four reference indicators linked to pupils' results, their background, the school climate and the dynamics within the educational teams. The objective of this identification is to allow schools thus recognised to benefit from an adjustment mechanism via close support for the time necessary to reduce the difficulties and for a maximum period of three years. This support system is characterised in particular by an audit and diagnosis carried out by the General Inspectorate and by adjustment targets set by the Government. On this basis, the school is invited to build, in consultation with its educational team and with the support of its Organising Authority, its action plan to meet these objectives. To this end, the government and the Federations of Organising Authorities provide schools with support and resources. This unprecedented scheme should help to strengthen the equity of the school system, through the effects it will have on the pupils attending the schools concerned. The gradual reduction of repetition and dropout are also at the heart of the project, in complementarity with other projects of the Pact for Excellence in Teaching.