“I have instructed my administration to give schools a reminder shot,” assured Ms. Désir, questioned in the Education Committee on the proper application of the new school calendar which in theory prohibits schools from organizing this type of tests the week of return to school after a holiday, in order to prevent it from becoming a period of blockade.
Several parents, relayed by the League of Families, had complained about the organization of checks at the start of the school year after All Saints, as well as the assignment of homework during the holidays.
If the summative tests – that is to say questions which aim to take stock of learning and which intervene in the accounting of the annual results of each pupil – are prohibited the week which follows a holiday period, on the other hand, the formative tests – which allow the student to know where he is in the assimilation of the subject but without this influencing his report card – are indeed authorized.
The new regulations on school timetables also allow teachers to assign homework and work to be done during school vacation periods, the minister said.
“There is therefore no general ban on giving work from home during the holidays,” she insisted.
A new calendar
Based on the new application calendar in FWB, pupils in all compulsory education now alternate periods of seven weeks of lessons with two weeks of holidays at All Saints’ Day, Christmas, Carnival and Easter.
In front of the deputies, Ms. Désir admitted that certain schools, undoubtedly out of ignorance of the new regulations, had actually organized summative tests during the recent back-to-school week when they were not normally entitled to do so.
She promised that the services would be more vigilant so that it does not happen again after the next Christmas holidays.
In the opposition, the deputy Marie-Martine Schyns (Les Engagés) put these errors of certain schools on the account of a reform of the calendar “which was applied at full speed”.