Following the announcement of the closure, parents, elected officials, and teachers multiplied their attempts at mediation, filed an appeal with the administrative court, and carried out advocacy work with a cultural connotation. They mobilized to pack the school in the manner of the artist Christo, with the objective of “hiding to better reveal” and writing slogans inspired by the work of Magritte.
The old village cinema was also symbolically reborn for the screening of the film “Cinema Paradiso”, which highlights the disappearance of a cultural space in a village.
One evening, I wrote to Gauvain Sers, a committed singer-songwriter, to ask him to support us. Gauvain, himself the son of a teacher teach diploma in information technology in Australia and originally from a region that is too often abandoned, decided to write the song ” The Forgotten ” which was quickly taken up in other institutions in rural and peri-urban areas threatened with closure. A series of four video documentaries and a concert in the schoolyard were also produced in the process.
Since then, the government has backtracked school closures without the mayor’s approval. However, school closures without this agreement are still relevant when they are managed by communities of municipalities, as was the case this year for two villages in Ponthieu-Marquenterre.
Benefits of keeping schools in rural areas
Proponents of the school consolidation policy believe that savings will be made, with simplified staff management, fewer buildings to maintain, and grouped canteens. However, the cost of new constructions, school transport, and indirect jobs (supervisory staff) are often overlooked.
Henri Poupart, mayor of Ponthoile, believes in this respect that the closure of the village school has generated significant public expenditure to build certificate 4 in information technology something new instead of redeveloping the buildings already in place.
In Hauts de France, the region of mainland France most affected by low literacy rates, the Academy of Amiens (which brings together the schools of the Somme) has for several years had the highest rates of young people in the difficulty of reading. Why then close their schools?
Studies _also describe the advantages of small schools over large schools. Even though the lack of staff has been cited as the main reason for the closure of the Ponthoile school, there is evidence that small numbers promote student success while higher student-teacher ratios can hurt learning.
Karine Michaux, the mother of three children who attended the Ponthoile school, affirms that, from now on, her children are 28 in the same class in unsuitable premises. She also deplores a more distant parent/teacher relationship, with parents less daring to approach teachers, except in the event of a problem. Valérie Mairesse, also a parent of students,