Two more teachers attacked by students

Two teenage students face discipline after the latest in a string of violent attacks on teachers across France.

Investigations are continuing in cases that emerged this week at schools in Var and Vendée, following on the heels of others in Bordeaux, Poitiers, Amiens and Paris, where courses were suspended at a school after a student threatened a teacher with death.

The Var-Matin newspaper reported that a 14-year-old girl struck a woman teacher in the face during a French class on Tuesday morning at a school in La Seyne-sur-Mer.

The incident occurred after the teacher had asked the girl for her notebook because she was disturbing the class.

The woman was injured in the mouth and jaw after the girl struck out with her forearm, the newspaper reported.

The teacher was given a two-day leave from work while the student was suspended from the school and detained for questioning before being released and charged on Thursday with “aggravated violence”.

A female school principal in Herbiers (Vendée), meanwhile, has lodged a complaint against a 13-year-old boy who allegedly insulted and punched her on Thursday.

The principal was attacked by the boy when he was ordered to her office after being  kicked out of a class for “inadmissable behaviour,” according to a regional education official.

Ouest-France reported that the boy first insulted the principal then left the office only to return.

 “He turned over furniture and punched me several times,” the newspaper quoted the principal as saying.

The teen was held by adults at the school.

He has been suspended from attending classes while an evaluation is conducted and risks being expelled.



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Prestigious French uni offers English courses to migrants

One of Paris’ most renowned higher-education establishments is offering free language courses to refugees as part of an integration scheme thought up by the university's students.

Prestigious French uni offers English courses to migrants
Photo: AFP

The course at the Paris Institute of Political Studies – often referred to simply as Sciences Po – began on Monday, with twenty migrants taking part.

The students are aged between 20 and 40 years and are originally from Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan, with most already holding university qualifications from their own countries.

The aim is to help the migrants integrate in French society, but rather than just offering French classes, the university has decided to give the group of migrants the choice between French or English.

A spokeswoman for the university told The Local: “Most of the students we took on speak English so English language courses were offered because it was important to consolidate their level in this language.

“Secondly if they master English they will have a wider choice of courses to follow at Sciences Po, because many of them are taught only in English.”
As well as joining the language courses, the migrants can also benefit from access to the university’s teaching resources, including the libraries and online materials, as well as extra-curricular activities such as sports clubs, societies and student events.

The scheme is set to last until June but if it is judged successful it could be repeated in 2017.

Language barriers are often cited as an obstacle to integration and employment for migrants and refugees arriving in Europe. 

In France, there are no official language classes for new migrants run by the French state, but several charities and volunteer groups have offered French and English lessons in the country's refugee camps like the 'Jungle' near Calais.

However, if migrants are granted refugee status or asylum in France, they can enter into an “integration” contract with the state under which they receive free language classes for one year.

Sciences Po is known for its intensive programmes and has been a breeding ground for French leaders, with current president François Hollande and ex-president François Mitterand among its alumni.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy also unrolled at Sciences Po, but he failed to graduate because his level of English wasn't deemed good enough.