Barcelona allows public nursery schools to maintain start of the school year on September 12
City Council gives a year's moratorium to seek consensus before bringing in changes to school year
BarcelonaThe 103 public nursery schools in Barcelona have decided not to follow the new school calendar announced by the Generalitat and start next academic year on September 12, and not on September 5 as the rest of Catalonia will do. ARA has learnt this is the proposal that Barcelona City Council has put forward to the nursery schools teachers unions, after they joined the strike days in March, sparked by changes to the school calendar but which also demanded better working conditions. The City Council is confident it will reach an agreement with CCOO, UGT, CSIF and CGT, as it was the unions themselves who asked for a one-year moratorium to the changes in the school year.
The City Council is therefore giving itself a year's margin to seek a new, more consensual calendar, an idea that was put forward by Catalonia's School Council to Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, but that the Catalan government government has discarded. Cambray announced that next school year would start a week earlier without consulting the educational community and continues to defend that the change "cannot wait". The decision generated a huge controversy and was "the straw that broke the camel's back" for the unions, which ended up calling five days of strike during the month of March. The Education Department, however, has not yet published the official order decreeing that the school year will begin on September 5.
Barcelona City Council was waiting precisely for this document, in order to adapt the new regulations to the nursery schools. Finally, however, they have agreed to unions' requests and next year public nursery schools will start on September 12 and will end on July 15. According to City Council sources, if the unions accept the proposal, the deal will be explained to nursery schools managers and changes will be made to the labour agreement of the Municipal Institute of Education of Barcelona (IMEB), which states that nursery schools start the school year on the same day as primary schools. The same sources indicate that during the next school year they will open the necessary conversations with unions and associations to "set up a new calendar that works for everyone". "No one doubts the benefits of advancing the beginning of the school year, but it must be done with consensus," they argue. In total, public nursery schools in Barcelona provide schooling for some 8,500 children.