Society 10/09/2021

Barcelona secondary schools bring back canteens and half will have fewer students in class

Drop in number of students in all compulsory education but increase in number of state schools and teachers

2 min
General shot of a group of ESO students going to one of the classes of a high school.

BarcelonaThe new 2021-2022 academic year will bring novelties to Barcelona's secondary school. One of the most important is that the vast majority of schools (93.5%) will recover their school canteen service. As the majority of secondary school students don't get a lunch break -classes finish at around 3 p.m., in time for lunch-, some of them have stopped offering canteen services or offered it only to some students. The service will now be redeployed in all centres to encourage students to stay in the afternoons to do school work or extracurricular activities. This measure, according to the Minister of Education and president of the Consortium of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, improves "equal opportunities" for students. "If there is no dining room they do not have access to grants for school meals", he has warned. In fact, the Consortium will also expand this grant, which will go from being two days a week to cover all school days. Until now, only students from the most disadvantaged schools were offered grants for five days a week. In addition to the canteen allowance (€4.43 a day or €6.33 a day, depending on vulnerability), an extra €5 a day will be granted for the assistants for pupils who cannot eat alone.

In addition, for the first time, and as also happens throughout Catalonia, there will be fewer students in compulsory secondary education than last year. The 1,200 drop in students will not, however, entail a reduction in the number of classes, meaning class sizes will diminish. In fact, 55% of groups will have under 30 students, a third of schools will maintain the same capacity and in 6% of centers will hace over 30 students per class. A similar thing happens in the first year of kindergarten: 75% of classes will have under 25 students -in fact, 59% will have under 22-. In total, 173,928 students will start classes on Monday in Barcelona, about 6,000 less than last year.

Despite the decrease in the number of students, there will be 295 more professionals in schools, mostly teachers, and there will be new state schools, four of which used to be independent schools. This is an important measure, as the number of families enrolling in their children in state schools continues to grow: this academic year, enrolment in state schools has increased by one point, to 52.6%, a fact that consolidates the trend of recent years. Furthermore, much-demanded facilities such as the Angeleta Ferrer Institute have been inaugurated.

A judge authorises a primary school student in Barcelona to attend class without a mask for medical reasons

A primary school student in Barcelona will be allowed to begin the year without wearing a mask in the classroom. A judge has preventively authorised this measure for medical reasons, putting the child's health before the general interest. The Minister of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, has said that the school will adapt to this measure because it is necessary to prioritise the child's right to education. In addition, he said that last year there were already several similar cases, always by medical prescription, especially in special needs schools but also in some regular schools.