Multiclass at the Gropparello high school: the TAR agrees with the City Council

A multi-class assigned by the Territorial School Office to the Gropparello institute was annulled by a ruling of the Regional Administrative Court of Parma. Among the applicants, in addition to a family, there is also the Municipal Administration which has been able to make its voice heard in a decision from which the City Councils have always been excluded.

Class formation is known to be a prerogative of the school administration; The Ministry of Education issues an ordinance regulating the organization of class groups based on enrollment in this particular type of school. This legislation is calibrated on the staff of teachers authorized by the Ministry of Economy, which falls on the territories like an always short blanket, often provoking disputes from parents, administrators, unions; a modality linked to public spending in a very rigid way, which imposes a numerical criterion, taking into account the needs of the territory and which produces on the one hand groups of students of different ages and on the other the so-called chicken coop . classes, with figures that sometimes go far beyond expectations, but do not fall within spending limits. The decentralization of competences in education that wanted the laws Bassanini had delegated the organization of the school network to the Regions, but without following the attribution of the teaching staff, that continued being state competence, although in the distant 2004 the Constitutional Court had admitted regions. themselves to participate in the assignment of this staff. However, this sentence has not been followed up and every year the attack on the fort of the school offices is observed in search of more resources, because the local situations change, while the administrative regulations remain rigid.

In mountain municipalities the legislation prescribes the establishment of classes with a number of students not less than 10 and therefore also in consideration of the insufficiency of the personnel assigned to the province, a pluriclass was established: in this concrete case, there were 8 students enrolled in first and second of primary and, therefore, a pluriclass of 16 students. In addition to the merit of the operation, the principles enunciated by the TAR are interesting: in the first place it considers the Municipality an “organism responsible for the community”, nothing new except that with regard to the matter at issue here there was no never having the word, indeed, to take note of the state provisions had to work then to ensure the instrumental resources necessary for the proper functioning of the multiclass. The TAR has overturned the point of view that if the City Council has motivated the various initiatives launched for the improvement of the school the state should have taken them into account, authorizing separate classes: the resource is considers founded.

Second, the plaintiffs highlight the critical issues arising from the management of two merged classes, which the court admits, decreeing the illegality of the contested measures, as the assessment of the multi-class activation option is ” illogical “because it has not been” correctly assessed the different public interests at stake, first and foremost that of students to receive differentiated training appropriate to their levels. ” In fact, the ministry itself states that “multiclasses should only be activated in case of absolute need, in particularly disadvantaged areas.” Pedagogical thinking went beyond the traditional training given in the classroom, usually by age groups; with the increased teaching by technologies, the different organization of the groups is sometimes a wealth, but it is the legislation that should open the centers to different organizational methods, even beyond the classroom, and the staff it should be calibrated to the level of the training offer, leaving to didactic choices, which as is well known are discussed with the realities of the territory, including the municipality, and are assigned to the institute and not to the individual classes. The administrative norm refers to the assessment of the state of need and the especially disadvantaged conditions, which on the one hand goes beyond the mere consideration of figures and on the other could pave the way for the voice of local bodies. , as indicated in that judgment. of the Constitutional Court.

Again the TAR notes that precisely in a period of pandemic the school administration should have acted prudently in keeping classes separate, as the use of DAD may be necessary and “this teaching tool is especially difficult in the case of multi-class, since individual students have completely different training needs … (in addition to ensuring the application of distance measures “. Also with regard to the pandemic, mountain schools could have been a refuge at the climatic level and for the construction of more homogeneous and easily isolated school communities, to the point that in some villages the resident population has been increased, and this could have had the allied school in the cultural life of the territory (center what the ministry itself tried to give with one hand to alleviate the unrest, with the other it drew resources with regard to the survival of the schools and the functioning of the classrooms.

It is very likely that the ruling will appear on appeal before the Council of State, but in the meantime a window has opened on what different regions seek to achieve in the context of differentiated regionalism. Other local administrations could follow the example of this David who dared to fight Goliath, paving the way for many others who in Italy require a way to organize teaching activities more respectful of the autonomy of schools and their collaborations with the realities of the territory.

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