France’s new Gabriel Attal led government is in crisis sparked by the education minister who is facing accusations she failed to give the true reason why she pulled her out of public school into a private school days after her appointment.
Just days after Amélie Oudéa-Castéra’s appointment last week, she faces calls to resign after claiming her “frustration” over teacher absences in her eldest son’s state school had been behind the choice to move him to a private establishment.
However, the child’s former teacher told the newspaper Libération that Oudéa-Castéra and her husband had changed schools because the establishment had refused to move the boy up a year.
“I feel personally attacked. I was not absent and even if that had been the case, we [teachers] would still have been replaced,” the now retired teacher named only as Florence told the newspaper.
Journalist Nicolas Poincaré, whose son was at the same state school, backed the former teacher, telling French television: “In eight years there have never been absences where the teacher has not been replaced.”
On Monday, teaching union officials demanded Oudéa-Castéra, whose full brief includes not only education but also sport and this summer’s Olympic Games, issue a public apology.
Oudéa-Castéra denied Libération’s report and called for an end to the “personal attacks” against her.
“I don’t want to go any further into the area of personal and private life. There are attacks to which I have tried to respond as sincerely as possible. We must close this chapter,” the minister said during a visit to the Olympic village on Monday.
The crisis threatens to derail attempts by Emmanuel Macron to give the government – which does not have an absolute parliamentary majority – a new lease of life before European elections in June.