In Orvault, education goes beyond the classroom

22 November 2019


Le métropiéton d'Orvault guide les élèves sur le chemin de l'école
Title Text: 
Le métropiéton d'Orvault guide les élèves sur le chemin de l'école

In September 2019, an IIEP research team carried out a mission to the city of Orvault, which borders Nantes in the Loire-Atlantique region. Orvault is the fourth and last French city to participate in the Cities and Education 2030 research programme initiated in December 2018.

In order to explore the growing role of cities in education, the IIEP team conducted some 30 interviews with a wide range of actors in the local education community, including elected representatives, members of the town hall’s administrative staff, parents, extracurricular animators and coordinators, as well as national education staff. The team visited two socio-cultural centres, nursery and elementary schools, a middle school, the Youth Information Point, and a high school. They also met children in non-formal educational programmes and from the Communal Youth Council.

A city of contrasts, Orvault is divided between urban, agricultural, and natural spaces. The city benefits from the economic dynamism and attractiveness of the Nantes metropolis, which plans to welcome 7,000 new inhabitants per year by 2025. To best adapt to its future population growth, Orvault uses projections to define its future infrastructure and service needs. School and early childhood infrastructure is the main focus of its urban development plans.

The Nantes metropolis is an essential player in urban planning in Orvault. Nevertheless, the interviews revealed that despite the extension of the scope of competence of metropolitan areas, education currently remains the prerogative of cities. Orvault's educational projects project manager said, "In a metropolis, what is left for the municipalities to mark their mandate are education issues".

"The aim of the Global Educational Project is to promote the movement of our territory for the benefit of children and young people from 0 to 25 years of age". (Joseph Parpaillon, Mayor)

For Joseph Parpaillon, Mayor of Orvault, education is a priority competence of the city alongside solidarity, spatial planning, and culture. Its mission is to support "comprehensive child development" and is not limited to time spent in the classroom. In order to make this global approach to education a reality, Orvault is developing a shared local educational strategy. In 2017, the city's educational services launched a broad consultation with all the stakeholders in the educational community (parents, children, associations, companies, metropolitan France, national education, etc.).

The educational exchange committees established within this framework have identified five orientations. These are gathered in the Global Educational Project (Projet éducatif global), which is then broken down by target audience, from early childhood to youth (0 - 25 years old). While this document aims to bring together education stakeholders around common references, it also strives to go beyond the scope of schools and have a more global impact on well-being in the city, in particular by improving living conditions between children, but also between young people and adults. To do this, the Global Educational Project relies on the acquisition of psychosocial skills to promote child development and mental health.

Next Steps

After studying the French cities of Saint-Quentin (Aisne), Grigny (Essonne), Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne) and Orvault, the IIEP team will continue its exploration in other cities around the world from 2020. The objective is to identify the major educational planning challenges facing local authorities and to stimulate the sharing of experiences and strategies between cities and countries.