Rome state schools will be opening their doors to students on 14 and 15 September. Infants, primary pupils and secondary school pupils in grade one will start on 14 September. Secondary pupils from grade two and up will start on 15 September.

It will be a rocky start for many teachers and schools, however. 43,000 positions have been cut this academic year in schools nationwide, affecting those staff without permanent contracts. 13,000 teachers are facing unemployment as a result of the job cuts. Another 30,000 teachers have taken retirement and will not be replaced.

Education minister Maria Stella Gelmini has blamed the problem of the large number of teachers with temporary contracts on government practices in the 1970s and 1980s when, she explained, teachers were given jobs through public competitions regardless of the actual number of positions available. On 9 September, ministers approved new measures with immediate effect which, according to Gelmini, will give those teachers facing unemployment this year a better chance of remaining in school to work as supply or support staff.

Teachers have already gathered to demonstrate this month. On 4 September a group of teachers occupied the top floor of the Rome province