The European Schools (Latin: Schola Europaea) are a private -authority sponsored schools providing nursery, primary and secondary education in multiple languages. They are established to provide education solely for children of personnel of the European Institutions and leading to the European Baccalaureate. Other children may be admitted subject to the availability of places but this is very rare and fees are very high. All full-time teachers are appointed by their national governments, after completing a selection procedure. Lessons are given in at least two languages and children must be fully bilingual to follow the curricula as well as learn a third or possibly fourth language.
The aims of the schools were expressed in the words of Jean Monnet in 1953:
- "Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe."
The European Schools project began in October 1953 in Luxembourg, on the initiative of officials of the European Coal and Steel Community, with the support of the Community's institutions and the Luxembourg Government. The first European school was established in a suburb of Luxembourg in that year, for the children of the officials of the European Coal and Steel Community.
It was an experiment to standardize teaching standards among countries. Different governments and Ministries of Education co-operated in matters of curricula, appointment of teachers, inspection and recognition of levels attained. The success of this educational experiment encouraged the European Economic Community and Euratom to press for the establishment of other European Schools at their various centres.
In April 1957 the future of this and later European schools was secured by the Statute of the European School, a treaty signed by the Member States of the Community. The signing of Protocol made the Luxembourg School the first official European School. The first European Baccalaureate was held there in July 1959 and the qualification was recognised as fulfilling basic entrance requirements by all universities of the member states. The United Kingdom acceded to the Statute in 1972. The present Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools dates from 1994. The schools are thus established by intergovernmental decree.
The curriculum is common to all fourteen schools and is centrally controlled by the Board of Inspectors and the Board of Governors. There is a strong common core throughout the secondary school.
- The following subjects are compulsory for Years 1–7 of the secondary school (equivalent to Years 7–13 in England):
- First language (normally mother tongue)
- First foreign language (one of English, Spanish, French or German), with some schools providing additional languages such as Italian, Danish and Dutch.
- Note: The Irish language is encouraged for children of Irish parentage. While Irish law dictates that children holding Irish passports must learn Irish, there is little or no recourse for the Irish Government to make this compulsory within the European school system, due to its being located outside the jurisdiction of the Irish legal system.
- Science: Physics, Chemistry or Biology
- Physical education
- Art and music are compulsory in Years 1–2, as is the study of a second foreign language in Years 2–5 and philosophy in Years 6–7.
Children may choose to do two of the following in year 3: Latin, Music or Art
- There is a range of options for Years 4–5 including Music, Economics and a third or fourth foreign language, and a greater range of choices in Years 6–7.
- Science is taught as an integrated course in Years 1–3 and as three separate subjects (physics, chemistry, biology) in Years 4–5.
- History and Geography are studied in the student's first foreign language from Year 3 onwards.
- At least one science subject (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) is compulsory in years 6 and 7.
Foreign language education
All modern foreign languages offered are taught using the direct method where the lessons are taught in the language being learned. These foreign languages lessons are shared with pupils from other language streams. The idea is to encourage the pupils to use the language they are learning as a means of crossing the communication barrier between themselves and pupils from other language streams (although in practice, the pupils often communicate using the national language of the host country of the European School or some other widespread language, nearly always English). In the later years of the secondary school, History and Geography as well as other secondary subjects such as Music are taught in the first foreign language.
Many of the pupils find themselves in a foreign country, so are surrounded by a foreign language. Some pick it up through language immersion, hence some lessons are taught in the national language of the host country.
The European Baccalaureate
The European Baccalaureate is taken at the end of the seventh year of secondary education. It is awarded only by the current European Schools and should be distinguished from the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the baccalaureate of various national systems. Details of this examination are set out in the Annex of the Statute of the European School and in the Regulations for the European Baccalaureate, available from the schools.
The European Baccalaureate requires students to study at least 8 and up to a maximum of 11 academic subjects (with gym plus religion/ethics in addition), with differing weightings according to the course choices made when commencing with the Baccaluareate. (The final mark is calculated as a percentage, where 60% is the minimum for a pass).
The European Baccalaureate is administered and directly supervised by an external examining board appointed annually by the Board of Governors. The examining board consists of up to three representatives of each member state, who must satisfy the conditions governing the appointment of equivalent examining boards in their respective countries. It is presided over by a senior university educator appointed by each member state in turn, assisted by a member of the Board of Inspectors of the schools.
Article 5 (2) of the Statute provides that holders of the Baccalaureate shall:
- enjoy, in the Member State of which they are nationals, all the benefits attaching to the possession of the diploma or certificate awarded at the end of secondary school education in that country; and
- be entitled to seek admission to any university in the territory of any Member State on the same terms as nationals of that Member State with equivalent qualifications.
The Baccalaureate is a two year course and assesses the performance of students in the subjects taught in secondary Years 6–7.
The first awards of the European Baccalaureate were made in 1959.
The Pupils' Committee
The Pupils' Committee seeks to represent the interests of the students of their European School whilst operating in accordance with the aims of the European Schools as expressed in the words of Jean Monnet. An non-profit organisation, democratically elected, independent and recognized by the school community and the different official bodies of the European Schools. A president is elected by the secondary pupils who will represent the pupil interests throughout the year and a committee is formed with a vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
Parents' Associations play a specific role in the institutional arrangements. They defend and promote the interests of parents and pupils in the Board of each School. Via a body which federates all Associations, INTERPARENTS, they participate in the Board of Governors, the supreme body of the institution. They are also part of the GUDEE Groupe Unitaire pour la Défense des Ecoles Européennes, which groups Parents’ Associations, Trades-Unions and other organisations possessing an interest in the system.
The Parents’ Associations also operate three services on behalf of the School Community: Transport (School bus), Canteen (School restaurant) and After-School Activities (Sports and cultural activities).
CoSup stands for "Conseil Supérieur des Elèves" and represents all the Pupils Committees (PCs) of the European Schools. Each Pupils Committee has at least one member representing its ideas in the CoSup meetings, and thus CoSup is the sole representative body of the pupils in all global committees of the European School system (even if the Pupils Committees themselves are not directly elected by the pupils). CoSup represents the common aims, policies and visions of the Pupils Committees. These common interests are mainly concerned with decisions taken by the Board of Governors, which influence school life. CoSup supports the PCs in every possible way including co-operation and integration between the various Pupils Committees and acts as a link to the Teaching Committee, where it can voice the opinions and ideas on behalf of the PCs. CoSup also aims to unify the European Schools by creating activities for all the schools; most famously, the annual Europarty, which is held each year in a different European city and can be attended by any European School student over the age of 16. The financial section of the CoSup, FoCom (Fonds Common) can furthermore aid the PCs financially if such a need is required.
CoSup became officially recognised by the European Schools Board of Governors on the 31 January 2006. CoSup members were anticipating this moment for at least two years. In fact, the whole project was created and adopted during the 2004–2005 school year during a special meeting with all the presidents of all the Pupils Committee. After its recognition all directors were given guidelines on how Pupils Representatives should be elected, hence providing pupils with a unique way to exercise voting rights. The only other similar European School political simulation is the Model European Council, although CoSup involves real decision making, and decisions may even affect actual proposals.
CoSup at the moment has 27 members including the presidency. All members are elected by class representatives at each of the twelve schools. CoSup members are under the obligation to report back to their PCs on the progress of all matters and subjects, hence generating a real simulation of politics and committees, providing a unique experience to its members and participants. The public election of CoSup officials is as a matter of administrative policy.
Elias Berglund (European School of Mol, English section) won in 2012 the European rugby championship (A Group) under 18 with the Belgian team. 
Alexander Fisch (European School of Brussels III, German section) won the Belgian Olympic games for mathematics in 2012 and in 2010. In 2012 he also won the silver medal in the international mathematics' olympics.
Georges Pantalos (European School of Brussels I, French section) won the 2nd prize of the Belgian Olympic games for mathematics in 2011.
Raffaele Vaccaro (European School of Brussels I, Italian section) won in 2012 the European rugby championship (A Group) Under 18 with the Belgian team. He was the captain 
Benoît Vernier (European School of Brussels III, French section) won the 3rd prize of the Belgian Olympic games for mathematics in 2011 and the 4th prize of the Belgian Olympic games for informatics in 2012.
Yiannis Korkovelos (European School of Brussels III, Greek section) is the Founder and ex-President of the University of Sussex European Union Society
Philippe Daverio (European School of Varese) is an art critic very respected in Italy. He was in charge of culture in Milan from 1993 to 1997. He worked for many Italian magazines and TV shows it:Philippe Daverio.
Patricia de Grave (European School of Brussels I) became professor of Physic in 1999 at the Catholic University of Louvain La Neuve .
Eric Everard (European School of Brussels and Luxembourg, French section) is a Belgian manager, who created in 1988 the European Student’s Fair. In 1997 he founded Artexis, one of the largest organizers of exhibitions and trade fairs in Europe.
Karl Falkenberg (European School of Brussels) became Director General for Environment in the European Commission in 2009 de:Karl Falkenberg.
Max Gazzè (European School of Brussels II, Italian section) is an Italian songwriter and musician who worked in Belgium, France and in Italy it:Max Gazzè. He has worked with many European artists including Stephan Eicher and Stewart Copeland.
Karin Giegerich (European School of Varese) is an actress, who worked in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and France it:Karin Giegerich.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (European School of Brussels I, German section) is a German film director who worked in Germany and in the United States. He is best known for writing and directing the 2007 Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others and The tourist.
Bas Kast (European School of Munich) is a German journalist and writer.
Isabella Lenarduzzi (European School of Brussels I) is a Belgian manager. She created the “European Student’s Fair” in 1988. In 2006, she founded JUMP which gathers tools dedicated to women’s professional life .
Antonio Loprieno (European School of Brussels I, Italian section) became Rector of the University of Basel in 2006. In 2012, he heads the Conference of Swiss University Rectors (CRUS).
Federico Rampini (European School of Brussels I, Italian section) is an Italian journalist and writer. He worked in France, Belgium, United States and China it:Federico Rampini.
Dominique Tourneix (European School of Varese) became CEO of Oeneo Closure Division society in 2012 .
Ursula von der Leyen (European School of Brussels) was Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in the First Cabinet Merkel and Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in the Second Cabinet Merkel.
Anna von Hohenberg, Princess of Luxembourg (European School of Luxembourg) daughter of Franz Ferdinand, Duke of Hohenberg and Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg . She is one of the descendants of Charles III of Spain.
Olivier Willocx (European School of Brussels I, French section) became in 2000 the CEO of Brussels’ Chamber of Commerce. This fused with the Business Union in 2006 to become the Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry which he led since its creation .
European Schools are usually built in close proximity to a European Institution. There are now 14 European Schools. There are already five European Schools in Belgium (4 in Brussels and one in Mol) and discussions are currently being held about building a fifth school in Brussels at an undetermined future date.
|European School, Luxembourg I (Kirchberg)||Luxembourg||1953|
|European School of Brussels I (Uccle)||Belgium||1958|
|European School, Mol||Belgium||1960|
|European School, Varese||Italy||1960|
|European School, Karlsruhe||Germany||1962|
|European School, Bergen||Netherlands||1963|
|European School of Brussels II (Woluwe)||Belgium||1974|
|European School, Munich||Germany||1977|
|European School, Culham||United Kingdom||1978 (finally, confirmed closure in 2017)|
|European School, Brussels III (Ixelles/Elsene)||Belgium||2000|
|European School, Frankfurt am Main||Germany||2002|
|European School, Alicante||Spain||2002|
|European School, Luxembourg II (Bertrange/Mamer)||Luxembourg||2004 (new site opened in 2012)|
|European School Brussels IV (Laeken/Laken)||Belgium||2006|
As of 1 October 2007, the student population of the European Schools stood at 21 021 – of which 1 944 were in the nursery schools, 7 837 in the primary schools and 11 240 in the secondary schools.
To encourage a sense of community within the European School system, regular events are held including the biennial Eurosport event, a Model European Parliament, and the annual European Schools Science Symposium (the winners of which represent the Europeans Schools at the EUCYS).
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