European Schools

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European School
École Européenne
Schola Europaea
Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom
Type Public School
Established October 1953, Luxembourg
Founder Bernard Roy
Status Active
Sister school

European School of Alicante European School of Bergen European School of Brussels I European School of Brussels II European School of Brussels III European School of Brussels IV European School of Culham European School of Frankfurt am Main European School of Karlsruhe European School of Luxembourg I European School of Luxembourg II European School of Mol European School of Munich

European School of Varese
Category Primary and Secondary Education
Gender Mixed
Colour(s) Blue and Yellow
Accreditation European Baccalaureate
Graduates 26 000

The European Schools (Latin: Schola Europaea) are private-authority sponsored schools controlled jointly by the governments of the Member States of the European Union. In all these countries they are legally regarded as public institutions. The mission of the European Schools is to provide a multilingual and multicultural education for nursery, primary and secondary level pupils.

The Mission Statement of the European Schools, and philosophy to which its members are actively encouraged to adhere, was stated by Jean Monnet as follows: "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."

They are established to provide education solely for children of the employees of the European Institutions and leading to the European Baccalaureate. Based on the recommendation of the European Parliament however, the European Schools have opened up their curricula and European Baccalaureate since 2005 for national Schools. Other children may therefore be admitted subject to the availability of places and must pay fees. All full-time teachers are appointed by their national governments, after completing a selection procedure.

There are currently 14 European Schools (Alicante, Brussels I (Uccle), Brussels II (Woluwé), Brussels III (Ixelles), Brussels IV (Laeken), Frankfurt am Main, Mol, Bergen, Karlsruhe, Munich, Varese, Culham, Luxembourg I & Luxembourg II), in seven countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain and Luxembourg), with a total of approximately 26,000 pupils on roll.


Primary School
Age Name Abbreviation
6–7 First Year P1
7–8 Second Year P2
8–9 Third Year P3
9–10 Fourth Year P4
10–11 Fifth Year P5

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.


Secondary School
Age Name Abbreviation
11-12 First Year S1
12-13 Second Year S2
13-14 Third Year S3
14-15 Fourth Year S4
15-16 Fifth Year S5
16-17 Sixth Year S6
17-18 Seventh Year S7

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 (usually one of English, French or German, with some schools providing a local language such as Spanish, Italian, Danish or Dutch as alternate option).
      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.
    • Mathematics
    • Natural sciences: Physics, Chemistry and Biology
    • History
    • Geography
    • Ethics/religion
    • Physical education
  • Art and music are compulsory in Years 1–2, as is the study of a second foreign language (any EU official language, as long as a minimum number of students choose it in the same school) 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.
  • At least one science subject (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) is compulsory in years 6 and 7.
  • History and Geography are studied in the student's first foreign language from Year 3 onwards.
  • Music, Visual arts and Physical education may be studied in the student's first or second foreign language as well.

Foreign language education[edit]

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.[1]

The European Baccalaureate[edit]

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.[2] (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.

Parents' Associations[edit]

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).

The Pupils' Committees[edit]

Many European Schools have Pupils' Committees. The Pupils' Committees seek 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. They are democratically elected non-profit organisations, independent and recognized by the school community and the different official bodies of the European Schools, such as the Board of Governors. 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, among other roles.[3][4][5]

Students' CoSup[edit]

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.

Famous alumni[edit]

  • Chris Adami (European School of Brussels I, German section), is a German professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, as well as professor of physics and astronomy at Michigan State University.
  • Tommaso Allan (European School of Culham, Italian section), is a rugby union player for Italy and Perpignan
  • Dick Annegarn (European School of Brussels I, Dutch-Belgian section) is a Dutch songwriter who worked most of the time in France. In his youth he lived in Brussels and he celebrated this city in his most famous song, called "Bruxelles".
  • Florence Aubenas (fr) (European School of Brussels I, French section) is a French journalist, who works for a long time for the French newspaper Libération.
  • Xavier Bettel (European School of Luxembourg I) Prime Minister of Luxembourg (2013).
  • Henry Brett (European School of Culham, English section) is a British champion polo player.
  • Ulrich Daldrup (European School of Brussels I, German section) became mayor of Aachen in 1994. Professor at Aachen University Ulrich Daldrup.
  • Philippe Daverio (it) (European School of Varese) is an Italian art critic. He was in charge of culture for the City of Milan from 1993 to 1997. He worked for many Italian magazines and TV shows.
  • 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.
  • Erriquez (it) (true name Enrico Greppi)(European School of Brussels I & Luxemburg I, Italian section) is an Italian singer and guitarist, founder of the Tuscan folk group Bandabardò. In 1996 the group won the Premio Ciampi.[6]
  • Giovanni Ferrero (European School of Brussels, Italian section), is an Italian business manager, chief executive of Ferrero SpA
  • Max Gazzè (European School of Brussels II, Italian section) is an Italian songwriter and musician who worked in Belgium, France and in Italy. He has worked with many European artists including Stephan Eicher and Stewart Copeland.
  • Karin Giegerich (European School of Varese) is a German actress, who worked in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and France.
  • 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.
  • Boris Johnson (European School of Brussels I, English section) is a British politician who was elected Mayor of London in 2008. He met his second wife Marina Wheeler at the school.
  • Bas Kast (European School of Munich) is a German journalist and writer.
  • Christian Keysers (European School of Munich, German section) is a German neuroscientist. In 2004 he received the prestigious Marie Curie award.[7]
  • Thomas Larkin (European School of Varese) is an ice hockey defender. He played with the Italian national ice hockey team.
  • Viktor Lazlo (real name Sonia Dronier) (European School of Mol) is a French singer, actress and writer. She worked in Belgium and France.[8]
  • Stella Maxwell (European School of Brussels II, English section) is a Victoria's Secret model. She was born in Belgium and attended the European School, Woluwe. She then moved to Australia at the age of 13.
  • Margherita Missoni (European School of Varese, Italian section) is the nephew of Ottavio Missoni and the daughter of Angela, founders of the Missoni fashion house. After having worked for some years as a model, including for Estée Lauder Companies, she became the icon of the "Missoni acqua" perfume in 2006, thus becoming an active member of the Missoni family group.[9][10]
  • Brian Molko (European School of Luxembourg) is a songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist of the band Placebo.
  • Morten Helveg Petersen (European School of Brussels I) is a Danish politician for the Danish Social Liberal Party. He was elected to the European Parliament in 2014 and served as member of the Folketing 1998–2009.
  • Giorgio Serafini (it) (European School of Brussels I, Italian section) is an Italian director. He works in Italy and in the United States. In 2010 he directed Game of Death.
  • Emmanuelle Somer (European School of Brussels I, Franco-Belgian section) is a jazz oboist who studied at the Berklee College of music in Boston. She lived in New York, Paris and Tokyo to finally settle down in Chambord, Loir-et-Cher.
  • Sarah Teichmann (European School, Karlsruhe), scientist at the University of Cambridge, UK
  • Ursula von der Leyen (European School of Brussels) was the German 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.
  • Olivier Willocx (fr) (European School of Brussels I, Franco-Belgian section) is a Belgian lawyer, heading Brussels' Chamber of Commerce BECI (Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industrie) since 2000 and Brussels' Economic and Social Council since 2012.
  • Marina Wheeler QC(European School of Brussels I, English section) is a British lawyer, author and columnist. She met her husband Boris Johnson at the school.
  • Diederik Wissels (European School of Brussels I, Netherland section) is a Dutch jazz pianist that studied at the Berklee college of music of Boston. He received many awards such as the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros, the Prix Adami and the Prix du Musicien Européen de l’Académie du Jazz.[11] He played with great artists like Chet Baker, Joe Henderson and Toots Thielemans.


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.

School Country Founded/Opened in Official website
European School, Luxembourg I (Kirchberg) Luxembourg 1953
European School of Brussels I (Uccle/Ukkel) 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 (confirmed closure in 2017)[12]
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 the 15 of October 2015, the student population of the European Schools stands at 25,903.[13]


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).[14][15][16][17]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]