European School

A European School (Latin: Schola Europaea) is a type of international school emphasising a multilingual and multicultural pedagogical approach to the teaching of nursery, primary and secondary students, leading to the European Baccalaureate as their secondary leaving qualification. Each European School is set up, financed, and operated by the international organisation, the "European Schools", controlled jointly by the member states of the European Union and the European Commission. The schools prioritise, for enrolment purposes, the children of EU staff.

The first European School, founded in Luxembourg, in 1953, had the objective of providing an education to the children of employees of the institutions of the European Coal and Steel Community — a forerunner of today's European Union. Originally, a private initiative of employees of the ECSC, the concept attracted the attention of EU founding father, Jean Monnet as capturing the spirit of the post-war effort to reconcile and integrate Europe.

As of September 2017, there are thirteen European Schools located in six EU member states in close proximity to European institutions.[1]

Since 2005, upon a recommendation of the European Parliament, the title of an "Accredited European School" has been available for schools under national jurisdiction and financing, which have been approved, by the Board of Governors of the European Schools, to offer the European Schools' curriculum and the European Baccalaureate.[2]

Legal statusEdit

The schools, despite their close connection to the EU, are neither EU bodies, nor under the full jurisdiction of the individual member states of the European Union.[3] They are instead administered and financed through the international organisation "The European Schools", established by means of an intergovernmental treaty, the 1957 Statute of the European School, since repealed and replaced by the 1994 Convention Defining the Statute of the European Schools. All EU member states, as well as the EU itself, and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) are party to this agreement. As part of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it will remain party to the Convention until the end of the academic year ongoing at the end of the transition period. The Schools are legally recognised in all participating jurisdictions as public bodies.


There are thirteen European Schools, (sometimes designated as "Type 1" European Schools in official documents) found in eight municipalities, across six EU countries, in close proximity to EU institutions, or in the case of the European School, Munich, the European Patent Organisation. There are currently five European Schools in Belgium (four in Brussels and one in Mol) and discussions are currently being held about building a fifth school in Brussels at an undetermined future date. On July 9, 2021, the decision was made to move the Netherlands based school from Bergen, to Alkmaar.[4] Relocation should likely take place by 2023.

School Country Founded/Opened in
European School, Luxembourg I (Kirchberg) Luxembourg 1953
European School, 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, Brussels II (Woluwe) Belgium 1974
European School, Munich Germany 1977
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
European School, Brussels IV (Laeken/Laken) Belgium 2006
European School, Brussels V Belgium originally due in 2019,[5] opened in 2021[6]
European School, Culham United Kingdom 1978 (closed on 31 August 2017)


Age/Year equivalency table
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
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 thirteen schools and is centrally controlled by the Board of Inspectors and the Board of Governors.

Secondary levelEdit

Compulsory subjects for Years 1–7 of the secondary school:

  • First language (normally mother tongue)
  • Second 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)
  • Mathematics
  • History (instructed in second language from Year 3)
  • Geography (instructed in second language from Year 3)
  • Ethics/religion (instructed in second language from Year 3)
  • Physical education (instruction in second language is possible from year 3)

Compulsory for Years 1–3 of the secondary school:

  • Art
  • Music

Compulsory subjects for Years 1–5 of the secondary school:

  • Third language (any EU official language, as long as a minimum number of students choose it in the same school)
  • Natural sciences: Physics, Chemistry and Biology (usually combined for Years 1-3)

Compulsory subjects for Years 6–7 of the secondary school:

  • Philosophy
  • Physics and/or Chemistry and/or Biology (at least one science subject is obligatory)

Optional subjects:

  • ICT (instructed in second language) and Latin in Year 3
  • Economics (instructed in second language), Music, or a Fourth and Fifth language in Years 4–7

Foreign language educationEdit

All modern foreign languages offered are taught using the direct method where the lessons are taught in the language being learned, and the use of the student's native tongue is discouraged. 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. From Year 3 onwards of the secondary school, History and Geography as well as other secondary subjects such as Music are taught in each student's second 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.[7]

European BaccalaureateEdit

The European Baccalaureate is the leaving certification of the European Schools, and should be distinguished from the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the baccalaureates of various national systems.[8] It is a two-year course assessing the performance of students in the subjects taught in Years 6–7, and culminating in a final series exams taken at the end of Year 7.[8] As per the multilingual ethos of the Schools, certain subjects are instructed and assessed in each student's respective second language. Details of the examinations are set out in the Annex of the Statute of the European School and in the regulations for the European Baccalaureate.[8]

Those students undertaking the European Baccalaureate are required to study at least 8 and up to a maximum of 11 academic subjects, in addition to physical education and moral/religion, with different weightings according to the course choices made when commencing the Baccaluareate. The final mark is calculated as a percentage, where 50% is the minimum for a pass.[8]

The European Baccalaureate is administered and directly supervised by an external examining board appointed annually by the Board of Governors.[8] 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.[8]

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 first awards of the European Baccalaureate were made in 1959.

Common extracurricular activities and eventsEdit

Sports teams of the European Schools compete in the biennial Eurosport event, with the schools alternating as hosts.[9] In addition, students of the schools have the opportunity to take part in the annual European Schools Science Composium, the winners of which represent the European Schools in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists.[10]

The European Schools also cooperate to take advantage of their unique relationship to EU institutions to provide students on an annual basis with the opportunity to take part in political simulations of EU meetings, held on the premises of the institutions themselves. Students get the opportunity to role-play as delegates of EU member state governments in a Model European Council, MEPs in a Model European Parliament, or international journalists covering the meetings.

The federation of student representatives of the schools, CoSup, organises a "Europarty", held in a different European city each academic year, and open to any student of the European Schools over 16 years of age to attend.

Notable alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Locations of the European Schools". Office of the Secretary General of the European Schools. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  2. ^ "About the Accredited European Schools". Office of the Secretary General of the European Schools. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  3. ^ Gruber, Joachim (1 January 2011). "European schools: A subject of International Law Integrated into the European Union". International Organizations Law Review. 8 (1): 175–196. doi:10.1163/157237411x587388. ISSN 1572-3747. Despite their name, the "European Schools" are not a European Union institution, but an independent, autonomous subject of international law.
  4. ^ "Preliminary decision relocation ESB". 9 July 2021.
  5. ^ Hope, Alan (29 July 2018). "Fifth European School to take over former site of NATO". The Brussels Times. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Temporary European school opens on Brussels' former NATO site". The Brussels Times. 7 September 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Principles and objectives". Office of the Secretary General of the European Schools. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "The European Baccalaureate". Office of the Secretary General of the European Schools. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Eurosport Handbook : Approved By The Joint Teaching Committee On 9 And 10 October 2014 In Brussels" (PDF). Office of the Secretary General of the European Schools. September 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  10. ^ "European School Science Symposium". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  11. ^ Davies, Gareth A. (23 September 2002). "My Sport: Henry Brett". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Daldrup | Curriculum". Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  13. ^ Elliott, Francis (23 July 2019). "Boris Johnson profile: Stage is set for the showman prime minister". The Times. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  14. ^ Johnson, Rachel (6 May 2011). "Rachel Johnson: Boarding school made me". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Curriculum vitae of Christian Keysers" (PDF). Nederlands Herseninstituut. August 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Artistes: actus, sorties albums, concerts de vos chanteurs préférés". Chérie (in French). Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  17. ^ Shore, Cris; Baratieri, Daniela (2006). "Crossing Boundaries through Education: European Schools". In Stacul, Jaro; Moutsou, Christina; Kopnina, Helen (eds.). Crossing European Boundaries: Beyond Conventional Geographical Categories. Berghahn Books. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-84545-150-9.
  18. ^ "International Triathlon Union | Elizabeth May". Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  19. ^ May, Liz. "About". Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  20. ^ "news e aggiornamenti dal mondo della moda e del lusso". MF Fashion (in Italian). 12 April 2006. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Petersen, Morten Helveg". Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Home | Morten PETERSEN | MEPs | European Parliament". Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  24. ^ Boffey, Daniel (16 July 2019). "Ursula von der Leyen elected first female European commission president". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Ursula von der Leyen - CV of the Minister of Defence". Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit