7 items tagged "Interparents"

  • Board of Governors - April 2016

    The APEEE also represents our interests in INTERPARENTS. This month we bring you a report about the meetings and discussions that took place at the April 2016 Board of Governors in Copenhagen.

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    The choral welcome from the highly accomplished chamber choir of the Sankt Anne school, co-located with the Accredited European School of Copenhagen.

     

     

  • Interparents - September 2014

    Interparents has barely paused for breath over the summer in its preparations for this Autumn's programme.  Our efforts continue to be focused on three fundamental priorities: 

    1. resourcing to match the demand for school places;
    2. fitting the education of our children for the modern world
    3. ensuring students transition out of (as well as into) the school system smoothly and successfully, on to the next stage of their academic career.

    So what is our starting point this September? 

    For the second year running, the academic year opens with no newly seconded British teachers as the UK continues its programme to rebalance its historical over-secondment of teachers.  Additionally, certain other Member States 'in surplus' are no longer making new secondments, notably Ireland and the Francophone community of Belgium.  Finally, this September marks the introduction of a number of changes to Secondary 1-3 studies, some of which further increase the demand for teaching in/of English. So given Interparents' three priorities, where will we put our efforts? 

    Areas of particular focus include management of the Baccalaureate Examination (as the 2014 exam session is reviewed), various aspects of Secondary Studies (including monitoring implementation of the S1-3 changes) and financing of the European Schools (as new sources of funding are sought in the wake of an insufficient agreement on cost-sharing -- finally reached in June among Member States -- aimed at redressing the worsening shortfall in teacher secondment). Key opportunities coming up this first half-term to pursue our priorities on behalf of parents across all 14 schools, include...

    September:

    - Meeting with the group from IOE commencing the much anticipated and hard-won External Evaluation of proposals for the reorganisation of Secondary Studies;

    - Inputting into the review of the Bac exam 2014, involving teachers and inspectors as well as the Bac Exam Board and office of the Secretariat General of the European Schools;

    - Participation in various Working Groups mandated by the Board of Governors including Secondary Studies, Assessment (a possible new marking scheme) and Careers Orientation

    October:

    Interparents two-day preparatory meeting for:

     - The two-day session of the Joint Teaching Committee of the European Schools;

    -  Preparing for the new Commissioner taking over responsibility for European Schools.How the various issues highlighted above impact our school in Laeken remains to be seen over coming weeks. 

     

    Responsibility for bringing Bru4-specific issues to Interparents is the Pedagogical Affairs Group of Laeken APEEE.  If you would like more information, feel you could bring some useful insights and/or wish to get involved, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Report from Sarah CB, Laeken parent and President of Interparents - the official representative of the Parent Associations of all 14 European Schools in the governance of the school system

  • Interparents bulletin - March 2015

    JTCIn February, INTERPARENTS delegates from all fourteen European Schools were warmly welcomed at Woluwe school to prepare for the Joint Teaching Committee (JTC) meeting which concluded the evening that school broke up for 'Carnaval'. It was also the occasion of our Annual General Meeting, at which a new Vice President was elected: Helen Valentine of Luxembourg I, taking over from Stéphane who had reached the end of his mandate. Representing Laeken, Sarah was joined by Horst, taking over from Iseult who has contributed so much to INTERPARENTS over the last two years and continues to support, away from the ‘front line.’ As part of our INTERPARENTS annual review, we took some time during our two-day meeting to share experiences (lost teaching hours emerged as one shared concern), also to discuss needs and ways of operating in the current political environment - on this we concluded that we must reach out even more through parents in our schools in order to increase our effectiveness. (Please get in touch if you think you can help in this regard! - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

    Notable were the updated security controls for access to the school campus (security being a hot discussion topic which will be followed up in the next few weeks) and the fact that our visit occurred during 'Wish Week' in the canteen. This happy coincidence enabled us to sample the delights of the cheeseburgers chosen by online poll of the children as one of their top five favourite dishes. On the menu of the JTC were the usual smörgåsbord of items: updates on management of the Baccalaureate, reports (on school inspections, on failure/repeat rates and from Working Groups), proposed amendments to pedagogical rules & standards (including a promise given to monitor and address teething problems with the new Primary Assessment tool), dossiers of conformity from prospective accredited schools and several new syllabi to approve (look out for Geography starting with S4 in September, L2, Romanian for P3-4 and Physical Education in the Primary cycle.)

    INTERPARENTS had asked for the JTC to be provided with progress updates on two items approved by the Board of Governors in December. We duly got the requested list of recommendations made by recent presidents of the Baccalaureate, annotated to show follow-up on each recommendation to-date, if any. As also requested, the Secretary General gave an undertaking to introduce a proposal this cycle for an enhanced, longer term contract for full-time, locally hired teachers, in recognition finally that the cost-sharing mechanism is never going to make up the growing shortfall in teachers. This is potentially encouraging, especially for our school which is so heavily reliant on locally hired teachers. Let’s see what is proposed and what the Budgetary Committee makes of it when discussed this month.

     INTERPARENTS (represented by four delegates including the President, Sarah) spoke up on a number of issues including safeguarding the budget for intensive learning support, highlighting the number of still unresolved issues on the proposed new marking scheme in Secondary (urging careful implementation without rushing), and follow-up/lessons to be learned from the wide discrepancy in failures and repeat rates recorded between schools and between sections. (We noted that differentiating in the future between language of instruction could also be informative.) For our growing school, only now having pupils in Upper Secondary for the first time, these rates of ‘failure’ and repeating of years must be closely monitored and our pedagogical group in Laeken is doing just that.

    The main focus of the JTC however was a presentation by two members of the team from the Institute of Education (IOE) conducting the evaluation of proposals to reorganise Secondary Studies S4-7, followed by a Question & Answer session. Their recently delivered 'Interim Report' seems already to be moving beyond both the status quo and the proposal for reorganisation, with a recommendation to define the curricular foundation of Secondary Studies from the eight key competences underlying European School educational programme, yet the IOE team emphasised that the evaluation is a work-in-progress with the threads only being drawn together with their final report in June. INTERPARENTS will be following up with the IOE in the coming weeks and will relay detailed parent remarks and concerns at that time. Within our school, these are being collated by the pedagogical affairs team of the APEEE (which includes reps of section and INTERPARENTS.)

    If you would like to help with the work of INTERPARENTS for the benefit of the children of our school, please get in touch. Whether you are an educationalist, well-connected politically, knowledgeable about security matters or just generally good at scrutinising documents... write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Interparents comes to Laeken!

    vareseWhat would you show off to visitors to our school? What do you most want to see when visiting other schools? INTERPARENTS will be meeting at EEBIV on October 6th-7th, hosted by Bru4 APEEE for a second time since our move to the Laeken site. The APEEE board is very grateful to the School Director for generously making available the Salle des Profs for the entire two days.
    The main purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the JTC (Joint Teaching Committee) of the European School System on October 9th and 10th. We recognise however that it's always fascinating to visit other European Schools and see how local Parent Associations operate so we will make sure there is time for a short tour of the campus and delegates will be sampling the delights of the canteen for lunch on Tuesday.
    On the menu for the JTC are 41 items (so far!), supported by 37 primary documents and a raft of supporting material (thank goodness for laptops, tablets and WiFi so the online EURSC archive can be trawled for additional information as necessary during the meeting.)
    Topics requiring an 'opinion' from the JTC include a proposal for a new marking scheme in Secondary (which has already been discussed 'vigorously' in the Working Group), a pilot Careers Guidance Syllabus for S2&3 and annual reports on failures & repeat rates and the Baccalaureate. We see that the possible introduction of L2 in Nursery is up for discussion, as are updates to educational support measures, parent access to copies of exams and a proposal concerning highly talented students in sport, music and art. We will be particularly interested in the Report of the Whole School Inspection undertaken for EEBIV earlier in the year and also the inception report produced by the external team brought in to evaluate proposals for the reorganisation of Secondary S4-7. As usual, the JTC draft agenda has only just been released and the supporting documents will become available in the coming days so there will be busy week of analysis and consultation ahead.
    As ever, if you would like to help follow certain pedagogical issues for Bru4, please get in contact with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

  • Interparents December bulletin: Board of Governors

    PicCollageDecember sees the return of the Board of Governors to Brussels.  The agenda is dominated by decisions on how best to accommodate the burgeoning pupil population in the city who need a European School education this coming September.  Will Belgium grant much needed extended use of the Berkendael site?  If so, which sections should be opened there and what will this mean for enrolment policy 2015 and alleviating school overcrowding?  This topic has already generated hot debate among parents, especially those for whom language sections might be generated.  INTERPARENTS will be arguing for more detailed projections and scenario-planning to facilitate informed decision-making and better parent uptake of places.  In particular Brussels IV has emphasised the importance of learning the lessons of how our school was opened.

    Parents in Brussels might mistakenly believe that provision of sufficient school infrastructure by host countries to meet demand for places is just a Brussels topic.  The meeting will open however with a status update on the Frankfurt European School (ESF) which is currently trying to scale up in response to the huge demand for places caused by recruitment to the ECB and EIOPA.  To see for ourselves the problems bring encountered by the school community at the ESF, we held our INTERPARENTS preparatory meeting in Frankfurt.  While we were there, it was interesting to see how their canteen and cafeteria operate, with children swiping personal smart cards on entry to register for meals.  We also used our visit to meet with the ECB and urge speedy resolution of the current inter-institutional impasse over the schools' budget for 2015.

    Other topics of interest to us in Brussels IV for discussion by the Board of Governors include the annual announcement of 'new and discontinued seconded posts' accompanied by a communication from the Secretary General about how the first year of cost-sharing will operate.  Will the Member States currently under-seconding teachers send 'non-native' teachers for sections with unfilled posts or will they instead contribute equivalent funds to help pay for teachers to fill high-demand and difficult-to-fill posts?  We will be watching the Member States very closely, given Brussels IV's comparatively very small number of seconded teachers.  This is a key point highlighted in the Whole School Inspection of Brussels IV, conducted back in Spring, the recommendations of which will be publicly available after approval by the Board of Governors.

    INTERPARENTS postcard from Frankfurt: clockwise from top: inspecting the temporary 'container' classrooms, student pop-art display, Secondary canteen and cafeteria, unfinished classrooms, Students' African animal masks displayed in the library

  • Interparents July 2015 Bulletin

    A new marking scale for Secondary, Support for Support Coordinators… and other news from the April 2015 Meeting of the Board of Governors

    The Spring meeting of the Board of Governors, or BoG, (Prague, April 15-17) has seen decisions taken in a number of key areas of interest to parents in Brussels IV and across the European School Ssystem.   These included creating a second ‘appeal’ stage within the existing Complaints Process, facilitating the coordination of Educational Support and moving forward on the long-standing project to introduce a new marking scale in Secondary.  The approval of a new marking system has been particularly controversial and will require close follow-up (see below.)

    New Working Groups (WGs) were created on IT strategy and translation of key documents into languages of the EU.  A further WG, devoted to exploring some issues related to the future of the school system, will come back for final BoG approval of its mandate in December.  The voice of parents will be heard in all 3 of these WGs through INTERPARENTS (IP) representing its member Parent Associations.

    In the presentation of annual reports, progress through 2014 was evident in a number of areas which are critical to the good functioning of the schools (e.g. on use of IT, overhaul of the schools’ financial processes and reviewing the schools' legal framework) although there was a call to “enhance momentum” on addressing the remaining recommendations of the last Internal Audit.  It was reported that pupil numbers continue to rise and ‘cost per pupil’ continues to decline in these financially constrained times.  There was no good news to report on negotiations over additional external sources of funding.

    Notable was the exceptionally large number of major issues covered only orally because of a lack of progress or conclusion at this time.  These included: ensuring adequate and sustainable staffing by teachers - a major issue still for our school of Brussels IV, school infrastructure, funding/cost-sharing and changes to Secondary Studies, (including the recent implementation of changes to S1-3 and the ongoing external evaluation of proposals to reorganise the programme for S4-7.)  Several of these topics are expected to come to the BoG for decision at its December meeting, which already looks like it will have a full agenda.

    IP contributed perspectives on many issues, as agreed in our two-day preparatory meeting at the Munich European School and based on the feedback of our member Parent Associations.  Following our requests, a report has now been produced on the 2014 Chemistry Baccalaureate paper, mainly dealing with the concrete follow-up action planned for external ‘university observation’ of the exam this year. On other topics, there is now a considerable amount of follow-up to do (by a variety of stakeholders including IP and our member associations) before the Autumn cycle of committee meetings.

    A particular focus will be determining the next steps on working out the details of the new marking system.  IP opposed approval of the latest document brought to the BoG on the basis that it had not been presented to the JTC for review nor even the Working Group and some important aspects of the proposal still need further work.  Nevertheless, the board approved it (in recognition that the current system is flawed and does not serve all pupils well when they leave school) with promises that the WG will continue to work, enabling details will be fine-tuned, and there will some flexibility on the timeline if needed.  For more detailed information see here.

  • Interparents Update

    How do we ensure our children have a good-quality education, delivered by teachers who understand the European School System as well as the various national education systems to which most students return (either at some stage during their schooling or afterwards)? This remains THE key question for Interparents, the umbrella organisation of all the European School Parent Associations and the official voice of parents in the governing bodies of the school system.

    EEBIV parents are increasingly involved in pursuing the answers through Interparents, channelling two-way communication with our APEEE pedagogical team and making sure the experiences and needs of our school are taken into account. As part of our commitment to find solutions, Sarah, one of our APEEE Board members, has taken on the Presidency of Interparents this Spring. Interparents is, of course, only one voice (often without an actual 'vote') in the Board of Governors so continuing to develop good relationships with the representatives of our various Member States is one of our main objectives so that they understand the issues we face 'on the ground.'

    Where are we now? The demand for certain kinds of teachers continues to outstrip supply - impacting all linguistic sections and various subjects. As we near the end of another school year, an agreement between Member States on sharing costs for secondment of required teachers has still not been reached. Interparents is liaising with all stakeholders and meanwhile trying to find ways to increase competitiveness of local contracts for short-term teachers. We are also still working closely with the Commission and office of the School Secretary General to launch the External Evaluation of proposals to reorganise the Secondary Studies Programme.

    For more information and offers of help, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    craftsSchool students demonstrating Bulgarian Folk craft as part of the rich cultural programme accompanying the week-long April meeting of the Board of Governors

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