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Issue 15 - Spring 2016

bluebells

Welcome to the Spring edition of our newsletter! After a short break we are back with updates on the N/P and Secondary Education Councils, details of new projects supported by the Community Fund and various updates on health and safety issues. Why not check out our regular column, "Love Laeken" and find out about what the Dreve Sainte Anne looked like before it became the busy street it is today!

On the services front, remember that the first enrolment phase for transport closes on 31 May 2016. Enrolments for extra-curricular activities will open on 1 June so keep checking the website for details of the activites. You should also have received details about the upcoming Performing Arts Day via email - for those of you who are wondering what Periscolaire involves, this is an excellent opportunity to come and see!

Finally, you should have received detils via email about this year's Somerfesto. The Somerfesto Committee has organised a wide range of exciting activities for kids of all ages to enjoy. Please volunteer to help make it the most successful school party ever! 

Comments? Questions? Contributions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

The Secondary Education Council was prepared and attended by Section Representatives from the EN, FR and IT sections, as well as the VP Pedagogical Affairs. In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that there are also Section Representatives for the DE and NL sections. 

TOPICS DISCUSSED INCLUDED:

S6/S7 Options: Next year will be the first class to prepare their Baccalaureate, and students made their option choices. Due to the fact that EEBIV is still a growing school, it will be necessary to ask for several derogations (in order to create a class with fewer than 7 students for an optional course and 5 students for a required course). It will not be possible to offer all courses, which understandably frustrated some students and parents. The School has tried to offer guidance to students in choosing a new orientation, and will support transfer requests if necessary. At the same time, the parents and teachers emphasized that the School must do everything in its power to request additional support from the Central Authorities due to our school’s unique situation.

S4/S5 B Tests: At the request of parents, the School will consider scheduling the B tests before the holidays rather than straight afterward. 

It was agreed that the information on dates for the B tests needs to be more reliable and better communicated at the start of each school year. Also discussed was how to better organize and harmonise the tests, as well as the possibility of students having a lighter timetable during the test period.

ICT/Latin: S2 students who feel they were not properly informed of the consequences of choosing Latin last year will exceptionally be allowed to request to drop the course. Such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will only be allowed this year, due to confusion stemming from the secondary reform. S1 students choosing the Latin option this year must understand that it is a 2-year course and that they will not be able to choose ICT in S3. ICT will again become available in S4.

S5 and Study Hall: As a trial project, S5 students are being allowed more freedom to circulate on campus during gap hours/study hall/teacher absence. In the event of a teacher’s absence, S1-S4 students must always go to a study hall. For future S6/S7 students, the freedom to leave school premises will have to be discussed.

Teacher Absences: Discussion of the difficult situation experienced at the beginning of this year due to the flu epidemic. Parents discussed concerns about overcrowding of study halls in case of a teacher’s absence and the problem of work assignments not always being distributed to students. The School explains that a lot of effort is being made to increase harmonization across sections, which combined with the increased use of technology (ie tablets in the classroom) will allow the School to better provide work to students whose teachers is absent.

Recruitment of teachers for next year: Tables of subject options are being finalized in order to begin the recruitment process. The imbalance between seconded teachers and locally-recruited teachers will worsen next year to a ratio of 50/40. The school is having particular difficulty in recruiting Anglophone Science teachers. If parents know of anyone with this profile, please forward to Section Representatives or the School.

Communication between School and Parents: Parents expressed that communication from the school needs to be improved as there is a general feeling of mistrust amongst the parents community. The School website should be an important source of information where parents can get all the important documents and information. The School explains they are catching up with this and agrees that website is essential. Parents expressed that getting a good understanding of how studies are organized between S1 and S7 would help students and parents to have a good knowledge of how some choices made early in the curriculum can have implications for future years. Parents acknowledged that the recent document detailing the cycles S1 to S5 is very helpful. 

Note from section reps: this informative document has now been published for all year groups on the website: http://sec.eeb4.be/en/node/317

The School also agreed to parents' suggestion of having a link to the Eursc.eu website when parents have questions about the syllabus for the various subjects so parents can refer to it more easily. When a parent has a complaint about teacher/syllabus covered/ teaching method: Mr Cole confirms that parents should 1/ thoroughly discuss the matter directly with the teacher 2/ if still not satisfied, contact him.

School internal rules / Hierarchy of sanctions for Secondary: The School presented a 4-page document with a scale of sanctions for tardiness, behavioural issues, serious misconduct, intolerable/dangerous behavior. Mr Cole explained that this new reference document is the result of discussions between the School/teachers and parents and aims to make the hierarchy of sanctions clearer to understand and to ensure equal treatment for everyone. Parents and students should remember that each hour of detention gets filed in the student’s school file. The school file remains confidential and internal to the school.

Chill-out Room Rules (S4-S5 only): Mr Cole explained that he will publish some “internal rules” for access to the Chill-Out room which won't be part of the school regulations (as hopefully a cafeteria for the S4+ students will happen at some point). Rules will include: only to be accessed during “gap time” or empty periods (not when a teacher is absent for eg), only when there is supervision.

AXADO (Sexual and relationship education) (S4-S5): Mr Cole expressed that there are organisational problems with the programme. The programme will be offered to students but some S4 and S5 classes still haven't made their payment (20€/child) and the school left with a large bill to pay. School has asked class representatives of all S4 and S5 classes to collect money from their class as a “special favor” this year, as there was no other way to collect the payments. Some class reps may not have forwarded the information to the class? Mr Cole explains that school met with APEEE to see how parents could help relay information. Mr Cole also explains that he is happy to consider any special cultural requests on this only and only if parents feel strongly that this is inappropriate for their child to attend the programme. 

School Trips: Rules of school trips are on school website. Mr Cole highlighted that school rules apply during school trips (no smoking etc). Costs of school trips: S4 trip: maximum 500€; S6 trip: maximum 850€ Those trips are obligatory. As the cost involved can be high for some families, parents might need to start saving up. Also, worth keeping in mind that in S6, certain subjects require an obligatory field trip: for eg, geography. This comes in addition to the S6 trip and this year can be an expensive one. Teachers suggest that parents have a look at the EU school syllabus for each subjects to check if the subject requires a field trip so they can prepare for it financially 

Educational Advisors: Parents asked for some clarification on the role of Educational Advisors, and that the students be clearly told who they can turn to when they need help or advice. S.O.S document will be published on school website to clarify. From next year, a new coordinator for the Educational advisors will join the school staff.

Various

 

  • Somerfesto date confirmed to 20th June 2015
  • Security update: European Commission hasn't changed the level of alert so school stays at same level
  • School reports: Rules require that School reports have to be paper based. Parents suggest an email is sent by the school (like in primary) to inform that the reports will be distributed. 
  • L2 teaching: No update at this stage. Same state of play as previously discussed.
  • Access to Expo 14-18 made by the students: Mr Cole will inquire as to whether more students can access this exhibition.
  • 3 new ping pong tables in playground, paid for from the Somerfesto fund. School says thank you very much to parents!
  • Parents to organise a second-hand book sale of school books: Mr Cole fully supportive of project. Can you help? Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Party for secondary students: under discussion with parents
  • The school is now enforcing the rule that GSMs should be turned off during school hours. Any student using a GSM during school hours will have their phone confiscated, and returned at the end of the week. It is not feasible for the Educational Advisors to return all phones at the end of every school day. 

 

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