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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.

 

 

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.

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There have been a series of meetings of the CEA and Groupe de Suivi over the last weeks. The APEEE was represented by Patrick ten Brink.

Below are some of the key points which have emerged from these ongoing discussions. Interested in hearing more? Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or your section representatives. 

a) a new look at the statistics for the European schools confirms that there will be a need for a fifth Brussels European school for 2016/17 onwards.

b) New enrolment demands suggest that there will be significant demands for additional places already in the 2015/16 school year, but this will be met through the existing four schools and use made of Berkendael which for the moment is linked to Uccle.

c) While the extra demands on Laeken can be managed in broad terms, there will additional overcrowding in other schools.

d) Recent discussions with the Belgian authorities show promising options for a fifth European school. Different sites are being explored. One working scenario is that Berkendael will be fully available for 2016/17 and a full fifth school (which may or may not be linked to the Berkendael site) will be ready for 2019/20, works permitting.

e) Big decisions have to be made as to which language sections should go to the fifth school which will have implications across the four existing schools. There needs to be a debate and consultation in the language sections to understand concerns and interests and hence input into the decision.

f) A more radical solution being explored is whether to have a new “superlycee” that would cater only for the upper secondary from across several school. The discussions on this are at a very early stage and this is but one option of many. Given the objectives of providing quality schooling in own languages, ensuring that students in secondary have access to options of their choice, a wide range of possible solutions are being looked at.

G) The 4 European school’s APEEE have a combined voice in the decision making on this. The European Commission, Directors of the schools, the Belgian government and the SecGen also each have a voice. It will be important to have regular feedback from parents and language sections to that the APEEEs can represent the position of the schools in these meetings.

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The European School of Brussels III has broken the existing world record (former 564) for an uninterrupted chain of people, holding hands, stepping through rings. Seven rings were used, symbolising the seven language sections of the school. The new world record was established during the school's annual Springfest on April 30, from 11:00 to 12:00, on the school grounds. The new record number set was 829, and pupils from the maternel, primary and secondary sections as well as members of staff and management all took part. The students thought up the idea and organised it themselves, demonstrating a sense of togetherness and identity in the school - a source of great pride. The event was carried out in accordance with the Guinness Book of Records and will be recorded by them as a record.

 

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cantineLe cycle des réunions "Se mettre à table" cette année s'est terminé avec un fabuleux et enthousiasmant projet!

Après moult réflexions et débats sur le manque d'intérêt des enfants à consommer plus généreusement des fruits et légumes, nous,…

Eric Piettre, Stéphan Fumière, Cyril Jesbac, Christophe Gobelet (Equipe cantine)

Catherine Daguet,  Tobias Stricker,  Michela Beati ( APEEE CA)

Gabriela Garcia-Toledo, Veronica Gavriliadis, Joëlle Salmon (parents)

...avons décidé d'organiser l'exposition " Food Adventure 1".

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