By / February 10, 2014

European Schools

In 1953 the first European School was established in Luxembourg as a school for children of staff of the European…

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Schola Europea – Logo © SG of the European Schools

In 1953 the first European School was established in Luxembourg as a school for children of staff of the European Coal and Steel Community. The six different governments and Ministries of Education co-operated in matters of curricula, appointment of teachers, inspection and recognition of levels attained. On 12 April 1957 the Luxembourg School (with the adoption of the Statute of the European School) became 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 the universities of the member states. Today there are 14 European Schools in 8 different European countries, which supply education for almost 24,500 children, from kindergarten up to the European Baccalaureate. This Keysource was first published in August 2011 and has been thoroughly revised in January 2014.

Place (order of establishment) Ctry  est. 1st bac pupils
% EU
1 Luxembourg I (school’s website)  small_luxembourg_flag 1953 1959 2786 84,42
2 Brussels I (school’s website) small_belgium_flag 1958 1964 3083 92,22
3 Mol/Geel (school’s website)  small_belgium_flag 1960 1966 738 20,87
4 Varese (school’s website)  small_italy_flag 1960 1965 1397 56,62
5 Karlsruhe (school’s website) small_germany_flag 1962 1968 925 19,46
6 Bergen (school’s website) small_netherlands_flag 1963 1971 565 21,77
7 Brussels II (school’s website) small_belgium_flag 1974 1982 3078 94,54
8 Munich (school’s website)  small_germany_flag 1977 1984 2183 78,10
9 Culham (school’s website) small_united_kingdom_flag 1978 1982 600 9,50
10 Brussels III (school’s website)  small_belgium_flag 1999 2001 2870 95,33
11 Alicante (school’s website)  small_spain_flag 2002 2006 1042 58,16
12 Frankfurt (school’s website)  small_germany_flag 2002 2006 1247 72,41
13 Luxembourg II (school’s website) small_luxembourg_flag 2004 2013 2101 72,63
14 Brussels IV (school’s website)  small_belgium_flag 2007 – / – 1932 97,20

The governing body of the European Schools, the Board of Governors, is composed of 31 members: the Ministers of Education, a Commission official (who represents all EU institutions), a representative from the European Patent Office, a representative of the teachers’ staff committee and a representative of the parents’ associations. The schools are mainly financed by public funding, to which the European Commission contributed almost 60 % in 2012 [see Annual Report of the Secretary-General to the Board of Governors of the European Schools: presented to the Board of Governors of the European Schools at its meeting of 16, 17 and 18 April 2013, in Brussels, p. 19]. Member States provide about 20 % of the budget revenue directly by seconding teaching staff, 7 % are provided by the European Patent Office and the remaining 13 % mostly by tuition fees from parents who are not EU staff.


Given the considerable growth in size, numbers and budget reforms became necessary with a view to the 2004 enlargement of the EU. Since 2002, with reference to EP resolutions T5-0605/2002, T6-0336/2005 and lately T7-0402/2011 important changes took place and are still taking place with a focus on:

  • opening up of the system and the European Baccalureate (EB) = creation of accredited schools who can attribute the EB as well
  • reform of governance by
    • improving the autonomy of type I European schools on the local level and
    • streamlining the role and mission of the different organs at the central level

[see Reform of the European School System: Approved by the Board of Governors of the European Schools. Meeting in Stockholm on 21, 22 and 23 April 2009.]

On 26 April 2005 the Board of Governors [p. 8/9 of the minutes, the report which suggested the procedure is no longer available online.] adopted an accreditation procedure for schools wishing to become European Schools. The procedure establishes three types of European Schools:

Type I schools = the “original” European school, set up jointly by the governments of the EU Member States, providing education for children of EU staff. The opening of such a school is decided by the Board of Governors in agreement with the Member State concerned, which provides the necessary infrastructure.

Type II schools = accredited school. They were set up to provide schooling for children of staff of Community institutions or agencies. The administration and the funding of such a school are the responsibility of the host Member State.

Type III schools = accredited school. They are not associated with European institutions or agencies and are not required to give priority to children of EU staff. The request must come from a Member State, which must present a school offering a European education matching the criteria defined by the Board of Governors in 2005. To date, only Germany has embarked upon the procedure.

European School of Copenhagen (DK) opens in August 2014, Tallinn European School (EE) opened in August 2013,  two further accredited schools opened their doors in September 2012: a type II school, The International School of the Hague (NL) and a type III school in Bad Vilbel (DE). Six national schools have been accredited before, located in: Parma (IT), Dunshaughlin (IE), Heraklion (EL), Helsinki (FI), Strasbourg (FR) and Manosque (FR).  For further details see introduction to “accredited schools” on the European Schools’ website.

EP has been accompanying the reform process and report A7-0293/2011 of the CULT committee gives a summary of the situation and urges for further developments in financial and administrative as well as in educational terms. EP’s resolution (n° of procedure: INI/2011/2036) on the report (T7-0402/2011) was adopted on 27 September 2011. EP’s involvement is also shown by a continuous number of parliamentary questions (e.g. E-011375/2013 by Phil Prendergast, S&D; E-010390/2013 by Emma McClarkin, ECR; E-006742/2012 by Tanja Fajon, S&D, Jelko Kacin, ALDE, Alojz Peterle, PPE, Ivo Vajgl, ALDE and Milan Zver, PPE; E-001859/2012, E-010841/2011 and P-010334/2011 by Axel Voss, PPE; E-004510/2011 by Maria Badia i Cutchet, S&D; E-002987/2011 by João Ferreira and Ilda Figueiredo, both GUE/NGL; P-8478/2010 by Morten Løkkegaard, ALDE; E-5935/09 and P-5934/09 by Daniel Caspary, PPE). On 12 February 2013 EP’s CULT committee holds a workshop on the subject.

On 31 October 2013 the European Commission introduced the latest report on the European School System (COM(2013) 714 final) as an information document. The report has been attributed to EP’s CULT committee on 5 November 2013 (see Oeil procedure file for further information).


Facts and figures on the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year in the European Schools.” Prepared for the meeting of the European Schools’ Board of Governors meeting on 3-5 December 2013 in Brussels. Figures for the table in the introductory section have been extracted from this document.


The European School system in the eyes of its stakeholders. / Hetterschijt, Caroline. Dissertation University of Alicante, 2012. The thesis presents the evaluation of a survey with all stake holders in the recent reform process of the European schools.

Analysis of the Academic and Professional Careers of the European Schools’ Graduates. / van Dijk Management Consultants, Liège University. Responsible EP official: Constanze Itzel. EP PolDep B study. 2008. The study examines, among other things, which subjects former European Schools pupils tend to study at university and where they go, and in which sectors they later work. Information is also provided on the satisfaction of former pupils with the system.

The future of the European schools. / Ruud van der Aa, Violette van Empel, Toon Verschuren. Responsible EP official: Pernille Winther. EP PolDep B study. 2004. The study was requested by EP’s CULT Committee. It presents a description of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Baccalaureate and the added value of the European Schools; an examination of the financial situation of the European Schools and suggestions for improvement of the their functioning and the financing.

Literature list collected by the office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools, Literature in the EP Library on European Schools and EP procedures on the European School system. The result lists are updated regularly.

Stakeholder views

Schola europaea. Website of the office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools. It contains a number of documents of the Board of Governors, general information on the European Schools (history, statistics, reports …), programmes, teaching materials, terms and conditions of enrolments, etc.

Interparents website: Association of the European Schools’ Parents’ Associations. The main purpose is to represent all the parents of all pupils in the European Schools in the Board of Governors, its Committees and Working Groups.

“Conseil Supérieur des Elèves” (CoSup) represents all the Pupils Committees (PCs) of the European Schools. Each Pupils Committee has at least one member in the CoSup. CoSup became officially recognised by the European Schools Board of Governors on the 31 January 2006.  CoSup does not yet maintain a website.

Association of former European School students Alumni Europae

Groupe Unitaire pour le Développement des Écoles Européennes (GUDEE): website. “GUDEE regroupe les associations des parents des élèves des Écoles Européennes (EE), les comités de personnel et les syndicats des institutions européennes, des représentants des élèves, du personnel administratif et de service des EE, du bureau central des EE, les comités du personnel et syndicat de l’Office Européen des Brevets, des représentants des enseignants ainsi que des représentants des crèches et des garderies.” The website also provides access to an important number of documents of the recent reform.

Maroš Šefčovič, European Commissioner, responsible for European Schools: website.
Broadcast from TéléBruxelles on a parent’s demonstration, 12 April 2011 in Brussels (in French).

Case law & preparatory legal acts

Results of a search in Eur-Lex for court cases related to the European Schools.

Results for a search on preparatory acts related to European Schools in Eur-Lex. Provides, among other documents, access to the annual reports by the European Commission.

Related Articles
  • European School of Copenhagen (DK) opens in August 2014, Tallinn European School (EE) opened in August 2013, two further accredited schools opened their doors in September 2012: a type II school, The International School of the Hague (NL) and a type III school in Bad Vilbel (DE).

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