The board of governors of the European schools, used by EU officials, on Wednesday (4 December) decided to postpone further reforms to the secondary curriculum, following complaints of parents’ organisations that the changes aimed for cost-cutting, not better education.

European schools (EURSC) struggle to maintain a high quality education while preserving all language sections and getting enough teachers seconded by member states’ education ministries.

On Wednesday, the board of governors of the schools, made up of member state representatives, decided on: 

  • the introduction of a third language courses in first grade, and an expansion of the curriculum for children in the first three years of secondary education;
  • the permission for an external review of the European baccalaureate – the certificate obtained at the end of the secondary education – on whether it still fits the needs of universities across Europe.

The initial proposal put forward by working groups also contained a reform of the curriculum of years 4 to 7, for example on the maths curriculum of the European Schools. 

>>Read: European schools clash with parents over long-awaited reforms

But the working groups were sent back to the drawing board to re-examine these proposals. The schools will now conduct a deeper assessment of the impact of such changes, conducted by an external body.

Around 5,000 parents signed a petition requesting such further pedagogic assessment, as well as a check of the proposed changes against universities’ acceptance criteria.

Hélène Chraye, president of the parents’ representation (APEEE) of the school Brussels III in Ixelles, said “This is a first victory, not the end”, speaking at a general assembly of the parents’ organisation.

The European schools have existed for over 60 years and attract mostly children from EU officials, but diplomats and expats' kids can also attend the schools and pay a tuition fee. The schools are mostly financed by EU member states as part of the EU budget.

There are fourteen European schools in seven member states: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain and Luxembourg. The European Schools have around 24,000 pupils enrolled in their programmes. The schools were created in 1953 with the establishment of the then European Coal and Steel Community – the predecessor of today’s EU.